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Run your city // Run at dawn

Cours ta ville // Courir à l’aube

- Photos by Louis-Mathieu Godin

You leave with shreds of dreams tied to your shoelaces. The sun is still only a promise. Your day, a horizon, clearly more distant than the one at the end of the street.

You go out just as the indigo turns orange in the sky of this brand new day. Everything updated itself overnight in your mind. Most of the worries that kept you from sleeping a few hours earlier took advantage of the darkness to escape. Those who remain with you, you will leave in your wake.

You run at dawn for that, for freedom. Because no one needs you, your phone won't vibrate or emit notification alerts. The day hasn't yet had time to pile up the sources of stress on your shoulders. This lightness is divine, you savor it.

The wind hasn't picked up yet either. Like most of your fellow citizens, he's waiting for something to get going, it seems. An invisible signal that fades into the course of the days.

The silence is punctuated by a few engine noises, here and there. By avoiding the arteries, you can make yourself believe that the whole city is still sleeping, that it belongs to you for a few minutes, while people get out of their beds and unfold themselves, stretching like cats.

You've read all the blogs where billionaires talk about how they start their workday at 5 a.m. You prefer to run before anything else. Dawn is an opportunity to refuel, to clear your mind. Running is always a bit of both. The vacuum of effort sucks up everything to make room for the new. Afterwards, even old ideas seem to have been polished, improved. Brilliantly eroded by the air that you cut through, which slides over your body, over your face, and which stretches your smile without you knowing it.

You increase the pace and your thoughts disintegrate. Your smile turns into a grimace. Your run is an active meditation in the rising sun. The muscular pain and the air that burns your bronchi flatten the influx of your thoughts. Shortly after waking up, normally, your electroencephalogram already evokes the crazy curve of the stock market on a day of crisis. After the gentle awakening, which lasts only an instant, you feel assailed by a thousand questions. This is the lot of our anxiety-provoking times where days and incomplete tasks appear on the screen of our insatiable consciences.

But not there. Not this morning. The bliss of the first steps into dawn allows you to push back the deadline for this resumption of broadcasts.
In the middle of Avenue Maguire, completely deserted, you straighten your back, take a long breath to restore your breath and head back towards the city. You take a detour into Bois-de-Coulonge. Squirrels as big as raccoons watch you pass by without worrying about your presence. Trees that saw Champlain disembark watch you from above. You can guess their roots, the complex rhizomes that connect them to each other and allow them to share nutrients, to warn each other in the event of danger – a metaphor for a society that deserves to take an example from this prodigious nature.
You go up Grande Allée, obliquely towards the Plains, back down towards the Château Frontenac, passing in front of the American consulate. The river reassures you. Immense. Placid. Its water is now iridescent with red and pink reflections. Like a signal telling you that this moment of floating is over and that you will have to go back.

You breathe in the morning air. It fills your lungs. The first cars move sluggishly through the narrow streets of Old Quebec as you hurtle down, thinking about what awaits you. The smell of coffee, toast. The news of the day, bad wherever it comes from. It doesn't matter, the race allows you, you can have lunch in peace.