This week is the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal or the Montreal International Festival of Jazz. This seven-day extravaganza has made my beautiful city infested with tourists, but I get to listen to some sweet jazz for free, so I really can’t complain. This week was tough, Montreal experienced a record-breaking heatwave, but it didn’t stop the Quebecois from getting black-out drunk on wine and cheese while listening to obscure jazz bands.
The festival has brought back some fond memories. The smell of Canadian cigarettes, expensive weed, and Queues de Castor remind me of Carnival in Quebec City and summer nights in Ontario. My cousin used to come up to our cabin stoned, and I remember thinking of how much I hated the stench of pot. Now, however, it makes me miss him and his fearless attitude. He has not had it easy in life, but he has thrown himself into everything he has done with apprehension or worry. I admire that about him.
My grandmother and I used to sit out on her dock, watching the sun sink into the river after a long day of fishing and swimming and trespassing on islands. It was almost as though the star was just as exhausted as we are, falling slowly into the water where it would wait for us to be ready for another day. I would listen to the crickets and watch the dragonflies chase each other. It was peaceful, it became a moment frozen in time.
The Winter Carnival in Quebec City practically trapped me. I fell in love with the province when I was eleven, promising myself that I would live there when I was older. It was true magic to see a carnival made out of ice and snow. Vendors would heat up maple syrup, make little divots in the snow, and pour the molten sugar into them, making little maple lollipops right in front of the kids. Those bitter, cold days in QC hold some of my fondest memories.
Sitting here, in a chain coffee shop at 9pm, with a shitty iced latte and a protein bar, I wonder how I made it all happen. How I truly let my memories of what made me happy shape my future. There is a musician outside, singing on a massive stage, with a crowd of thousands of people watching her. I wonder if she’s thinking the same thing.