‘i stand, with arms high
and heart abandoned
in awe of the one who gave it all
…all i am is yours’
The wind is howling at a pitch that I am not quite used to today, threatening to blow my window into a thousand little pieces. Accompanying it is the rain, with drops scattered in complete disarray. All afternoon it’s been like this and my bed and pajamas are far too inviting for a girl who needs to write an essay. When we have days like this, I am reminded of home. Not the emotional feeling of home, but literally, of Smithers. The fall and winter on Vancouver Island is completely different from the ones back home that I remember… the onset of the upcoming season is hinted at by a cold nose, frosty mornings, and the greenery tucking itself away for awhile. Not by ever present cold chills and rain. It’s not that I like one above the other, they are just different. And lately I’ve been missing home; missing Smithers.
When I moved to Calgary, I was bursting at the idea of living in a city. I was not disappointed. It felt like over night, hoodies were not an acceptable piece of clothing and that every place I wanted to go meant a 20-45 minute drive. I also learned a sense of fear that resonated through my veins when I was taking a walk at night or downtown 17th (or downtown in general) when the streets came alive… something that was very new for this small town girl. I adapted, and as I became comfortable living in Calgary and learning the best routes, I wondered if I was beginning to like living in such a grandiose centre or I was just becoming used to it.
Now living in Victoria, I think “wow! 15 mins is NOTHING” when driving from point A to B when comparing it to my prior home. And as far as cities go, it is brilliantly gorgeous. Driving around Oak Bay yesterday, I was mesmerized by the thick green shrubs and flowers and seemingly archaic old buildings that made me feel like I was in a time warp. It is the perfect city size, boasting all of the things you need… just. The. Way. I. Like. It.
And even though summers in Penticton, in 40 degree weather in the middle of vineyards and ice cream stands and beautiful trails and endless possibility, have come near and oh-so-dear to my heart, there is a gentle stirring in my heart when I say it’s “home”. Because it isn’t really.
It’s Smithers and I miss it. There is something so welcoming about knowing if I was walking down the street, there is a 98.7% chance I would see someone I know. Where the town sits at such a beautiful base of a mountain that catches my breath when I drive into town. I miss the moments of summer, at Lake Kathlyn, pulling Jes on the airmattress out into the water because she’s too afraid to touch the weeds with her feet. Or winters on the farm, where quadding through Uncle Orv’s snow maze is quite literally, the greatest risk I probably ever took in my short life. Mild hikes to Twin Falls or scattered, chaotic water fights at the fossil beds. Trail and fort building, Snow-sliding, Hunt-trekking through the forest at the house on Balsam Road; French vanilla cappuccinos, sticky cinnamon buns, and scary movies at the house on Sunny Point; and the endless traffic of my life from one end of town to the other, whether the skating rink, Dad’s carpentry, Driftwood, schools, or places like the ‘Roi’ and the Elks field ball diamonds.
I’ve let myself slip into a cozy blanket of home for the last 20 minutes and I thank you for that. I look at all of the places I’ve gotten to live so far and recognize how vastly different they are, all a mix match of colours, amenities, and perfect beauty, but sometimes I just want to go home for the feeling. I was very much still a kid when we left and I feel like so much life has happened in the interim of being away, but it’s true and still oh-so-deeply nestled in my heart: I am a small town girl, who wants to let my hair down in a tangled mess and be okay with wearing a hoodie, leaving my door unlocked, listening to Mark Perry, and walking to wherever I need to be in the dark when the rest of the town is sleeping.
And in my tiny corner of the world, it rains and the wind howls on. And that’s okay too.
A prairie sunset.
An island storm.
An okanagan sunrise.
And forever the northern skies.
I, saying it for the 8th time on this blog, am unbelievably blessed.