We caught it after dinner about 8:30 pm. Someone looked up from their paper plate and said, “The sun is setting.”

With a quick wipe of the kitchen and a change of clothes, everyone converged upon the shore for the sunset ceremony.

The elements are usually the same, couples holding hands, kids kicking around a soccer ball, a man working some jiu jitsu moves; but everyone always pauses their activities as the golden sun-orb drops into the gulf. Once the sun drops into the sea, all those held by its gaze lapse back into movement.

On this night, the best time was after the sunset, at the blue hour. Strong pinks and violets lingered at the horizon. This hue created a glowing effect which contrasted across the soft waters and provided the perfect backdrop for an easy enterprise. My daughter and son pulled out a bag of spike ball pieces and got to work. Within minutes, the game was built and a rousing frolic of keep-the-ball-off-the-sand commenced.

Other obsessed family members continued with rod and reel, that soft light lingering in the distance.

It was mesmerizing. And we stayed there as long as the glimmer endured.

At some point, the night won and a flashlight come out. The games and fishing and photo gear were packed up and brought inside to the artificial light.

We’ll try this again tonight, lingering as long as we can in the twilight. We’ll stay at this place until the absolute last minute, avoiding work and school and artificial light.

slice of life_individual

An Afternoon in Montreal

One day in Montreal. No pressure to nail this! At almost 2,000,000 people, Montreal is the largest city in the Province of Quebec and the second largest city in all of Canada. How does a family take in a city this size in one day? Seeing even a third of the sights would be impossible. My strategy: walk. I wanted to see, smell, and experience the people and the energy of this town. Two grown boys and a willing hubby were game for the plan, so after a protein packed lunch at the Jean Talon Market, we set out on foot. Here are a few of the most interesting images from our day.

One of our first encounters was this street cat at the market. There were a plethora of musicians on the streets playing for coins and bills. But, the best part of this act was the fanboy-cat dressed in matching leather vest. Loved this feline’s tranquil stance atop the wood encased amp.

Art on the street was abundant and phenomenal. Residents here are used to the colors and textures these images offer the landscape. With the cold winters, a sunny, late summer day brings all manner of artists and enthusiasts out on the streets.

A crowd formed around this artist. She’s finishing the image at the bottom of the photograph. Early in the season, all the streetscape colors are vibrant and bold.

After walking for an eternity, we finally made it to Mount Royal. The site for which this great city was named, Mount Royal, was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead and completed in 1876. On summer Sundays, there’s a Tam-Tam Festival at the park which serves as a meeting place for college students, drifters, hippies, tourists and gawkers. The Tam-Tam Fest was a experience for the eyes, ears and nose. A significant drum cacophony established the backdrop for hacky sack circles, beer drinkers, sun seekers, jewelry vendors and pot smokers.

Already, we’d encountered two festivals during our walk: a grand prix fest in Little Italy and the Tam-Tam Fest. As we continued along our path, we discovered more interesting retailers, signs and buildings.

We also popped in on a small wedding taking place in a beautiful Catholic church. The young wedding party and guests were all but swallowed up by the enormity of this holy space. Thankfully, they didn’t seem to mind our quiet presence in the rear of the nave.

Finally, after walking what seemed like 100 miles, somebody had the brilliant idea to hop on a train. Thank God for the Metro in Montreal. This train is fast and frequent. So, we hopped right on and made our way to the Ile Sainte – Helene, home of the Montreal Grand Prix. Ile Sainte – Helene is where the World’s Fair was held in 1967, the 1967 International and Universal Exposition or Expo 67.

The waters of the St. Lawrence River move swiftly through these two islands. Somehow, Peake managed to capture me holding up the great Expo ’67 sphere, even after all that walking!

After a dinner of poutines and craft beer, and more sight seeing, we managed to catch the metro back to our Airbnb, which brings me to the final photos of the day. Animation and intensity are common among our tribe during any day out on the town, especially when worn down with hours of movement on foot. Perhaps some great world problem was solved here.

Possibly not. But, these were good times. Tired and definitely overstimulated by all the sights and sounds of the city, I still wouldn’t change a thing we did this day. We saw the essence of Montreal in the brevity of a single summer afternoon.