One year later, I found myself wondering, what part of our journey had ended, and what part was continuing? Although living just miles from where I grew up, I was still travelling, without going anywhere. That, I think is the key. Travelling is a state of mind, not a destination.
Just a couple of months after arriving in Ontario, we bought a house. At 50 years old, it had not been well treated, and was the house in our small village that people would avert their eyes from as they drove past, not wanting to see its shabby demeanour or be tainted by its ‘white trash live here’ vibe. In fact, much to our favour, it was a power of sale, being sold as is, and was going for the price of the old mortgage.
Part of our welcome to our new home had been the inadvertent pool in the basement. Never mind the real one out back full of trash and old tires, an easy dumping ground for people too lazy to get up at 7:30 to take the trash out, it seemed the January thaw was eager to make its way into the cellar through every crack it could find. We had to wonder what we had gotten ourselves into. “Everyone’s basement floods in Rosemont”, they said, “That’s the way of it. Clay soil, no drainage.”
Such pronouncements were of no comfort to us, with no working sump pumps. Luck was on our side, however, as the house hadn’t yet passed to our possession, and the bank that owned it paid for the cleanup, and the new sump pumps.
All that was left to do was repair and paint all of the walls, remove the remnants of the old rotten flooring, install new flooring, replace all the appliances, rebuild all of the kitchen cabinetry, replace all of the doors (inside and out) and windows, remove the rotting patio, paint the exterior, remove all of rotten wood paneling in the basement, resurface and re-shingle the entire roof, and haul off all of the debris, including the pool. It was an epic work in progress, and with a global economic meltdown bearing down on us, it seemed like it might take a little longer than anticipated to get a return for our investment and hard work. By that point, scarcely a year from arriving in Ontario, we were eager to sell the home, say farewell to my family, and move back out to BC, where the weather and the social climate were more suited to our temperaments. It seemed that fate had other plans in store for us, and we were stationed there for the indefinite future, at least until the market picked up again.
In the meantime, I had been employed by my father, helping him to build a new home. Some may scoff at the idea of starting a new home at the age of 76, but my father is one to pursue his dreams with little care for what others may say. Severing a small chunk of their massive property for their old house, they chose a prime spot on the remainder of their land to build the new house. We had been working tirelessly on it for half a year, and still had the interior to build and finish. “You are never too old to dream”, my father said, and I was just beginning to see what he meant. Our trip felt like it was but a dream, one that had granted us the perspective that all we do is built on dreams that we are capable of living in, and making a part of our reality. The dream of reality is the only one worth having. We are not here to be lofty beings of a spiritual nature, removed from the world of flesh and bone. We are here embrace and experience life to its fullest. I can only continue to be grateful for the love and presence of family, love, and home.