My sister Karen and I are exploring Quebec. It is beautiful territory, both the city and the surrounding countryside. We seek out hikes when we travel together, hoping to catch glimpses not found without the exhilaration of exploration. Cap-Tourmente National Reserve delivered:
After a steep uphill climb, marvelously maintained by the park service, we arrived at an observation post giving up an overview of the Saint Laurent River and the farms and park land below.
It was my turn to drive as we left and I pulled our rental car into the artisan shop along the road out. An old man and woman and grandson were collectively oiling the entry door as we stopped. Graciously switching from French to English so we could converse, the older man showed us into a shop filled with duck decoys. The front room contained his own creations, painted by his wife, and the adjoining room held his huge collection of decoys he had gathered over time.
As we listened to him share how the decoys were made, what kind of birds they were, and many other facts, I was reminded of my father and how he loved to talk–both with his hands and his mouth. The old man seemed to delight in our attention, even though his milky eyes could no longer see our faces clearly.
He explained that his grandson was now carving and painting decoys since he and his wife were too old to continue. His grandson, he shared, wasn’t interested in school much (in fact, he seemed most interested in girls–go figure!) and so perhaps the tradition would continue.
By the end of our time, after chatting and hearing the voice of my father in the background…imagining how he would have loved to spend some time in this shop, guess who left with a bird in the hand?!