The Most Wonderful Time

Myrtle MacPhee makes great mustard pickles. Her husband Allan is the king of flaky pie crust. They and their four kids are awesome neighbours here in Hartsville. We couldn’t ask for better, actually. I’m so proud that Jasper has this amazing double life; Ottawa and all its urban benefits, and back-to-basics PEI. Don’t get me wrong, though, I don’t mean to dis basics. Myrtle had us over for dinner this evening. She’d prepared an all-day beef roast, cooked at 250 in a deep covered pan for 8 hours. The meat was falling off the bone delicious, and even better soaked in thick gravy. Jasper was like a vacuum cleaner. He asked where the meat came from. “The back barn,” Myrtle said.

There’s something so incredibly satisfying about knowing where your beef comes from. If I lived here, I doubt I’d ever eat a veggie pita again.

We awoke this morning to a winter wonderland. 10cm of fresh snow that had fallen gently overnight, blanketing everything around in brilliant fluffy whiteness. Jasper and I threw on our clothes (neither of us thought to bring boots) and dashed out to sully the pristine landscape with our footprints. We ran down the drive to where we’d left the car the night before, up the drive just far enough to avoid the plow blade. The trees were loaded with snow, and as the sky cleared and the wind picked up — carrying glistening puffs of sparkling white into the sunny air — I just couldn’t believe my eyes, and my luck. It was just so beautiful.

Then Jasper watched a DVD and I had a bath, surrounded by snow, with the bath house door wide open. It never fails; every time I sink into that tub I shake my head and just thank whatever force or god or crazy luck led me to an abandoned clearcut in PEI. It’s great to feel such gratitude, to share it.

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