Wednesday, April 28, 2021

first cycle of the year

Toward the end of April is when we usually get out for our first cycle. *Our* first cycle. R has been out many times already. I don't have as much energy nor endurance as he does. Though I think I do pretty well given my cardiac irregularities and that I'm an older spring chicken. 

I wasn't sure how far I was ready to go today, but I have a dangling carrot mentality and had secretly promised myself a croissant au chocolat and a latte at a certain café halfway. 

We followed the Lachine canal for some post-industrial urbanscape, stopped at the aforementioned café in Lachine, and then crossed over to the river.  Greys and greys, sometimes silvery, winter ochres and browns, only the rare fresh sprigs of greenery. Lots of magnolia trees!  

R and I were sitting on a bench when a woman walking along the path called across that with my hair so short, it would be very easy to dye. Any colour I wanted. Now, what colour would that be? R suggested my original strawberry blond. Not, he assured me, that he minded it grey. 

Oddly enough, I'd noticed the natural hair dye only yesterday when in the Branche d'Olivier, a healthfood store. But the colour I was looking at was called Sunset Red. I mean, if I'm going to dye it... 

I was, of course, wearing a helmet while cycling. 

Those little black bugs that fly up your nose when you're cycling? It's still too early in the year for those, but R pointed out that wearing masks against Covid will finally solve that problem. 

Once we got home, I collapsed on the bed for a snooze. He made a grocery list and cycled off across the city. 


Thursday, April 22, 2021

our house by the hills / gaspésie

I call it our house by the sea, but in this season of snowmelt, it's our house by the hills.

For weeks water dribbles and trickles, each rivulet meeting another, nosing, forking, gathering, skimming across tree roots, soaking spruce needles, seeking moose paths and human paths, tumbling over rocks, down down down the hills. 

I call them hills because they no longer look like mountains. They are rounded and treed, and only 1,000 feet/300 metres high (some shorter, some higher). But they were mountains once upon a time. They're the tail end of the Appalachians--called the Chic Chocs here in the Gaspé--and 1000 feet makes for more snowmelt than most ordinary cellar drains can handle, and if you have a house in the path of the runoff washing down from the hills, it is wise to check that the drain is clear and the path to the ditch open.

This bit of water actually isn't bad at all. We've arrived at the house when the drain was blocked and the water was higher than the rubber boots. 

There is also the ongoing problem of a leak in the roof that R has several times tarred and patched, but once again this spring it has leaked. We have now arranged for the roof to be replaced. 

The roofer is a joker. 

What color, he asks. Pink? Chortle chortle. 

We get a certain amount of ribbing from the locals because we're city people. I don't mind. We called him because we've seen the roofs he's built. 

A short trip – a maintenance trip – but we also had a few good walks along the shore and in the woods. 

Everywhere the whispering, chuckling music of rushing, trickling, gushing water.

Already back in Montreal.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

confused by raisins in a box (it doesn't take much these days)

The things we do in our isolation. 

How many of you are taking comfort with fish/bird/animal/reptile companions? Signing up for workshops and webinars that you don't take even when you get the reminder email? Pretending that online shopping is like belonging to a social club?

I am busy. I'm pretty good at keeping myself busy. There's writing, there's reading, there are bags of wool to knit, there are ever more complicated meals to cook. One day I might even learn how to use the vacuum cleaner. 

What I'm missing is the lovely,  irritating, noisy, hateful, endearing throng of humanity in all its variety. Some days I miss it so badly that I'm in danger of doing something illicit like accost a stranger to rub noses.

I see people when I get out to walk. But always at a distance. I'm lucky that I don't live alone. I have darling R. Even after almost 40 years together, we have things to talk about. He gives the best back rubs.

But there are still times when I long for a different face--human and in RealTime--even one with a mask on. 

Then I book in for a shift at my grocery co-op. Because people need to eat, right? And our grocery will only stay open if we work. I can cut cheese… one-year-old Cheddar, two-year-old Cheddar, lactose-free Emmental, Swiss Gruyère. I can bag arugula, spinach, green beans, bok choy. Today I fetched more heads of cauliflower from the cold storage than seems possible in a three-hour shift. There must have been a recipe for cauliflower in the newspaper. 

Although I work in the kitchen area, I can hear people shopping. There are only three adults at a time allowed in the store, but even only three adults who are social distancing can make for bustle and chatter.

I was bagging raisins from a large box, listening to people drop crinkly packages of pasta in their cart, open and close a fridge door, bump their wheels against a shelf. I wasn't even aware that I was reading the box until the words jumped at me. Xray scanned? Laser sorted? Metal detected? 

For... raisins? What was Customs expecting in that box?

Je ne comprends pas.