Saturday, March 25, 2017

Ten Years Ago Today

This is what I was doing ten years ago today: Sitting in the woods at the edge of the duck pond drinking chai tea.
City girl in the country. Finally!
March 24 is the actual date I arrived in Cumberland County to live here permanently with my Nova Scotia country boy but on March 25, my first full day here, that life together began with my introduction to the Ducks Unlimited duck pond way back in the woods.
It's still our favourite location. And it's still the only time Dwayne drinks chai tea.
On the blog I had at the time, I wrote, "Take one four-wheeler, add several layers of clothing and a thermos-for-two of tea, stir in sunshine and frost, liberally sprinkle a fire and a duck pond into the mixture, and you get the perfect First Day of the Rest of Your Life." 

Now, it's not as if I'd never been in the woods before, or walked along country roads, or trudged across a muddy field. My dog Stella being the energetic and athletic dog she was, I spent a lot of time walking her in the Northumberland Forest  or at my father's cousin's farm, both north of Cobourg. When I think of the miles we covered, literally up hill and down dale, trying to wear her out -- not sure if my laughter is nostalgic or slightly hysterical.
Thinking back, however, I first discovered this call to the beach and the woods while living in Vancouver. I constantly sought out, or perhaps more accurately escaped to where it was wild and less-populated: the beach and the woods. When I arrived in Pugwash, NS, in the spring of 2002 (the ultimate escape), I spent as much time walking the beach and the back roads as I did in the house. I was searching for peace and quiet for a mind and heart that were not so.

Until I moved in with Dwayne, I'd never lived in the country full-time. Waking up to a view of woods, walking along gravel roads -- or even better, unimproved roads that lead to nowhere -- gazing at eight deer grazing in the field behind the house, and listening to the ice creak on the river, none of these things (and so much more) were part of my daily life for the first 36 years of my life.
They were a secret longing. For peace, for quiet, for wide open spaces, for roots to hold me still.
As beautiful it was to walk at English Beach in Vancouver or along Cobourg harbour, and how fortunate I felt to live downtown and close to everything, including the water, I always felt more at home in the woods.

This city girl's search for heart and home began on this day ten years ago.

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