I spent the weekend with some of my oldest friends. Those who have lasted through decades (and then some), whose laughter provided wallpaper for greatest moments, and whose presence brought peace when one or some of us were struck low. I don’t know what keeps certain people in our lives, and what lets others go; I do know that there is a grace in finding yourself again and again with souls who are somehow aligned with yours, whether in humour or pastimes or thoughts, even more so when one or more are involved.
As the years accumulate, and edges soften, I let go of more and more. Excess, negativity, small talk all dissipate from daily chores, and, incrementally, windows open. It is important to note (to myself, for future conversations with my son), that not much has changed on the outside of my life; I look the same, think a lot, work in fits and spurts and, excessively, love my dog; my life has been immeasurably lightened through the practice of letting go.
My father passed last summer, I should mention that. In the heavy days after, I left the city for a road trip with my son. We drove for hours, my mind empty of everything but the hum of hospital machinery, eyes wide with exhaustion, overexposed. After a few hours, we ended up in Prince Edward County and, over three days and nights beside a lake, exhaled, unattached to phones and email. Flush with sunshine and ice cream, my ecstatic toddler splashed and tumbled in the water and the sand.
Teaching life followed quickly on the heels of that road trip, and all the stress that re-submergence into working life entailed. Between marking papers, course taking, evaluations, physiotherapy sessions, doctors appointments, flu sessions, dinners, conversations, and sleep (little/none), I had little time or energy to record my thoughts.
Now, a year later (and a week shy of the anniversary of my fathers death), I am back-boned in a way I was not; wrinkled, occasionally, with moments of anxiety or over-reflection, but a smooth tail for the most part. I am writing again. Differently from the wrenching poems I used to pen, or the exploratory vignettes I brought back from travel. Writing is quieter now, memoir-like, distilled. I think it is better, and needs less. I like it more.