Sunday, November 18, 2012

Trees pressed thin together in the dark

Got out of the city proper this weekend and went to stay with a friend in Creemore. A crow cawed in a tree outside her place early in the morning and filtered into my dreams; even asleep, I recognize the sound and I can place it as familiar and part of what still makes up home. Magpies and crows and ravens are mountain birds, but they're also the birds of where I grew up. I miss seeing them in the city, as strange and morbid as that might be, because they make up the background of what is supposed to be there. Toronto has gulls, of course, but these pigeons do not really substitute for oil-sheen and white or cawing black. (Even Japan had crows.)

But it was good to leave the city—to get out to trees pressed thin together and dark, dark, dark stretched across the sky. Hills and woods and all that space. Don't get me wrong, I love this city, but there are weeks when I feel it pressed up against my sides and too close to my back. And I get restless in November, it's an old hold-over habit from knowing things go quiet in December. News comes in November or it doesn't come until January. I've got that muscle-memory of waiting—of watching the holiday radio silence getting closer.

I miss traveling. I miss feeling like I could pack it up and go off somewhere, and I know it's just being restless and it's not how things actually are. But I miss the clarity of travel, the perspective shift, and the collecting of experiences.

I was just on a plane in October to go to Edmonton, so I shouldn't be counting down to when I can get on another one and go home to B.C. for the holidays. I should not be thrilled at the prospect of losing a somewhat functioning transit system and convenience of amenities for a week. But I am. Maybe it's the wanting to remind myself what it feels like to breathe in mountains and forests and that lingering wildness that never quite left B.C.

Many of the farmhouses I saw in between Creemore and Toronto were made of brick (or at least had brick facades.) There isn't a lot of brick in Alberta and B.C. Not for farmhouses. Brick is a strangely permanent thing to see in a field. It's like the structure got lost and is waiting for someone to come return it to the rest of the city.

There was also a moment this weekend where the world got really small. Canadians, we are not doing well at disproving this belief that we all know each other. The degrees of separation between us are often less than six.

But this knowing people, it feels good. I don't believe I knew people a year ago, and now I do. To pack up and leave wouldn't be the easy thing it might've been a year ago. If I stay here long enough, will that magnetic pull back to the forests and the mountains and magpies fade? Will brick become commonplace, a detail barely worth the time its takes to recognize? It's not an aversion to things becoming familiar, but more of a query as to how long that it might take.

No comments: