Warm November Morning

Photo of a lake with patches of brown vegetation in it, a large coniferous tree in the foreground on the right, and a cloudy blue sky above. A forest of leafless trees with a few conifers is visible on the horizon on the other side of the lake.

I was standing still on a dock soaking in the sun. It was November. It was morning. I closed my eyes and felt my face be warmed by the November morning sun. The sky was blue and so bright it almost hurt. A slight wind made small waves on the water that sparkled. I exhaled. I felt my nervous system settle for the first time in months. All was quiet. There was no one around. I knew I couldn’t hold on to this moment of peace forever. I knew I’d have to leave this place, and life would continue to rock me around, but for the first time in a while, I also knew I would be all right.

That November morning was the last morning of a long weekend in the woods with my mother. It was the first time I felt rested in months. I’d gotten all caught up in my crazy life in the city. I’d been consumed by a stressful relationship that wasn’t working. I had stopped sleeping. So, I decided to spend the weekend in the woods with my mother. We sat around the fire. We roasted vegan sausages on a grate under the arbor. I slept in the loft. I walked up and down the long hill driveway, hauling objects in crates and carts. We played gin rummy and got silly, laughing the evening away before going to bed early. We discovered we were both on the same page of Braiding Sweetgrass (56).

One night, I drove my mother’s car back after a trip into town, bought a dozen multi-coloured eggs on the side of the road, and remembered I lived in Montreal. I lived in Montreal and could go dancing if I wanted to. I came back with a charged-up battery to find my mother sitting in a gradually darkening bunkie. She was relieved and happy that I returned with both light and eggs.

I was moving my body. I was letting the woods hold me. Everything out there takes longer. Boiling water for tea is a whole process. So is preparing dinner. You cannot rush in the woods. You have to move more slowly, which slows your mind down too.

That last morning, I went for a walk right after waking up. That warm November morning, I walked out on a dock and let the sun soak into my skin. I felt rested for the first time in a long time. I felt hopeful for the first time in a long time.

I knew I had to leave, that I couldn’t stand in the sun and silence forever. I knew I had to return to the city, to the stress and the heartbreak, where everything would move so quickly. I knew that life would continue to rock me. So, I turned away from the sun and walked back to the bunkie to begin the long process of making tea. I walked back, but I brought that moment with me.

Published by Sage Pantony

Sage Pantony is a writer, poet, and zinester. They write about gender, sexuality, mental health, trauma, creativity, and the best ways to cook eggs. They are the author of several zines, including a trilogy about transitioning as a non-binary person. Sage’s work has appeared in publications such as Coven Poetry, Idle Ink, and The Varsity. They currently reside in Tiohtià:ke/Montréal with their pet dinosaur, Peter.

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