Already, almost September, after a beautiful summer. In my weaker moments, I've complained that we spent too much of it in the city, but honestly, the weather in Montreal has been so lovely this year, the trees so green, that I've enjoyed nearly every day. It hasn't been hot - we've managed with fans and didn't even go to the basement to lug up the air conditioner and install it - but that's fine with me. I haven't gone to the botanical garden or walked on Mount Royal, and because of work pressures I've been in my garden less than usual, and in the studio more, but we've also gone to the market more often, and discovered some new treasures in Little Italy, along with many happy evenings and days with friends here, and friends who've visited. It's been a delight getting to know my new friend Priya who just moved here from India, and to think about what it must be like to see this part of the world through her eyes.
Happiness begins (I remind myself when I start to get nudgy) by wanting what you have. Even though I will always have the woods and wilderness in my heart, I've become a city-dweller for good reasons. Living in a fairly far-northern city like Montreal means dealing with weather, a short growing season, and constant change. People here aren't static, and although life is perhaps slower than in the U.S., they move, adapt, change; they are open to new experiences, and many of them consciously seek that out. The flow of languages in the buses and on the street has seeped into my own life and my own head; I'm studying Spanish on Duolingo, and working on my French there too; it astounds me how many of the people I've come to know here are bi-, tri-, and even more multi-lingual. Last night we sat with friends outside a cafe eating cornets of delicious frozen egg custard (like soft ice cream but richer, with eggs). Another group of friends gathered nearby, drinking coffee, petting a little Italian greyhound, their conversation moving seamlessly from French to Italian to English. Later, we stopped in the neighborhood park to watch tango dancers in a covered bandstand; it was the last of the weekly Tango Argentinian nights for the summer: slowly, the dancers circled the floor, the women elegant and strong; the men focussed, assured; their tango an expression of desire, tension, and surrender, of the bittersweet and beautiful dance of life between our beginnings and endings.
The world remains violent and troubled, and we are all very aware of that, but last night I was reminded how the peace and renewal I've always sought in nature are also available right here; I just have to look more deeply. Human beings are an intrinsic part of nature, and we too contain all of its silence and mystery.