fall

by Rian

These nights involve quite a bit of tossing and turning. I feel like the princess and the pea. Except instead of one small legume under many many mattresses it is a watermelon growing inside my abdomen, pushing my stomach up into my ribcage and interfering with my usual capacity to eat all of the ice cream. The watermelon is also testing its limbs and the dancing in my belly can sometimes make falling back asleep difficult. I don’t mind though- I’m too thrilled that our child has legs and arms and muscles and is trying them out to be annoyed by the lost winks.

I find myself marveling at my squirming belly and this whole process frequently. It is safe to say I have never been more aware of my own biology. Some people may think that science can take the magic out of things, but the sheer mass of things that had to happen in just the right order, amounts and at just the right time to make all of this work is nothing short of incredible. The amount of things we just don’t know about this whole process is also humbling. There are so very many intricacies to marvel at in all of this. And this critter inside of me is just one small part of one way to reproduce, in all the world, of all the creatures and life out there, all the seed making, egg laying, wonders, this is just one way a mammal can do it. It is safe to say I am simultaneously nerding out and gobsmacked with wonder while I’m not sleeping or eating (my other two main concerns these days).

Our house is happening. Drywall is being hung as I speak. Our walls will look like real walls. We have picked paint colours (a step I have been anxiously awaiting since the beginning of our planning). Even more exciting than colouring our walls, is that once that step is done- we can move in.

It has been so SO long since we lived in our own space, over a year. I have forgotten what my favourite mug feels like. I can unpack the quilts my great grandmother made, and the wool blankets my great great grandmother wove. We can put our books on shelves. We can stock our cupboards. We can sit down and relax, and not worry about living among other people’s things, or when we might have to pack things up again and move on to the next housesit. After a year+ of living out of a laundry basket and a few backpacks- I may even be most excited for a dresser. (My mother will not believe this as in my formative years all my clothes lived on the floor.)

Needless to say, the idea that we could move in, unpack, get set up, BEFORE we have the baby- is thrilling. Just as thrilling is knowing that after two years of hard work and penny pinching we will finally be out there in the field and the forest, where we, and our three dog beasts, are happiest.

Also thrilling is the amount of food we’ve harvested from our garden. Three large braids of onions, heaps of kale and cabbage for freezing, many many potatoes, and a load of tomatoes ripening and readying to be made into tomato soup for freezing. I’ve been roasting squash from local farmers to make into soup this morning, our house smells like fall and orange. I think I’m going to have to use some of it to make a pie. Its a damp grey day, dappled in falling yellow leaves with the acidic smell of high bush cranberries in the air. That smell is my grandfather’s smell. Every fall he would make high bush jelly, staining his hands and nearly all the tea towels bright crimson. He would smell of fall walks and tart decay for days. I will never see one of those bright glowing berries without thinking of him.

We’ve dried mint and peppermint for tea, sage for seasoning, collected low bush cranberries and blueberries for freezing, we’ve picked many neon rose hips, drying them for tea as the nights grow colder.  The freezer is full of chum salmon fillets fished by a friend. The harvest season has meshed well with my nesting urges. Folding tiny baby things while preserves bubble on the stove has been incredibly satisfying (naturally I’m barefoot and in the kitchen while this is happening). Though we’ve not stopped our hiking and adventuring.

On my birthday last week, I climbed the ridge that borders the East edge of our property. I may be getting older, I may be 7 and a half months pregnant, but I can still climb a hill, dammit. I chose what I thought was a reasonable face to ascend. Meanwhile, Chris, unbeknownst to me, stopped his work insulating the walls to watch me with binoculars, planning how he would possibly find me and carry me out if I were to fall. He is good one. He knows better than to tell me I can’t do something, but also watches to make sure I’m okay. He calls me a mama bear because I, in my frequent stops and pauses, graze aimlessly on the cranberries that cover every hill. I am slower these days, more cautious, less certain of my own gravity, but I climbed out of the spruce and into the sage and poplar, sat on an outcrop and looked out over our land, into the Tintina trench and at the Ogilivie mountains, already sporting snow. It was a great birthday present to myself. I love my friends, my family, and Chris, but I also love exploring and tromping on my own. I am so excited for this kid to arrive, but I have also been savoring these moments on my own before I find myself with a new constant companion in this child.

Dawson has slowed down, our pace is changing. Gone are the summer workers, save the brave and the few committing to their first Yukon winter. The tourists are dwindling, which means driving is not so dangerous- there are no longer seniors at every turn standing in the middle of the street taking photos, seemingly unaware that though the streets are dirt, they are functional and filled with traffic. The frantic energy brought on by the high season for tourism and mining has gelled. The seasonal restaurants and hotels are either closed or closing in the next two or three weeks. Talk has turned to snow, freeze up, tropical vacations. Woodpiles are growing and woolies have come out of storage. It is an incredible time of year. It is delicious. The afternoons are bright and sunny, gold as the birch and poplar on the hills. Folks may pity us our dark nights and deep freezes, but we also have the most marvelous falls, they hit hard, they move fast, but those first wiffs of woodsmoke and flashes of northern lights are nearly enough to make you long for -50, because you know that fall has to happen first.

-I’m somewhat technologically challenged these days, and so this post is scant in the photo department. If you’d like some images to go along with these words, please visit my instagram profile, here: http://instagram.com/buckbrushed-

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