Friday, June 20, 2008

Trois-Rivières, ma ville à moi

J'aime ma ville.
C'est pas trop grande...
et pas trop petite.

I admit, I wasn't so fond of it at first. I didn't find it as charming, for example, as old Quebec City; it lacked the number and variety of the great restaurants and lively markets (comme Jean Talon!) to be found in Montreal.

I found the downtown area (apart from the main street of centre ville) rather drab and colorless. But mostly it was the industrial pollution: Gentilly-2 just a short way up the road; and Wayagamack, daily spewing its toxic particulates and foul-smelling fumes into the air from tall red and white smoke stacks, which, depending on the direction of the wind, often heads directly toward my house.

One summer I tried swimming in the St. Lawrence near l'Ile-St-Quentin and was nearly swept away by the strong current, a truly scary experience. And the public pools close in mid-August, a bit too early because it's still as hot as Hades at that time.

So those were the negatives. But, as with any place where you live for a while, you become accustomed to things. You discover little pockets of interest you hadn't noticed at first: like stores that sell the special kind of food you like; quiet places you can bike to and sit in the grass and watch the cargo ships pass by on the river; wonderful little private gardens in your neighborhood; activist and community organizations with which you can relate. In short, Trois-Rivière has become "home" now.

Not that I don't miss the wonderful mountains of Vermont and Pennsylvania, or the bookstores and memory-filled streets of Boston and Cambridge. But there's something to be said for Being Where You Are, not always living in the past or future but making the best of wherever you happen to be at the moment, for however long that is.

There's an interesting little local street mag here (
journal de rue trifluvien ) called La Galère, which I bought for the first time the other day. Its May-June issue, titled J'aime 3-Rivières, is devoted to singing the praises of T-R, in essays, interviews, poems and pictures. Check it out: (la texte est en français) on line.

I can honestly say, I rather like being a trifluvienne now.

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