The Cabin

Un mémoire - $20.00 (Forest Books, 2012)

Devise E-U

Devise Canadienne

Au mois d'août 1990, j'ai quitté Bellingham, Washington, dans ma Honda blanche pour une nouvelle vie au Québec, Canada. Je savais, bien sûr, que j'allais dans un pays différent, et dans une province avec une langue différente, mais je sentais aussi que j'étais à la recherche de quelque chose d'insaisissable, quelque chose que je ne pouvais pas définir. Ce que j'ai trouvé est une nouvelle famille, un nouveau chemin spirituel, un nouveau nom (Munira) et une vision d'une cabane dans la forêt. The Cabin est l'histoire de comment mon rêve de cette cabane est devenu une réalité. C'est aussi l'histoire de mon attachement aux personnes et aux lieux que j'avais laissés et mes voyages de part et d'autre entre les Côtes Est et Ouest. J'ai commencé à écrire ce mémoire le jour que je suis partie de Bellingham, notant les aventures de chaque jour dans mon journal. Cela a pris plus que dix ans pour le terminer.

Comme n'importe quel mémoire, The Cabin n'est pas une simple histoire; c'est aussi une réflexion sur le trajet de la vie qui met le passé et le présent en valeur et examine les décisions qui ont menées aux moments décisifs. Je réalise que je suis une des nomades de nos temps, libre d'aller ici et là grâce à la vitesse du transport contemporain, mais j'ai été souvent troublée par des sentiments de déplacement. Dans The Cabin, je décris ma lutte pour m'adapter à la vie que j'ai créée pour moi-même, et ma découverte, à travers mes voyages, écritures et méditations, que je pouvais redéfinir et devenir plus consciente de ce que cela veut dire de se sentir chez soi.

Du The Cabin, Chapitre 1, "Leaving" (The Cabin est seulement en anglais)

August 1990 - Bellingham, Washington

The morning of August 3, I stuff everything I possibly can in my white Honda and strap my bicycle on the back. Mid-morning, Bekins, the moving company, comes and takes the rest of my things away. Then I go meet Elias for lunch at the Bagelry where he has a summer job. As we stand in line waiting for our bagels, we look at each other. We both have tears in our eyes.

Driving out of Bellingham is unreal. I'm too numb to even ask myself if I know what I'm doing. I have pictured this moment many times since I decided to move to Québec. Each time I thought about it, I was overcome with fear. Sometimes I woke up fretting at 4:00 a.m., my favorite time for freaking out. I decided I'd be able to handle everything - getting the work permit, packing, taking care of the moving details, crossing the border and going through customs, getting to Montréal, finding an apartment, starting work, speaking French - everything - except the actual moment of driving out of Bellingham. But, of course, I have to drive out of Bellingham because if I don't, none of it makes any sense - and besides, I've given up my apartment and quit my job. Once again I have put myself in a situation that is going to be hard and scary, and I have no real choice except to go through with it.

I cross the border at Huntingdon, B.C. Everything goes well in spite of the fact that I can't find my car registration. For a moment, I almost hope they won't let me in without it, but the customs officer says, "Oh, I think I can find everything I need on the inside of your car door." I leave the crossing with a package of official papers, which I am told to guard with my life.

I cry halfway through British Columbia as my Honda winds its way through the Cascades. Tears run into my sunglasses and down my cheeks. I already miss my kids. I'm not numb anymore, and I'm asking myself over and over, "What have I done? Why am I leaving? My life in Bellingham was good." It was so strange watching my things being carried out to the moving van, knowing I wouldn't see them again until we all reach Montréal - 3,000 miles away from my kids, my friends and my apartment. The fact that I knew I would feel this way doesn't help, but that is the reason I wanted to come alone, the reason I wanted to drive all by myself - so I could cry whenever I felt like it and take enough time getting there to make a real transition.

I think about a particular day, just after Michael and his daughter, Indra, moved out of our house in Ridgemont, one of Bellingham's newer subdivisions. I woke up that morning, as I did many mornings those days, feeling miserable and depressed. I was alone. Jason was in Seattle. Elias was at James'. The house, which was once filled with activity, seemed too big, too quiet, too empty. I got up, went downstairs and looked out the kitchen window at the garden, the fruit trees and the pond with the strawberry patch behind it. It was early spring and mist was rising off the pond as the morning sun began to warm the yard.

It was beautiful, but I couldn't see anything but the broken dreams, and I wanted desperately to be somewhere else - some place with no memories. As I stood there watching a bird land in the cherry tree outside the window, I suddenly shivered with both fear and excitement and I said out loud, "Now I'm going to find out who I really am." As I drive through the mountains of British Columbia, I know that this journey is an integral part of that process.