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Upstate New York ,

nothing really spectacular up there, just trees and roads and rocks.  Something happened to me as we got into upstate New York, an internal change.  A settling of sorts.  I felt a growing comfort.  I realized that I had entered my world of “familiar”.

Now, upstate New York is not home for me.  But, it looks like my home, and feels like my home and I was approaching home.  My Canada, my history, my heritage.  It may seem all patriotic and such, but the feeling is not a puffing out of the chest, raise the flag and honour Queen (or Prime Minister) and country.  No, not even close.  It’s more like a warm cup of tea, curled up on the couch in front of a fire kind of feeling.  It’s . . . there’s really no other word . . . comforting.

It happens to me every time I go back to Canada.  And it doesn’t matter where I am, Ontario, Alberta, New Brunswick, although in the past, before I moved to the US, it only happened in Ontario.  The closer and closer I get to home the anticipation and excitement builds.  Joy bubbles from my heart and spills onto my face.  Every mile will soon  be a kilometer.  The grass will be soft.  The air will be cooler.  I’ll drive on roads cut through granite rock.  Maple trees, birch trees (I forgot all about birch trees till I saw one – o my), poplars and weeping willows fill the landscape in abundance.  Marshlands with still, pond-like waters, lily pads and cattails waiting to be explored by canoe.  People’s gardens. . . o the lushness of their gardens.  Yards decorated with black-eyed Susans, phlox, marigolds – yes I know they have those in a lot of places but up there they are plentiful, rich  – not scorched and begging for cool air.  Even the apples are different. . . MacIntosh, Cortlands, Empires. . . those are the commons apples, not Gala, Pink Lady, and Fuji.  Everything is familiar – and all is well with the world.

Then, when my feet cross over to my homeland. . . my heart finds its rest.  I can breathe a sigh of relief and let everything go.  I’m home.  I belong here.

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