I could get used to weekends in Montreal. These probably were the first days of holidays in the purest form: of sweat, only the pants!
In the short window of time we left my cousin’s cocoon, I managed to buy a vintage dress in a Church’s basement, learn about Canadian population distribution, seals overpopulation and fishermen despair, taste an organic homemade Nutella in a tiny pancakes restaurant, create my own poutine and eat half of it.I think it is wise to conclude it was probably guilt which got me out of bed for a run on Sunday morning. On the bridge between the Cocoon and the Olympic stadium (1976, summer Olympics. I googled it) I am stopped by a motivating man: ‘’God loves you’’ he says. The divine support did help us to get a table for brunch at Touski, the local, famous, delicious and overcrowded cooperative restaurant. They do not joke about eggs benedict, that’s something we have in common. But God’s love stopped right at the door of the escape room, where we unsuccessfully tried to resolve the enigma of Al Patraz. Luckily enough, we had just enough strength to reconnect with our consolation religion: chocolate. Creamy bitter hot chocolate, chocolate fondant, chocolate sauce. All together. There will be no poutine for dinner.
Keeping in and digesting this feast was quite a challenge, but soon we lost our minds to a stunning documentary – in French called ‘’Terra’’
It was already a few millions of years ago that life started developing, firstly with the work of strong independent bacteria absorbing carbon and creating oxygen. Follows evolution, and basically iguanas merged into birds. We all are cousins. This is what Darwin defines as adapting to survive. Given the surrounding, each species had to perform, develop, survive… to adapt. They grew wings, teeth, hair… to survive.
As much as humans are attracted, fascinated even by nature and wild life, I do not see us fitting in there. In the name of a concept we created (profit) we are using – not to say stealing – the nature which created us in the first place. When other species adapt and infinitely develop physicals skills and assets, we – humans – are trying to have the world adapting to us. We want to dominate what created us for we believe we can profit from it. The mechanism is quite schizophrenic.
We are so absorbed by nature that we end up captivating wild life. We want to control the food chain, so we empty natural water reserves to irrigate fields we installed on infertile but more accessible soils. We build reserves and create laws to protect animals, which we endangered in the first place. We try to re model the world to our image, together with all living species. We want it to adapt to us, to our need for comfort, entertainment, power and profit. We help ourselves, and create systems and laws accordingly to find our way into a crazy and meaningless treasure hunt.
We often talk about humans as being the most advanced species. Not only physically, but also mentally. ‘’I think therefore I am’’ … therefore I am superior for I can think for others, which I consider as being stuck in a primitive state of instinct survival. Mind is a strong tool, which can play against our own instincts and interest. I think, therefore I am.
I am because I breathe, feeding the millions of elements I am made of, constantly working together to create and maintain (my) life. Each inch (not easy to pronounce) of me is a blend of not thinking cells, yet functioning. I function therefore I am, physically. I think therefore I create an idea of myself, a projection of my cells, instincts and feelings into a mold of ‘’super being’’. And I build up from this projection; I gather and organize a lot of different ‘’self ideas’’ into cities. We think therefore we are, together. And we support and feed each other self ideas.
But I suffocate here… soon there is no more room for any self ideas. My self idea is limited by the necessity to organize (human) life, for we would not want to surrender to natural laws – hé, we are no animals! We’d rather submit to made-up laws than to our natural instincts. We consider marginal one who would want to live in the nature; we call successful one who spends his life creating profit and systems to multiply it. From a distance perspective, we are the most advanced species. We are so far away from our origins and roots; we even managed to turn them against us.
While driving from Montreal to Quebec today, I realized how easy it has been made for us to travel, even though we do it with no vital motive. Roads and transportation were created so we could move, which we nowadays mainly do for entertainment. I never really have to adapt, or only to a certain type of car maybe. But mainly, we made the world adapt to our secondary needs and wishes. We spend a lot of energy branding the world so it fits our dreams and ideas, but do we ever genuinely adapt to anything?
Every day, a new batch of 240 000 humans is brought to life. It is thrilling and terrifying to think about how hard one species is working to shape a concrete natural world into a mold made of ideas and abstract concepts.
I am not sure yet how to qualify my call for nature, but it becomes quite clear to me that I am running away from suffocating cities. My week plan contains national parks, islands, mountains and waterfalls. Before going full green I stopped for half a day in Old Quebec. Yet extremely calm in the snow, I did not find peace in here. The narrow streets holding together cute colored little houses are charming, and the neat promenade around the cliff does provide a nice view, but I figured I really do not need 310 wooden stairs to reach for the sky. Feet on the ground, surrounding with trees, birds and squirrels, I find the reach much more powerful.