It is magic hour in Sioux Narrows, Ontario. Already today we tore down one camp in the middle of the bush leaving nothing but some footprints sunk deep, deep into the mud near where the open air shower stood and a few cigarette butts (them, not me); ran errands in civilization like chickens with our heads cut off (I still amaze easily these days, even in the terribly lit Walmart native to Kenora); shrieked into the phone line attaching me to my mother and to my best other, Rabbi (what women, they restored me completely); blew a tire on the highway (terrifying) and managed to limp our giant truck (Turbo) to the parking lot of our new home away from home: Cedar Creek motel, home to yellowing bathroom fixtures, bearded regulars from the Tavern down the way rocking Hi Vis vests and camouflage ball caps. Eventful day. The light is sinking fast but surprisingly so in perfect harmony with the incessant dog barking coming from the direction of said Tavern. Even the dogs are drunks here. Fading light and barking dogs in my new neighborhood. On top of that, there is some funk song on repeat coming from room 3 on the bottom level, and the constant tinny sound of dropping beer bottle caps. Quaint digs.
Actually it is quite beautiful if one can brush aside the towering and plentiful poorly painted totem poles, the haggard fences and townspeople's faces. The barking is ongoing and echoing far into the backdrop of bush that surrounds my current perch on the side staircase of Cedar Creek. I am poaching internet like it is going out of style and thanking my lucky stars for having the insight to bring my white laptop into the bush despite of the obvious stupidity of such a move. Thank you, thank you, thank you fast internet. We have been living in two bush camps for the past two weeks and I love it. I love waking up and stepping into a low lying cloud of mist at five thirty in the morning, just the fires hiss and the sound of my feet; there is no other sound. Mornings are usually rushed but also joyful while making the daily quota of PB and H's and packing this and that to sustain my body during quick pack up breaks during spray. The drive to work is quick or forever long, there is no happy medium here. This or that. Tit for tat. Maybe I am simply not easily satisfied. Either way, three crew trucks wind deep into the bowels of some Northern Ontario jungle and wind and wind and wind until I am forced to lean forward and inhale sharply in disbelief because we are so far from the rest of the world. But I like it. And then we spray, forever. For hours, forever. And then we spray some more. And then a bit more until the sun sinks and we walk out of the land looking like haggard space age soldiers, our backs sagging under the weight of these weird poison backpacks. It is all very strange. And then we drive home, winding and winding back out and up and over until the gravel roads are familiar again. Supper is cooked in the dark, which I also love. Brad and Lindsay and myself, chopping and mincing with one hand and drinking wine with the other. Hot Chip, Chromeo, Justice, Karen Dalton and Bob Dylan sing to us and we cook and sway and make miracles happen in that teensy cook trailer (10' x 14') and I love that part too. Now I know why Mel continues to go back as a planting camp cook, why people volunteer to cook at summer camps, why I want to keep cooking. Making miracles and feeding hungry, dirty people brings me joy.
I am still in the stairwell thinking of Andrew starting school, of Rabbi lying on a couch being attacked by cheap makeup wielding tripping teens and coming out alive looking like a (babe) tart on north Main, of Rags sitting on her back porch drinking tea pensively in the morning sun (hi, I miss you), of baby Maiya learning to walk while I am here missing it all unfold, of my mum and sister around the table, of Yosh in the house in the middle of the sea of birches making very beautiful music, of Liza at a Farmers Market (I wish I could walk beside you and take pictures and laugh through our lenses), of Tante Daryl in a clean classroom taking names and narrowing down the shit list to a dull roar (I miss you too), of Kitty at a new school in a new province in a new bed in a new hood (good luck lady), of Jage and Loco rolling jazz and drinking wine before the last karaoke night before school turns into a beast of burden. All of these things, these faces, thoughts, faint tinkling laughter are in my head on this staircase and the light has long gone. The sky is purple.
Last night, Batman and I canoed around on a lake made of the smoothest glass. It was a full moon and when we reached the middle of the black lake I slipped my feet into the water and had to fight every urge to strip and jump in. Our paddles were silent, awkward butter knives slicing through water and I kept craning my neck and whispering 'wow' and he kept laughing at me. Nanananana, Batman! What a man.
It feels good to be here, on these green stairs, hands flying, hair insane with curls, dirty clothes, bare feet, camera to the left, tea to the right. Cedar Creek motel is home (today at least).