As most of you know, it has been just over a year that we transplanted ourselves from the bustling streets of NDG to the very quiet and rural landscape of Rigaud.
The first year, with all it’s ups and downs unfolded in a hazily pink and gold cloud. The novelty, equal parts charming and anecdotal, cast a thick spell on us (me) and everything (well almost) seemed truly awe-inspiring.
With a year under our belt, a missing ceiling, three dead chickens and a field of frozen dog shit, it may not be as quaint as you have imagined it to be, nor I.
The wood stack in the kitchen dwindles and the septic tank bubbles dangerously. I just smashed the smoke alarm which fell in shards of 80s plastic on the wooden planked floor, my sweatshirt has been unwashed for days.
I saw Jupiter on Friday, he sparkled so ebulliently that I could only see him through one eye. I shut the other one, to narrow my focus.
Some things aren’t meant to be seen with your two eyes. You get dizzy if you try to see it all at once.
What Garbarino Acres lacks in refinement and polish, it makes up with in space and imagination. Imagine how beautiful the bathroom will be… Imagine how relaxing it will be to sit under the pergola, if we made time to sit at all.
There are almost too many possibilities and a favorite past time of ours is walking around the property and attributing space to things that will never happen. Greenhouse! Pig Pen! Goat Shelter. It’s good to dream big.
I could not have never foreseen how introspective my life would be here.
Here, I never imagined that I would learn to recognize myself in the cast of a broken arm.
Here, I never realized how my self-destructive habits impacted my headspace and limited me.
Here, I would work hard and slow at replacing them with healing ones.
All of it is work. And most of it is not rose tinted.
Today it’s a landscape of frozen dog poop and high mileage on the car. It’s the conversation of solitude and the echo of Rosie’s barking. She has never seen birds, unless you mean the birds she saw yesterday.
Some days, I wish I was a dog.
Some days, the weight of fixing such a broken house is too heavy. It pounds down on our shoulders and we can’t possibly imagine that we’ll ever be able to do it. And then I remember feeling that same outlook so many times before, in so many other dimensions of my life, yet here I am. That feeling is almost comforting now.. it’s my north star telling me that I’m in the right direction.
We have proven ourselves wrong before.
We can do it again.
We were on the mountain this weekend with a band of rogue families. All three of them have 4 kids. These people make their own toothpaste, work half the year to travel across the country, they have pharmacies full of clay poultices and dried medicinal flowers.
When spring comes, they huddle in a self-built shack in the woods and boil their maple water, while the kids sled down the wooded hills, deftly avoiding collisions. Wet and happy, this seemed like the only logical place to be. With my hunting jacket on, I didn’t think once of my failures or my successes.
I often straddle both worlds, but with one full year and change under my belt, as the cedar smoke from the boiler wafted around my face, I felt myself high jump over the fence and land one the other side.
There’s something here that I feel a urge to capture and store away. A waft of sadness that the years are cartwheeling past us, leaving behind hand prints and unsent Christmas cards. That once I’m ready to taste it all, it will all be gone. My to do list, neatly checked off.
These kids of ours whose clothes are always torn, they who sleep in beds together and shine happiness, they will not be asking for snacks one day.
And in these moments, I want to crawl in my mother’s bed. I want to be the child again, and ask her to tell me all of her stories and hold me like she occasionally did when I was little and terrified of losing her. She would console me by saying we would all be dead one day, but there was peace in that too.
Remember the colors?
They are just on the other side of the grey horizon.
Just you wait, they are coming for you and you will want to see them with both your eyes wide open.