Tundra

Finally, home.  Been here for less than 24 hours since the 18th of February, more than a month. The last two weeks I have lived a strange discipline, staying in a plastic hotel wedged between two freeways.  One student, seeing her urbanized city through my eyes tried to get me to run in the ravine that surrounds Toronto, or the park not too far from my hotel, but with a writing deadline over my head, I limit myself to long hours of teaching and then long hours in the hotel, running on a treadmill and rarely seeing the outside during my whole time there.

Whacked with lack of sleep, delayed planes, and stale air, I walked out in our woods in the late afternoon to where a corridor of sunlight sneaks through the trees to fall across what our local water witch (she’s 90, and has saved our wells three times already) calls an Indian burial ground, a power spot.  I have taken it as the place of my ancestor guides, whether it is or not, and I lay down where the sun has melted the snow down to last year’s leaves, where my bare and ample belly can touch the living earth.

May be signs of spring abound where you are, but here the winter lingers.  For all the cold we’ve had, I can feel through my body that the ground is not frozen more than two feet down.  The ever-lovin’ planet pulls the dreck from me and restores a bit of sanity.

Oddly, having seldom seen another living soul in my walks and skis all winter, on this one day I run into Rick, the retired Marine chaplain restoring his grand-dad’s hapless house, and have to hear his unending tales of woe with the foundation, the drains, the timbers, the setbacks, the plans for a house that he will never, in the opinion of his neighbours, occupy.  What I hear is loneliness, and I linger longer than I should, deliberately opening my belly to let some of his dammed up feeling flow in with his words, and letting some of the energy I got from the guides flow back.  He relaxes and expands – his life, months on end in his camper is more restricted than mine in the hotel – and he won’t let me go, “And look at this…”

Walking through the rest of the woods to the wind-scoured hilltop to view at least the afterglow of the sunset over the river, the old snow holds me up.  The ice is still thick enough on the lake for the ATV’s, the fields are tundra.  Thank you, Earth, but now, here, awaken! while I sleep the clock around.

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