Life, Inside and Out



The sound of cars passing on the cobblestone road is like an earthquake’s rumble. The firecrackers going off at odd times could be guns. The horse in the neighbour’s yard sounds like a Great Northern loon. But the crickets sound like crickets, and the dogs are more dog-like than any I’ve heard in years.

It only takes a few hours in Mexico, never mind weeks, to realize how sanitized our experiences are in Canada, and for that matter, much of the world. I’m not talking sanitation, although the smell of raw sewage does waft by on occasion, and the women at the market rinse their hands from a bucket of cold water, no soap, before making the quesadillas…  What I’m talking about is how much we live indoors, and how it affects our psyche.

I’m not condoning massive amounts of noise, by any means. I can’t sleep while twenty dogs are barking, and I don’t love rooster voices at every hour. But I think we’re inside more than we need to be, myself included.

Yes, I know, it has a lot to do with the weather! The climate is a huge factor in being able to remain open to what lies beyond our own doorsteps. But even in the summer, we tend to be insular. We can easily wall ourselves off from whatever anyone else is doing, just tuck into the couch and turn on one of the windows we have to the world, then flip to the one we want to see.

Oh look, a cooking show about Mexican cuisine.

Those screens and their light give us only facsimiles of the real world. Nature-deficit disorder, no matter how much this might sounds like over-the-top psycho-babble, is alive and well in many city-bound–and house-bound–people. But it’s a challenge, I know, just getting out of bed when it’s frosty outside. Skating when it’s -25 doesn’t appeal to everyone. (see below, taken in Montreal, in 2009). We didn’t do this every day!

I wish all my Northern friends could be here, sitting outside with me getting their full-spectrum Vitamin D, instead of layering on the wool and fleece beside the fire, cementing their identities as true Canadians. (But then I wouldn’t get much writing done.)

I’m weak; I’m happier in sunshine; I’m also very, very lucky to be doing what I’m doing.

If it’s any consolation, it’s only 20 degrees Celsius today. I had to wear sock all morning; I’m in a sweater; I made applesauce.

Stay cozy! I’m sending sunlight your way….

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