New Year 2014: On journeying, home & eternity

December 31, 2013 in Canada, North America, Travelogue

Ice walk

There has been a nuthatch at the feeder this week.

He arrives intermittently, among the crowd of doves and blue jays, chickadees and the occasional fleeting cardinal. Everyone is hungry; the ice has buried all of the natural food sources. He prefers the seed ring. The one my mom made in her fluted bundt pan. The one that hangs with a red and gold ribbon from the eave of the pergola.

Our neighbour, David, arrived the other morning just as we were sitting down to lunch. He’d come up with a sparrow hawk to show us. Dead. In a Ziploc bag. Apparently he’d bashed his head against a glass window. We admired his loveliness and the pristine state of his plumage before he was added to the freezer with the female cardinal that is being saved for Claire; another neighbour who’s an amateur ornithologist and collects good specimens for her club.

Dad washed his hands before returning to his cold bowl of soup, “Who turns up at lunchtime with a dead bird?” he good-naturedly ribbed his buddy.

I raised an eye brow, “This coming from the Gramps who gave my eleven year old a dead coyote face for Christmas?” 

We giggled.

True story. Ez got the neck and face pelt of a coyote, tanned, of course, from the Grampsy-claus. My Dad is known for off beat gifts.

Sparrow Hawk


It has been a week of resting.

And eating. And walking. And photographing ice. And skating. And laughing.

There were guests for Christmas dinner. A day long walk with my friend. Uncle Dick’s family for an overnight. A pub evening with folks I haven’t seen since high school. Movies with popcorn. Scrabble (the game count is at: Jenn 3: Grammy: 1) We’ve napped. There has been sledding and cross country skiing. Board games have been played.

This year as brought us from Borneo, across three continents and right back home. It’s mind boggling if I think about it too much, but I don’t.

The snow is coming down in soft downy drifts this morning, as if it’s covering all of what’s left of last year in a clean, blank slate. We get to begin again tomorrow: a new day, a new year, a new opportunity to live life.

Dad was sitting in his rocker the other evening and I’d climbed into his lap. Well, as much of me as would fit, any way. He patted my hair and rubbed my back like he’s done since I was a tiny girl and cut straight to the chase, as he’s wont to do:

“It’s a wonderful thing to be an eternal being, isn’t it Sister? We’re sprung to life in an instant and then we live for eternity. Not when we die, who knows what that will be. Eternity is right now. We’re in it. It’s this second. This is eternity, right now. We live for eternity, but we only live for a second. This one second is all we have. It’s eternal. It’s now. It’s so unlikely that we’re here, and yet we are. It’s a good second, eternity.”

I smiled. I love my Daddy.

I am home. 

And yet the road carries me forward…

Knowing that I’ve completed the biggest loop and can get no farther from my center than I’ve already been is comforting in many ways, literal and esoteric. There are more paths to follow. More trips to take. More journeys to follow to their mysterious ends, but we’re beginning to water the tap root that ties us to here. To reinvent home.

You already know that I don’t do New Year resolutions. For me, it’s more productive to try to remember that every single morning is a new year, a new moment, a fresh start, every second an eternity, the only one I get.

  • This year I will spend time with people I’ve missed.
  • I will reconnect with all things “home.”
  • I will walk 500 miles with a friend.
  • I’ll check the 50th state off of my bucket list.
  • I’ll watch two of my kids flap their wings towards solo flight.
  • We’ll make plans towards the next phase of life.

Those are my new year intentions. It’s what I hope to do. What I expect to do. What the road appears, from the little hill I’m standing on, to hold. The reality is that I can’t see around the next bend.

All expectations are mirages. This second is eternity.

And so… we step into the New Year.