A few slices of summer lime
Yesterday I sat in front of a fire with two sweaters on. Welcome to July in Quebec. It was bloody cold, especially for my spoilt disposition so attuned to the tropics.
Yet today it is beautiful here. Very still, calm and fresh. It feels Northern. The green is as fresh and pale as a Boreal forest should be. The sky crisp, the sun sharp.
I had been sensitized to the northern climate, the trees, sounds and tastes and now I have a new found appreciation for what was once ordinary. That is the beauty of living away; I can retain the pleasure of experiencing the new.
We went to a market over the weekend in a small country town. I saw happy hippies and city weekenders shopping for their lunch, greeting each other with familiar smiles. The small kiosks were proudly selling their homemade foods. I sampled wine, cheese and maple syrup but I could have also tried milk fed piglet or gourmet sausage. There was a pride in their food and the tasteful (and sometimes kitch) presentation. This is a land of food snobs.
Since arriving in Montreal I have eaten meals that have tasted intense and fresh. I had not experienced a sensation quite like a fresh Quebec strawberry in some time. My taste buds have been deprived of these northern flavours, the sweet but tart berry, the pungent wet cheese, the nectarine dripping in juice. And visually the food looks perfect, the carrots are small and neat and orange, the eggplant firm in its purple fatness and the lettuce looks as crisp as its crunch.
A Canadian summer means drinks at the dock, laughter with friends, the icy dip or the comfort of a roaring fireplace. For me it also means a return to my adopted home and time spent with my sisterhood of girlfriends. There is comfort in returning home to the familiar and seeing the gasp of recognition and joy spread over my daughters’ faces.
Things are often too long. Movies, books, classes, days, plays; but a Canadian summer is always too short. Staring at a Canadian lake bordered by gentle hills is so relaxing that after a while you feel akin to floating.
I must confess that no part of my anatomy has yet dared to experience the piercing and heart thumping cold of a lake swim.
Saving that for another day. Not quite that brave yet.