December 19, 2012 § 1 Comment
Coming home today when pulling into fulford harbour, you see a white capped Reginald hill, you’ve grown up with this harbour, with this ferry, how many trips back and forth did it carry you on over all the years of your youth?
Pulling into the dock, two swans glide over the water of the inlet and you watch them, wings spread, angelic, bow then land on a ripple in unison. Year in and year out, every season, they too are witness to the continuous story of home.
Your car is stuck in the snow today and so you take the public bus where you meet an old friend. In your mind flashes a memory of the piggy-back ride he gave you when you were 13 years old, playing in the yard at night, his parent’s party rauckous inside their tiny wooden cabin, aglow under the shadow of cedar trees and freshly sprung maples, a leering moon, translucent night, the last month of grade eight, cool, crisp, and clean darkness. Dew on the grass and your bare feet. Memories flash rapidly in and out of your mind as you speak to him, but you wouldn’t mention them now, on a public bus in the snow, or perhaps ever again.
Instead, you talk about your lack of employment, his property and failed marriage, the mortgage. Childhood flashes like a dream when you blink, as far away and as close as that night you spent together and all the others that you don’t remember. Where does your past end and his begin in a history shared so deep?
At Dukes Road, your gumbboots crunch onto fresh snow. This moment is so pristine, you think, realising that’s a word you have come to define as yet untouched by an LCD screen. You are stunned, humbled. Birds dart inches from your chest across this snowed-in narrow country road; it blends into the forest unifying the landscape. The snowfall drapes a stark white curtain behind a life you’ve too long missed out. You walk past hoof tracks where a deer has turned a concentric path and continued into the brush. The road is narrow and the trees are overhung, heavy with the weight of the snow. You notice the silence. What exactly has been hushed, you wonder, and where does silence go when the snow melts?
Walking home you feel something you haven’t felt in eons, and realise there are two of you these days, the one who came before, and the one who comes after. A journey back to nature is a long road, a relearning of a language you used to speak, though sometimes, it appears in a moment of grace when the snow falls.
When you arrive home, you notice there are tiny fragile bird tracks on your snowy doorstep and see how close life has been to you all this time. You want to stay outside forever, here, where the story of home is being told by a woodpecker high in the cedar trees and maples.
You notice that you’re not scared anymore of what’s outside – the cougar sighting last summer or getting lost in the forest is not nearly as frightening now as what is inside.
Of all the strategies to find a moment of sanity, none has been granted as easily as this: a sudden heap of heavy white. A moment trudged through a path without argument. Today, you don’t even call it a homecoming; you call it coming back to life.