Following my adventures in Peru, I spent a week in Quebec with a four French tourists. My friend, the parent of my high school exchange partner, is a remarkable woman who skis in the Pyrenees and who enjoys travelling all over the world. I spent an athletic week with them, hiking through snow on snow shoe trails, investigating fishing shacks on the St. Lawrence river and even skiing on something called “Le Massif,” of Charlevoix. I’m no downhill skier. I’m afraid of heights! I had no right to even consider skiing on anything called “Le Massif.” My ears popped as we drove up to the top.
Previously I have only skied a few times with school groups on tame, short, Ontario runs. I’m too restless to sit around in the chalet all day, though, so when it turned out the cross-country skiing was in another location (duh we were on top of a mountain) I decided to take a lesson and face the beginner run with death-defying bravery. Brave for me, anyway.
It was a fantastic experience and I only fell three times. Once when I kind of saw I was heading off course towards the trees below and forgot all about breaking and steering and just kind of threw my limbs around until my fall made me stop. After that I got a remedial lesson in emergency braking and things went better.
If this was one of those inspirational business blogs or one of those blogs about writing, I’d probably be making all sorts of facile comparisons between the slopes and other goals. What a relief that it’s not. Let’s just say I don’t regret it. I’m glad I tried it and, despite having a little extra knee pain in the following weeks, it was absolutely worth it.
In other news, I never visit La Belle Province without buying a book. If you read French I highly recommend my latest acquisition. It’s a book of short stories by Samuel Archibald called Arvida. Such varied stories and so revealing of the author and his society.
I bought the book and went to a cafe to start reading while I waited for my friends to finish shopping. When I returned to the book shop to show them about an hour later, the store had already sold another copy. It doesn’t hurt that my edition had a large red paper band, labelling it the winner of the “Prix des libraires.” (The book store prize)
Eclectic, personal and intense, I highly recommend it, but not for the squeamish.