The Fiery One and I are heading up to Cosmopolis for the Thanksgiving long weekend. We haven't been there in months, and I am jonesing for my city. We are going to see his parents, my parents, our friends, and the amazing fall that overtakes the riverbank there.

There's a spot on that riverbank that I won't visit this weekend, but I wish I could. It is one of those places that you hold in your head more as an object than a thought. I can turn it around like a diorama, inspecting its trees and noting the topography of the ground beneath shifting leaves and picking wet bark from the deadfall. I can hear the clack of an aluminum can hitting my boot, and I can feel the cool damp air against my forehead while the breeze tussles with the higher branches.

I used to go there quite a lot in my twenties when I lived in Cosmopolis. I am a bit fuzzy about when I first visited The Spot, but I became a regular visitor when I could find it. On one side of the river, most of the bank has been allowed to grow somewhat wild, and there is a long section spanning several city blocks that has been left as a miniature forest with two winding paths through it. The upper path is wide and well-groomed and occasionally lined with cedar wood chips, and the lower path is narrow and scraggly and occasionally collapsed in parts from heavy rain or snow melt.

As a result, I can never clearly remember which path leads to The Spot. The Spot is several feet into the trees from one of the paths and is sheltered enough to be held invisible from passersby. In many of my early attempts to re-find it, I bushwhacked my way up and down between the two paths, zigzagging my way through the trees until I stumbled gladly into its circular clearing. This roundabout way of getting there created a less than clear mental map for me that consisted more of sensations and unreliable visual clues than an actual knowledge of the shortest route from point A to point B.

Would it be crazy to say that this made that place seem mystical to me? That my young self imbued that small space, the interior within the exterior, with a sense of mystery? It was always a bit of a struggle to find it, and when I did, I would sit down on some deadfall and thrill at the sound of my own breathing amplified. It was my small piece of isolation in the middle of things, which was always my favourite kind.

Starcat tells me that The Spot is no longer what it once was. He tells me that it has been wrecked by drunk teenagers. He buried our kitten there when she died, which at the time felt special but now feels less than respectful. The Spot's beauty came from its being such a private space existing unexpectedly in public space. It had no right to be anything more than the rest of the park, to exist so separately as its own entity. Now I hear that it has not only depreciated into openly public space but has also become no more than a place for underage kids to hunker down for long illegal drunks and feel wise.

Going to Cosmopolis this weekend, it hurts to think that The Spot might be just another spot. I always mourn a little when a place I have held dear is pocketed into the past. The Spot has gone the way of my grandmother's blanket cupboard under her stairs, the earth cellar, the clubhouse my father and his brother built over fifty years ago, my childhood roof hideaway, the trees I used to hide in, the ugly house I lived in just as my life fell apart at twenty. And now, The Spot. I am sad to hear it is gone.

Okay, this entry was not supposed to be about mourning the loss of place. It was supposed to be about my joy at traveling to Cosmopolis and seeing friends and family. I think Autumn has put the kibosh on the-cup-is-half-full thinking for the time being. Fucking Autumn and its kiboshing.

I just called a friend to see if she or her partner could check in on Oskar this weekend to make sure that he's still alive and/or has not destroyed anything important, and I caught her in the midst of a life-crisis freakout about her future and babies and goals and the difficulty of stapling yourself to one type of job and not others. Yikes. This is the story of my brain when I am given any time to myself, so I felt bad that all I could say was yes, I know exactly what you're talking about, and I have no answers for you, and we have time because menopause is twenty years away.

Did I actually say that last bit? How awful. What I really want to have for both her and me is a life in which babies seems like a natural step and a career path tumbles into our laps quite naturally and our creative pursuits never feel stifled or difficult but follow a natural flow. Life isn't like this, though. If only we were natural to the earth and not the evolved halfbreed offspring of an alien race, because then this would all be a lot easier. Right?

I am sticking with my evolved-halfbreed-offspring-of-an-alien-race theory for why this shit is so hard until I hear a better excuse. Do you have a more reasonable explanation?

Dear loveable, half-alien people who actually make it to the end of my entries,

Until later, eat turkey, or tofurkey, if you are of the veggie ilk, and have more fun over the long weekend than this entry could ever possibly inspire.



Barbershop Rawks My House