The view this morning from my home office window is of trees, fences and backyards covered in heavy snow. The silence, even in my downtown location, is profound. Car tires just can't make the usual grinding noise driving over 10 centimetres of compressed snow. I don't know in what conditions Mozart was writing his Symphony N. 25 in G minor -- which I am listening to at the moment -- but it seems just right for this morning as I wait for my first conference call of the day.

Usually I dream of living on a small farm in Provence in the South of France, where snow is a freak event and not the norm, where lunch is an event and not a need, where wine is part of life and not just another alcoholic beverage. If I had my choice of ways to leave this world, it would be like the lead character in William Boyd's Any Human Heart. I can't remember the character's name, but he is found dead by a village friend lying peacefully in a deck chair under a tree on his tiny Provencal farm, a glass of spilled white wine in his right hand and a book in his left.

This morning, though, I am satisfied with the peaceful view, Mozart, a large cappuccino and tree branches wrapped in white.

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