It's not a perfect metaphor.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I feel you in my heart and I don't even know you.

So, the emotional manipulator that I am, I have been witholding information about my whereabouts, my mental state and my doings. But no longer. What would you like to know, I wonder? I'll just guess.

I got the bus to Peterborough on the 3rd of June. I think that was when Luke and Lorelai were supposed to get married but I'm not sure. I was picked up at the bus station by my very first ever WWOOFing hostess and her baby son and driven to our farm, the place I was to spend the next two weeks and eventually come to view as a sort of home. It's crazy how bonded you can get to people and places in such a short amount of time, especially when you've been moving from location to location every three days for a few months and suddenly have some semblance of stability. When I first saw the farm I thought the matrix was playing a trick on me or something because it was drop dead gorgeous. The view from the hill of the lake, the picture-perfect vegie patches, the old farmhouse ... impossible. I didn't get used to the beauty either, the entire time I was there, despite the time spent dozing in hammocks or going for walks by the lake or just sitting on the porch in the early morning or the early evening. I met my host and the four French WWOOFers that shared part of my stay there and that first day at lunch I knew I'd walked into something special. I had a room upstairs to myself with no curtains (at first, until my hostess stubbornly refused to let me go without them any longer and nailed some up herself) and a lot of happily solitary hours ahead of me. They were spent reading and thinking, mostly. A lot of writing ceased, as you can tell, probably because I was so busy living. There was a lot to live there. It was strange, sometimes I would crawl into this quiet space for a while, maybe fifteen minutes or a few hours, and be crazy happy or unbelievably sad. I'd be crying, alone, as I seem to do a lot of these days, or I'd be closing my eyes and just absorbing the beauty of my situation.

There always seems to be drama when quite a few people live in an isolated house (at one time there were eleven of us and the hot water had broken for four days...) but I think I felt truly peaceful a lot of the time I was there. Farm work is satisfying to me, at least so far, and I hope I continue to feel like this at the end of my days. I bonded a lot with the host family; baby especially was a joy of mine and I unwittingly monopolised him some of the time by accident. Mostly the unconventional routine of farming felt good, I enjoyed the ups and downs of weather and mood and work and exhaustion. I also got along really well with one of the interns who was an inspiration and also a true friend to me for no reason other than she seemed to know I needed one. The whole atmosphere just reassured me that I have come across the world for the right reasons.

I gush on and on about this place and my point is only that sometimes paradise is what you make it, and in many ways that's what that farm was to me. It was sad for me to leave, I didn't like the idea of goodbye, but I'd had my fair share of adventures there. Getting lost in the woods, walking into town and hitching back with an eighty-year-old driver who had lots of stories to rival those in the books I'd just picked up from the Library, discovering a kick arse lesbian cook-slash-masseuse who works at a cafe called the Planet who didn't mind when I accidentally broke the bike she built for her girlfriend, cooking lamingtons just to inject some Australiana into the household and doing some seriously hard yakka taking care of a one-year-old for hours at a time (and loving every second of it).

I arrived at the present farm on Thursday. It too is fantastic and the family I am with here are very down-to-earth, friendly Canadians. Already I've had more weird arse experiences here; one being supermarket shopping in North America (Bill Bryson is right about Junk Food Heaven), another being second-hand book shopping again and ending up with a grand total of 13 books I am now carting around for a forgotten reason, and being rushed by turkeys while on a tour of the farm (that was seriously like something out of the Birds).

My birthday is tomorrow, so we'll see what that brings.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Into the woods.

Just the other day, I decided to go for a walk after lunch. I´d never been into the woods behind the farm before, though they´d been winking at me for as long as I´d been there. Every time I looked up in the field they were there, waiting. So I had decided to meet them at last.

They´re over the hill and not very far away. If you follow the old tyre tracks they´ll take you across the wide expanse of grass and to the end of the trees in no time. So I did that, and with a simple duck under a branch I was in the forest. I´ve never been among that sort of beauty before. I would say ¨around¨ but I was smack bang in the middle of it, breathing it in. I spent so long making circles in the ground, looking at the sky and to the side and on the ground, that soon enough I was lost. I wasn´t worried though. I knew that if I could find my way to the light at the edge of the trees I would be fine. So I did. But I wasn´t.

The meadow I was in, though, and I can only describe it as that, was so perfect that I didn´t care if I was lost for good. And as I wandered through with grass as high as my outstretched hands slowing me down, begging me to stay, I thought it was so charming there that I might just acquiesce.The next meadow was not so loving. Soon enough I was falling into holes hidden in the mighty, long grass and then I was slipping into puddles of mud. More than once I fell on nothing at all. I clambered over fences, backtracked, walked in one direction and then another. No matter where I arrived, I was never home. I began to feel it too. Beautiful or not, none of these places were for me.

Finally I found my way back to the woods. Looking timidly into them, I asked myself whether their obvious ability to disorient me may also mean that they could orient me. It couldn´t be, could it? But I was exhausted and out of options. So in I went. Over, under, around, on top; I re-discovered every part of the forest I´d fallen in love with the first time around. This time I had a purpose though and soon enough I´d found a new edge of trees that was tinged with light. Out I walked into open space, frightened of what I´d see next. I was growing hopeless, believing I might never be home.

I could see a rusty red farmhouse, a tumbled-down barn and a translucent hump of a greenhouse not too far away, just past a hill. Underneath my feet were tyre tracks that lead away from me back to my starting point. I looked over my shoulder at the woods, amazed, and then I just laughed. Even if I asked, they were never going to reveal their secrets.

It doesn´t really matter what happened before or after in my life, does it? Moments like this are all that feel unreal.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I intend to.

I'm in Toronto. And miserable. But not because of Toronto, it's a gorgeous city and the people are super friendly- two people offered to give me directions at different times on the same street because I looked vaguely disoriented. Nicest people ever. I feel sick because the only vegetarian food on my flight was full of almonds so I ate it in an attempt to beat my allergy but it's currently bitch slapping me into subservience with some serious nausea and stomach pain. And due to changing time zones a few times today, I have no idea how long I've been awake but it'll be midnight here soon and it was 6am at the London hostel this morning when I woke up. I feel so awful that though I feel obliged to write this my head is all fuzzy and I dunno how much further I'll get with it.

Last day in London = big fun. Claudia showed me Soho and other trendy haunts after I spent the morning at Natural History and V & A. Both fantastic museums but I was more happy about the gorgeous gay couple we saw kissing and being all smitten and giggly in Soho. True London education, right there. So cute! And the whole place is comparable to an enhanced, seedier Fitzroy which is uber fun and funny. I spent my evening eating microwaveable chocolate pudding and packing my backpack. Good send off, methinks.

This morning was flight time. Gawd, even well-oiled machine style airports like Heathrow are completely unfun. And money traps. So much pound just poured into its greedy mouth! But my last meal in England (ha! It's as though I was dead.) was a fry-up at Heathrow so I feel rather fulfilled by that.

The plane ride to Iceland and then onto Toronto was, well, excruciating. It may seem like common sense to other people but Icelandair was a bad choice. Ugh. The only good thing was the in-flight movie that I had already seen on Christmas night last year with two of my favourite ever girls and thus had all this tofurkey-related nostalgic feeling for. Also, and this may be my Soho infatuation talking, I loved the Jude Law/Robert Downey Jr sexual tension. So pathetic but I really am looking forward to the sequel.

I focussed on that film and my shiny new Canada guide book until I finally got to Toronto, could eat something and can now go to sleep soon. I dunno when you'll next get a post; I spend one more day in Toronto (and may actually see some of it)and then I start WWOOFing so we'll see how I go from there.

I love you all.


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