Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day Twenty-Eight: Impossible Things

My dad is eating fresh bread toast and drinking coffee at the kitchen table; Mom is still asleep in Arwen's room. Michael had jumped out of bed, just after he'd lain down. "I forgot to make bread," he'd said. Wish I hadn't ended the evening grumpy with him. Wish I hadn't warred with Victoria within the first five minutes of her red-headed entrance. But everything in between -- 22 seated together in the dining room; holding hands for prayer; sweet potato stuffing; golden brown, ninety-nine cent a pound turkey; Moira playing piano; cousins jumping on the trampoline; Brian playing guitar; stories in a circle by the fireplace; Baby Neve squealing; Janet knitting; points against dad in crocinole; pie, pie, and more pie -- was perfect.

Thanksgiving weekend at my back, I step into the misty morning. I walk down the lane and go right instead of left, wondering if there might be a picture as the sun rises. I snap soft mist minus sunshine and reverse direction.

I'm wearing two jackets, and I'm too warm once I pick up the pace. I've taken a cup of coffee in a mug that Victoria left in the envoy. Must be Andrea's or one of the roommates. I still have a half full cup as I leave the trees. Where will I pose my mug today? I don't plan to bring this one again, so it needs to be somewhere perfect. I pass the first tree clump and examine the view of the mist to the east or the treaty grounds to the west. Not here, I think, plus I want to finish the coffee.

I walk and remember the two books I started reading last night. Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner and Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden. The first was sent to me through bookcrossing.com and the second I promised to read with a grade twelve student. Crossing to Safety is set in lake country in the 70's and the speaker is an aging literary phenomenon out for an early morning stroll which reminds me of my walks. Three Day Road begins with an aging woman who is picking up a nephew -- by canoe -- after his service in world war one. She has paddled six days upstream through the bush from her home in Oji-Cree territory, and I've already melted into her perspective of the bush being the known and the town being foreign. I hadn't know which one to start, but then I'd thought, people watch more than one tv show at a time, why can't I read one and then turn the chanel. I'm wondering how they'll inform me in unison.

I see the lonely trees on the treaty grounds, past the arbour. A perfect place for my mug shot. I walk into the ditch and cross-country. The sun is on my shoulder, a bright ball of happiness. In the tree I hang the white ceramic; being sure to frame most of the quotation, I focus and snap.

There is no use trying, said Alice; one can't believe impossible things. "I dare say you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." -- Lewis Carroll

Six Impossible Things: in Three Day Road Niska sees a giant beast with a metal nose sniffing along the metal tracks; a protagonist, successful and aging, may wonder if his life had any meaning; a man who knows how to run a bread maker may have a grumpy wife; a confident daughter may think she is never good enough for her critical mother; newcomers are helped by first people and the mythology of Thanksgiving is born; treaty walks.


  1. Sheena,

    This is so thoughtful, and eloquent, and the photographs perfectly accentuate the text. Most inspiring, my friend.


  2. Six impossible things: pumpkin pie for breakfast (lest it go bad!), a quiet house full of boys, October warmth, the beautiful death of leaves falling to the ground, hugs from teenage boys, tears of thankfulness.

  3. thank you Sheena! I just finished Three Days Road- I hope you love it too!!