The Holland America Line's Maasdam just left the old Port. With three long mournful bellows from its horns it pulled slowly away from the Quay Alexandra. Hundreds of people lined the decks under colorful maritime flags flapping from lines draped across the ship. The big liner headed north for its seven-day journey down the St Lawrence River out to the Atlantic Ocean and then to Boston.
Shortly after the echoes of the ships horns had quieted, the bells of the Basilica of Notre Dame peeled celebrating a wedding. Children chased each other around the pond across the street, squealing and giggling as they played a version of catch-me-if-you-can. A little girl stood alone to one side twirling an umbrella shaped just like a giant ladybug.
The sun has now set although the sky is still light even at nine o'clock. The symphony of sparrows, blackbirds, and robins has ended with the coming darkness. I hear the hum of cars, the bass beat of car radios, the whistle of a traffic cop directing traffic down at St Laurent, and the clip-clop of a horse pulling a bright pink caliche filled with tourists chatting in a language I don't recognize. A neighbor carries on a conversation with his labrador retriever on their last walk for the evening. The murmurs and laughter of friends and lovers, parents and children, tourists and neighbors dance up in the air making for a pleasing evening chorale.
We sit and listen, aware of our good fortune to be in this place at this moment, enjoying the sounds of Montreal.