Rest assured; the earth rotates. And on its axis too! And a new season begins. And again…

Soccer, football, hockey, hockey, hunting, golf, fishing, studying, bowling, car racing and I forget… like the full moon, vacations, back to school, taxes and holidays—the same thing happens over and over again; where old people assume the quality of the new vintage; where new people feel a wind of change: hippies, new age, re-engineering, the messiah… a generation of new eyes emerges, observing a new beginning, its own in fact, where the life cycle ignites again.

When I arrived on the Plateau as a college student, the Age of Aquarius was coming into play. It was (♪) the beginning of a new era. It started at year zero (♫) as Renée Claude used to sing .

A Lap Around the Track

Over and over again, the cycle continues except for my consciousness, that is. I’m at the age where it’s getting boring to know. It’s been said that the age of wisdom is a time when one sees nothing but obstinate mechanics when one becomes indifferent to wear and tear and death. What comes to mind is a former hockey star offering a salute on the ice rink. Now an old man he struggles to walk. He’s framed by two giant defenders, paddled on skates, carrying him to the rink’s center. Ridiculous. Better to put on a movie of his best moments.

Dollard des Ormaux in Parc Lafontaine

The actors pass, but the show persists. I remember bits from a film where we observe passers-by or cars speeding by—a real hour in a few seconds, let’s say.

In the thickness of time, vehicles and individuals merge into a continuous line, the moving part of the line freezes into shape. This is what I’m thinking about while sitting on a bench in Parc Lafontaine. Among the rubbish that has dragged in by the gusts of a capricious wind—the sports section of a newspaper lands in front of me. An article about the Montreal Canadian‘s chances of winning the Stanley Cup this year stares back at me.

The Poor Man’s Stock Market

The hockey pools are going to start up again. An altered and transformed version of multi-channel TV sports. You practice the return on your capital based on risky investment as you would negotiating good business practice by playing poker. Fans buy players on a fictitious budget and watch their performance. Each game distorted by their hockey pool investment—their players all now part of metamorphosed and fictitious versions of the real-world hockey teams.

A Quebecois Obélix!

The Great Antonio! the headline reads. It’s in reference to the fairground’s human beast—a professional wrestler, strongman who stood nearly two meters high, carrying his two hundred and fifty kilos under a mass of hair that was never cut, or so it seems. A brisket of beef, a huge head, a big nose and galloping eyes. With two cables tied to his hair, his head tilted obstinately forward, he begins a slow march, towing four buses.

The great Antonio, very old

He’s arrested one day for I don’t know what offense and refuses to get out of his vehicle. He had to be towed away with the car. Not bad, just more stubborn than the others. Size does matter.

At the turn of the millennium, I would occasionally come across him at the corner of Mount Royal Ave. and St-Denis, worn out, sitting on the bus bench, selling photocopies of a photograph of him as a young man. He was walking with difficulty, crumbling under his own weight and years of playing his part. Finally, he disappeared. But the human carousel continues with its rounds—some ejected while others replaced.

And I begin to ponder, sitting so still in front of the stationary newspaper page; how meditation is the hallmark of statues. How the wind rises and leaves from the trees wave in concert. How the sports page goes back in pursuit of cardboard remains. How the jumble of outdated objects drags along their vagrancy. And still, I remain seated.

(continued: the return of the ephemeral)


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