Takes Me Home

I love my bed. Not the specific bed that I currently occupy at night now, but “my” bed, in general terms. It is my safe place, my place of comfort, my place of big ideas and small wishes, my place of remembering. I tuck myself into my bed when I am sad, when I feel disconnected, when I am homesick. My bed takes me home. Home.

I remember asking Annie, when I was little, or more correctly when I was young, because I’ve always been little, how her milk cows knew which stall to go into when Annie opened the barn door. She smiled at me, that wonderful loving I-see-you smile of hers, and said, “It’s their home. Of course, they know where home is.” Home.

Remember the forts you built on your bed when you were a kid? My bed was tucked into a corner with walls on two sides and a closet closing in half of a third side, perfect for fort building. I piled blankets high and created a tiny den to climb into with my flashlight and Lone Ranger books and sometimes Nancy Drew and the Bobbsey Twins. I can feel it even now, the safety of it, my breath lengthening and my heart slowing its beat, all the lights out except my small flashlight or my fluorescent study lamp on the little bedside cupboard my Grandpa Stewart made for me the Christmas I was eight. Home.

Mother Nature hit us last night with a heavy-duty storm, a Nova Scotia dump of snow. I went out before bed to shovel out my driveway, in an effort to keep ahead of the accumulation of snow. It felt a bit like bailing the Atlantic Ocean to keep the tides out. When I got up this morning the pile of snow on the other side of my porch door was overwhelming to say the least. Had I not shovelled last night I doubt very much I could have opened the door. When I looked out at the wall of snow that was waiting for me, I wanted to go back to bed, to crawl into a freshly made fort and refuse to come out until spring. However, that wasn’t going to work. I strapped on my Joan of Arc armour and got on with the business of living in a land of snowstorms.

I have made two stabs at the pile of snow and my driveway is now cleared out. The snowplow went by and left a great wall of snow for me to deal with. I had to laugh at the incredible mountain of snow, the snowplow guy and I exchanging laughs and waves on his way by. But … he circled around and came back to make three pushes at the wall of snow in my driveway, leaving a manageable pile for me. I put my hand on my heart and waved as he zoomed off. Home.

I was remembering, while I shovelled, the snowstorms of my childhood. They were spectacular. We couldn’t wait to get outside to see what we might create with the mountain-sized drifts. I tried to find that enthusiasm this morning and though I maybe came up a bit short, I did feel the sensation of awe as the sun reflected off the snow and reminded me that life does come with snowstorms. So, as I shovelled, I journeyed home to the farm on Wilson Road, the mighty Rainy River as my backdrop. Like Annie’s cows, my heart knows the way home.

When I crawl into my bed tonight, I will feel warm gratitude for the snowplow guy doing something he had no obligation to do and extended his kindness only because he could, no other reason. As I snuggle down inside my heavy blankets, remembering the joy of tired muscles from snow fort building and play in childhood, I will think of the words of Ram Dass when he says, “We’re all just walking each other home.” Let’s meet up there. See you at home. Home.

wendistewart@live.ca

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