Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A Year on and I am still pining for the North...

Yesterday I saw a flock of Canada geese making their way down from the North, and I was reminded that it has been just over a year since I left there myself to move 500 KM away to where I live now.

This time of year I am missing the foggy mornings on the shores of Lake Nipissing, that eventually gives way to a blaze of colour of the changing leaves once the sun has melted away the mist. Right now as the sun rises, I am sure there is the smell of wood smoke, rotting leaves and chill in the air. Things are probably getting quieter as most of the birds start migrating to warmer places and other critters start to shack up for the winter. 

I miss those long, cold winters, cold enough for sundogs and light pillars. I even miss the obnoxious snowmobilers taking over the sidewalks, zipping down to the frozen lake to do their ice fishing.

After those obscenely long winters, I miss the promise of spring and no longer having to be jealous of loved ones in warmer places whose snow had melted months prior. Once the short, intense summers came and were spent trying to grow and harvest as much as possible, I miss being truly grateful for whatever bounty that was given.

I miss the pairs of ravens who would tail me from the high places before flying off to continue their endless feuds with the swarms of crows. I miss the friendly chipmunks and chickadees that would visit my garden, and miss nodding a "hello" to the deer who could be seen sauntering down the road in town during the early hours. I miss the tinge of anxiety while out on the trail that I might bump into a bear who would perhaps be face deep in the wild blueberries or shaking off the sleepiness of a long winter of hibernation, depending on the time of year.

I miss the scent of the air which I can only describe as having a hint of evergreen and damp moss. It smells clean, natural, the way things should smell. That is probably because so much of the landscape is still in tact with all the lovely birches, rowans, and conifers; the big rocky outcroppings of granite peppered with lichen, the cold and deep lakes that are still safe to fish and swim in.

I miss that a totally naked face with a reddened cheek from the wind is enough makeup to look lovely. I miss the candid friendliness and warmth of folk up there, and the fact that many people like flannel plaid, beards and the woods without being hipsters. That stuff has always been in style up there.

Most of all I miss the loved ones who are still up there--both the living and dearly departed-- and I miss the place itself, who I made such a connection with. I miss both in equal measure. Even being someone who is of European heritage, I can say that my family roots run deep up there; my ancestors were some of the first settlers to live and work the land in that area. They are a part of that place.

After a decade of living up there myself, building relationships with the spirits, acting as a steward to the land, I am a part of that place as well. After all of the healing and transformation that was done in those Northern woods, shores and on ancestral graves, a piece of me is still up there. A piece of me always will be.

But yet, I feel like I am starting to connect to where I live now. While the gentle allure of this place will never hold a candle to the wild beauty of the North, slowly this place is becoming home.



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