My morning porch is a terrace, open to the street but semi-hidden behind a hedge, shadowed but adorned with begonias, lantana, coleus. Out here early with my coffee and the baby spiders swaying on their strands of silk, I watch the sun struggling through clouds that split and rise from the St. Lawrence, casting the first bright rays of light through the trees. Morning comes with an effort, like our summer that's barely begun. The sounds of the city build slowly too: the traffic coming off Pont Jacques Cartier, the clank of bike locks against metal frames passing over bumps, the feet of a runner, crows shouting over the incessant chirps of sparrows. Three-quarters of an hour ago, when I first came out, the birds dominated but now it's wheels, and the occasional murmur of human voices.
J. rose early and went off to take photographs in the Old City and port. I stayed in bed a little while longer, and then got up, lit a candle, did a bit of meditation, took my calcium and vitamins, made my coffee and some oatmeal. I love the mornings when I can unfold slowly, like the day itself, and just watch, just listen.
It's Canada Day today, and also Moving Day, when leases are up and people change apartments. Just now a small local moving van has pulled up outside, and if I went down any of the nearby streets the scene would be repeated: men in white t-shirts rolling up the back doors of the vans, taking out blankets, standing together staring at large objects before the collective heft. Yesterday we watched three men wrestling a full-size refrigerator three flights up one of the city's outdoor, metal spiral staircases. Terrible, and typical. Before the light changed and we moved on, we saw the man carrying the most weight move to the outside of the railing, and three more men - strangers - gathering below, hands lifted helplessly into the air.
Last year at this time, we were moving too, and I find myself reluctant to think back over the experience. It's over, thank God, and here I am in Canada on Canada Day, wondering what that means, or if it even means anything. I've crossed a border, ever more fortified and regulated, so many times I can't count, and yet I've felt more and more free, less burdened by material things, and by concepts of myself that weighed even more. I used to know who I was, if you had asked me. Now I know both more and less. I can tell you that the leaves on the poplars, way up there, are dancing in the wind like sequins, each one sewn on by a thin green thread.