I woke up yesterday morning and went for a jog – down tiny, winding streets, past cathedrals and churches, down and up many stairs. I was greeted with “bonjour” as I passed. But I hadn’t crossed any oceans.
Being from Detroit and having lived much of my adult life in Boston, I’ve often been within a day’s drive of Quebec City, but until my French cousin* planned a reunion here, I’d never thought of going. How did I miss such an enchanting, delightful city?
I now even live surrounded by mountains (the Tetons and Gros Ventres) named by French fur trappers who came more that two hundred years ago. Again, I didn’t really know much about the French history of North America until the last few days of museums in Quebec (although I can recite an awful lot about the British history of North America). And I’m embarrassed. So much for being aware and open-minded.
These last few days have been a good wake up call to constantly see and remember wider; to ask why; to not so quickly develop answers before taking the time to understand facts, and events at a level deeper. Curriculum too often gets developed through the eyes of those in power versus through a more complex lens.
May we all pause and remember a second or two wider before responding. History provides such a bigger context when we take the time to think and reflect – especially in places connected to where we grew up. And who knew the St. Laurence River, 500 miles from the Atlantic, had such a whale population? Last summer, over 100 humpback whales summered in the estuary around Tadousac, A beluga population also lives here year round, and minke, blue, sperm and others spend time here. And over 5 million grey seals live in the of the Gulf of the St. Lawrence. Not me until yesterday. Welcome to the northeast of North America — and the river that helped bring Detroit to life.
Au voyage de la vie,
Sixty-one years ago, my mom’s sister and husband went on a bicycle trip to France and have lived there ever since. My cousin and I spent childhood summers together and one of her son’s is my wonderful godson and friend to my sons. It is a small, interconnected world.