Saturday, June 5, 2004

in which i whinge, with a happy conclusion

I've realized through being in a social situation last night just how zonked, as it were, I am. Zonked is nice term, it covers jetlag and asocial behaviour and coming-down-with-a-cold, and the end result is my bed looks more appealing than any person. I went to Sydney with Janice last night to see Mat and his band play in a show (they are called 'Do Something Crazy', it's a working title as I understand, and they were part of the line-up that came before Bigwig, a band of New Jerseyian origins), and of course this meant seeing old friends and being in clothes other than cotton track pants and a hoodie. I found that all I wanted to talk about was (a) how much I wanted to fall asleep (this has never been much of a conversation topic) or (b) how much Australia is different from Cape Breton (patently obvious to anyone, really, and quickly gets boring, especially to those who haven't been to Australia recently). Coming to these realizations, my conclusion was either to shut up and listen to the music (I did this promptly) or go home, which we did eventually, but only when it was time. So my current daily state goes from a high of feeling a bit tired, to a low of feeling like I'm lying in a deep hole trying to communicate with those on the surface far above. I think I need to sleep a lot more.

The Cape Breton weather is being dreary and problematic, which isn't helping me 're-integrate' myself to home. Normally June is a great month, the leaves are budding out and the forests are feeling fleshier, there are suddenly new dimensions to old paths, new places for the light to fall, the rain to fall, and all green and moving. The light is warm and clear and lasts until 8 in the evening. School is ending and people have incentive to skip classes, the skin is asking to be tanned, to be exposed to the seductive warmth of the sun, that leaves the skin feeling like it glows. But not this month: I'm looking out the window and a sufficient amount of tree shows through the sparse covering of leaves that it almost feels like late November, when most of the leaves have fallen off and the earth is readying for snow. The sky is mostly the heavy grey of pre-rain, the air mostly cold. But it's not all bad, because there are some buds and the daffodils are up and there are grape hyacinths in a glass in my room, that Mum put there for my return.

Returning to Cape Breton means seeing the neglect and decline that has always been happening, seeing it with wider eyes and also seeing alongside that, the spirit of the people and the love that still lives here. Fiddle tunes with their jumpy and frenetic melodies, accents that form phrases that end in 'eh, bye?', mountains that are slow and low and rolling, formed by glacier lovers in ages long past--all these things speak to my heart. This is where I grew up, where I was formed, where I am most comfortable. I know the way things go here, and if we want things to change here it has to start with people who love it and know it. Otherwise, it will be the soulless change of economic advisors and tourists buying up the land, which will be a kind of change but not the kind that is good for the land. I just wish the sun would shine a little more and convince me I'm right for loving this place and wanting to make my home here.

So, I'm back. For better or for worse. The coffee might not be top espresso in forms like "flat white" and "macchiato" the way it was in sunny Sydney, but it is only $1.60 for a bottomless mug at Jasper's, quality nonwithstanding. And, your life and home is what you make of it. If I want a latte made with top grind, I'll just have to make it myself, and it might just be better that way. There are lessons everywhere.

And with that, I'm going back to bed.

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