Saturday, 11 October 2014


As we near the end of our trip, I find myself in a mood. The RS is worried...was it something he said or did? True, we’ve been getting on each other’s nerves a bit more, lately...that’s inevitable after almost five weeks on the road: 8,000 kilometers of sitting in the cab of a noisy old diesel truck together, 40+ days of calling a 250 square foot box on wheels home, weeks of only intermittent connections with our friends and family. So, yes, it’s time to go home. We both know that.

But the mood is not anger or irritation or impatience. I’ve been casting around for the just the word, and I think I’ve found it: pensive. I’m feeling pensive.

Lovely word, pensive, probably coming from the French pensée, or thought. There are so many words and expressions  that one can use when one refers to thinking: meditating, ruminating, cogitating, contemplating, working the grey matter, reflecting, gerrymandering, blueskying, reasoning, pondering, wondering, considering, ... but I wasn’t doing any of those things. I was being pensive.

Being pensive is what you do when you have no clear goal to achieve with your thinking. You allow thoughts to flit through your mind like butterflies. Some of them land for a bit, and you can observe  them with interest, but there’s no need to capture them and pin them down. Let them go – they’ll be back eventually. Being pensive means you give yourself permission to live in a different world for a while, a world that sometimes doesn’t make a lot of sense, where the pieces don’t quite fit together.  There’s a tinge of melancholia and nostalgia associated with the word, too, at least in my pensive world. Inevitably, the pensive person is not very responsive to outside stimuli, such as a resident sweetie’s attempts at conversation. Sorry, sweetie.

Traveling as we have done has raised all kinds of things to ponder, which will happen on another day, when I’m in a pondering mood rather than being merely pensive. Instead, without judgement or reason, I’d like to share some of those butterfly thoughts with you here:

We love that at least some of this great continent has been set aside and protected from commercial exploitation such as gas and oil drilling, lumbering and mining in national, state and provincial parks. On the other hand, we love that there are big travel centres where we can easily refuel our gas-loving beast so we can go camping and sightseeing in these self-same parks.

I feel like I could keep traveling forever this way. There’s so much more beauty in this world to explore. On the other hand, I want to go home. I miss our beautiful home and family and friends and community.

I love the farmer’s market and small cheese factory we visited – so delightful to be able to buy fresh food directly from the proud makers and growers. On the other hand, I appreciate that when our shopping list includes groceries, an axe, fabric and wine, we’ll be able to stop at a big Supercenter and know we can get them all in one place.

This world is such a beautiful, beautiful place. Amazing. Fantastic. Awesome... We visited Crater Lake this week, and were gobsmacked by the grandeur.

My postcard didn’t even try to capture the scene ... I just copied an old poster of the scene, instead.

On the other hand, what a mess this world is in: – a billion people around the world living in slums on $1 a day (true statistics); Ebola; wars and rumours of wars; a falling Canadian dollar; poverty; crime; not to mention the little annoyance of  people leaving their dog doo-doo in public places.

I won’t get into my thoughts on the resident sweetie, how much I love him, and how crazy he sometimes makes me...and he'd say the same about me, I’m sure.

Being pensive brings out the inconsistencies and incongruities of life – and that, as they say, is life. Reality. Even on a weekend when we count up all our blessings and give thanks, we can’t help but be aware of the disparity and dichotomy within our world. There are many questions to ponder, many situations that call for our response, many changes we can make in our life so that the inequities are addressed more fully, all of us doing something, anything, to let our lights shine.

On the other hand, on this weekend when we count up all our blessings, we can give thanks for this wonderful, crazy, troubled, happy-sad, world that is our home, and for this wonderful, crazy, troubled, happy-sad life we are privileged to live, truly a gift.

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