Zak and I have arrived at our new “house”. Our tiny space in the big city – so cozy that on our first few days we would squeeze between the mountains of boxes piled around the entrance to our apartment. Each night I would shift the boxes around so that we could find what is our bed. Now, almost a week later we have a manageable setup, but still much more to go through.
Not only am I sorting through boxes, but I’m sorting through bits of the city and finding my space. The jazz festival has been going on this past week and I’ve been soaking up all of the good music in the square. I’ve been walking around endlessly each day, only to return to the apartment too exhausted to tackle more boxes. I need to get used to walking all over the city again. I spent a lot of time walking around Edmonton too, although Toronto is much bigger.
I’ve been keeping my eyes open wherever I walk, taking in all the sights, finding the places where I will shop for food. The hardest part is finding a park or a trail where I can unwind and be silent and listen. I went for a run today along the waterfront, but I did not find a trail. I found starts and stops of boardwalks along the shore, fancy hotels, and yacht clubs. I was mostly running along roads with towering skyscrapers. I felt claustrophobic. I started running north back to my apartment and went by a park with nice large trees sheltering benches below. I imaged myself below the tress, but the sound of the cars was louder than the wind blowing through the leaves. I imagined myself climbing up the tree, but the skyscrapers towered over them and did not provide a view of expanse. I am in the city now, I think I need to change the way I see things. There seems to be no escape from concrete and towers.
We drove across the country to Toronto from the West Coast, winding our way through the mountains, the desert, the mountains again, the prairies, and then to Northern Ontario. It was on the north shores of Lake Superior that I began to feel at home. The next day, (as Ontario is so big!!) we arrived at the cottage (Bruce Peninsula) to visit our parents – the landscape where I feel most at home.
In my last entry, I included a poem, “On Marriage”. Since then I have realized that “On Marriage” by Kahlil Gibran, is from a book called “The Prophet” where he writes eloquently his wisdom on life. I bought this book today and turned to the section “On Houses”. Here he says:
“Your house is your larger body.
It grows in the sun and sleeps in the stillness of the night; and it is not dreamless. Does not your house dream? and dreaming, leave the city for grove or hilltop?
Would that I could gather your houses into my hand, and like a sower scatter them in forest and meadow. Would the valleys were your streets, and the green paths your alleys, that you might seek one another through vineyards, and come with the fragrance of the earth in your garments. But these things are not yet to be.”
I have spent so much time in natural spaces – most recently for our honeymoon on Vancouver Island. We did many hikes including a loop though an Ancient Rainforest Grove. When Gibran speaks of “leaving the city for a grove or a hilltop” the grove on the Island comes to mind, and I desire to be there again. The landscape is much less green here in Toronto, and I have been seeking out parks and trails.
Toronto is where I will be living at least for the next five years. I feel that I need to let this passage resonate and find the valleys in my streets, the green paths in my alleys and friends in the vineyards. I pray that I can find my home here.