I flew into Montreal for my last weekly trip for a while. Montreal looked ghostly as I arrived. It was snowing yet again, and as the plane descended through the clouds, I saw that the entire city was cloaked in shades of white. On the tarmac, airplanes coasted silently by, swirling up powdery white wreaths behind them. The image of snow has a way of implying silence, even in noisy places.

My one year commitment at my second job ends at the end of the month, and I’m in Montreal to tie up some loose ends, and to initiate my replacement into the company. To be honest, I’ll be glad that this phase of my life is ending. To be sure, I’ve made some good friends here, and cemented old friendships too. I’ve experienced a lot, and grown a lot as a person. That being said, I’m happy that the end is within sight. With each end, there is a new beginning. That might sound like a cliché, but every cliché has roots in truth.

One of the reasons I’ll be glad to be home more or less permanently is that I won’t miss opportunities. One good example happened this week. Laura managed to score free tickets to see Paul Potts in concert in Hamilton on Thursday night. He’s someone significant to me, because he took his life from zero to superhero in about 30 seconds, realizing a lifelong dream. I must have seen it about 20 times, but I still get emotional watching that video. That’s enormously embarrassing to me because I loathe reality TV. Anyway, needless to say, I couldn’t go, because I’m here. I was in a meeting with one of my clients, and told him about it. Friday morning, he emailed me to say he heard Paul Potts was performing in Montreal that night, and that he could tell I was disappointed that I couldn’t go see the show in Hamilton, so he sent me a link to buy tickets. To me it’s amazing how little connections like that happen. I bought a ticket right away.

The concert was wonderful. It wasn’t entirely because of the music. Potts was clearly not at the top of his game. He had picked up a cold during his tour, and I could hear it in his voice. While he was talking, he was congested, and the cold was taking its toll on his singing voice too. Between songs he would sip a cup of tea, and that would restore him temporarily, but the strain of performing while ill was apparent. Somewhat disappointingly, even a lengthy standing ovation could not bring him back out to perform his signature piece, Nessun Dorma. He is living his dream, but I’m sure that he’s not used to the kind of pressure that this kind of tour creates.

What I found wonderful was watching what has been created in such a short period of time. The hall was packed with almost 3000 people, most of whom seemed to be francophone. Watching the seemingly never-ending stream of people filing into La Salle Wilfred-Pelletier at Place des Arts was truly inspiring. Knowing that this happens at every stop on his North American tour is mind-blowing. Paul Potts has become an overnight, worldwide phenomenon, and it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.