It’s one of our favourite things: an afternoon drive in the country, me with coffee in hand and the littlest Yorkie asleep in my arms, and Gerry at the wheel. We haven’t done it for ages. We missed the spectacular colours of fall, and it’s mostly stick season now, but there’s beauty out there in every season.
That comfortable balance between being lost in your own thoughts and sharing conversation that comes when you’ve been married a couple of decades fills the car. I’m thinking about the “help wanted” sign I spied in the window when we stopped for coffee and how they’re showing up everywhere these days. That, and countless other things that are no longer as they were a short time ago.
I used to imagine what my parents, gone almost forty years now, would make of the world today if they could somehow come back and experience it. These days I imagine the astonishment and disorientation of someone returning from living off-grid for two years. Two short-but-oh-so-long years. I’m disoriented and I’ve lived through them. Just imagine if “this” were to smack you in the face all at once.
Out here in the country seems almost untouched by the madness. It’s good to get away and get a taste of what’s real and unchanging once in a while. Our daughter, Laurinda, is a master at this. Gerry too, with his enjoyment of hiking. I think they may be on to something.
The car climbs higher and we hit a spot of winter. There’s no snow where we live, except on distant hills, but it’s coming. I both dread and look forward to it. Next weekend we’ll turn our clocks back and soon it will snow. Before long we’ll be in the darkest weeks, pining for the light. But now, the skiff of snow on the side of the road delights.
We don’t drive far before we’ve dropped down far enough to leave the snow behind. We come upon water and ducks and rogue cows wandering across the road. Gerry stops the car so I can capture a photo.
And then, we turn a corner and it’s like we’re on the prairie. I feel myself relax. “I could live here,” I say. But Gerry reminds me that the lack of available water would present significant challenges. Still, the peace and quiet is inviting, especially in light of what we’ve just come from and what we’ll soon head back toward.
By the time the road meets the highway, it’s almost like we’ve transported through three seasons and two lifetimes as we head toward town. The drive has done a good work. We are shored up to make it through the rest of another upside-down day.