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In just one hour, we can be at the shore of an entirely other Great Lake. I forget that sometimes.

On Sunday Lake Erie was almost impossibly still, with some ice on the horizon. I had to keep checking the spot where the water shrugged against the beach to make sure the entire lake wasn’t frozen solid. We parked at a shoreside fish & chips shop in Lowbanks, closed for the season, and I made a note to return in the summer. Birds chattered above us and in the distance, and a greying dog named Trixie barked her hellos from the sand before bounding off. We heard her later being coaxed back into her car. (I know, girl, I know.) Even though we were only an hour from our home, the road trip mood was strong and so we stopped at the Tim Horton’s in Dunnville, the parking lot studded with motorcycles and people lounging about in t-shirts, their faces lifted to the sun.

Finnish: I’m striking out on my own and designing my own program of Finnish study. My brother, who is learning German, suggested I write a Finnish diary, so I have been. So far my entries have been fairly juvenile - This morning I made coffee, but forgot to add the coffee! - but I can feel the simple act of it activating new pathways in my brain.

Toronto: I have been twice this past weekend, once on the bus and once by car. I’m still not over the strange feeling of being so close and so far away at the same time. The first day, I actually found myself slightly overwhelmed by the crowded Toronto sidewalks, as if I had lived in the forest all my life. The second day, I missed living there, just a little bit. The idea of it, the potential of it. It’s nice to have that feeling on its own, without any attendant regret.

The Weather: On the first warm day of the month, my husband and I had lunch with a couple of friends in the suburbs, and drove to my parents’ house with the windows open, listening to the radio. I don’t know why, maybe it’s the force of memory, but to me there is no time I like the suburbs better than when I’m doing just that. Everything feels happy and open and possible. I don’t know if I could live in my suburban hometown again, but I don’t think I could ever hate it.

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Scenes from the first hike of the year, on an alternating muddy, slushy, and icy trail that may not have been officially open that day.

Afterwards, we drove to Brantford to see what was there. What was there was a delicious ginger cookie in a cute coffeeshop, more old brick houses than I was expecting, and a lot of places referencing Alexander Graham Bell.

In all the excitement of yesterday, I forgot to post about this!

I am proud to be participating in The Kissing Booth at Sundog Lit, two weeks of stories, poems, and essays inspired by my friend Leesa Cross-Smith’s forthcoming book, Every Kiss a War. 

My piece went up yesterday, and I’m thrilled about having my work amongst such great stories and poems and words. I’ve already discovered some fantastic writers, and it’s not even over!

Everyone should go have a look – and consider pre-ordering Leesa’s book if you like what you read!

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Monday’s weather was lovely, so my dog and I went on a long, long walk. No matter how long I live here I don’t think I will ever get used to the sheer number of beautiful houses in this city. People who only ever glimpse Hamilton’s factories from the highway and never go further in are really missing out.

I know spring isn’t quite here yet (especially right now, as wet snow is flung against the window I’m sitting next to), but I’m already beyond impatient for the first spring hikes, especially here, where there are nature trails and waterfalls everywhere.