The Change-Up

When home, I bind myself to routine, rather than discovery. I’ve lived here all but four years of my life and have never wandered to learn that with which I am not familiar, or which isn’t a part of my regular days.

Today I was headed to my usual park for a picnic, but kept walking past it and thought instead to find the little pond which, for years, I have driven by regularly, always admiring it. I’ve never been able to find it on foot because I’ve never tried hard enough and not really clever enough to follow the road on foot, rather than in a car as just occurred to me now as I write.

I had my picnic blanket, my Malcolm (I read him throughout the year, so he will pop up repeatedly), and my fruit. I decided I would buy coffee from a different shop, pick up a lunch from a different shop, and then walk as long as I needed to find the pond.

Three wonderful things happened. First, I met Hannah. Second, I met Nigel. Finally, I found the pond.

Hannah works at one of my favourite stores in Ottawa (has been since Uni) – The Papery (850 Bank St). I had popped in just to see what was new, when I found a gorgeous new book which, as soon as I held it between my hands, I thought I might for once in my life, stop writing in my present journal, put it and all of its 2019 weirdness away and start anew. Standing near me, I overheard Hannah saying to another woman I make my own journals. I almost dropped my book and yelled ME TOO! ME TOO! But instead waited quietly until they finished. And by waited quietly, I mean that I hovered around them far too closely for appropriate adult spacing.

Hannah and me bonded immediately. I explained my dilemma – I want to put December to March away, I am excited for this fresh start, I have this journal with over 100 pages left, I have never split a journal, this is my sabbatical year would I regret splitting it, WHAT DO I DO HANNAH I DON’T WANT TO FEEL THE WEIGHT OF DECEMBER THROUGH MARCH? She understood the struggle against those months, and the kick-back against the idea of breaking my year into two journals (even though it was my idea), as equally as she understood the want for closing of the mentioned months, and the start anew. In the below photo, my present journal is at the bottom, and is jam-packed with everything felt that I could / would not disclose publicly. Maybe one day, but not today. These pages were heavy, and I am very happy to have finally shed their weight emotionally; maybe it’s time to shed them physically?

Talking it out, Hannah and me decided that I will instead keep my present journal, but wrap, and washi tape the six months so they don’t even flip open anymore; change my cover for a new look; and keep the gorgeous journal found today for 2020 instead.

After Hannah, I went hunting for the pond. While randomly wandering about, I came across this porch which stopped my heart. Look at the gorgeous detailing – they have hung blossoms from their ceiling, and that piece of art hanging on the right hand-side has the names of guests at their respective tables; guests at Nigel and Jenn’s son’s wedding, this art work made by their daughter.

I approached quietly and took as many photos as I could. The front door was open and I could hear someone inside. I wanted to go up to the porch to say hello, but didn’t wish to intrude. Figured they might come out if they wanted to chat. Which they did – Nigel specifically. He was so lovely as we discussed their porch. He told me about their four children, one of whom is back at home with them. He told me about his wife, and made me feel so very welcome, though I am a complete stranger taking photos of their private space.

As I left Nigel, I thanked him for making my admiration of their space so easy to engage.

Today, I am grateful for:
1. People like Hannah who are so high on the emotional intelligence spectrum. We need more of you, Hannah; you really make the world a better place.
2. Gentle, kind, and gracious men like Nigel.
3. Nature, all of it but especially the following bits and bobs. I’ve often mentioned that the most calming sound for me are water-related; ocean waves, raindrops on tin roofs, porches, and the sea. Runner up is trees-related; birds hidden between leaves, and wind moving through them. Sat by the little pond, I was lucky enough to experience both and it was, as you might imagine, so calming that I fell asleep for a bite of time.

Ottawa | June 12, 2019

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