At a loss for the afternoon, I turned my steps back towards the city center and sought out one of the first sights to hold my eyes, the Mont Royal.
Such were the words as I found them at the bounds of the Parc Mont Royal: “By losing faith in ‘justice’, we restore faith in ourselves”. All this from a sticker of which I could make little enough sense. I thought that it might wish to suggest that by giving up on the legal system, one took matters into one’s own hands. Yet, I granted, this would turn one into just another vigilante. That said, it might seek rather the abandoning of impersonal mechanisms of justice for trust in personal capacities and the granting of further powers onto community authorities. Perhaps instead, the sticker promised some deeper meaning unveiled only upon lengthy reflection, the sort of thought to which a sticker was most unlikely to provoke its reader.
On the same public place before the park, a plaque attested that, here, some eighty years before, the citizenry had testified its allegiance to the new king, George VI. I wondered whether this act had been carried out through a representative, whether of the king or of his liege people. If so, it remained unclear whether the king, with disdain for the commonfolk, or the commonfolk, with all their French pride as regarded the king, could truly have been said to testify such allegiance. I could only imagine that, in matters of semantics, the engraver had also been a master. Whatever the truth, children now scampered over the engravings and the bronze muses flanking them.
The chalet topping the mount was, undoubtedly, an impressive structure in its own right: sloping peak without, dark wood rafters within. But I most appreciated the wooden squirrels, either carved in a light wood or painted or varnished, which at once worked on a nut or acorn and supported the swopping beams. Refreshed and having asked after stamps at the small giftshop, I turned my back to the front entrance and its vista over the city, determined as I was to find what lay farther back in the park complex.
In no time at all, or so it seemed, I managed to find my way to the base of the chrome cross of Mont Royal. From up close, I could confirm that the structure was indeed a hollow construct, perhaps in order to support its own wait. Upon closer inspection, I found nothing more to add on its subject, other than to attribute the ostentation to a religion itself chrome in nature. This last assertion remained largely meaningless, despite its outward bluster.
Yet from the cross I continued onward and downward, knowing that paths never lacked for purpose, that I was sure to come upon something in time. And so I did, in the form of a supply yard well off the main path. Two entry roads allowed vehicle access to this depot and its wares of pallets, slabs, posts and gravel. Off to one side, I caught a glance of a man toning his body on a makeshift weightset comprised of a stack of slabs and two pallets. I soon left the depot behind.
At some point in my descent, I lost my bearings and came out somewhere other than the loose destination of churchyards that I had set for myself. In my disorientation, I even went so far as to mumble to myself “in search of a churchyard, in church of a searchyard” in the hope that something more might come of the expression. Yet nothing did, though I emerged at length from the recently reworked fringes of the park into the residential neighborhoods behind the mount.
Not that this resolved the matter, for I was now lost in the residential wastes, or what I considered as such. Indeed, that stretch where others make their homes was precisely that to be of least interest to me, the passer-through. Unable to regain my bearings from the sun, I instead resolved myself to another task: perfecting that affect which I had most cultivated at Montréal: lostness.
My observations from the wastes were limited. I was able to find further documentation on the pest consuming the city’s trees, here identified as the “agrile du frêne” or emerald ash borer. Also specified was the extent of trees concerned, some 200,000 ashes, because, as the sign felt that it went without saying, the borer did not limit itself to the parks but expanded ever outward.
Back on the pavement, I spied a cat, the coloring of which I had been seen on another, deep red-brown, almost burnished as with some metals. It ignored me and continued watching something in the trees which I was unable to pinpoint in the summer foliage. I would very much have liked to give myself up to the fate which I had made for myself and to join the cat in its vigil.