Bright and Early
Montréal is now part of my life. My life in California has become one that I view in portions; it's a nice slice to have, but hardly the whole of my existence. The upcoming journey to Québec has long ago stopped being my next trip - and evolved into a return. A trip is something you may never do again. A return signals permanence.
I always look forward to being there - but rarely to getting there. Three o'clock in the morning is not so much a time as it is a state. Each of my returns normally begins in that realm since in-order to arrive at anything close to a reasonable time, I must begin my day then. I mechanically maneuver through this state until I am at last en route. And then my thoughts turn to what we who face the Pacific know exists, but face so rarely; winter.
Montréal embraces winter. And nothing illustrates this more than the combined winter festival of Montréal en Lumière and its signature event, la Nuit Blanche. It is a time when the people and city of Montréal celebrate the joy of winter living. And it's now one of my favorite times to return
This is a city that really knows how to throw a party - and these are people who really know how to enjoy one. On the night of nuit blanche, nearly the entire city becomes part of a grand winter display. The center of Montréal and many of her neighborhoods remain open all night - and hundreds of thousands partake in displays of art, food, music, poetry, literature - indeed, of everything that makes a city alive.
At a time when we on the left coast imagine the inhabitants of snowbound environs locked snugly away - the streets and venues are filled to overflowing. Celebrations are everywhere. Outside displays of street art, dancing, eating, listening to music, visiting ice sculpture gardens - there seems to be no end to it all.
And inside and under the city, in the tunnels and walkways linking buildings, and in the buildings themselves - everywhere - Montréal celebrates its place - its circumstance - its self.
And so I return - and join this wondrous spectacle. And even on lovely sun filled January days facing the Pacific, I often eye the goose down coat in my closet and a sense of excitement and anticipation fills me as I contemplate my next 3am state - and my winter return.