I leave my car window down accidentally for two days. Montreal rains sodden the seat and fill the basin under the door handle. Mushrooms may soon sprout.
Spring rains dry into summer sun. Our group of five has not yet collapsed from an all-night bender. David and I wake charitably early for cultural duty. I so often neglect to see something new in cities I re-visit.
The two of us ride the Montreal subway east to the Botanical Gardens situated by the retro-futuristic Olympic stadium. Within the gardens, tall-bush azaleas cartoonishly bloom in magentas and lavenders. I recognize many of the plants my parents proudly grow. In the Japanese and Chinese Gardens, hundred-year old bonsai trees lean into the wind. We spy wildlife as well: red cardinals, a pond-side duck with five ducklings, and a brazen fox. Indoors, industrious ants shred and haul leave through the Insectarium.
From the Botanical Gardens, we hire bicycles west back into downtown Montreal. Montreal’s bicycle rental program called Bixi has delighted us for years. Bixi bikes have fat tires, sturdy frames, and three low gears. No helmets, however. Although we don’t ride fast, sometimes a bike beats the subway back and the views are much better.
David guides us to a Bretagne creperie overlooking a small park. We drink bowls of cider and dig into brown-butter crepes followed by espresso and chocolate crepes. This is the good life.
I nap mid-afternoon in my little rental room while downstairs in the kitchen David and Eve roast a chicken with potatoes. John and Tom depart for a documentary film about music synthesizers. We are a family.