Wednesday, May 2, 2012

springing on

Mum's first day in the ICU was hard, but she survived. Apparently a bit of psychosis is normal in the elderly after anaesthetic, and she was angry yesterday, especially that she had put herself through this torture again, at 88. But we're sure that she'll forget this bit when she has recovered and is better than ever.

So - relief, if not yet for her, then for us.

I went for a walk at dusk yesterday, in love with my neighbourhood, with spring, with life. A glorious world. Cabbagetown has never looked so beautiful, every tree in bloom, front gardens packed with flowers. I ran into several neighbours - Ryan's baby is now 2 1/2, how did that happen so quickly; young Angeline, a friend of Sam's, is learning to pilot a plane; Riverdale Farm has survived to fight another day. The light was sheer, delicate, fading. So many grand old trees.

My beloved Chris is now spending many hours a day writing his play. He downsized a few years ago to a tiny apartment and has an uncomplicated life. I wrote to tell him how I envied that freedom to work, and he wrote back, "Your life could be so much different if you sold that house. Would you ever downsize?

Perhaps, your greatest accomplishment is not the Jacob Gordin book or the memoir, or being a writer and editor and a teacher. Maybe nothing has taken more work and time than being a homeowner in a very expensive city. All the time that you do work to support that—gardening, finding tenants and most of all, working to pay bills—takes away from a simple easy life that you could have in a small space, if you wanted. 

He's right. But first, though I do not love being a landlady, I do love my work. And second, my name is Beth, which means "house," in Hebrew. I am my house, weighty and time-consuming as it is. Surely not forever, but for now, it's unimaginable to live somewhere else. Right here, right now, in this place. 


  1. I hope your mom continues to heal without too much drama or further risk. And I get what you said about you being your house. When the time is right, you will become something lighter and live accordingly. For now, it sounds like you are loving your neighbourhood and home. And really, isn't that what really matters? Enjoy the springtime weather.

  2. Thanks, Lyn, you're right - the time will come to move, just not now. But I am seriously considering de-cluttering. So I ordered a book about it from the library. That will help.