In the Pas, 2012

Well, here we go: after four and a half years in the beautiful north, we are saying ‘see you later’ to The Pas.

Last weekend, in the midst of packing boxes and preparations for our yard sale, J. got a call and, to make a long story short, early this week he was offered a job in Winnipeg.

It’s a great job, and one that is perfect for my amazing husband, in his career field of special education. It’s a new challenge and, while he’s sad about leaving the amazing school community he’s worked with here, he’s eager to get started.

Plus, as if a sign, the new school yard edges onto Chisholm Drive, a street named for my forebears and beloved family, a coincidence that made me think that maybe my brother (who believed so strongly in synchronicity), my Uncle Clive and my cousin, Sean, were huddled together in the afterlife, scheming (they were all schemers…), helping us out.

I’m eager to move, although also a bit sad. I will miss the beauty of the north, the laid back attitude in The Pas, the quick access to nature, and, of course, the good friends we’ve made.

But I’m also so excited to access a larger market for teaching writing, hosting writing events, coaching, not to mention all the activities that support my creative soul: joining a writing group, going to readings, taking workshops in various arts, having my writing friends over for G & Ts on our (yet to be found) deck or joining them for walks in the Assiniboine Forest.

I’ve started making a bucket list of other things that are possible down there: picking up a membership at the Art Gallery of Winnipeg, taking a beekeeping course at U of M (who knew?), and finally being able to enrol our crazy, now nearly five-year-old dog in classes to learn some listening (and behaving) skills. It turns out there’s even a special class specific for pig-headed Bully breeds like him at a training facility just north of the city! And J. has (of course) already begun eyeing canoe routes an hour’s drive to the east, in our beloved Canadian shield country.

The next month will be a whirlwind as we clarify the beginnings of this new chapter, including buying another house just outside Winnipeg, with lots of space and trees. We’re hoping to get most of these things done so that we can enjoy August in the north (and so I can sit down and calmly finish my novel revisions!).

I remember the autumn of 2012 when J. got the job up here and how – through all the crazy work to sell our house, get packed, load up, have our final Christmas at home as Ontarians and haul our cat and our stuff 2,500 kilometers through a northern winter landscape – I kept in my mind an image of the quieter, peaceful times to come in our new house.

I’m doing the same thing now: staying focused on the positive, knowing that all of this effort will deliver us to the new start I’ve wanted for awhile now. Closer to family (never again the crazed six-hour drive south from The Pas to fly back home, trying to process the news that a precious one has died) and to the things that I love: loads of art and culture, a bunch of other working writers, and even (I’m going to be busy!) a knitting group in which I can finally learn the skills to tackle socks!

Once again, as I did when we were preparing to move here, I will quote the wisdom of Manitoba writer Margaret Laurence as we find our way south to a new start in prairie lands: “The wind will bear me, and I will drift and settle, and drift and settle. Anything may happen, where I’m going.” I’ll keep you posted.