Do you believe in soulmates?
I believe there is someone who swings to the same tune. Someone who loves the same things: silence, morning shadows, standing in line for a coffee in a busy bakery, when streets are messy with fallen leaves, when no-name bands play something from Simon and Garfunkel and strangers who smell of Eau de Cartier.
I believe it could be anyone: a man, a woman, a child, a dog, a city.
Do you believe in love from the first sight?
I believe in chance, in alignment of stars, in destiny and in forces of nature that bring together men, women, children, dogs and cities.
If I meet you, how will I know it’s you? In the universe of encounters, exchanged phone numbers, forgotten faces and virtual friendships, in the world where everyone is an avatar and every place is a ticket away, how will I I recognize my man, my woman, my child, my dog, my city?
Spring 2013 was different: early and bold, it melted snow a month in advance. Trees sprung their creamy green in early April and people took off heavy clothes and laid on new grass. They knew a spring like this would not repeat itself.
I almost missed it, being somewhere else. I came when it was ripening towards summer.
The woman at the border greeted me with an expression of well-trained Canadian hospitality.
If this your first time here?
And you came to stay?
You, people, who packed their lives into suitcases and lugged it across the land and sea to start somewhere new, how many times have you been asked this question?
Is it true that you left your home and moved across the ocean?
To a place you’ve never been before?
To a place you knew nothing about?
Of course, I had no idea what it would really be like, but some things I knew, somehow. I knew there will be a park and a little bakery across the street, where I am sitting right now. I knew this city was a home-place of a great poet – long abandoned, it still carried his imprint. I knew it had cold winters, hot summers and insanely beautiful autumns. I knew it had a soul. I felt its heartbeat the moment my feet touched its soil.
It is charming, elegant and a little unkempt. It is exuberant, a little naive and a little mad. It has a right amount of sunshine and rain, of joy and solitude and nothing lasts too long.
It is full of men and women and children and dogs, who live in houses with doors that no one ever locks, who grow tall trees in their backyards and, come spring, they light candles and chinese lanterns, they pour wine and dance all summer long and into September, while the days are long and the nights are warm.
When the days grow short and the nights grow cold, the men, women, children and dogs cover themselves in blankets and talk until the first snow falls on grass and leaves.
What I love best is that nothing lasts.This city always has something to give: another cup of coffee, another red maple leaf, another hungry squirrel, another perfect autumn day, another spot to sit and watch as men and women and children and dogs walk through autumn.