I am grateful for 66 Forsythe Road South.
I am moving. I sold my beautiful property with the maple syrup trees and the Ginkgo tree and its history of 270 million years and the Butternut rescued from my friend’s back yard. I leave the Blueberries and the Blackberries that grow in abundance. I leave my pony buried beneath the Pin Oak and carry with me the memories of him wandering my yard in search of patches of clover, nickering at me through the open window, wanting to press his nose into my neck, to breathe me in, his lips searching my pockets for something he is sure is there. I leave behind the frogs whose nighttime chorus and full orchestra calms and soothes me, their sound floating in my open window and hanging on the still air. I leave behind the two little boys from next door who hide behind my garden shed and behind my blueberry bushes pretending I am the scary dragon they have hunted, until of course I find them and then I am just me, my breathing fire having ceased.
I leave behind the Golden Raspberries and the Haskap and the lush Rhubarb and the Peaches from the two wee trees who share their bounty each year, enough to keep me in peaches all winter. I leave behind the path I follow on morning strolls with Gracie, the Pileated Woodpecker greeting me most mornings, flitting from tree to tree, his mate suspiciously absent the last two seasons. I leave behind the hours of lawn mowing, the incessant handling of firewood, the repairs to fence and outbuildings that shout regularly at me, their voices harsh and grating and repetitive and …
I leave behind the neighbour’s dogs who prefer my property to their own for depositing bits of themselves. I leave behind the beagle up the road continuously howling his protest of his lot in life while tied with a short chain to a small shelter. I leave behind the deck that came too close to claiming my sanity when I used every force available to me to remove what seemed like centuries of paint, winning in the end though I feared the battle was unbeatable. I leave behind the skunk who anointed Gracie not once, but twice, though I fear a distant skunk relative is waiting to introduce himself where I am going. I leave behind my neighbours’ raised arms when Gracie and I walk past, neighbours who know both our names and pause to give attention to Gracie’s extended nose.
I’m not sad or hesitant or uncertain at the leaving. I’m ready for a new adventure, for a life with a little more space in it for me and less grass cutting and less wood hauling and wood stacking and less all the things that are familiar. I eagerly turn the page, will strike out and discover what is next in my attempt to down-size and simplify. Gracie and Finnegan will tag along, the constant in the unknown. There will soon be tufts of dog and cat hair in the corners of my new home and there will still be me. I will take myself along, maybe a slightly different version of myself with the addition of possibilities. Seize the day, I repeat in my head. Seize the day.