Round-trip ticket.

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And so one loop around the sun ends, and another begins.

Don’t worry. We’ve done this before – a few billion times. Rarely do we veer off course, crash into things, or run out of gas. This trip’s pretty predictable, actually.

Our personal journeys…not so much.

May you and your loved ones have a smooth ride this time around. A safe one, a courageous one, a joyful one. One of gratitude, and patience, and wisdom.

I wish you a comfortable bed, cold water to drink and hot water to shower, a room of your own, a circle of your favourite people, the warmth of the sun on your face, and every opportunity you deserve.

And chocolate. (Unless you don’t like chocolate. Then I wish you whatever you do like.)

Happy New Year, everyone!

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Date night.

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The Mr. and me, prepped to get our geek on.

We’d received a second PS4 controller as a Christmas gift, and the kids were at Grandma’s. The plan was for our dinner out to be followed by an exhilarating evening spent side by side, annihilating the undead.

After posing for our photo, we bought the new video game from the online PlayStation store and congratulated ourselves for planning an evening together that didn’t involve Netflix.

That’s when we realized that the game would take 9 hours to download to the console.

Date night, then, involved fewer undead than originally planned. We watched Season 4, Episode 14 of The Mindy Project, which we found a bit disappointing. This was followed by an episode of Black Mirror, which was so terribly unsettling that it necessitated a cleanse (Mindy, S4, E15 – which was suddenly much funnier).

Off to get a good night’s rest, now – we’ll have demons to crush in the morning.

 

Back in time.

For Norm’s Thursday Doors this week, I wanted to share a photo of a humble but hardy local building.

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This lovely little log structure, the first schoolhouse in Waterloo, Ontario, is nearly 200 years old. Built by Pennsylvania German Mennonite settlers in 1820, its function as a school was short-lived – it served the community for 22 years before being declared too small for the growing population.

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c. 1900. Photo from Waterloo Public Library.

It was sold, relocated to Kitchener, and utilized as a residence. From 1891 to 1894, the building sat vacant. The Waterloo Park Board purchased the structure and moved it once again, to its current location in Waterloo Park. The schoolhouse has been beautifully restored and it was formally designated as a Heritage Property in 2012.

I wonder if those who laid the logs of this building knew it would last. I wonder if they’d ever have guessed that that we’d be analyzing their materials and techniques to try and define, and understand, and preserve a culture and a lifestyle that are now obsolete.

Can’t help but wonder what future generations will make of us.

 

For the history buffs, click here and here and here for more about this building.

Start here.

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I’ve been pondering this week’s WordPress weekly photo challenge (“Path“) and the many potential photographic interpretations.

Snowy trails through the woods? Tunnels? Forks in the road? Stepping stones? So many options, all meaningful in their own way.

Then, earlier today, I walked past a picture frame in my bedroom that’s been sitting on a shelf for years, since my husband and I were first married. The frame has a decorative golden spiral embedded within a molded cement base. (There are two naive and wrinkle-free smiling people in the photo that bear a striking resemblance to the Mr. and me.)

I picked up the frame and ran my finger along the winding golden band. Aha! A path. A pretty one. And because my mind tends to wander, this led to thoughts of another, more famous golden road.

In the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her dog, Toto, are transported to the Land of Oz by way of a powerful tornado. Dorothy and Toto are advised to “follow the yellow brick road” to the Emerald City, in hopes of finding the Wizard of Oz to help Dorothy return home to Kansas.

If you recall, in the movie, the beginning of this golden road lay in the midst of Munchkinland, curled in the shape of a spiral, much like the gold band in my frame. The spiral is a symbol that has traditional associations with evolution, growth, and enlightenment. Perfect placement for the start of a journey. Dorothy’s adventure was one of trials, choices, disappointments, and rewards. All the important quests are.

yellow-brick-roadWarner Bros.

 

The end realization of my musing was this: Where Dorothy landed, she began her quest. Okay, her path was clear, at least in the beginning. And there were delightful Munchkins present to provide musical encouragement. But she had to take a step. She had to start where she was.

Our milestones are sometimes marked with celebrations – graduations, weddings, baby showers, retirement parties. But what about those quiet journeys we undertake, often on our own? What about quitting an addiction, or healing from an injury, or grieving a loss? What about our goals of cultivating better relationships or making a career change? Of learning to knit or to play the ukulele or to run 5 kilometres without throwing up?

The paths to our personal goals are unlikely to be clearly marked with yellow brick. And Glinda the Good Witch may not be around to give us direction. The key, I guess, is to simply move – without repeatedly holding out for the ‘right’ time or the ideal circumstances.

We can’t preoccupy ourselves with waiting for an official starting line to appear. Guess what? We’re already standing on it.

Even if there are no Munchkins to send us off.