When Simon left this morning to go to Nelson to do errands and take the truck in for maintenance, he asked me my plans for the day. I jokingly ( or not so jokingly) told him that I planned to pull the covers over my head and curl up in a ball, being seriously grumpy. Grumpy is my word – hopefully not for 2017. I do hope to choose a better word than that. But the truth is that I have been grumpy – and I feel grumpy.
I feel that if I were to get out of grumpiness, I would devolve into outright pissed-offedness.
And so I pull back from that into a state of withdrawal. I take myself out of the present. I disengage. And that means I wrap myself into a cocoon where I don’t have to feel anything. My only modus operandi has to be getting through the day, taking care of what is on the list and putting on the best face I can.
No – it’s no way to live. Knowing me, I don’t expect to be here forever but I’ll be dammed if I can consistently see a light at the end of the tunnel. I catch glimpses of it – but it’s rarely there.
I think that for possibly the first time in my life, I actually understand my mother. She left her home in Germany – her very beloved home – and came to Canada at the age of 35, She moved to Sudbury of all places in the middle of November of all times. You can imagine. She’d spent most of her life on the southern Rhine – and it’s a beautiful and charming country. And suddenly, six feet of snow, twenty below zero and nothing but wilderness all around her. What a shock that must have been.
She hated it.
I suspect she did her best. But she never lost her sorrow and homesickness. She never belonged to that land.
I watched a documentary a few days ago where a Maori elder was taking about home – except in Maori it’s not called “home” – rather, it’s a belonging place. We have places where we belong, where we feel right and rooted. The longer I’m here, the longer I feel that this is not it – far from it.
The first time I ever saw mountains, I wept uncontrollably – I knew with a certainty I had never felt before that I belonged to the mountains. At the age of twelve, those mountains were the New York State Adirondacks. And then I met the Swiss Alps and irrevocably fell in love.
I fell in love again with the mountains in British Columbia – in Whistler and then Vancouver Island. I grew roots on Vancouver Island. This past summer, Simon and I toured the Rocky Mountains and I was enamoured. Wow, was a word that I uttered countless times. But, as Simon said, the Rocky Mountains are a different beast altogether. They invite you to explore, to visit to hike and admire and to stand in among them in complete loving awe. They are not mountains that ask you to stay and put down roots.
Here, hiking the Valhallas, we were both struck by their majesty and also by their forbidding tone. Come and visit and admire, they said – but don’t stay.
I have a desire to explore these places – to know them intimately. I am exalted in these spaces. But I don’t belong here. I belong in a gentler clime.
I am working these days on a new project – me. I want to fully understand how I am feeling and where I am going. Some things I know for sure. I know that I love Simon and I am fully committed to him for life. On this there is no doubt. But I must also come to a full commitment to myself. This is where I can fall short. Right now I want to find what will work for me – and what will work for us.
I don’t want to be grumpy. I certainly don’t want to live my life in sadness like my mother did. (shoot me if that happens). I want to explore these issues of belonging honestly. This landscape I find myself in feels alien. That said, I feel committed to creating a beautiful home here, to hiking with the KMC, to discovering this place and to testing myself this winter – how will I do? It’s altogether possible that the snow will create a playground of fun that Simon and I will discover together.
They say that happiness comes from within – it’s a choice we make every day. I hold that to be mostly true. When I was happy – and I was for years – I believed this fully. Now the statement pisses me off a fair bit. And I think it does because I made a choice that I knew in my heart was wrong. I believed at the time it was the only possible choice because I had to consider the happiness of more than one person. My anger is one hundred percent directed at myself.
However, I did make a choice. And here I am. Surprisingly, here I am and so far nobody has died. There are simple pleasures every day: Scrabble (Simon is so much fun), cuddles, kisses, shared meals, walks with the dogs, writing, photography, baking. And I take pleasure in seeing this house being completed one bit at a time.