Roadtrips and Peaceful Presence

I spent a lot of the Summer on the road, be it to Lake Huron, Deseronto, Picton, Kingston, Ottawa and Montréal or commuting between Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. It was busy to say the least but it gave me a lot of time to think while enjoying the sights, especially while on a big roadtrip to Montréal, stopping in Ottawa.

While in Ottawa, I crossed paths with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he was walking to a meeting across the street from the Parliament buildings, but not with enough time to stop for a photo together. I did however, get the chance to get a good picture of Canada’s Parliament which I hadn’t seen since I was much younger, that were much bigger in person than I remembered them.

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The person I went with suggested that we stop by the locks of the Rideau Canal and wander down to the river’s edge to sit in the shade on the otherwise very humid day.

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I was soaking in the relative quiet, disturbed only by intermittent groups of tourists who would pass by in hums of conversation. Sitting by the river, I remember thinking that I really needed this time away from the world I thought I knew, to make way for a new one and felt so grateful for that trip.

I had a lot of time on the road to think about the way certain events unfolded before that point in time that I kept trying to sort out and figure out why they happened. That why is always the most torturous one and for me at that point it was like candy for the ego because it seemed constructive but it undermined efforts to move forward.

The night before heading into Ottawa I was staying with friends in Deseronto and sat out at the dock near the waterfront. It set the stage for the rest of the trip without my realizing it, where I stole quiet moments and thought about what would come next for me; I was present but not always awake in the moments I occupied. I was present enough to watch the sunset turn the sky a cotton candy pink and feel grateful to be there, but not enough to let the beauty of it truly soak in and soothe my quietly aching heart.

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While travelling out of Ottawa a few days later, making our way to Montréal, there were several hours of nothing but long stretches of road that gave my mind time to wander. I kept thinking that this was such an incredible trip but I was spending a lot of time somewhere else. Watching the lines pass by on the highway, I stopped myself before we reached Montréal, where I thought, “Enough is enough” and was determined to stay as present as possible. I couldn’t fix negative things that took place earlier and I certainly couldn’t predict the future, either.

Shortly after I made that promise to myself, a heart welcomed us to the outskirts of the city, in “La belle province”, Québec.

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The hearts are always there to remind me that I’m headed in the direction of positive outcomes and more peaceful thoughts. I’m lucky I didn’t miss it because it was there that I had the chance to practice my Québécois French, see the Vieux-Port and revel in the fact that I manifested a trip to Montréal with an incredibly funny and wonderful guide, after wanting to go for a few years.

They show up in unexpected places but the hearts are always a signpost as if to say, “peace of mind, this way”.

Cheryl

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