I had a dream that buildings were burning in the water, crumbling all around us. I know that this represents my lack of resources. I used to think my dreams would tell me the future. Now I know better, it's my subconscious telling me what I am worried about. I also put on a seatbelt in the dream and was travelling above it in a vehicle having fun.
I also dreamt I saw him last night, he was, as per usual, beautiful. I asked myself if it would be okay just to sneak around the corner with him for sex, no talking, no making up, just sex. As if that somehow was perfectly natural or normal. But part of me said: "no, you'll reattach." And I walked away. One of those dreams where you are vaguely aware you are dreaming, I suppose.
I've been running for months. Keeping busy with the kids, swimming and hiking. Though the train is moving, I am for once, forced to stay still. I didn't realize how much I was escaping my feelings via activity until right now. What an unsettling feeling having to settle into your feelings. I find my memories fighting each other, trying to "one-up" each other. One sweet and amazing memory met with one exhausting and horrible one. Like I'm trying to convince myself that leaving him was the right thing to do. My body trumps it when I stand up and stretch and walk cane-free to the dining car. My mind may have played tricks on me, but my body was my ever (painfully) honest friend.
We're just North of Sudbury, the trees are coniferous and the lakes are crystal blue in the contrast. Islands mirrored, made into creviced faces. Heads tilted looking at me asking, "So whatcha gonna do now?"
"I'm going to sit still for once. I'm going to let it all catch up to me."
I'm ready. It's time. I will answer the question that has plagued me since I boarded last night: "How did I get here?"
Tears of joy and sadness have already streamed down my face in this nearly empty dining car. Though I clearly established I have allergies with my insistent sneezing last night. Maybe it will be attributed to that, maybe not. Perhaps there will be another who is also escaping, escape on this Iron beast. The iron beast decides my time...
I haven't travelled without another adult in just over 10 years... I like sharing things with my children as they have great creative imaginations, but there's something to be said about sharing with a like minded adult.
When travelling through a tunnel of trees, every break opening into lakes and creeks feels like god smiling, then you enter another tunnel and marvel at the closeness to the trees, the darkness enfolding. There's an excitement and ambiance. I think we thrive a bit in the dark, it is the spice
life, perhaps we cuddle a bit closer, or if alone, we learn to generate our own warmth and light. Amazing how the scenery currently matches my struggle. Maybe by the prairies I will feel nothing but warmth and light...or maybe just vulnerable and exposed. Lol, ever the optimist. Can writers ever truly be optimists? Or are our imaginations simply too active to explore just one side of the future's coin? A multifaceted die...exploring every possible outcome, the more outrageous and melodramatic the better. I remember as a tween, my writing was literally an escape into a world that I wished I lived in.
Now I use it to understand reality or a least my emotional response to reality.
Kids are making friends, playing cards and video games. I too am making friends, Dave who is working on his PHD in sound engineering program designing. And a girl originally from Sydney Australia. I have yet to catch her name. She's getting off in Manitoba.
We are still. I feel anxious. I feel a bit weepy. This is okay. This is not suppose to be easy. You love him, or at least the him before the concussion. Before the blaming, before he made you feel like a burden, before he blamed his abusive behaviour on having to take care of you in your illness. Grief is natural. I never took time to feel grief before. It's not killing me, but it does suck the joy out of some moments. I don't want the kids to see me cry, they saw enough of that while I was with him.
Compassion is so hard in this situation. So instead I will work on compassion for myself.
You tried your hardest, you offered many times for him to make plans or see friends, he chose not to.
You went to hotels to give him space and time without you, it did not help. You were scared and deeply hurt by the things he yelled at you, you left to save what was left of yourself and your children. You tried to work it out with that space he said he wanted, but he only got worse. You ended the relationship, but he still wanted the benefits of a father, however, his temper scared the children and his inability to accept healthy boundaries created conflict. It was like being in a relationship with him, but without the benefits of affection. So for the sake of your emotional and physical health you asked for no contact. I'm sorry this happened to you. You must feel very sad and confused. You must be very lonely after so many years of partnership. Your heart must be breaking. I love you. You are awesome and one day you will be over this. I love you, you are awesome and one day you will be over this. I love you, you are awesome and one day you will be over this.
