I’m a frequent visitor at Lee’s River and Simple Words I Understand, and both have been supplying plenty of pictures of their parts of the world, often with an emphasis on those bits of nature they can find. I was struck by the fact that the flowers and greenery of early spring seem to have taken hold both in Graulhet, France and in NYC, yet are still unknown to us here in Montreal. I had an important appointment to get to this morning, but just before setting off, I took in Lee’s latest blog entry featuring many pictures of the wonderful vegetation she comes across on her daily walks with her lovely dog Cybèle. All that lush greenery stayed imprinted in my corneas, as I hurried on via taxi to the Allan Memorial Institute. For reasons still unknown to me the meeting didn’t actually take place and this after I’d waited over an hour — we’ll be clearing that up soon I should hope, but in any case I didn’t quite know what to do with myself and considered my options, finally opting to make my way home on foot.
I quickly realized that I’ve become a slow walker over these past months of inactivity, since everyone else on the sidewalk was zooming past me. I’ve always a zoomer and never a zoomee myself and so it took a little bit of getting used to, but then I realized my pace was just right — it allowed me the time to really look at things instead of just seeing a blur of greyness. The city is rather ugly right now you see – not a spot of greenery in sight, small mounds of blackened snow here and there, and all the detritus accumulated since last fall covering every surface. I didn’t have my camera with me, but it was just as well really, because nothing stood out to me as being potential for a good photograph, unless I wanted to do a study in grey, which I didn’t. I decided to pretend I had a camera in my eye — a favorite game of mine since childhood — and seek out interesting little bits for me to capture for my collection of visual souvenirs. My mind’s eye takes amazing pictures, nothing you could ever reproduce with an actual camera.
I wanted to concentrate on the beautiful bits I did see, like that grey plaster wall which had a web of small cracks covering a good portion of a building looking like abstracted ivy might do, or the interesting shadows thrown by the trees and building onto the sidewalks and each other, or the litter and grime itself, creating an interesting composition somehow. But no matter what, I was starving to see a little bit of green somewhere and walking by a favorite dog park of mine, I felt hopeful for a moment, but alas, my wish was not granted. Quite to the contrary, even the dogs had stayed home today, and there was no sign of life at all save for a giant beige poodle that incessantly barked it’s discontent at the miserable scenery.
This is the sort of walk which tends to throw me into a deep melancholy, but today I was determined not to fall prey to it, and to simply take pleasure in the fact that I was outside, moving, free, and taking in the sun’s rays.
I even decided to stop by a corner diner I’d never been to before. The kind of place you walk past hundreds, even thousands of times and never think to try. The place looked worn and none too clean and had those cool individual jukeboxes at each table, though out of order all of them. The service was friendly enough though the soup was horrible, the tea was as you’d expect in that sort of establishment, and the sandwich was adequate, simply because after all it takes a certain effort to ruin a BLT. None of that brought me down or made me feel overly neurotic or anxious, as would “normally” tend to be the case. I ate half the sandwich and decided to have the rest in the comfort of my own home where my charming grey tabby of a Fritz was impatiently waiting to have his turn at prowling through the neighborhood. We’re all impatient for spring to arrive.
Pic taken in April 2007 by Smiler