We walked a huge amount today... all around Old Quebec again, to see several new streets and crisscross others that became familiar over the course of three days. Our feet ached by the end of the day, and we sought places to sit and have coffee or a break so we could rest them.
Mum packed a plastic basin for this trip, and each morning and evening she has made me soak my feet for a while and then she has rubbed cream into them and put tight-fitting socks on to keep the cream from rubbing off. This is her magic trick for healing my cracked heels which, I have realised, I get when I transition too quickly between various seasons and weaterh systems: the price I pay for the mobility I enjoy.
She does something similar, although not the same, for Dad who has a blister on a toe which she plies with ointment and plasters morning and night.
It's humbling, and deeply comforting, to have your mother rub cream into your feet when you're an adult. It's topsy-turvey of course - I should be serving her! - and it's also strangely backward: I feel like I'm eight years old again. And yet, it's so kind of her and so lovely to spend the time together and to have the chance to reflect on her generosity, her theories about the world (about cracked heels, but other things too), and her love.
Today, Mum got wings. No, she didn't fly away - but she looks like she could! She bought an amazing coat handmade in Quebec, which is wool and trimmed with suede, and which has painted stylised wings on the backs of the sleeves and a stylised tail on the back. Now, I know how awful and kitsch/ horrendous/ bizarre that sounds, but I assure you she doesn't look like big bird! No, it's much more subtle than that - it's classy, stylee, unique. As soon as she put on the coat she started smiling, and after deciding to buy it, returning to the shop and walking out the door with her new purchase, Mum has been walking several feet off the ground :)
I, on the other hand, got new shoes: spunky turquoise, black and white shoes which are slip-ons and intended for warmer weather than what we're having now. I wore them with socks and jeans today although they will look their best with short, skirts and capris. The last time I blogged about new shoes (at least from memory this is true!) was back in the heady early days of sabbatical, when I was in Sydney and bought some sneakers and heels. I'm meeting myself halfway with these shoes - they're smart/casual, comfortable without being sneakers and stylish without being heels - but I'm a different girl now than I was back in July 2011.
Late this afternoon, three people got into a train in Quebec city: a man with a blister on one of his feet, a girl with cracked heels and new shoes, and a woman with wings. If you'd seen them, you would have noticed how pleased they were to sit down after a busy day of walking. If you'd followed them all evening, you'd have watched them get off the train in Montreal, taxi to a hotel, go out for pizza, return to the hotel, and go to bed. Tomorrow morning they'll be ready to walk and fly their way through another day.