Saturday, 3 April 2010

Easter, realisations and a confession.

Hearing nuns' confessions is like being stoned to death with popcorn

I warn you, this is one of those posts.

I'll start with the confession; I lost my camera.

The weather here was gorgeous, then suddenly snowy and horrible, then generally a bit miserable. Yesterday it got up to 6C, so I went for a really long walk with my camera. I ended up walking all the way to Dollarama, and buying my first, timid, deco supplies (more on that later). This is a good 50 minute brisk walk each way, but I did a massive amount of camera whoring in the sunshine, and all was good. Around 5pm, I arrived at the church which overlooks the park and the river, and isn't further than five minutes walk from my house. I specifically remember taking out my camera to take a picture of the park, because a sudden fog had descended. After that, I have no clue.

Several hours later, at home, I wanted to upload my pictures to the computer. My camera was nowhere to be found. I searched through the bags, my various pockets, the kitchen, the hall, the living room, my room, but to no avail. I figured I was just overlooking it.

Today I tried again. I searched in all the same places, several times, and many new places despite knowing my camera wouldn't be there (bags I hadn't used for weeks, drawers in the kitchen I hadn't opened, the bathroom I never use...etc). Nada. I was so frustrated. Partially because that was my camera, which I use a lot, and it was a gift, and it was expensive, and that's generally really annoying (sorry parents...subtle way of admiting it huh?). But mostly I was annoyed because I just could not understand how it could go missing. If my last picture had been taken in a shop, or a bathroom, I can see myself putting the camera down and walking off without it. But in the middle of a church car park? Who puts a camera down in the middle of a church car park?!

A bad and highly frustrated mood descended upon me. Outside it was even more beautiful than the day before, with a temperature of around 12C. I could see many people outside walking to the park to appreciate the fantastic weather. And here I was, stuck inside, hopelessly yet tirelessly looking for my camera.

Sod it, I thought. I'm going out.

I went upstairs to get changed, and in a last ditch attempt, I completely emptied the bag I had taken with me the previous day. A bag in which I found something. Not a camera, sadly, but instead a camera sized hole.
So thaaaat's what happened to it.

Feeling weirdly relieved, I went to the park.

There were so many people, it was unreal. And I walked along beside the river, this river that flows not only through the heart of Québec, but also through the souls of its people. Just listen to music from Québec; I assure you at some point they'll sing about the St Laurent. I greeted everyone, the many I didn't know, and the few that I did recognise.

Sun shining on my face, a light breeze in my hair, I realised something. In the end, all things go. We do not use everything forever, and there comes a time when everything is used for one last time. I've had that camera for two years; it was a birthday present from my parents. I loved its red casing. I loved its speed. I loved its size. The fact that it frequently ran out of battery, the self-timer photos were blurry whether I used flash or not, and the memory card flap often got stuck didn't bother me too much. I felt sad for the loss of my camera, but I realised you can't let these things get to you. Mourn for your lost gadget, and then keep walking.

I reached an area of the park without any people. The ground was flooded from the rapidly melting snow and made for a rather watery walk. I stopped and listened. I heard the birds in their late afternoon song. I heard the river, with the tide going out. I heard the factory...the reason that the town is even there, the job provider, money maker, paper producer. It was so uncomplicated.

I ended up walking to the Manoir du Cafe, to have a sit down and a tisane. So I sat down at my usual table, and low-and-behold, I knew one of the ladies sitting at the table next to mine. She's the mother of one of the girls in the gospel choir, and she gives me a lift to and from choir each week. She was with her sister, who, by a great coincidence, used to live in London.

An hour, a cranberry tisane and a varied conversation passed quickly. It was a pleasure to speak of my country with one who knows it. There are many flaws in my land, yet I feel such a strong connection to it and to my life there, despite being so far away. Maybe that's why I feel it so acutely; you don't know what you've got til it's (or you're) gone. I really enjoyed the conversation, and felt honoured when my new friend insisted on paying for my drink.

So there I was, exactly twenty four hours later, in the same spot in the church car park over looking the park and the river. But today, the air was clear, and I could see the river going on for miles and miles. I took a mental picture.

And it was there, where I lost my camera, that I found what I would like.
I would like to go back to Africa.

Happy Easter, everyone (: