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still figuring it out

Another heavenly day, sunny with a twist, an undertone of chill. When will we encounter the true reality of Canada in autumn? Soon enough, I hear. No rush. Ol’ man winter, take your time. Yesterday, I saw a perfect red maple leaf curling its edges on the ground. Beautiful but ominous – we know what it portends.

Now that the big hurdle of the garage sale is over, here it is, normalcy. I’m back in the saddle, as they say – one class started at Ryerson last night, another tonight, my home class Thursday, U of T class in 2 weeks, and on my desk are lists and lists – call the contractor about the basement floor, regrease the downspout against raccoon invasion, prune and bag faded summer flowers, get groceries, cook food. Back to the day to day. Was my grand adventure a dream? Was this woman with her long lists of things to do actually swanning around Paris only recently?
Despite my daily immersion in the mundane activities of the householder, yes, Paris is still with me, and so are Liverpool, London, Sheffield, Montpellier, Hossegor, Aix-en-Provence, Stratford, Potterspury and Gordes. As I empty the dehumidifier and iron my work clothes, they’re all there inside, all that great art and cheese, the friendships and adventures, all those memories. They are still shining. I am still shining.
I do wonder about this woman into whose shoes I have recently re-stepped, this lunatic woman with all her second-hand coats, single mother of two marvellous and worrisome adult children, with a huge unwieldy old house to run, classes to teach, books to write and not enough money. I don’t understand why she didn’t sell the house years ago, find somewhere small and manageable, get on with her writing work instead of spending vast chunks of time managing the plant. It’s almost too much for one person. Why bother?
That’s the question I went away to resolve, and as you can see, it’s not resolved yet. The house is too much, and yet I love the house. The garden is way too much, no question about that, and yet the garden is a source of enormous pleasure. Somewhere, in some crazy place, I think I am keeping this house not only for my children, because they grew up here and it’s a touchstone in the chaos of their young lives, but for my grandchildren. Who I hope I won’t encounter for some time.
So, somehow, for now, we’ll make it work. And on days like this, soft autumn days when the sun shines and the local farmer’s market is overflowing with heritage tomatoes and homemade bread, it seems easy.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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