For so long coniferous trees dominated the landscape and nothing could be seen beyond them. We seemed to be a top of a plateau, no hills just the sudden end of trees to either side. Same beyond as behind, how fitting. Then slowly poplars and birches peeked out like some kind of metaphor I have yet to come up with.. Then hills and valleys, bogs turned to lakes, yellows ad oranges took their fare share of the spectrum. Two musicians began playing you are my moonshine, like you are my sunshine but in a minor key. Then down to the river to pray in the minor key an I got to harmonize. My heart is singing.
Winnipeg has a cute market, yummy bakeries. Got a few snacks, some local apples. Allergies kicked in big time. Absolutely no pharmacy or grocery store within 20 min walking distance. That was a wee bit frustrating, but the spiced smoked Gouda made it seem all better. They described this wee hamlet of Rivers as having hills and valleys. In contrast I suppose, but to me they are bumps and gullies. Joon pointed out what looked like giant cows. They may have have been oxen... I feel it now, the space doing it's good work. No already shared memories. In this flat land I looked forward to being able to see for miles in either direction, unfortunately it is really foggy, so this effect is lost on me. In Winnipeg we saw the largest ducks ever, I haven't quite expelled the meat eater in me, as the first thing I thought was whether or not it would fit in my roasting pan once plucked.
Man-made ponds and straight lines of trees,
rows and divets where we brought the land to her knees.
She's blond and trimmed, bent to please.
We feed on her, rake her skin with our nails,
Force feeding her chemical cocktails
We feed her our leftovers and expect her to thrive...
The Valley came later, with a twisted serpent-like river, reminding me of the Big East. Either side of the valley completely straight and level, making it easy to imagine the glacier gouging it out so many years ago. Swans glided in ponds. Then there were the otherworldly potash mines that Jooniper called the "Australia in Manitoba". We entered Saskatchewan shortly afterwards, the valley turned south and the hills smoothed out. There is such a joy that rises in me when I think of how now I can say I have been to Saskatchewan, though our stops will not be numerous. For years I have been planning this trip, but it never seemed convenient or affordable. Now it is neither, but now is when I get to do it. I remember my trip to North Carolina as a child, I remember the ocean, the lush trees, the amazing old plantation houses. What will my children remember from this I wonder?
We are in Alberta, past Edmonton, the hills roll and crash. I believe the calmness of the prairies slipped past us in the cover of dark. The forest re I da me of certain parts of Quebec...new growth, the breeze is minimal yet the askin leaves shimmer like the coins of a belly dancer's wrap. My allergies are being a pain, but another passenger gave me some Benadryl and for this I am truly thankful. The incessant sneezing has stopped. I'm not good at getting or retaining names, however we had great conversation. He was so friendly to everyone. I still have those walls up. Dave is still
the only one I have spoken to on a regular basis, and he has work to do, and I spend a fair amount of time on the iPad and with my kids. I probably do not come across as approachable, or looking for company.
Looking out the window my eyes are drawn to the bits of red that speckle the landscape. There was this fear that I would miss the fall colours, that by travelling North I would speed autumn right past. According to "Benadryl" guy, maples will appear on the way west. It is rainy, but sunshine comes from underneath in an choir of sunbursts between clouds of deep coniferous green.
We're now at the point where the hills are bordering on being classified as mountains. Jooniper is bouncing in her seat asking if each new point would be considered a mountain yet. "Wow, this is the biggest one I've EVER seen!" Repeated over and over again. Milestone reached. Mountain goat spotted. Music playing :The Lumineers, flowers in your hair and James Gray's lottery, Shakey Graves, hard wired. Jooniper is giving a play by play of each hill, lake, river and bridge. Henry House is where we are right now. Elk seen. Mount Robson seen, Benadryl guy has a name now: Johnny.
Lisa is a woman in her 60's with MS. She walks with a cane, and is full of joy. She says what she thinks, so it's a good thing she has such a warm heart. She's fulfilling a wish that she has put off since the 1980's. Her travelling companion, Norma, is 63 and hiked the entire Grand Canyon just a couple years ago after surviving breast cancer. These women lift each other up, they congratulate each other, they compliment each other, they laugh with each other. I can see myself finding a travelling companion like this too one day. She blesses me in the name of God when I tell her of my miraculous recovery. Lisa says "God bless you." and the lord sits up quickly, takes a look down and does the sign of the cross. Such is the power of Lisa's heart and voice.
My children have made friends on the train, so I do not see them much. I thought I would be their sole entertainment...but not so much. Which is just as well, as I'm beginning to think these allergies are not allergies, and I need to rest-up.