Right. In front of me.

Every now and then things just feel right.

  • I finally bought an iPod, after a whole lotta wasting time fretting about it. See, I’m the kind of guy who can order and pay for a cedar porch or outdoor shower and grape arbour from 1200 km away, but spending $160 on a digital music device paralyzes me. The iPod rocks. I’m running again, and now I can toss the old Sony mini-disc playlist. The disc in rotation features In-flight Hungarian, the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir and The Petshop Boys.

  • Even my mother noticed how I have less stuff around the house. I’ve been downsizing for months. I LOVE IT. Last week I finally tackled the laundry basket that’s been under the work bench in the back corner of the basement. It was full of stuff dumped repeatedly from the junk drawer in the kitchen. Old matches. Dental floss. Used birthday candles. Expired (in 1999) condoms. And the gold ring that my grandfather was wearing while I held his hand as he died. I thought it was gone forever, sucked up a vacuum or something. Then there it was mixed in with some old change and broken laundry pins.

  • The rental season is over. Tonight I talked to my housekeeper’s son Jake, the young guy who built the outdoor shower this summer. He’s going up on the roof this weekend to sock a good bead of caulk along the seam of the trim at the peak of the cedar shingles. They’re 11 years old now and I don’t want water getting in there, or around the flashing of the skylight over the bed in the loft. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth keeping a place so far away. Then I came down stairs and received an e-mail from a Walden guest. Mary chose my place because she’d lived in another Walden cabin on Lake Simcoe, until he teacher and writer husband Ron died last year of cancer. She said she felt drawn to my Walden, but was amazed by the little things that struck her when she walked in, things that were the same as at her Walden: The blue wine glasses in the window, the grape vine wreath, the snowshoes on the wall. She said our Walden Logbook was the same one she’d used, and that she caught herself reaching for my oil skin coat on the back of the door, realizing then that hers was actually still in the car. She was writing to say thanks. She left a book of Ron’s poems in the cabin.

“Are all occupants of Walden cabins somehow woven from the same yarn?” she asked.

I dunno, but it sure feels like it.

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