July 11, 2012
Every outing, while I’m visiting the town of my childhood, comes with some kind of side trip. This morning I had to run down to the grocery store for one missing ingredient for a cake recipe and decided I should see if I could find my Grandparent’s old apartment building. Wyoming is small but it still took a couple of tries. On the way to this destination I saw several other houses that held memories for me, a baseball park and the old train station. Other drivers were so patient as I looked down streets trying to determine if I should turn down this one or that. No one seemed in a hurry. This is a far cry from my life now, a world away from Doha with its aggressive drivers, chaotic round-abouts and constant activity.
Last night we went out to try to find something to do in Sarnia. That’s about 20 minutes away from Wyoming and the most happening city around. There wasn’t much to do but it sure is beautiful. We ate french fries from a truck under the bridge – that’s the ‘must-do’ in Sarnia and then went and enjoyed a pint overlooking the river and watched the sun go down. Compared to Qatar the sunset seemed to go on forever. Apparently the difference has to do with the proximity (or not) to the equator, the axis of the earth, I don’t know. I didn’t really care. I was happy just to be amazed for more than an hour at the constantly changing sky and the backlit seagulls splashing in and out of the water.
While I’m amused by the difference in the pace of life here I am envious as well. It’s so incredibly peaceful if you let it be. If you can sink down into it. There are rhythms to this life but they are more spacious. If I knew that I had more than one life to live I might let myself sink into this, but I know myself too well and I know that I don’t function well with routine or with too much space between the beats. I’d like to be that person. I imagine with longing the life of an artist. Tending the garden, working on a painting, making bread and soup and revelling in the colours of the laundry hanging on the line. Playing music in the evenings or writing poetry. These are the things that I’d love to do, the very things that I imagine flourish when the rhythms of life are spacious. Maybe if I was a musician or a poet or a painter I’d also be the kind of person who would thrive in long quiet days. What does one do when they aren’t any of those things? Why is this the life I dream of?
Maybe I’ll find that life when I’m in my setting-sun years. Maybe I’ll regret not letting myself sink into it sooner. It would seem to me now that this is a chance I’ll have to take because right now, I couldn’t do it. Life has not offered it up and it’s not something I’m about to fight for. Right now, I’m happy with my bustling life and I’m really happy that part of the rhythm of that life includes quiet peaceful times in my childhood hometown, driving, napping, watching long slow sunsets with playful seagulls and reflecting. Lots of reflecting.