Monday, September 10, 2018

cycling / north hatley / sherbrooke / magog

A few weekends ago we went cycling in the Eastern Townships  / Cantons de l'Est which are one of my favourite spots--well-maintained trails, places to wade or swim, gentle scenery through woods, past fields, rivers, lakes. And it's only a 1 1/2 hour drive from Montreal.

Day #2, when R pulled out our lunch, he didn't see the bag with the plums had a hole. A few rolled down the slope. A chipmunk grabbed one--as large as his head--and I expected him to stuff it in his cheek cartoon-style, but he chomped through it. Ate it more quickly than we finished out lunch.

We rented an Airbnb in Sherbrooke. The place was a condo where a man lived during the week. He had another life somewhere else with his family on the weekend. There were pics of his kids on the wall, none of a partner. The condo was decorated with inexpensive modern-style furniture and IKEA prints of wine bottles.

I was thinking how a few days in an Airbnb could be a writing prompt. You spend a few days among a person's sofa cushions and toiletries, their leftovers in the refrigerator, their professionally sharpened knives and battered pots, and you begin to imagine a life. Was he only in Sherbrooke for work? Was he divorced? Did he entertain or keep to himself? There was a guitar on a stand. A deck of cards on a side table. Lots of candles. I didn't get the impression he was a candle-burning type of guy. (Whatever that is.) Or are people who rent Airbnb's known to be charmed by candles? Give 'em candles.

Since I grew up next to an industrial city--Hamilton in Ontario--I'm curious about cities with an industrial history. We walked around Sherbrooke, looking at details and the astounding hydroelectric generating station.

This fellow with the lifelike hands was on a hotel that was boarded up, either slotted for demolition or renovation. Below him, sprawled in a doorway, a man was fast asleep.

The sign says:
The door is locked.
You knock

If someone is available, they will
come answer.

Thank you

The door wasn't identified as to what the business or service was. I really wanted to knock a few times to see what would happen but I had no idea what I would be knocking for. The door looked permanently locked, the inside of the building dark. Well, it was Sunday.

We cycled between 70 and 80 km depending on whether you believe Google Maps or the local signage. By the time we were ready to head home again, I was feeling very mellow.