SWORDFERN
Rooted, I used to think.

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Giving Notice - Friday, Sept. 29, 2017
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Indian/Polish Wedding - Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017
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Rupert Part II - Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017


Tuesday, Sept. 08, 2015 @ 12:13 pm
124/Forest



I watch my 'nephew' stuff a cupcake in his one-year-old mouth. The family gathers around in a circle of lawn chairs, and the dog shreds the discarded wrapping paper in the far corner of the yard.

We pass around photos of the new house they are looking to buy. It's all fancy and large with dark cabinetry and more bathrooms than rooms and a garage larger than our entire city townhouse.

I'm glazed and absent. Detached. We drive home through suburbia, the endless rows of peaked roofs in calming shades of greyed out blues and taupes.

We spend a night at the fair. A sea of people. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder in the beer garden, plastic cups of draft Molson Canadian. The air smells alternately of charcoal briquettes, popped corn, and frying onions.

We get a rides pass. Plastic band strapped to my wrist. Line up with the teenagers and beleagured parents (our age). On the roller coaster in the dark, the smell of creosote, heavy oil, and damp wood. The creaking of the car on the rails, the wood beneath resonating. Clank, clank, clank, up to the top of the first hill. The fair spread out below, the lights of the midway, and the city glow beyond. And a sudden drop and I scream as my body slams up into the lap bar, and I begin laughing uncontrollably, hands in the air, as we are thrown up and down in unexpected and relentless ways, through the darkness.

Later, shivering with cold, eating a corn dog and mini donuts for supper.

In the morning, the scale reads 124.0.

The weather turns to fall, and I pull out my winter wardrobe. Jackets fit comically large. I punch a new hole in my work dress belt.

I decide to go for a long run to test myself. Test my pace. I pick a flat 10km loop of the lake, trails of mulch and cinders. Set my watch, stretch for a lazy 10 seconds, crank up Haim, and set out. I fall into my pace. I'm at the halfway mark, crossing over the dam at the lake outflow, in an easy 25 minutes. When I hit the 10km mark, I slam the stop button on my watch and look down. 50:14. Well, that was easy.

Daniel and I have a fight. The ongoing fight. It surfaces every now and then, like a large whale coming up for air. He stands in the kitchen, I'm in the dining room.

He says, Yes, that's why I haven't proposed to you, the lack of sex, the lack of intimacy.

I walk away, go up the stairs, and sit in the bathroom to cry.

He is right, I mean about the lack of intimacy. I tell him that I'm afraid of him, of his moods, of his judgement. And then he becomes defensive and tells me that I misunderstand him and that I'm making too many assumptions.

I ask him what he is doing about this issue, this problem. He says he can't do anything. He says he's waiting for me to change and get therapy, that it's up to me to fix the problem.

He is wrong about that. He is so wrong about that, and I know that it's not productive for me to think about right/wrong, but HE IS SO WRONG. I do not tell him that. I know better than that.

I tell him that we both need to work on things.

He says he doesn't have anything to work on.

We sit at the table, face off.

I am frustrated. I feel cheated. This is not what I expected love to be like. I don't like feeling broken, feeling like the cause of a problem.

Our 10 year anniversary is in two weeks. We are going to Whistler for the weekend. I am not expecting a ring.

I wonder about my weight loss, what brought on the sudden determination to become lean. I wonder about the unconscious reasons, about the feeling of control, of accomplishment. About the feeling of becoming more attractive to Daniel. About the feeling of becoming more attractive should I become single.

I run trails in the damp morning after a rain. The forest is thick with moss and fog. I am alone. My feet carry me effortlessly up the valley to the headwaters, across corduroy roads, skunk cabbage bogs, and rocky creek drainages. The rhythm of my breath, the heady smell of minerals and resin and rot.

I stand at a waterfall, knee deep in swordferns and moss. I pull on my windbreaker, my damp skin goosebumping against the spray.

Whatever happens around me, wherever I end up, here I am home. Here, in the woods, alone. Born alone, die alone. Everything else comes and goes. My heart, here, beating in the woods. The ferns brush my calves, and my energy ebbs in a calm sphere around me. The cool air into my lungs, the forest air moving into my blood. Within me, surround me.

Here, I am home.


Roots | Shoots