Spontaneous abortion, or miscarriage, is an incredibly common occurrence, so common especially early in pregnancy that we don’t actually know how frequently it occurs because it presents as a late or even regular period. There is nothing unnatural about women, and our bodies, deciding we are not willing or able to complete a pregnancy.
The saying “It takes a village to raise a child” precedes the Internet, of course. It has (apparently) untraceable roots in African culture, and there are variations like, “One knee does not bring up a child” in Sukuma and “One hand does not nurse a child” in Swahili.
The lesson I had cemented, that I hope to carry with me always, is that I’m here on Earth for a reason, that I have gifts that are necessary to explore and make space for, but that it’s also okay to do things that are just for me. I’m the collection of my lessons and experiences, and my desires are worth honouring. I also know that our ability to thrive on this planet is limited by our greed, ignorance, false sense of helplessness, and the corruption of those in power – and that we have a responsibility to this absurdly beautiful and deeply precious place we call home. I learned gratitude for the gifts of the Earth, the help of strangers, the love of my sister, my own capacity and strength, and the sense of community that kept us company when we were far from home.
My notes-to-self were centred on writing that day, and how I could release myself from the fear of writing poorly, or that no one would read or care about what I have to say. I decided that wasn’t relevant, and that I would write for myself and release it regardless of the fear. And if someone liked it, or needed it, then that is why I did it. For that one person. Even if that one person was me.
After three hours on the water, we found our island! It was very small. We pulled up next to a houseboat that was moored on the dock. They offered to help but it’s my experience that something like that only needs a couple hands, and it’s good practise to make sure you can do it alone, so we passed on the offer and got ourselves out of the canoe and up on the dock.
A skunk starting snooping around! She was absolutely persistent and was not afraid of us whatsoever. At first Christine and I were both nervous because getting sprayed is zero fun, but she never turned her back to us or anything, or seemed like she felt the least bit threatened, so we tried hissing at her and making other noises, but after a while we just started to ignore her. But she wouldn’t leave us along until the food was completely put away.
But my french is super limited and I usually ended up starting in french and then just offering a bunch of English synonyms for whatever I wanted because I didn’t have the french word. At first, I felt so embarrassed and stupid, but soon it became a challenge, and we enjoyed seeing signs and then looking up french words.
Along the way, we stopped at a fish and rock store. I never realized how amazingly those things would go together, but this store made up my mind. The owner was a rock hounder and had countless absolutely beautiful amethyst crystals, of all types, from pale shards to giant geodes. We spent a lot of time talking to the shop owner; she was Finnish, so we had conversations about social services in our respective countries, how education and elder care were free in her home country and Canada should be the same, and we also decided that National and Provincial parks should be free to the public.
The plan is basically to power through Ontario – the northern route is even longer than the southern route because upper Ontario is wider geographically – and it would probably take us a couple days of non-stop driving. We had no parks planned, only parking lots. We needed to do that in order to justify the hotel room, anyway!