J. and I came back to The Pas from Ontario a few days ago after being away for nearly a month. With two animals in the car – our senior, asthmatic cat and our 11-month-old puppy – we traveled over 2,500 kilometers both there and back, driving through Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, the edge of North Dakota and, of course, Ontario.

the cat in her home

It was our first trip home since moving out here and it wasn’t what we expected. It was amazing to reconnect with our families and some of our friends but we weren’t able to see everyone we wanted to, and time sped by in a blur.

Also, it was odd. There was the understanding that things have gone on. Of course, J. and I said to each other. Of course they have, as our lives have proceeded up here, but it still gave me the strangest feeling, at times like I was a ghost in my old life.

I suppose I could simply say there was a sense of displacement. Because it’s so familiar, I felt very much like I belonged back there, on the funky main street of Orillia, except, uh, I don’t. Someone else was living in our former house. We moved around a lot. Our dog was shuttled between five different places, behaving better, I must proudly add, than he does normally at home.

Home.

On Saturday, in the bright evening light, we pulled into our driveway, me with bronchitis, J. exhausted from doing most of the driving, the animals sick of each other after logging a second 12-hour-day in the cramped back seat, and we felt relieved to be back. But does it feel like home? Still not really sure.

I guess, as discussed in previous posts, it takes awhile. And I hope I don’t sound whiny because it really was wonderful to see all the dear people we did, including meeting our new-born nephew (me virtually because of said bronchitis).

Reading at the Leacock Festival was also an incredible treat, as was working with the five brave writers who took my at times intense workshop on dealing with anxiety in order to get to the writing. Important for me too: lessons I must learn and learn again.

And I am already looking forward to going “home” again.

In late September, after the Winnipeg International Writers’ Festival, I’ll be flying back to launch Swarm in Orillia and appear in a few other former haunts. Please subscribe to my blog (over there, in the sidebar on the right) to keep updated on where I’ll be and when).

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