In my home, in the dim light I said, “I am going on a musical journey tonight” to no one in particular, and slid old Sufjan Stevens onto my turntable with conviction. Liza and I just hung up the phone and we whispered our fears and talked a blue endless streak into our respective telephones.
I kept picturing you tucked into the bathroom on your floor, sitting on a lidded toilet in the back corner with your knees folded up under your chin. I also saw soft mauve walls and one ply toilet paper. Anyway, we chatted, coloring the sky with our tri province banter. Liza, I love you on the phone. And after finishing our conversation about future husbands and the importance of sureness in love and the cruciality of taking risks in our young lives while we are still in the age bracket where it is socially acceptable (and expected) to do so, we hung up the phone after saying "I love you" first. I love you.
Be a lover, because that is what you are.
This afternoon I had a terrifying moment while rocking Bram’s three-month-old baby, Bravery (Avery) to sleep in my arms inside the bakery that raised me. Eleanor, a well-loved old coworker of mine came up to me mid-rock and said, “Madge, if you don’t get married and have babies for the rest of us soon that would be a damn shame”. And I shocked myself by hearing my inner voice take on my outer voice and wailing, “I knowww” in response to her statement. Damn that inner voice know-it-all. What? That life? Really? Yes. Apparently.
Terrifying considering the fact that there are no prospects or potential suitors in sight (nor in this city that are not too young [sigh, Justin Budyk], turds, married, liars, pretentious or under 40). Trust me, I have looked. So with that knowledge in hand, what does one do in the interim?
We take train trips!
We go to Europe alone!
We get our dream jobs without the post secondary education hoo-ha (fuck that)!
We run cafés (beautiful ones, the ones we saw in our dreams)!
We (some of us) have babies and are good at it!
We make art for the joy, not for the money!
We wear wigs and flirt with Miguel from Passions!
We love each other fiercely!
We take bathes (not together) and roll joints over the side of the tub!
We sew (some of us)!
We needle felt honest art!
We have dumb jobs to pay the rent!
We can’t afford our lives!
We laugh and buy that dress in the window anyway!
We bake, because we want to!
We listen to old Sufjan Stevens because his music is beautiful!
We mail each other things to remind the receiver that they are remembered!
We appreciate matching cutlery!
We drink wine in well-lit rooms!
We tell each other we love each other because it is important.
We do all of these things. I do all of these things, or at the very least would like to do all of these things (among hundreds of thousands of others). As a young person, I am very lucky to be surrounded by (or at the very least attached to) many amazing people scattered all over the place.
Today I had this funny memory flash past of this girl I met while planting. Her name was Sarah McCaw and she was pretty young (19) but she was on the quest for cool. Sadly, in my humble experience, that quest goes on for another period of time until you reach the age where you simply relax into the person you are and stop searching for cool. You just are. We are what we are. I am what I am. McCaw (everyone in the bush called her McCaw, but in the way that you would talk to a parrot. With vigor. McCAW! I never heard people just say her name, it was always yelled) hadn’t discovered that yet because it is something one eventually figures out on one’s own. Anyway, one day we were thrown into the back hip of this shit piece of land cut into a three-piece pie (but not your average round pie, more like a long, trapezoidal flat sheet pie). Anyway, it was divided between four of the girl rookies (which I quietly took offense to after seeing the Gravytrain land that some of the rookie men got to plant to the East of us. Humph) and we were given creative freedom over how we wanted to close out the land. McCaw and I took the middle because it had a low lying swamp at the very back and anyone with competitive streak knows that that is always a great way to up your numbers. Dumping a lot of closely planted trees into extremely soft land and doing all of this while you run. Genius. It is also a good way to up morale in the morning, planting a swamp I mean.
So there we were, running and planting at about ten in the morning when all of the sudden I noticed that McCaw was planting sans pants. What the hell? Planting in one’s gitch is never a good idea. I have never done it myself due to
A. bugs or more specifically savage Black Flies (spawns of Satan)
B. chafing on the hips thanks to your seventy pound bags rubbing against your thighs 3000 times a day
C. combining bare legs and Boreal forest jungleland is recipe for unwelcome blood.
Anyway, she was into it. I stood there slack-jawed, leaning against my shovel and witnessing this amazing girl become a lady before my very eyes. Planting in her underpants, in a piece of land in the middle of BF nowhere in the Capital of Nothingness (the land looked like a scene out of McCarthy’s The Road) just for the hell of it. At that very moment, gone were the days of tripping-teendom for her. Gone are the days of tripping-teendom for me. Thank the good Lord above for that.
I will never forget that moment of understanding or the simple awe that washed over me. It was only a quick moment, but it was relevant for both McCaw and I without passing any words or even sharing the experience. I think it is just fine to take time to remember how retarded we all were at one point in time. I wonder if anyone witnessed the very moment where I switched from turd to human? I hope so, whatever the moment. I hope it was epic and cause for much laughter on my viewer's part. I hope I was wearing a sailor hat on Academy Road while walking an ugly dog that I hated while dating an equally retarded-phased boy. I hope it was funny as all get out. Good God Almighty, I hope so.
I guess to explain to anyone that has ever wondered, that/this is why I am a person who plants trees now. And that/this is the reason why I will continue to do this for as long as my body allows it because moments like McCaw's are a dime a dozen. Something epic happens internally every day out there. Not to mention externally as well. The weather systems of Northern Ontario are in a league of their own. As a Manitoban, I had no idea that a person could experience upwards of ten or eleven types of weather in a single day. It was mind boggling. I made many interesting life choices while planting because there were an innumerable amount of days made up of such vast and deep and distraction-free learning, that working fourteen hours a day and then coming home and noticing for the first time that I had a black eye and a river's width of dried blood going from my nose all the way down to my nipples became a normal affair. (And anyone who knows my nose knows that I have nosebleeds of the epic proportion).
The moment you stop noticing some things and start paying attention to other things is the moment you become addicted to it. That happened about day five. What would be considered a medical emergency in the city becomes laughable in the bush. Once I somehow managed to get hung up upside-down with fully loaded bags on (which duly emptied themselves, all 500 strategically packed Jack Pine of them) in a clusterfuck of this grotesquely overgrown thorn tree and there was nothing I could do about it. I struggled, waited, fought, waited, cried hard for about thirty seconds, waited, gave up, yelled profanities so loud that someone later asked who the sailor on the Block was, eventually wrestled my way out and carried on. The way life normalizes there is ridiculously laughable.
I guess that is what I miss. But being back in the city is very nice too. The cycling alone! Oh my God!!!!!! Plus, there is no way in hell I would trade this extended Fall season and a reason to wear a wool cape everyday for the ridiculousness of the bush right now. It is a season and right now, it is not that season.
Enjoy Fall while she lasts, all.
Goodnight, I love you.
To me, those stories are worth more than all the dollar bills in all the land. And I have seen some shit land, let me tell you. Then again, I have seen some pretty amazing land too.