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Two Roads

Posted by Cheryl on Sep 5, 2011 in Main Categories

I’d like to make a pitch for the road less travelled. Because, cialis sale listen, sick can you hear that? That’s the sound of the September Expressway and we’re all travelling up the on ramp! Smack into the hustle and bustle of one of the busiest times of year for just about everyone – exciting, productive, all good but hectic and kind of harried. For anyone who’s been fortunate enough to jump off the treadmill for some lazier, summertime solace, well, pretty soon we’ll be speeding up the main thoroughfare of life and work again; stay on track, keep up the pace, keep your eyes on the road, and above all, keep moving! It’s a good time of year, lots of important stuff going on; but it can take over everything and that doesn’t always feel good or healthy. So right now, I’m making myself a promise to remember that it’s not ALL about life being a highway.

I just drove over 4000 kilometres out to Halifax and back so I’ve spent hours and days this past week on some of the major highways across five of our provinces. Five instead of four because, two thirds of the way there, we decided to abandon the original plan for the day which was to jump back on the main highway and get to Halifax as quickly as possible. Instead, we turned east, drove down a small, windy road, across Confederation Bridge, and went to have lunch on Prince Edward Island. Fish and chips with my son, on a sundrenched deck by the ocean – such a great idea! It was just one of the little side trips we spontaneously journeyed down when we decided that we could and/or needed to slow down a bit and see what life could be like just off the main road. The day before, we had taken a left turn and had breakfast at a sweet little café, way down by the St. Lawrence River in the artist colony of St. Jean Port Joli; then ended the day bypassing Moncton to travel a smaller road which took us just outside the village of Shediac. We got there in time to drive to the end of a point of land and sit silently together to watch the sun set on the Atlantic.

After making sure Sebastian was happy and settled back in his own life at university, I headed out to make the return trip to Ontario; had to be back before the post Labour Day rush. Early on the second morning, I left my hotel in Fredericton and asked the desk clerk if there was a road west that followed the St. John River, instead of going back up onto the highway. She looked at me completely confused; surely you want directions to the provincial highway, she said – it’s new, it’s big, it’s faster! You’ll get where you’re going in no time! No, I explained, I want a small, slower road that’s been around for awhile – this morning, I don’t want to get “there” in “no time” – I actually want…..here…..and….. time.

Her good intentions were not much help at all, but I found the road anyway. My coffee and I and some Italian morning music set out for the road less travelled. The views of this ancient river in the morning light were just glorious. There weren’t that many cars so I could drive at a speed that gave me time to really look around. I could feel my heart rate slow and I took a deep breath. My eyes lingered on all the elements of this space, so very different from the efficient highway whose only purpose is to get from A to B. On this road, the path itself is part of the place and ALL of it is part of the journey and the people who are making it. I became more conscious of myself, alive and happy on this beautiful morning, travelling peacefully on this quiet byway.

I slowed down a bit as I passed close by a small, simple cemetery. The collection of weathered headstones announced the souls that had lived in this community probably a couple of hundred years ago. I swear I could hear them whisper, “We were once here.” Around a few curves and over a hill, high up on a rock face only a metre from the road, I came across a different kind of memorial. Painted for everyone to see was a declaration of young love – “Phil and Cathy, Forever” – all enclosed in a big heart, holding that youthful certainty safe, absolutely positive that, “We will be here!”

It wasn’t long before my drive along the river came to a close and I reluctantly hit the blinker to turn left; time to return to the main highway. I took one last look at those flowing waters and I promised myself to hold on to some of the wisdom offered to me along that short side route. Honour and respect the past; imagine and believe fiercely in the future; and every once in awhile, make a short detour, whatever that might look like, and take the time to feel fully present. Just BE for a little while – remember, and say out loud, “I am here.”

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