Friday, April 16, 2010


You must have had weeks like the one I've just had. They're exhausting. Mine was filled with intensities, anticipations, anxieties, and then in the end, with relief and delight that the pressured squeezed period is coming to an end... The biggest measure of relief is that my taxes are done, hurrah! So now I can clean up the garden, plant lettuce seed etc, and engage, at last.

At the same time the young people in the house are writing papers and working their way through their final exam schedule. Argh! It brings back memories of the coerciveness of exams! Give me taxes any day, over that!

One other event this week that marked a significant passage was that I drove the van (the blue Toyota Sienna that has been in our lives for almost exactly eleven years) up to Grey County and left it there. Farewell valiant steed! is what I felt like saying. I'm not a car person and tend not to love or even notice cars or other motorised vehicles. But this van I became very attached to. The first summer we had it, in 1999, we drove it all the way from Toronto to the west coast, to Wyoming, and through Idaho to Washington, then north to British Columbia, back across the Prairies, and then through the Dakotas and Minnesota to Chicago and finally Toronto. That was its inaugural trip. We took the middle seat out and put a rug on the floor, so the kids had lots of room.

Yes, yes, I confess that in the wide open unpeopled spaces of the west the kids spent a lot of time on the floor, out of their seatbelts, playing with Lego or stuffed animals, or reading.

Later on the van became a truck and farm vehicle, handy for hauling lumber and found objects, for pulling logs and heavy objects, a real work horse, up at the farm. The kids both drove it, their first road driving and parking practice, on easy country roads. We also made trips to New York City and Ottawa, and countless trips to Grey County, northwest of here. So we're imprinted with the van, it's almost a member of the family. But now it's time to let it go, giving it a final appreciative metaphorical pat on the nose!

So now the question is, do I look for a small used car? Or do I do the car-share thing and otherwise, if I want to go out of town, rent a car? I don't like to drive in the city, for political reasons, but it sure is nice to be able to offer people rides and to feel flexible.

Perhaps as a friend said to me this week when we talked about taxes, we are facing a more frugal future, all of us. We are more aware of environmental issues, and we soon will need to slow our consumption of (mindless?) consumer items and live perhaps more like our parents did. Maybe becoming carless is my first step in this direction?

Sorry for this not-very-interesting mulling out loud!

Grey County was at the next stage of spring, with fields a rolling brilliant green but trees still bare of leaves. Peepers, little frogs, trilled loudly in streams and ponds. Everything is early this year, a good two weeks, and very dry too. Unpaved roads billowed dust as I drove along them yesterday. The stars were brilliant last night, with no sign of cloud in the midnight sky.

But just before dawn it started to rain, first a pitter-patter on the roof, later a thrumming downpour with a flash or two of lightning shortly after dawn. It soon eased back to fine gentle rain. I walked out into Lillian's forest and it was as if the earth was inhaling the moisture, sucking it in gratefully. The lovely scent of wet leaves and wet wood filled the air. I breathed it in gratefully. Spring regained its softness and promise. In a branch overhead a bird trilled confidently.

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