I’m not built for the city.
I’m ungrounded by the red cars, yellow taxi cabs whizzing by, the people honking, their car windows unrolled and music blasting.
Cigarette smoke being blown from red painted lips in front of bars with beer-stained carpets that reek of the unloved.
I’m put off by the people rushing, no one stopping, no one looking up, no one smiling and saying hello, staring into screens—no connecting.
I spoke with a woman waiting for the streetcar who told me she is tired, that her job doesn’t fill her. She thinks that’s just how it is—it’s not how it is, I wanted to say.
But I didn’t.
I’m on a subway with blue velvet seats with teenage boys watching you tube videos, frying their brain with bullshit.
I’m sitting next to a woman who has polished each hair on her head, each eye lash on her face.
I wonder if she feels beautiful. I wonder if she is happy.
I wonder if she knows she doesn’t need to spend so much time perfecting, that she’s beautiful before it all—right as she wakes, as is.
I hope someone in her life tells her she is beautiful every day.
I don’t remember how to dress myself for the city. I don’t want to wear shoes. I don’t wish to walk fast. I don’t wish to push to get on the subway train. I don’t wish to smell McDonald’s and see ties and polished shoes in line at chain coffee shops with overpriced coffee.
I don’t wish to blend in to a sea of people existing without stopping to see one another.
I miss waking up in the morning and feeling the cold floor upon my toes.
I miss the smell of the natural gas and sulphur as I light a match and put my silver kettle on the stove. I miss the sound of the beans grinding beneath my finger tips, the smell of Kicking Horse coffee as it sits in the french press.
I miss putting on my big wool sweater that is thick like an old cedar tree and smells like west coast rain, sap and smoke.
I miss going outside in my big gumboots to chop kindling for my morning fire.
I miss the way my axes sit, wedged in the side of the wood shed.
I miss the way the rain drip-drop-drips from the prayer flags above.
I miss sitting, no pants and big wool, bum on the concrete in front of the fire as it begins to humm and purr, drinking coffee and starting the day slowly.
I miss looking outside to see green leaves covered in dew.
I miss the silence that only the woods provides.
I miss the space, that happens—out there, without the subway, the cell phones, the people talking, the cars honking, the lights flashing, the stamp stamp of feet.
Perhaps I live alone in the woods because in cities such as these, we live close to be alone.
Author: Janne Robinson
Editor: Renee Picard
Image: courtesy of the author