I often think of pioneer women, on the frontier 150 years ago, trying to raise families and feed their children during the long hard winters. How did they survive the isolation, the cold, the deprivation? Incredible fortitude, which helped forge this country.
I’m thinking of them as I do every winter, because it’s winter, and I’m feeling it. I, in my centrally-heated house, with electricity and running water and a huge grocery store a block away, with my new winter coat and warm boots, with all the resources keeping me sane – the Y, the TTC, television, films and concerts and galleries easily available, and more – even so, I am feeling the winter. It’s just tough, the lack of light and colour, the inability to go outside – at least for those of us who don’t ski or skate or even hike in the snow, as does my friend Carole – and for me, the hideousness of the city with its icy sidewalks and filthy snowbanks.
So. That’s all; moan over. It’s not fun, and we get through. Because we’re Canadian, and it’s what we do. Reading David Sedaris helps — was in bed last night laughing out loud — and Joan Didion. Wine and soup. The sauna at the Y. Documentaries – just saw one on a controversial sawmill in Nova Scotia, and another, right now, called the Divided Brain, about the work of Dr. Iain McGilchrist. Very interesting – things I’ve never thought about. Why is our brain divided, why do we have two centres of consciousness?
Busy day yesterday – the first U of T class of term, the advanced class, students coming back for more detailed in depth editing. A nap, then the home class, the usual joy of stories with glasses of wine and piles of cheese – one student returning after 4 or 5 years, bringing back her unique and wonderful voice. Also re work: have been digging into old files and found stories, written 25 years ago, that I think are pretty good. Why didn’t I do anything with them then? They’re dated now – one mentioning the many AIDS deaths, another about a woman having an affair sneaking out to use a payphone – hard to deal with, though I hate to abandon. What a waste! So much written, so little published. Story of my life.
Today, watched the last ten minutes of the superb Adam Schiff addressing the Senate about the irrefutable reasons for impeachment. At last, an honourable, eloquent politician and a fine man. My God, we need to see that these days. Both sides of my brain salute him.