A rainy 5:20 am in the darkening northern hemisphere. It is November 1.
I was lucky enough to be on the road every weekend last month, to and from Kingston, Toronto, Peterborough. I drove through ridings filled with campaign signage, fields of shorn crops, hills of red and yellow trees, towns surrounded by housing developments and the occasional marsh, feeling grateful and tiny. Skies full of bruised purple clouds shedding rain even as the slanted sun blazed through to set hill and valley aflame. All night on super highways through a 386 kilometre downpour, I wondered at my strange need to always be not the fastest, but the first, even on slippery roads.
For the first hour, driving is thinking. In the second hour mental chatter dissolves into a song of the land and the way through it. By the third there is no-mind, by the fourth, lightness of being. I hadn’t realized how small my world had become, before October’s road trips. Thanksgiving, indeed.
Home on November 1 is a tunnel into winter. I assess, I simplify, I clean up the past seven months and carefully file valuable things – deck chairs and tables, garden plants, kayak, things found on hikes, shared laughter, simple grief, great joy, humbling rage that left me stronger when it had passed. It’s the inner garden we prepare to tend now, during and enduring the frozen months. Experience is compost.
I draw and paint bells for a show in early December. I dig through art history to find work that explores line, light and colour for a drawing course I’ll launch this fall and winter. I write and teach music in my studio, and plan for an open house in five weeks, while Canada reclaims her soul after a dark decade. Me too.