I do not want to forget

From my trip to Toronto last week:

  1. The buildings. So many buildings, some so tall you have to tip your head wayyyyy back to see the tops. So many houses, all side by side, sharing a wall or an alley. Street after street after street of them.
  2. People, people, people. Not just white people. Brown, black, Asian, Indigenous, so many different kinds of people. (It's easy to forget in mostly-white Cape Breton how many different kinds of people there are.) Subway cars full of people, sidewalks walked over hundreds of times an hour. People crossing the street in droves. People, so many, each with their own life, their own plans for the day, none of which I'll ever know. I delight in this and also am a fish out of water in this. I can pass, I can play along and pretend I am a city girl, enough to navigate the Subway. But it is also unnerving, it is not my normal. Still, I like it.
  3. A city so big and sprawling. One neighbourhood of it is the size of my town. Subways, street cars, taxis, Ubers, cars, bikes, people walking. Homes and stores and highways spooling out and out and out into the farmland beyond. Clouds overhead, grey-blue and ominous, threatening thunder later. A humid summer.
  4. Gardens, to match all the houses. Lush, spilling onto the sidewalk. Some manicured and tidy, little postage stamp lawns. Some unruly and moist. A little space is enough. People live with it, this is their life. A house ten feet wide and 50 feet long. I come home to my house in Cape Breton and feel the space of it, luxurious all of a sudden. Wide. 
  5. The way Aleena looked like a Queen in her dresses, the way all the women at the functions sparkled. Literally sparkled, from all the jewels and shiny threads on their clothes. The way each lenhga or garment had a different colour scheme and it all worked beautifully. 
  6. Niagara Falls and the mist like rain, pouring down on my and Laura's heads. I had the red poncho hood pulled down to my eyebrows and my sunglasses pulled down just enough that I could see out, but barely. My sunglasses were covered with water and there was water everywhere. The sunscreen on my face was running into my eyes. The boat was in the middle of the horseshoe of the falls and I have no idea how the Captain could see in the white froth and churning water and the mist that was not mist but pouring rain. The roar of the water, and the excited cries of all the tourists on the boat, all in red ponchos, exclaiming over being drenched, exclaiming over being right in the heart of a huge cataract of water pouring four million cubic feet of water every second. The rush of it, the energy. 
  7. How I feel when I take myself out of my normal and plop myself down in someone else's normal for a week: like anything is possible. Like all the little excuses I tell myself in the run of a day about why I do a certain thing a certain way, or why life is the way it is in Cape Breton, or about what I want to do with my life - are just that, excuses. That I can change it at any time, if I put in the effort. Sometimes the effort isn't physical, it's mental - just working to see something differently. Seeing excuses for what they are and choosing what to keep, what to let go of, what to try to change into something else. 
  8. A special dinner out with two women I have known for thirteen years, at a fancy-ass restaurant where we laughed and laughed and joked with the waiter and caught up on each other's lives and ate fancy-ass onion rings and they split a truffle.
  9. Sour candies, two couches side by side, "Insecure" and "Mistresses", laughter spilling out of us.
  10. A furry, soft, excitable, delightful dog named Harriet.