let's leave these rusted old folks back in the city

It’s been too long since we took a ride together. Too long since some­one else was at the wheel and I got to score the pass­ing Canadian fields with my new favourite songs. Too long since I saw the old crew and filmed them land­ing aeri­als on the farm.

two dogs in a car

 

We drive through lovely lit­tle vil­lages I’d never want to live in but always think of vis­it­ing some day. They’re too small for comic book stores and decent Chinese food and any pos­si­bil­ity of get­ting lost, but big enough to hold the hopes of any­one who ever wanted to build a life for them­selves in a quiet com­mu­nity full of old-world charm and decay. The tiny econ­omy based on tourism from an annual coun­try music fes­ti­val or his­toric school will make sure it stays like this forever.

South Pond Farms

 

My dad used to take me fish­ing here. I thought it was five hours away when it was only about an hour and a half; time passes at a crawl when you’re a kid in a car, anx­ious to catch more fish than your father. Except we never used rods, we just put half a worm on a hook (from a dozen bought at a bait shack on the way) tied to a spool of fish­ing line, and sit by the edge of Lift Lock 21 on the Trent–Severn Waterway. I still remem­ber their lit­tle bod­ies writhing on the pave­ment in blood and guts and soil as we divided each with a razor.

I was too young to feel any­thing then, and I’m too old to feel any­thing now.

goat eating leaves

 

With the big dip­per low in the sky, Tomasini told me that you’re always con­fronted with love in moments like this. I’d been mean­ing to put that sen­ti­ment into words for weeks now, but I couldn’t fig­ure out how to do it as suc­cinctly as this man had done between drags of a cigarette.

men carrying poles in the field

 

Addressing par­ents by their first names doesn’t feel for­eign any­more. I’ve always used Mr. or Mrs. as a sign of respect — a habit one quickly grows into in the Chinese cul­ture — but now I see myself as an adult, and respect myself enough to call them Laurie and Lana.

This is mid­dle age. Not when you’re young enough to be a depen­dent, or so old that you need to be taken care of. It’s the time in your life when you’re truly respon­si­ble for your actions and you have the great­est sense of con­trol over your life.

dog on lap in car

 

I always won­der how peo­ple can pick up their friend­ships where they left off after so much time apart, like they never grew up and moved away and started fam­i­lies, and still had din­ner every Sunday. It’s a rela­tion­ship I’ve never had myself, but when I get to expe­ri­ence it like this, I start to under­stand how the right con­nec­tions are made and never lost.

3 comments

  1. I can’t get over your gift with words and a cam­era. It was a great road trip man, I really enjoyed it!

  2. If that’s what mid­dle age is, I want to stay here for­ever. I love being respon­si­ble for myself only. I’ve only recently got­ten to this place where i real­ize that it’s just me and I have no one to answer to. My world is pure pos­si­bil­ity and it’s my choice how it turns out.

  3. I’m always think­ing I would love to live in a lit­tle com­mu­nity just as you describe when I can quit my insane life of work­ingstress. However my hus­band always reminds me, you can’t call for a decent pizza, there’s no dim sum. You’d last three weeks.

    I have noted sub­tle changes in my friends with time: some sat­isfy and bring a solid future to mind, and some make me sigh a lit­tle that the old play­ful­ness is waning.

    It is still a place I’m uncom­fort­able with, me the per­pet­ual 20something.

    Your pic of the goat is pris­tine. Just lovely. I want to smooch its nose.

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