Thursday, May 26, 2005

what the trip made me think about, now that I'm home

We left lush New Jersey and have returned to chilly Cape Breton! It is 10ºC, which is 50ºF, and a cold wind is blowing. Mum and I picked fiddleheads in the gully around noon, and afterwards I picked up some pine cones that had fallen and put them in boxes, so we could give them to a friend of ours who burns them in her fireplace. That meant I was up on the ridge in front of the house that looks out over the head of the bay, and with the trees cut last year the wind comes blowing unadulterated up the hill. Quite a change from the warm weather of the States! My hands were pretty icy. I came inside after and all four cats came tumbling in with me--cold for them too!!

To recap: we flew on Tuesday to Montreal, then Halifax, mostly uneventfully. We took a shuttle from the Halifax airport into the city, where Joshua (a friend of our family) picked us up. We went from there to he and his wife Marie's house, where supper was almost ready. They live in an old two-story home, on the bottom half, and thier walls are covered in art by friends and both of thier mothers, who are painters. A few moments later, Jess and her boyfriend J (not a typo) came through the door. We had a delicious dinner of pasta, salad, and squash soup, with tea and baklava for dessert. It was a great homecoming!

The next day, Wednesday, Mat and I both went walking seperately--he downtown to get some things from M.E.C., and I to stroll along the streets. Then Josh brought us to the bus for 1:30 and we journeyed home to Cape Breton. I rather like busses, at least if there is ample space to spread out and relax. They are my second favorite way to travel after trains. You get to see the area you are travelling through, and meet folks. Mind you, once I get a little older and my back and joints start to hurt, I probably won't like it as much. But now, while I'm young, I appreciate its cheap and somewhat expedient features.

What struck me during the trip and on returning home is how the rest of the world continues on doing its thing even when you aren't thinking about it. This might seem obvious, so I'll explain. New York, when we were there, was busy and bright, filled with commerce, tourism, fashion, food, finance, parks, Subways, mamas with babies in strollers, sports venues, television signals, cell get the picture. Lots of stuff going on. New Jersey, similarly, has all kinds of people living lives, driving around, building homes, eating out. The airports don't stop filling airplanes with east- and west-bound passengers just because we're not there. But it can be easy to forget all this movement and life is happening when you're in one place, and I often do. It is a little mind-boggling to think that at this moment, New York is still teeming with people, and the airplanes are still leaving for places all across the continent.

Now that I'm back in Cape Breton, I feel (like I always do when I return from a trip) as though I have new eyes. A new perspective. I feel less the impulse to get out and more the one to enjoy the little world that is here, and what we do have. And we have so much!

Another wonderful part of the trip was my dear, dear grandparents. It had been a few years since I had seen them, and even longer for Mat. They are such kind and generous, wise and loving people. One of my favorite parts of knowing them, and visiting them, is the stories we hear. It feels like going back in time to hear of life in the 40s and 50s, and indeed all the decades before now. They are colorful story tellers, and have lived such interesting lives! Grandpa pursued an academic career, working as a professor and then a Dean, before moving to New York to be President of the Printers Association. Granny's full-time job was wife and mother, and in later years, geneologist of our family, which resulted in many books of information, including the knowledge that we are descended from an original "Mayflower" passenger. The turbulent sixties moved thier two eldest to the West coast, California and British Columbia, one of which was my papa. Their youngest, daughter Anne, stayed on the East, where she still lives. We saw lots of photos of Granny and Grandpa's visits to see the boys out west, and of our father's various homes, including boats and small trailers in the BC wilds. We were actually seeing them through a 3D-slide viewer, which added to the "trippy" factor!

I could go on and on about dear Paul and Isabel Noble, but I think they both know how much I love and revere them. In any case, it was great to go down and see them, experience the big city, and have some warm weather! A trip always reminds me to live in the moment, that even when life at home or in a place you know well gets to feeling like the same-old, same-old, it only takes a look at things from a different perspective, and a little time to oneself, to come back to the moment. Which is where it all happens, after all.

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