I visited an unmarked graveyard. It lies in the heart of Montreal, behind
an institution which supposedly exists to ease suffering and promote
well-being. As it happens, I have walked past this gravesite many times in
my life. I even walked over it a couple of times back in the early
seventies, when I was out for a midnight skinny-dip with friends.
On hot summer nights, a few of us used to climb the tall stone wall that
hides the spot from passersby. I recall those midnight swims, and the
thrill of jumping over the wall, and landing on the grass below where we
would throw off our clothes and race to the swimming pool, which was
usually deserted at that hour of the night. We called it "the crazy
people's pool" -- because it stood on the grounds of a mental hospital.
Doctors and nurses used it, mostly, but in those days, we all swam in the
same water. Once we got in, we had to be careful -- there might be a guard
somewhere on the premises. We swam in silence. Floating on my back, I
would think about the life that lay ahead of me, and all the things I
wanted to do. The strangest thoughts would come into my mind as I stared
up at the stars. After our swim, we'd quickly get dressed and climb back
over the wall.
Jumping down, we never guessed there were little bodies buried in the
ground beneath our feet. You might call them the "permanent residents" of
photo by Sonja Skarstedt
Fog drifting over Mount Royal,