Tiny Mountain Hikes and Freedom

While in Montréal, Québec over the summer, I was shedding an old skin. It was as if I was watching this dream version of myself that I’d lost sight of, come back to life in little bits and pieces. That trip was a little bit and piece, but it was another step in the healing process. I was holding on to small hopes and positive thoughts that helped keep my heart open during the Spring and Summer months.

Truthfully, had you told me months earlier I would be venturing across provinces, dancing with the idea that I could just say I wanted something and go do it or go get it, I would have raised an eyebrow. I was exploring so many new places I hadn’t been before externally and within. New adventures tend to set your sights forward and your heart aflutter for the possibilities of what you really do have the power to dream.

I kept thinking that if I was able to get to that destination so easily, why not others, just the same? They may be unrelated to travelling and more to do with writing books, my writing being in multiple publications, starting a business and photography, but I found myself wandering through the city’s streets considering all the things that were within easier reach.

It was a rainy day when we ventured into Vieux-Port and walked along the water and through cobblestone streets that made my Harry Potter loving heart feel like I was wandering through Diagon Alley or at least a Francophone version of it!

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Reaching the road near the water, I stopped to take in the view. The rain stopped briefly and I felt like I was really walking through Europe. My mind wandered briefly to visions of what my dream trip to London, Wales, The Lake District, through Scotland and eventually landing in Ireland would look like and while those were once pinned up on my vision board I thought that I hadn’t given enough credit to the way it feels when things really manifest with ease. I thought about the items on that vision board at home and how they came to life while looking down that wet street.

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I talked about the fact that I’d never been to Montréal before and decided to go with a friend. Just like that.

I had a guide who knew the ins and outs of the city so I didn’t have to worry too much about finding my way around. They were Francophone as well, so that helped significantly, though truth be told it wasn’t that scary to be immersed in a space where English wasn’t the first language. If anything I felt like everyone should have that experience at least once to know what it was like to feel out of your element and rely on the kindness of strangers at times, to make your way around.

There was a garden behind Château Ramezay that we wandered into and I felt like I stumbled upon one of Vieux-Port’s dreamy spots that people passed by in the hurry to get to the “hotspots”.

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The way the rain softly caressed the greenery had me feeling like I was being let in one some great secret the universe was sharing with only those who dared to still immerse themselves in the green on such a dreary day. Reflections of the flowers popped up in the raindrops on one flower whose colors made me stop for almost a full minute just to stare a while. It helps that purple is my favorite color, but besides that point, it reminded me that everything was so incredibly perfect.

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Even if the flower petals were a little bent, even if the water caused parts of the heart of the flower to stick to the petals and even if some of the twigs on the plant were bent from the weight of the whole plant, it was still perfect. I didn’t see the small “imperfections” because the symphony of the details was overwhelmingly beautiful.

It’s a lot like life in that way and I stood there not wanting to leave, feeling so many story ideas bubble up inside me.

On one of the other days we were there, we had more sunshine and we wandered through Le Village and like something out of a ridiculously fun daydream there were strands of pink balls stretched as far down the street as the eye could see.

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Earlier that day we were hiking up Mont-Royal, overlooking the city and while on top of the mountain I committed myself to dreaming bigger and remembering that the things that had my heart so filled with awe and excitement were things I didn’t even know existed, prior. I had no idea that there was an art installment in Le Village, nor did I Google Le Vieux-Port to see it’s understated beauty on rainy days. Maybe that’s what surprised me the most is that I had no idea what was coming, where planning is usually recommended for everything you do from the time you wake up to when you go to sleep.

The entire trip reminded me that this brilliance was just the start of the changes that started several months earlier. I didn’t realize where they would take me at the time but it’s the first steps of the journey that you quietly recognize, though you know nothing of what’s coming next. With some nervousness, I took each step remembering that I only needed to know the next logical one to take and that was enough.

As if on cue, while on top of Mont-Royal at one of the small lookout points, just past the fence but close enough from the edge, I saw the trees form a heart over the city.

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To see it now and fully, you may have to lean a little further back from the screen, but sure enough it’s there and I walked away with an understanding that the events of the past few months were safe to leave on that hike up the mountain.

Laying in bed that night, reveling in the dark quiet before falling asleep, I remembered thinking that I was finally free and so grateful for the journey that brought me up to this point. It certainly had its bumps but if it brought me here and whispered thoughts of so much love while I was venturing through the city, I knew I couldn’t go wrong placing my trust in that kind of wonderful.

The hearts told me so.

Cheryl

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