Most people would say about me that I am often »fashionably late ». I struggle with only 60 seconds per minute, it is just not enough. On this side of the world I happen to be too early.
Nature is still preparing, she needs a little time. I know the feeling, I can only understand her. I respect her rhythm. Moody spring is (too) muddy, resulting in late opening of hiking trails.
Driving up here from Quebec, my eyes devoured the emerging skyline of majestic waterfalls, canyons, cliffs and mountains domes. Entering the park, my heartbeat raced a little faster, setting the pace for my dancing feet. But I am too early, and most of the trails are not ready for hikers yet.
Don’t let the quiet snowy path fool you. The ascending elevation lasted for a few kilometers, each step taking me closer to a clarifying sky. Down hill, the river swirls; up hill the kingdom is shared among birds and squirrels. Life is everywhere in the bustling nature, yet the place is peaceful and relaxing. I witness an ongoing ballet of blue, orange, yellow birds fluttering in the air like confetti’s at a party. They are everywhere, and they have a lot to say. Later, I ran into a squirrel so small it could not qualify for the job. We stared at each other for a while, his mini body language betrayed his fear and discomfort. Few wooden bridges further, the ascension ends up with a rocky path.
As much as I am grateful to nature for the show, I still get frustrated with cameras unable to encapsulate the essence and the dimension of it. I am trying to restrain my furious envy to capture everything, also because I know the result will never compare with the memory. But when I witness such beauty, I wish I could share it with my loved ones. Carrying their heart in mine is not always sufficient. When nature makes me feel so small, so humble I am vulnerable, I try to capture it. Maybe to take over a bit of its majesty; surely to try and catch the moment, the beauty and the feeling growing into my chest. I hope that looking back at all the pictures I took, I will not only remember the place but most importantly how it made me feel.
It has been two weeks, only and already. I still catch myself planning, preparing, worrying about being as efficient as possible with this trip. I guess it will take a bit extra time to really lay back and let things come to me. I have a hard time doing nothing, I feel guilty when I sit down and enjoy the view. For a minute, just the time to surrender; then I shut myself up (literally say to myself »shut up Zoé ») and start enjoying the view. I have nowhere to be, no one to please, nothing to do. It sounds easier than it actually is. I really enjoy the physical exercises through mud, rocks, rain, snow even… but the mental gymnastic is really challenging and exhausting. But each time I manage to step back, something almost magical happens. I let it happen, its impossible to explain and that is what makes it great. It’s my moment.
Down the hill, back to the hypnotic river. The rapids are covering the songs of the birds around, but once back in the quieter valley I can enjoy the hard work of a woodpecker. Absorbed, eyes fixed up in the air I almost missed the orange ball of fur sleeping in the rising sun. Attentive to every murmurs, his hears are restless and he raises his nose. Soon, nose back down, napping won over hunting.
On my toes, I leave the sleeping beauty in his awakening kingdom. Heading back south, I stop by the »must see » Falls of Montmorency, at the doors of Quebec city. 487 steps, a floating bridge vibrating with the rumbling water and a closed ice cream shop. Again, too early in the season which starts in June. By then I will be climbing another kind of stairs …
The falls were nice, but sure thing not as spectacular as the oats and chocolate chip cookies I got myself once back in the city. I was looking for soup but well, when life gives you a cookie you better eat it – fast.