Monthly Archives: February 2015

“My Last Best Place”

It’s snowing. Again.

I live in the Maritimes, most specifically Nova Scotia, and more specific than that in the beautiful Annapolis Valley, on the Bluff.

It’s February 19th today … smack dab in the middle of winter … so the fact that it’s snowing shouldn’t come as any great revelation.

The thing is, is that it’s been snowing for pretty much 14 days straight now. The kids went to school only two days this week, and in one of those days we got 52cm of the fluffy white stuff.

We are slowing getting to a point where I’m not sure where we are going to put any more of it.

People are on Facebook complaining and huffing and puffing. They are posting pictures trying to seemingly outdo one another about the amount of snow each one has had to clear from their driveways or road ways … all the time complaining and somehow bragging all at once. And although the complaining sometimes wears thin, I do love seeing all the unbelievable photos.

None of this is new really. This snow thing. It may be a little bit bigger than recent years, but I clearly remember years when it started snowing in November and didn’t end until late April. I remember growing up with many a blizzard.

And yes … there is a part of me come this time of year that wonders if I will ever be warm … I mean really honest to goodness warm … ever again.

But here’s the thing. I would rather shiver in the cold … here … in Nova Scotia … in the Annapolis valley … on the Bluff … than be lying in the warm sun anywhere else in the entire world. Because you see here … here is … well … my “Last Best Place”.

When I was a “displaced Bluenoser” living in Ontario I remember I clung to all things Nova Scotian. I don’t want you to think I didn’t love my time in Ontario. I did. It is a wonderful big beautiful province that provided me much opportunity. The same goes for Alberta and New Brunswick when I had the privilege to lay down both roots and wings in those provinces.

But my heart clearly belonged in Nova Scotia.

I remember while I was in Guelph I read a book that always stayed with me. It was written by John Demont and it was entitled “The Last Best Place”. The author himself was a displaced Nova Scotian and he had a theory that we all have one “last best place”. A place that calls to us. A place where we feel at home and at peace.

My friend and I will often say how much we enjoy going on vacation because we get to leave behind all the things that “have to be done” … the long list of logistical things like laundry and errands and packing lunches. And boy do I enjoy travel. I have long suffered from a serious case of wanderlust of which I indulge at least twice a year. And I would argue that I don’t think one can find their last best place until one has done a little travelling. Until you really know what else is out there, because your last best place isn’t necessarily the home you grew up in … for a variety of reasons.

But it is the place that you would rather be … when everything falls out of whack, or falls into place …. when all is said and done … when you are at your lowest point, or by contrast at your highest peak … when you settle into your soul … into yourself … your last best place is the place you would most want to be … even when doing the laundry and mundane chores. Forever.

And this place. This place on the Bluff, in the Valley, in Nova Scotia, the Maritimes and in Canada. This is, without doubt, my “Last Best Place”.

This place with its tree at the end of the road where four eagles sit waiting for me to see them soar, on my way to work each day. This place where I can walk out my front door and decide whether to take a stroll to blue beach or miles back into the woods. This place with the most stunning view of the water and green fields filled with hay as I sit on my front porch.

This place of kind, good, down to earth people. The type of people who care little about what you do, but so much about who you are. This place where it matters not how much money you make, but how much you can be of service to your neighbours. This place with roots so deep you feel like the ground itself is a part of you.

This three and a half acres of land that feels like we were ‘meant to find’ on that day back in July 2005. This place where we stop the car for guinea hens to cross the road, and for donkeys who have escaped to meander back to their pen.

This place where I can be part of university life and energy and opportunity just moments down the road. This place where I can work in my chosen field only 10 minutes from my home and where, for lunch, I can walk through campus to town and find my choice of coffee shops or restaurants second to none.

This place where my kids can roam and feel safe, both at the same time. This place so accessible to a big vibrant city, but that still maintains and celebrates its rural roots. This place of wide open spaces; of skies so crisp and clear you feel you can see every star there is.

This place of community hall dances and down home music. This place where I can be 15 minutes late not because of a traffic jam, but because I got behind a tractor or a school bus. This place of traditional orchards, and new luscious vineyards.

And yes, this place where I get to experience all four seasons. The sparkle of winter snow on the fir trees, the smell of Apple blossoms as I walk down my road in springtime, the sound of the waves and the heat of our favourite beach in summer, and the extraordinary beauty of Fall as I take a hike back behind our house.

I find myself constantly stopping and whispering thank you for this place.

Because this place will forever be MY “Last Best Place” … and I wouldn’t want to raise our family, live our lives, grow old together, or be still with myself, anywhere in the world but here.

Even when it happens to be snowing … again.

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I Would Rather …

I would rather be of intrinsic value to one friend, than to fight to be of extrinsic value to four.

I would rather be irreplaceable to two, than to be interchangeable with eight.

I would rather have one friend stand up for me, and stay standing, than have twelve stand up, to only sit down when the rest of the group does.

I would rather count on three being active in my life, than ten being passive.

I would rather have the quiet confidence in one, than have the public social media fanfare of twenty.

I would rather have three who are consistent, than seven who are not.

I would rather have one who is purposeful, than three who are convenient.

I would rather have two who I can belly laugh with, than four I smile at politely.

I would rather have one who shows their raw and real and messy emotions, than two who back away.

I would rather have two who see me – all of me – and accept me and my faults, rather than five who can’t be bothered.

I would rather feel grounded and connected with three, than feel superfluous with six.

I would rather have one who will challenge me, than three who are superficial.

I would rather have three who make mistakes and are honest, than five who sweep things under the rug.

I would rather have four I can be silly with, than six who appear perfect.

I would rather sit and share in a real way of “give and take” with two, than to fight to be heard or struggle to listen, with seven.

And I would rather have something real and something lasting with one friend, just one friend, than have something fleeting with eight.

You see, the thing is, I would rather be with you.

And I know it can’t always happen. I know life is busy and time is hard. Families are growing and we are in six different directions.

And I would also rather be with you and you and you and you. But I know circumstances don’t allow that on a regular basis.

And I of course would always rather be with you. But time and distance don’t allow that half as often as I need it.

But it doesn’t change the fact … that in this world of 284 social media friends, numbers still mean nothing … because I will unequivocally, with my whole heart, always, rather be with “you”.