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On each visit home, I have an internal check list of things I like to see and do. It’s essentially a list of old habits, so I suppose in a tangential way it’s like flicking the light switch three times before I leave the house: I cannot feel like I’ve completed my visit until I do all these things.

One of them is go to our country property. This is uaully the hardest to get done because I can’t go by myself. I don’t know how to get there, and it’s no fun on my own. And then there’s the ferociousness of the nature there, well, it’s ferocious for someone who is ideally suited to live in a place where pigeons are the wildlife and you can always get a taxi or noodles. You can see how the country is a bit of a stretch for me.

But never mind, I’ve taken up long walks in the UK, and so I feel this isn’t too much of a stretch. Well, this time it was.

As The Mom correctly notes, there was nearly a SNAFU with my parking. This is because I’m used to having to wedge the car in between a construction pit and a poorly parked Smart car. I’m not used to a grassy ditch. Crazy D and L’il Sis are much, much better at this sort of thing than me.

Anyhow, The Mom and I got out of the car and negotiated the entrance to what is now essentially where we keep hay fever: the goldenrod was taller than The Mom (not much of a feat given her shrimpiness but still, notable) and there were Christmas trees in all shapes and sizes sprouting up everywhere you turned.

The Mom could not have been more delighted by the Christmas trees. As we walked deeper into the the weed and grasses, she kept running into them and exclaiming how lovely they were.

She was not wrong. They were adorable. This reminded me of the many times when I managed to convince the entire family (no small feat) to go in the winter and chop down our own Christmas tree. This is the sort of thing I love to do because it gives me the chance to put on a jaunty and ridiculous outfit (as I no longer, well never really had, proper winter gear) and announce, “I’m going into the woods with an axe!”

There are so few moments when that is a reasonable thing to say.

But as it wasn’t winter, and we hadn’t brought an axe, there was no chopping that day. Instead, we wandered in as far as we could go.

At some point, The Mom said, “The ground feels squishy!”

And I noticed that the inside of L’il Sis’s old boots (the ones with the hole in the back that double as The Mom’s gardening boots and my winter boots) were getting wet.

“I can’t see the pond!” I cried.

“Stop! Don’t go any further!”


I turned to look behind me and all I saw was The Mom’s hat.

“What if we miss and wind up in what’s left of the pond?” The Mom shouted.

“The beavers will eat us!”

“They’re herbivores,” The Mom stated.

“Oh.” I looked ahead and didn’t see what I was expecting to see, namely the pond. “Maybe we should stop here. I mean, we haven’t a dog nor have we got Crazy D.”

We turned around and amused ourselves by taking picturees. Mostly of tall weeds and grass, but also of history. Our history is tied to this place, and we wanted to capture it.

As we were leaving, we were buoyed with confidence, though. As we’d managed to get here under our own steam, and managed to not get caught in the swamp.