Curled roots with deep dug holds in the dirt,
the dirt and rock
of the place I call home.
This land has twisted itself into every fibre of my being.
Growing up riding
on Dad’s shoulders, hikes through
Awenda and summer nights spent
learning how to imitate a barn owl
“Who cooks for you, who cooks for you, who cooks for you allllll”.
Setting fires, long lazy debates about
log cabin or teepee styles,
an afternoon spent rubbing sticks together
and wishing for sparks.
holding snakes and thinking
how cool it is to live in Canada.
Swimming until my parents swore I must be part fish,
doing everything to be on the water.
Put me in a rowboat, a sailboat, a canoe,
I need to be out there.
Laughter ringing through the woods,
recounting tales that made me known as
Long hilly trails,
tears and sweat under a solo portaged canoe,
the moment when you finally see the water again.
Weeks of my life spent in the wilderness of Temagami.
Months of my life spent on the Island of Beausoleil.
All the years of my life, spent on the rocky, hilly, grassy, sandy, forest filled, sunshine blazing, cold air in the morning country of Canada.
Now, I wake up in the middle of the night,
to firetrucks raging down the road outside my downtown window.
My tent stays wrapped, buried in my closet, next to my backpack.
Sometimes I wear my hiking boots to school.
My souls cries out for
trees and wide spaces
for sunrises and quiet places.
For rainy afternoons on the back porch with a guitar,
for heart to hearts in a tent in the dark,
for swearing we were about to be eaten by a bear
and actually being woken by a raccoon in the cabin.
For quiet songs by the campfire,
glazed eyes entranced by the dancing flames and crackling leaves.
For moments of feeling small, laying
under the stars.
Talking about the future
or wondering who used to do the same things
I can’t feel the earth beneath all this concrete.
The buildings wrap tendrils
around my lungs,
make it hard to breathe deeply;
they make it hard to truly be me.