The adventure begins! We had been planning on leaving Tuesday, Aug. 10 in the early-ish morning, so that we could get to Winnipeg with time left to visit family before moving on to Thunder Bay. That was the plan, but we discovered that packing up all your worldly goods (how I do love that phrase "all my worldly goods") and cleaning the house after yourself is a huge task. At 10 am we still had all kinds of stuff spread out on the lawn in piles, and because Dave's motorbike had not sold, we had to get an extra trailer to attach to our moving truck to bring it along too. So we packed and cleaned and did little odd errands until finally, around 2pm, we finally got out of town. And this is how we travelled. Here is our truck (and Dave who needs to stop slouching like he's 80):
Here are the boys, with their DVD players (they also had sticker books and toys and snacks), travelling in the moving truck with Dad:
Here is Emma in the back of the car with me. We tried her forward facing for a couple of days, hoping it would make the trip better for her, but she didn't like it. I guess it felt to vulnerable.
After two days with lots of screaming (do you see the look of desperation? "Please, let me out!") I flipped her around and put a quilt in the window so she was shaded from the sun and the view, and she was much happier.
Well, with much stopping and starting and chattering over the walkee talkees, and several phone calls to report on our ridiculously slow progress to my brother, we finally got to Winnipeg at about 2am. Driving at night, by yourself, when you have been up since 6am and went to bed the night before at 2am on perfectly flat roads is pretty awful. Especially when the car stereo face has been stolen, so you can't even listen to any music. I had heard tell that introverts love this kind of space and silence, but I found it mind numbing.
Since we hadn't had a chance to visit the night before, we at least got to chat with my brother for a few hours. He was nice enough to skip a few hours of work, and we had coffee and breakfast together. Then we stopped by and said bye to Kym and Jeff and Sam (and to meet sweet little baby Clare) before we finally got out for the day. It was hot and the driving seemed to take forever.
As you get towards the Eastern end of Manitoba, the geography starts to change. Instead of open prairie fields and wide empty skies, you begin to get more forests. Before you've reached the Ontario border, the Northern Shield has come to greet you. I don't think I've ever felt happier to see birch trees and barren rock faces. The landscape was telling my heart that I was home.
I think that the geography we live in during our youth stays with us throughout our life. I know whenever I need solace I seek water -- usually a lake. The sound of the water lapping, or the banging together of freight cars, or the humm of a grain elevator all speak to me of home.
Similarly, driving through Eastern Manitoba and Northern Ontario set my heart singing. I was so excited to be reunited with the rugged terrain of my childhood. I remembered peeling bark off of birch trees to write notes and messages. I remembered clambering across open rock faces out at my cousins' acreage and scrabbling through the forest until I recognized the rocks and the trees and could find my way back to their house.
By the time we got to Kenora we were hot and desperately in need of a break. So despite being so very far behind schedule, we stopped at a little park with a beach on the edge of Lake of the Woods for a refreshing roam / swim. Everyone took what they needed to be refreshed from the stop. Dave had a nap. Andrew pretended he was an archeologist gathering ancient spears.
Aaron splashed in the water, squished the sand through his fingers and gloried in the coolness he felt.
Emma crawled through the water and her squirminess and frustration dissipated.
I reconnected with the water. It seems that whenever I find myself in a time of transition, I find the water. Watching my children play and letting my feet dig into the sand of a "real" lake was really restoring for me after the days of packing, sorting, and saying goodbyes.