When I woke this morning, I couldn’t remember where I was. Five nights in Edmonton, then home last night in the dark. There wasn’t the glow of streetlights coming in through the bedroom window but there was something. And looking out, I saw stars. The sky was glittering. And I knew by the position of the moon and the darkness that held the stars that I was home.

Five days of walking with my granddaughter, listening to her talk (have you heard a two year old pronounce “legislature”?), of holding my new grandson, a baby with large dark startled eyes


and long fingers. Days of cinnamon buns (my granddaughter’s favourite treat: we walked to Wild Earth Bakery three times and CafĂ© Bicyclette once) and bison on the side of the highway


and a stop at the world’s largest sausage (12.8 meters high, in case you were wondering):


Snow (winter arrived on Friday in Edmonton, the roads white and the elms in Strathcona soft with new flakes), and magpies everywhere, and many many stories, told or read aloud. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Apply Dappley, page 81 from Over the Hills and Far Away (“It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring.” Again, Grandma, again! Page 81!). Boat building with wooden blocks, though when Auntie Angie suggested adding an aqueduct, there was resistance. No aqueduct, just a boat.

boat building.jpg

But then as we were driving to the airport in our rental car, a video came ten minutes after we’d said goodbye. A small girl with wooden blocks, asking her mum to help her build an aqueduct.

Home is windblown and green. No snow. Last night as we drove down the last hill before we reached our house, a buck walked out of the trees. No magpies. Woodsmoke from our fire this morning. Looking down from the plane as we left Edmonton, I saw the fields all tawny and gold and the ploughed ones black with a dusting of snow. It could be a quilt, I thought. Something to stitch the distance between us and them, to keep alive the feel of their skin, as soft as velvet, to warm us when our own winter arrives.

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