Metropolitan Homesick Blues

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What is it that keeps pulling me back to Toronto?

Lately it has been the company of old friends. On the last three trips I have connected with people I’ve know for a long, long time. Looking at them now and remembering what we were like back in the day can be disconcerting…not to mention depressing. Nonetheless, age does nothing to dampen the bond of familiarity we have forged over the years. The friendships are here. And they will never go away.

The city gets old too. And it shows. Not in the way a small town swears its age. There is no ‘growing old gracefully’ in Toronto. It is more an old acquaintance than an old friend. And there is a difference in that.

Nonetheless, I found things this trip I wish my small town had. Like the wonderful Italian bakery with hot and cold table serving the food I grew up with, gelati, old country breads, pastries, meats and olive oil and an espresso bar with Serie A soccer on the tube. There’s nothing like that in Saugeen Shores. N and my daughter took me to an amazing Lebanese restaurant that would probably never survive up here.

But, what is it that always pulls me back to Southampton?

In spite of new discoveries and old friends, the need to return to the country was strong come Sunday afternoon.

The weather mavens predicted heavy rain and high winds. And they were right. By the time we turned up Highway 10 out of Shelburne, a massive gun-metal grey cloud hung over the horizon, long, broad and reaching down to touch the road. It obliterated the fields of wind turbines, bringing night to the early afternoon.

Rain pelted down on us all the way home. Remnants of the hurricanes from down south had come up our way to exhaust themselves. Creeks, rivers and streams ran high. Fields were waterlogged. It was a harrowing drive, but N steered us home.

The solitude found on empty county roads…the fields freshly harvested…the trees slowly turning…the flying wedge of geese high in the sky, noisily making their way south…the wind and waves off Lake Huron. Even if this were possible in the city, it would not have the same charm. Once you’ve lived with the peacefulness of the country it is hard to live anywhere else.

Southampton is getting ready for fall. Driveways are piled high with wood waiting to be split for winter. Locally grown produce is waiting at the Keady Market. We can stop at the orchard to pick apples and indulge in fresh-baked turnovers at Smith’s Farm. One bite of Mickey’s pastry and apple pie will never be the same for you. 

The tourists are gone. The summer people will disappear after Thanksgiving. Then Southampton will be all ours again.

We sit and listen to the quiet now. The frenetic pace and noise of Toronto well behind us, forgotten. It is as if I was never there. I know N feels differently. She has no problem going back and forth.

I do. But that is not an issue.


Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

September 16, 2008 at 5:38 PM