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September 9, 2022

I dreamt it into life

During all those long, almost forced months of confinement, I often thought of my dear GASPÉSIE dearest and I was desperate to finally see it again one day. Now I have done it, and I am delighted to have done so. There is something magical about finally bringing a dream to life that you have held on tightly to for a long time; an unequalled sense of contentment. Have you ever experienced it? Think about it. Life is like Sputnik, it goes by so fast! And we have so many things to do just to stay alive. It’s rare we are satisfied and greatly content. This morning, I am satisfied and I realize that this recent trip was different from my previous expeditions to the land of my childhood. This time, I barely spoke to anyone. I travelled as one with the sea, the lush nature, the audacious mountains and the infinitely beautiful road. And yes, I was alone in my Mini Cooper, just like each time I head out on the road to a far-off destination. This trip was a great surprise to me. While roaming totally free in nature, my inspiration shot into the clouds.

I definitely intend to repeat the experience, to leave on these adventures more often. I return home, my head filled with achievable ideas: Go to MONT-TREMBLANT more often, MONT-LAURIER and even further north. Visit the Eastern Townships and also travel WEST and dip my toes in Ontario’s Great Lakes.

Try it and find out. Take the car and head somewhere, even if just for an afternoon or an entire day. Take a few apples with you, a sandwich, a bottle of water and your favourite candy. I’m telling you! Do like I did; bite into a candy and turn back the years. Open the windows and let the wind brush your lovely face. Admire the landscape; take in all the beauty that’s in front of you. And empty your mind. Empty the wastebasket of worries that clog the artery leading to your heart. Birds fly because they don’t carry any baggage.

You must surely know of Thomas Edison, the famous American who commercialized the electric light bulb. He also left us with the popular saying that genius is 2% inspiration and 98% sweat. Do you know what his last words were before passing on October 18, 1931? He said: “IT IS VERY BEAUTIFUL OVER THERE.” Encouraging, isn't it? You should know that one of my favourite pastimes is to collect famous people’s last words before their final rest. And you, dear readers, do you sometimes think of the last words your loved ones will hear from you?

I didn’t have a precise itinerary for this trip; I had no event to attend and no friend or family to visit. The reality is that only the seagulls knew I was among them. I just wanted to hang on to the wheel and drive towards the sea. I had my iPAD with me, a box of sharpened colouring pencils, HP lead pencils, a drawing book and three notepads in case a whale whispered a few secrets to me. And, to my surprise, I didn’t draw or colour. I just filled four notepads with everything I saw and thought of while driving. Very often, I would park my Mini to describe the scenery, note a question, an impression or simply how I felt in the moment. I was happy to drive with the radio and an iceless cooler containing (many!) well-washed apples, carrots, pears, keto crackers, water bottles and my assortment of vitamins as my only companions. Once I had crossed the Matapedia Valley, I was home.

While driving, I truly had the impression, dear readers, that you were with me, comfortably installed in the back seat. I was talking to you, turning my head on occasion to hear your comments, ask you a question or laugh at a silly village name. I wasn’t alone in the car, you were with me.

I read, the other night, in a small $6.95 book entitled “The Golden Rules of Positive Thinking” that we can find a way to stay young at heart if we smile 400 times a day. I can produce a dozen smiles in the morning in front of the mirror – that’s easy. I try on one or two pairs of different coloured glasses, I choose a nice scarf or flower-studded headband, I crimp my hair, apply lipstick, remove the siren red and switch for a candy pink hue, and so on. My face is a blank page on which I begin a new story every morning. And the book’s author will have the last word. It is up to me to multiply the smiles by pairing the colours of my clothes with a pretty pin, some handmade bracelets and matching socks. Bright colours invariably elicit smiles. Try it and you’ll see. I provoke many smiles myself as I hobble along. And that makes it a lot easier for me to stay young at heart.

How I would love to go back to the little girl with the golden locks I was when I was five. Playing marbles with my brother, I would believe in my mother’s love and I’d never meet the dreadful man who ruined my dreams as a young woman.

Hypnotized by the whirlwind of life, do we really have time for a small movement of the mouth and eyes? Of course WE DO! A smile takes a nanosecond to appear. Shall we deprive ourselves of thousands of small daily joys hidden within a contagious smile? Of course NOT!

Coming back from my trip with nine letters filled with this and that, I truly felt like I had no more beautiful sentences left in me. And yet, as I switched on my iPAD this morning, hundreds of pretty words jostled to leave my mind. Words tonified by conviction and hope.

So I will continue to write to convince myself and you, dear readers, that life is worth living. Let us fill our days with bright smiles and let us remain young at heart, together.