Friday 2 April 2010

Musing on a walk in Montreal

The title and the topic of this post were inspired by this book of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, which I read in another life in cégep, and re-read in my first year in Montreal. I am not the biggest admirer of Rousseau, but I do like the idea of giving the results of reflections made randomly during a walk. So I am in Montreal for Good Friday, I will be in Quebec City for the weekend and Easter. I haven't celebrated Easter in Québec for years, not since 2006 actually.

I was thinking about this this morning when I was walking with my wife on the Plateau Mont-Royal: now I only see episodically a place that was my everyday environment for years. Seasonal changes, the look of the then familiar surroundings, all this I am not part of it anymore. I rediscover old shops and restaurants I love, but I also see with a certain sadness new places that replaced old ones. I am not quite part of Montreal anymore and maybe I am now a complete expat, as a Quebecker and a former Montrealer. I don't like to consider myself a former Montrealer, by the way. I feel like one even though I don't live here anymore.

So yes, we walked today, I rediscovered Montreal during springtime and April, or to be precise one aspect of it. Today it is sunny and warm like summertime, but the trees are bare like a November day before the first snow. Montreal is pleasant on a warm spring day, but I cannot say that it is beautiful. With two recent posts in mind (this one and that one), I paid a lot of attention to the neighbourhood's architecture, and not only the twisted outdoor stairways. There are plenty of beautiful old fashioned buildings here, which mixes sometimes well, sometimes poorly, with modern constructions (well, it is a figure of speech, some are from the 60s, 70s, 80s), which are sometimes nightmarishly ugly.

Being in Montreal means a number of things, a change of diet (breakfasts and lunch especially), living in French and more importantly the Quebec variety (hopefully I'll speak with my Saguenay accent again), getting some books in French, etc. For my wife, it is rediscovering local coffee shops (today it was this one). I don't live here anymore, but walking here, I felt home nevertheless.


The Artful Gypsy aka Wendy the Very Good Witch said...

Wish I were there. I wonder how it differs from Fall to Spring. Aside from the weather, it was quite lovely in the Autumn I must say! You kids have fun and have a great Holiday weekend!

Anonymous said...

Welcome home.