the day we left, and today

This weekend Seb and I left (fled?) Toronto for Peterborough.  From the window of the bus we saw a sign that said Lindsay, 35, and for a minute my heart jumped in excitement thinking about how close we would be to our enchanting winter home.  At night it happened again.  We were sleeping in a tent in a backyard in Peterborough and I thought I heard the whooo-whooo of our owl friend who used to sing to us at nights. 

We returned to Toronto and there was a black chord on my door that meant I could finally connect my camera to my computer, and show you all the pictures of Lindsay move-out day, so long ago.

A quick recap.  Seb and I moved into our winter camping tent in January 2011 by sled, hauling all of our belongings in a blizzardy snowstorm.  We serendipitously, with the help of google maps, and the discovery of an old squatters home, found a safe place to set up camp near the river, in a thick stand of cedar trees.  For four months we lived in those woods, cooking over a tin stove heated with the wood found outside our door, and bearing the frigid mornings.  Each day we snowshoed, (or, when it was april, slogged along in rubber boots) to and from our classes at Fleming College.

In May it became time for us to start our coop in the big city of Toronto.  On move-out day my parents came with a canoe to help us move our belongings from our tent to the highway by river.  It was similar to what my hero, Elliot Merrick,  did during his year of following trappers in Canada’s North- in by sled, out by canoe (only we didn’t build our own canoe… yet:))

Every trusty mason jar full of dried teas or rice or beans, every pair of wool socks, every memory of that winter was packed away in our rubbermaids, which were then packed in a truck, and driven away.  Us plastic gypsies, on our way to the no-plastics house in Toronto, left no evidence of ourselves except for a couple piles of ashes from our stove, and a bed of cedar branches that had once been our floor.

Bewildered, bed-bugged, and busied by the big city we have not written a word since we arrived.  The bed-bugs are gone, all that was bewildering seems a little less so, and we are becoming accustomed to the busyness that is us in this city.  40 hours of work a week, a wedding this weekend, visiting friends the next, another wedding, a dinner party, late night kitchen chats with our 8 housemates… we have become as bad or worse as the rest of Toronto seems at filling our schedules to the max.   Piles of unorganized papers are strewn all over a desk we never use, our clothes are always thrown in drawers without folding, and we never unpack enough to hang up all the pretty things we could have on our walls.   But we are living, learning, adapting, playing, and praying a little bit every day in the high hopes that we will leave this city affected, but unharmed; that we will look back on this time and say that we listened to the world around us as much as we did during those months in the woods.

So here we share some pictures of the move-out day:

packing up

“all our neighbours are dead”

intrepid explorers

you, me, and the cedar trees

bringin’ down the house

the cedar floor

papa jack

a necessary snack attack


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