Run your town // run in the dark

- Photos of Kevin Lynch

On the edge of the Saint-Charles river, the gravel track is hard. Compacted by use and petrified by frost. Under the beams of streetlights, your breath is visible. A vapor trail that you leave in your wake.
The wind fell with the sun. The lights of the Rothmans water tower light up at the same time as the sky turns indigo. The river has become a mirror that shows you the city upside down.
You go back to Saint-Sauveur, guided by the strings of streetlamps and their yellow halos. The sodium lamps in Victoria Park sparkle the lawn of the soccer field where two amateur teams compete, but the sound of the game is muffled by the rumble of the wheels of skateboards in the park nearby.
You dive into the dark, past the basketball court. You turn on your headlamp. When night falls, the city is yours. Pedestrians are rare. The missing cars. The rumor of the city has become reassuring. So many people around you and yet you hardly see anyone. The only witnesses of this presence? The distant hiss of the great arteries. The odors of food and antistatic balanced by the air outlets of stove fans and dryers.
You like to run knowing that you are surrounded by these people. In your city.
You run without a specific route. These streets are more familiar to you than the lines of your hand. You borrow one or the other as you wish. You come back to the east via Saint-Vallier. Its sidewalks are yours. A few early revelers come out of a neighborhood bar. Others, further away, from a microbrewery. You are about to take Saint-Joseph when you realize that the upper town is staring at you. Majestic. Almost disturbing, with its magnificent buildings which stand guard.
The slight pain you had in your foot is gone. Your stride is nimble. Your strides lengthen as you begin the last kilometers that separate you from your point of arrival. You perceive pieces of conversations, fragments of life. You see people through their windows. This is how they exist, in parallel with you. Running gives you access to what they are. Their happiness. Their misery. Their daily.
Even solo, running is a social exercise. It puts you in touch with the world. You will find there the sound of your breathing at the same time as the breath of your city.