I think, therefore I harm
In Québec, there is just one rule that always works when it comes to weather. We cannot predict the first snow of the year, neither can we predict the last one, which could be as late as the very last week of April. We cannot foretell how hot or sunny a summer will be, or how cold and windy a winter will be. But the first weekend of May is always hot and sunny. It’s always what marks the first weekend of the summer to me. And this year was no exception. We got a superb sunny weekend with the mercury (or rather the digital display – we don’t use mercury thermometers anymore, eh) showing around 25°C / 77°F.
The exception is that I was working this year on that very weekend. I’ve barely ever worked on weekends before and I sure don’t remember having ever worked on the first weekend of May. This time, I was. But I wasn’t complaining. I love that new job. It never gets boring. And even when the store is empty, tasks all revolve around the fish. Even cleaning off algae, without a doubt the worst task you can do there, is still fun to me as I’ve got my hands right in the tanks with the fish. And despite all expectations, people actually visit a live fish store on the first hot weekend of the year. Sunday afternoon, I didn’t even get a minute for a cigarette break. At one point, I was even serving up three customers at once. Not that this is uncommon, but it was surprising considering the weather.
Nevertheless, the weekend wasn’t wasted. Monday is my free day now, I work all other days on two jobs. I work at the live fish store from Thursday to Sunday. Until recently, I worked the three other days as a clerk at the convenience store chain that employed me full time for the last nine years. Yep, I still got a foot there. But a few weeks ago, I gave up Mondays. Working seven days a week makes my wallet happy, but not my body. So now I have a day off, when nobody at either job needs to call a day off on that day – which obviously happened the very first week after I gave up Mondays.
Well, I had my now teenage son at home this weekend. He sure can take care of himself when daddy is working. He’s pretty much the teen that I was, very quiet, spending most of his free time in front of the computer. Even on a hot sunny weekend. But he didn’t have school on Monday, so he spent an extra day here. Well, Monday was just as nice a day as the weekend had been, peaking at 26°C / 79°F so we spent it together at the park. But wait, not just any park.
In Longueuil where I live, a suburb of Montréal, there exists a park where humans and animals walk together in peace. If anything, young children unused to the wildlife are often more afraid of the animals than the animals are of the humans. In the center of the park is an open area with three large ponds, called Les Trois Lacs, surrounded by a vast grass area. People there take a sunbath wearing just a bikini (despite there having no swimming area there), throw a football or Frisbee to each other, or just sit by one of the ponds and enjoy the ducks and geese. Some times during the season you can even watch the fish, as the water gets clear when the snow hasn’t just recently melted.
If you are up for a walk, there are kilometers of trails in the woods, clearly delimited, where you can see birds and deer. You could literally walk there for hours without ever seeing the same trail twice. Along the way, chances are you are going to see tens of deer, of all ages, and they will pay little attention to you. You can occasionally run on a young one taking a nap right by the side of the trail. They will stay there and watch you pass by them, curious. You could also walk slowly toward them and get as close as just a few feet from them. The only thing I’ve never tried was to touch them, which I assume they wouldn’t allow. Adults seem to be a little more careful and won’t let you get closer than maybe ten meters.
It’s hard to believe such a place exists, right in the middle of such a large city. A place where you don’t get to hear a single car, where you can’t see a house or even a skyscraper. But it’s right there, not that far from my home, and I enjoy spending time there in the summer, when it’s hot and sunny, such as right now.
Couldn’t end this post without this song, to me a symbol of this period of time when winter gives place to summer. Québec singer Marc Déry tells about how he’s glad he made it through another long winter. His way of celebrating the event is to spend the last weekend of April alone on the lake with an once of pot and a fishing rod.