Today is my last day down east with my Mum. I’ll be heading home to Ottawa tomorrow. And I’ve been thinking tonight about how much time I’ve spent, this past week, wandering down one lane or another. Literal and figurative. Once the rain stopped, a brisk breeze blew in sunshine and lovely crisp September weather. Perfect for donning sneakers and sweatpants and getting outside.
|The old farmhouse basking in the sunshine|
So, several times this week I hit the walking trail that runs along the Saint John River near my Mum’s house, to get some much needed exercise. The trail is lined with wild apples trees, wild grape vines, and choke-cherry bushes… all laden with fruit.
|Part of the Trans-Canada Trail near Keswick, New Brunswick|
I love it when the leaves start to turn. This is a view of one of the islands where the farmers used to graze cattle in the summer. This part of the river between the channels is called the “Grand Pass,” and from here I can see the fishing hole everyone calls “Burpee Bar.” Not named after me, by the way.
|The Grand Pass on the Saint John River|
When I wasn’t speed walking the trail in sneakers and sweatpants, I was tramping up the brook and across parts of the old farm that I haven’t visited for years. Exploring corners that have fallen into disuse. But are still lovely. The patina of age making them all the more poignant to me.
|The old spring fed watering trough|
Mother Nature has turned the old cattle watering trough into a perfect parallelogram. It’s a bit sad to see things sliding into disrepair. But, I’m glad that I can still visit these spots when I’m home. Leaning against an old fence made from wood that my stepdad probably cut and milled himself, or finding an abandoned chisel with a homemade wooden handle in the grass. Vestiges of the past.
|I love this bit of old fence|
On this day it was misty and cool, so my rubber boots and a rain coat were in order. Ha. Posting this makes me laugh. I don’t think I’ve included many make-up free photos on the blog.
|Roaming in my boots, raincoat, and a trusty walking stick.|
And it wasn’t only literal pathways and lanes I was wandering down this week. I made connections with a few friends that I haven’t seen in years. And years. I had dinner one night with Elizabeth, a high school friend that I haven’t seen since… well… since high school. We talked, and laughed, and talked, and chortled, and had a wonderful evening. I commented that I might need throat lozenges when we had finished catching up. This is a conversation that we’ll continue the next time I’m home. Because, as she said in a text the next day, “We aren’t done yet, my friend.”
|On my way out for supper and yakking with an old friend|
On Saturday night I attended a reunion for my junior high school class. This was something that three friends and I cooked up two years ago after our 40th high school reunion. Not that we didn’t love that reunion, we did. Re-connecting with high school friends was wonderful. But we felt that we didn’t see enough of the kids with whom we had journeyed through elementary school. You know that long road from Barbie lunch boxes and Dick and Jane readers through to first dances and training bras.
|Mary, Donna, Colleen, and me|
That’s my new Veronica Beard suit I’m wearing. With my Stuart Weitzman loafers and a white cami under the jacket. I’m so glad I bought that suit. It looks polished, but casual, and is so very, very comfortable. I love how Donna’s kicking up her heels in this shot. Such a fun night. And at the end of the evening, pretty much everyone stayed and helped us take down the tables and the decorations and pack away all the leftover food. As one classmate said in an e-mail this morning… “The fact that so many people stayed to clean up waaaay after their bed time speaks to how much fun we were all having.” Ha. You got that right, Kim. Midnight is long past bedtime at our advanced age!
You know it’s funny that in the past two years I’ve made more connections with old friends than I have in a long time. Partly it’s because my 40th high school reunion reunited me with many old friends I hadn’t seen since my twentieth reunion. Partly it’s because now that I’m retired and my mum is widowed, I make the journey home more often. And thus I’m in town many more days a year. With more time to see old friends. And partly it’s because of the magic of the Internet. After my high school reunion, I connected with a ton of people on Facebook. People see that I’ve posted something on my blog or on FB about being “back in the ‘hood.” And we exchange messages to arrange coffee or supper get-togethers.
And the result is that as I move forward into my sixties, I’m getting to know friends from my childhood all over again. And that’s pretty cool for someone who has been gone from this place as long as I have. Home has always been special for me. I’ve always cherished this old farm. And now I’m loving getting re-acquainted with some of the people who knew me way back when.
I didn’t spend my whole week wandering down lanes literal and figurative. Mum and I did stuff too. Shopping, and making meals together, and drinking tea and reminiscing. I even tried my hand at putting her hair in curlers one day since her regular hair-dresser is away. Not sure how successful that was.
Here’s Mum and me today as we headed outside to clean up her garden tools and put them away for the winter. Mum’s wearing one of my step-dad’s old hats. Well, it does match her jacket. Good thing she had it on; by the time we made it back into the house, the wind had picked up and it was pouring rain. You know, she’s going to kill me when she sees that I’ve used this shot in the blog post. She said when she saw it earlier today, “My goodness, Susie, I look like an old woman in that picture.” Nah. I think you look pretty cool, Mum.
But just to be safe. I’m glad that I’ll be winging my way back to Ottawa by the time she sees this. I may be sixty years old, but I still don’t want to get in trouble with Mum.
|Mum and me in our garden garb|
So that’s what I’ve been doing this week. Strolling down real lanes, and memory lanes. And what I’ve been wearing. What have you been up to my friends?