Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Montreal



For my English class; I had to write a personal essay. After having my peers in class review my essay time and time again. I've finally made the final draft. I enjoyed writing this essay, but am curious to know what I can improve on. As of late, I've been admiring Mike Berard's Blog and his writing ability. It seems like most of the blogs that I follow are comprised of mainly photos from cell phones and tiny bit and pieces from daily life. Mike's blog just sticks out to me as being something of quality. When he writes something new, I am excited to read it and it's the first link I check out from google reader. And so...with my limited writing knowledge, I present to you my personal essay that I have to turn in today and my attempt to actually write something on this blog of mine, titled City Visit.

From high above, the lights seem to span until the end of the world. We’ve just punctured through the clouds and our view has come to life. The turbulence seems appropriate, a little wake up shake before touching down into the hustle of the city below, Montreal. As I wait for the plane to taxi on the runway, I start to get excited. A world that I rarely ever see awaits me beyond the cramped seating space of this United Airlines flight. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the city life, I feel a certain anxiousness to have left Tahoe behind. It is not by choice that I am traveling, but an obligation for business. Nonetheless, it will be a change of pace from my busy life in Tahoe.

Walking out of the airport in Montreal, I realize that I am underdressed. Most of the women around me stand a few inches higher with the help of their high heels. The men act as if they are late for an appointment and I think to myself that their nice flashy ties are too tight around their necks. No one seems to notice my attire of faded blue jeans, dirty sneakers, and a hoodie, but unquestionably I stand out amongst these fancy dressed city dwellers. It would certainly be appropriate in Tahoe City, casual as it is.

I see my name on a sign a driver is holding. He takes my luggage and walks too fast for my injured pace. My knee is already feeling swollen from the long day of traveling; the aches and pains from surgery are still noticeable. We pull away from the Montreal International Airport and I feel like I’m in the backseat of a racecar, weaving through traffic, racing the lights, and narrowly missing the guardrails. My body tightens in discomfort, but secretly I enjoy the ride and wonder why we are in such a hurry. I realize that we are not in a hurry; this is just the way he drives.

Walking the streets of Montreal seems like pinball at times. My shoulders constantly brush those of strangers. There are so many people walking all over the place; I have the sense of being lost. While I try to concentrate on avoiding the bodies coming towards me in a continuous flow, my eyes flicker from the guitar and drum entertainment on the sidewalk to the chic businesswoman walking straight towards me on her phone. I step aside and let her pass. She looks in a hurry and I am just a tourist in awe. I find myself walking into stores to escape the crowded street. I have no intention of purchasing anything, but I need some space. I meander around the stores until a sales woman rushes to my side. She is like a billboard on the street, always selling something. I realize that the space I am looking for will not be found in these stores. Stepping outside again, the concrete streets are overpopulated and the tall buildings are dwarfing. I feel claustrophobic.

After three days in the city I notice that I am tense. Being surrounded by buildings and people is draining my body of its energy. My mind is jumbled with images of mirrored windows and crowded cross walks. My mood shifts and I have the need to be outside, but outside in the city doesn’t seem to help this urge that I have. My eyes are drawn to the suits and their cell phones pinned to their ears. I can’t escape, mentally or physically, the spotlights swimming in the sky and the confines of these tall dark structures. My hotel room seems like a cage and I am a bird with clipped wings.

Pacing through the hotel, with my book in hand, I see the pool area. There are people reading, swimming and a beautiful waterfall trickling into the pool. The second I shut the door into this space; I seem a world away from the city below. This pool, high above the streets and pedestrians, is anywhere I want it to be. Closing my eyes I envision a far away land in Hawaii where the water flows naturally, pooling after it splashes against the rocks. As I sit down I feel my body ease and my mind relax. It’s as if a tremendous weight has been lifted off my shoulders and the thoughts that were bouncing around in my mind in the form of a messy spider web are cleared like dusty cobwebs. It’s strange to notice my instant mood change, but impossible not to. The energy of the space feels so different, so serene; it’s just what I need.

I unfold my book and take a deep breath as if the fresh air is limited. My lungs expand more than they have since I’ve been here; they too have been feeling cramped. Closing my eyes, I hear only water and the occasional splash from a swimmer. I think of the distant world below and smile at the silence. It seems so far away now. Here in this bubble of nature, plants and little tiny animals are alive and living in harmony together. The people below seem to be living out of sync with each other, caught in their ways and trapped in an everyday stale routine. I grin as I sit and observe this magnificent oasis that is connected to one of the tall dark buildings sitting amongst the city.

A bug lands on the page and it is the first bug that I have seen since arriving here, or perhaps the first bug that I have noticed. Looking around I begin to observe details that I have been missing; the few birds resting on the railing, the life in the plants that don’t grow in Tahoe, the smiles on peoples faces, and the sun splintering through the clouds above. It is then that I realize a constant that I need in my life, that being the silence and stillness of nature. And so I sit, silent and still.

2 comments:

Sam said...

Love it! Living in a "city" now for almost two years, I find myself missing the slow mountain life all the time. I will be back soon...I could feel my stress lifting just reading this.

Anna said...

That was amazing writing Michelle. It made me anxious just reading it