Notes From The Road
by Catherine MacLellan
Through my window I can see the long grass around the trees, scattered pine cones and the long autumn sun falling towards me. The apples are done, as is my garden, and now I wait the for the sound of the tractors to quiet and the beautiful blue herons to fly south.
There may be nothing sweeter than a soft autumn day, with a quiet breeze and hours to contemplate. Normally, at this time of year, I’m running the roads getting some touring done before the snow hits. This fall I’m just quietly waiting for winter, walking the woods behind my house. I should be enjoying this, but it turns out I’m going a little mad. What should I do with all this time? Sure, there are many things I could be doing: taxes, tour planning, preparing for a new record, baking pies, making jam. Instead, I’m twiddling my thumbs, procrastinating and wishing I was on the road.
Soon enough I’ll be heading out to Whitehorse for the first time and then traveling through the interior of BC and parts of Alberta for a tour, but this was the time I had set aside for making a record and I have been struggling with the reality that it is not happening. The business side of my career is winning this battle, other peoples schemes are toppling mine.
Truth be told, this happens just about every time I have made a record. I start into the project and then there is always some roadblock along the way that holds me up for weeks or months. Yet, I never learn the lesson here—everything happens in its own time, it can’t be forced.
To the seasons of the year, I may finally be adapting. Thirty years of spring, summer, winter, fall and spring again - that’s all it took to get used to it, a third of a lifetime. I find less and less I ache at the ending of summer, dread the long Canadian winter or complain about the dirty snow of springtime. The seasons turn so quickly now.
If I can manage seasonal transitions, perhaps someday I will succeed in accepting daily ones or hourly ones. Someday I may even learn to let go of my plans when it is obvious they aren’t going to happen. Will I ever truly learn to accept what is right in front of me? I daydream about things I could do, choices I could make if the circumstances were different. I need to learn how to be here, now, with the reality that is in front of me.
Shifting from a full house to a quiet one is another transition I’m working on. With Isabel in school and all my days free I have been struggling with depression and anxiety. Not so long ago I was complaining about my lack of personal time and freedom, but it is true that the grass is always greener on the other side. Perhaps the best part of my internal suffering aligned with this free time is the amount of songwriting I’ve been doing. With the album on hold for now, I’m filling my pantry with songs for fallow times.
At this time of planning, preparing for the cold winter nights that lay before us, stocking the shelves and harvesting the last of the garden and fields, there is the sense of death and (soon to be) rebirth. As I tuck the garlic into its bed for next year’s harvest, I am reminded of all that nature provides for us and how much I have to be thankful for. It is such a gratifying diversion to have something to plant in the soil when everything else is being wrenched from the earth.