The air’s fall scent, nature’s aromatic spice, is undeniable. The long shadows of the season protect the last hardy flowers. The refreshing chill that lingers into the afternoon tells me my time in Fort McMurray is coming to an end for this year.
As I organize my belongs in preparation for my drive home, I realize I have become attached to 2_05, even with its little blemishes. I am getting used to a kitchen range with burners too hot and oven too cool. A person can adapt to a low-voltage microwave and I have learned that I can refilter chewable coffee. Mashing potatoes with a fork, roasting meat in aluminum foil pans and whipping cream in a Bullet Blender are all things a capable cook can roll with. We have a Big Un-comfy Couch. The internet is iffy.
But, I have gladly coped with these discomforts in trade. In my Ft. Mac life I have personal writing space and I write when inspired. I eat breakfast when I please, I have a bathroom and laundry facilities to myself. I know when I am out of Cheerios or dill pickles. I find things the way I left them, good or bad.
When I am back in Calgary, I will have to learn to fall asleep without the sounds of happy, and sometimes not so happy, patrons as they come and go from the McMurray Newfoundlander’s Club and I will have to wake without my vehicle back-up alarms.
I will say good-bye to –
- My morning dumpster surprise. Would I be startled by a bear or greeted by a bottle picker?
- My bottomless tank of gas. I love that I can walk for anything I need, from office supplies to clothing to groceries. In just over five weeks, my gas gauge still registers ½ a tank.
- The rhythm of my day. It has taken a while but I have a nice productive routine that is about to be disrupted by returning to my real world in Calgary.
- And the streets that have finally become familiar. Although, many might look a little different now that construction is winding down and they are paved for the winter.
When I pack my bags and load up my car, I will be driving south on the infamous Highway 63. It is not a scenic drive for tourists in search of breathtaking views, but with any luck I will witness a few glimpses of beauty. While cresting a hill to view a far horizon, there might be splashes of burnt orange, sprays of rustic red with dirty green and a shock of gold. The early morning sun may shine a spotlight through the trees into fog settled in a river valley. The frosty grass and a thin skiff of ice attempting to form on a roadside pond may be sparkling in the sun.