Cardston at the end of the week
Actualizado: 2 abr 2020
Most people would think as a good idea visiting small towns and cities during the working days. Opened stores, animated streets, walking people going to and fro and the noise of traffic seems -almost in every occasion-, auspicious signs and indictors of the way of living and of the spirit of local people. Nevertheless, something I can’t tell take us to Cardston on a Sunday Afternoon.
We just wake up in the morning, see the grey sky and something in the air told us ‘go on, it is the right moment for Cardston’. At the time we take the decision the weather whispered a lot of rainy words, charming formulas that announced a good harvesting for our task of hearing the language of the Highway II.
Just as we arrived the Sunday silence of the main street, its human absences -on Sundays everybody is at home, turned to themselves and their families- revealed to us some of the nude flanks of the town: a silky and clear nudeness. Crossing the town as a skeletal spine, the main street show to everybody its joints and ribs, always sweeped by the wind of early autumn: the old and apparently abandoned Cahoon Hotel -a white and grey reminder of glorious days of prominent visitors and postcolonial days (I wonder if colonial times passed at all); the Mormon temple at the top of a small promontory, visible from the main street and signaling a sort of monumental slab-stone axis for the town, something as an omphalos mundi; the South Country Inn -projecting inside its halls and passages the dense silence of the outside-; the Remington Carriage Museum, offering a peaceful adventure into the historical guts of Alberta (sounds of horseshoes, idealized pioneers trying to dominate the woods and the peoples that, back in the nineteenth century, promised economic growth and redemption), and, of course, the view of a Highway that seems to break the U.S. border and penetrate Montana in the company of the powerful troops of cutting winds and cold blizzards.
At the eve of the night not a soul seems to roam through Cardston and we got the feeling that the town, at that very hour, could be anatomized in the complicity of the growing darkness and the cold lights of the streets. We know that there are people, we can hear their breathing, feel their warm presence breaking the cold outside. They rest behind residential walls, mute by the side of dozens streets rising from the main one. Now we feel a warm intimacy with Cardston. The town is like an hibernating bear: it is there, precisely in their absence.
Juan Carlos Montero Vallejo