Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Quietest quiet

He guides me down narrow, leafy streets. Turn right, turn left, turn right, go straight. We drive through neighbourhoods I've never seen before. Small brick houses and tall, old trees and piles of yellow and orange leaves.

When the weather cools, I want distance, space, the quietest quiet. All the romantic things winter makes us feel. I want hot drinks, wool socks, silently falling snow piling into drifts. But most of all, I want room to understand the year, and how it's passing quicker than I can process it.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Low and lazy

The light starts late and fades early. It stretches low and lazy over the usual pathways. Children at play scream in the park. I find myself noting every shout and laugh, because soon it will all be over for another year. I have more patience for outdoor loudness, for the noise of motorcycles that roars over indoor conversation, than I did in the summer.

It seems my treetop view is changing every day. I've already begun to change for the cold weather, too. More baking, more staying in, more dog cuddles.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Drawing away

The cicadas are out, buzzing from the trees. An old man walks slowly in my direction, using his cane to sweep leaves and candy wrappers off the sidewalk and into the road. As long as his own path is clean, he has succeeded. I see him often but I never know whether to smile at him. Does he clear the sidewalk out of anger, or out of concern?

I make note of the trees, the green green leaves. The sunlight is thick and hot. In spite of these things, I know summer is fading. The heat is drawing away. I walk through the park, saying my fond farewells. I'm ready for something new.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

For faraway friends

I press my hand to the stone and feel the warmth of the sun, remembered and stored as the light changes. Your day is ending as mine begins. I move on, examining the buildings and the trees. I think of pictures to show you, stories to tell you. I try and remember the flowers and their Latin names. Another language we can share, all these kilometres and hours apart. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

When the lights go out

You gather the candles close, opening books and pushing the radio aside. Through the open back door comes the sound of a nearby guitar. It's the only sound. You hear the squeaking of fingers on strings. As the sky grows darker, you see the stars, a full sky of them, and you begin to feel like you're in the country, all alone. After a while, you notice the guitar music has stopped. In the distance, thunder growls. And then you listen to the rain you can't see.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Coffee break

In one of my earliest memories, I'm two or three years old. I'm standing on the porch of our townhouse, trying to walk down the stairs. I want to visit my best friend, who lives across the street. 

I've been told I cried for her after we moved away, when I thought our new home was just temporary.

At the time it was just her and her younger brother, but she went on to become the eldest of many siblings. I think of them every now and then. I wonder how they’re doing. I wonder what it must’ve been like to grow up in such a large family, if there were alliances and rivalries and favourites.

Their house always smelled of coffee, that’s one other thing I remember from later visits. I come from a family of tea drinkers, something that doesn’t leave a fragrance throughout a house. I remember thinking that the lingering smell of coffee was the most comforting, homey smell in the world.

Monday, May 20, 2013


The morning takes me down new roads, under newly-bloomed trees. I'm distracted by them, as if I've never seen their flowers before. My familiar city surprises me. A pink car. An old tree, gnarled and twisted.

An old woman is eating an orange as she passes me, and the air behind her is sharp with citrus. A cluster of teenage girls approaches, on their way to school. They're more awake than I am at this hour, laughing and flailing their arms as they talk. Then they begin to sing. It's a song that I don't recognize, but they sing it well. I smile, but try to hide it as I get closer. They move aside politely as I run past.

I move through these spaces too quickly, but I remember. I will return. I'll pause at the streetlights, remember the flowers, remember the trees. I can still be surprised, if I want to be.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Morning visits

The branches of the aspen tree bend in the breeze, which is fresh and full with the promise of warmth. Animals awaken. Gulls shriek as they pass overhead, squirrels twitch in the trees. I can hear the lull of buses starting their day in the terminal nearby. Soon this road will be full of other people, cradling cups of warm coffee, stretching to the sun. But for now, it's just me and the animals. After a few minutes they're used to my presence during their morning tasks. They have figured me out, quicker than I've figured them out. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bright, light and warm

Planning for green things, for new colours. Planning to get away. Planning to stay in. Planning to learn new things, to see the same things with new eyes. Planning to stay out longer. Planning to notice the leaves and the flowers. Planning to welcome the birds. Planning to walk slower and farther. Planning to be bright, light, and warm.

Friday, February 22, 2013

A bird out of season

I walk slowly down the empty road, and my footsteps are the loudest sound. I stop to note the passing of a commuter train high above. Little squares of light rushing past. In the middle of each one, little black silhouettes bent over their newspapers and smartphones. Do they look out? Do they see me, alone among the brick and wood? Do they wonder where they are, where I am?

The train passes, and I move on. Buildings appear abandoned upon a quick glance, but a second look reveals their own squares of warm light, the promise of other people. I am drawn to them. I push open the door and the empty city falls away.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

New winter

The crunch of ice under my feet, piercing down into the snow. One foot slides out from under me, but nobody is around to see, and so I do it once more on purpose. The cold wind curls around my layers of wool and cotton. I can feel the harsh air redden my cheeks, and as I pick my way to stable ground I shove my chin into the folds of my scarf. Every winter seems new and different. You never quite remember until you are in it. Short days, slow movement, walking with your head down.

I slide a final time before I reach the sidewalk, too quickly, and I almost fall. I laugh at my eagerness and how silly I must look. The days are getting longer, they say, and I watch the sky for proof as I shuffle carefully home.