It was a beautiful day in autumn, one of the best ones in recent memory. I got lost along those Canadian highways after a while, taking wrong turns, dedicated to the idea that I could navigate without a map.
How could I have known that three hour journey would mark a new chapter in my life? I sang at the top of my lungs to Steve Miller, Lauryn Hill and Queen as I pondered whether I could live again in the countryside, in that house right there on the corner. It occurred to me then that I didn’t need as much as I thought I did to be happy.
That life could be a string of moments in which I could lace together happiness, and that happiness was an exploration instead of a destination.
How could I have ever expected that that drive would bring me to, in addition to Kingston, a place in which despite falling far behind my expectations, I was falling more in love with myself?
How could I consolidate these two dissonant ideas?
I don’t know how, but I did.
It wasn’t a three-step process that I can conveniently give you to follow. It was a combination of a willingness to be vulnerable with myself, for all my flaws, and despite them to crack open my heart and pour my love out anyway. It required me to summon the stuff I didn’t know I had, a deep underwater aquatic connection with courage, no, the magma of courage.
I had had this sense of being pulled under by the depths of my unconsciousness for a while, and had tread those murky waters before surrendering out of sheer exhaustion. I drowned. Not all at once, but enough at a time, each mouthful weighing me down further and further still like pockets lined with rocks. But it wasn’t death that met me at the bottom, it was life, like a rebirth or a renewal or something else I can’t describe without being cliche, and I hate writing in cliches.
It was like me, the same me, but I inhabited my body differently, and gradually the accumulation of pouring love on and drowning in my soul resulted in a saturation that reached me on a microcosmic level.
And on the drive back, as I stared into your furry little face for too long, I almost drove off the road and into a ditch. I startled everyone on the highway which resulted in them giving me just a little more space. Just a little more space that has lasted still.
I have no idea what lessons you have in store for me but, as I fall more in love with you, I learn more about myself. As I hug your trusting little body in my arms, or watch you sleep, I calculate how much food you have left and question whether I am meeting your needs, your little cat needs.
You, my Skinny Love, are my biggest Guru and teacher, and I have been blessed by the challenges and gifts that come with being a pet owner.
For that I am grateful.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: elephant archives