I left the house just after 5:00 p.m. on Friday night and made it home by 7:00 last night. I was away for a grand total of fifty hours. Considering I have a hard time leaving the house for a few short hours before I start getting homesick, I was amazed how easy this quick trip felt.
I think the key was the five and a half hour drive going to and from my destination. I rarely sit alone with my thoughts these days. When I am at home, I am either tending to the business of my day, on the computer, watching TV or sleeping. I rarely sit still and gaze off into the sky. Maybe never.
Five and a half hours of computer, telephone, texting and television silence. Who knew it could feel this good?
Fall is an amazing time of year to drive down the prairie highways. The landscape is beautiful but I couldn't think of how I may have missed the "peak" of the colorful autumn season by a week or two because some of the trees were stripped bare of their leaves.
It looked like harvest was complete most of the way but then I would drive past a crop that had a wide swath that looked "bountiful" to this non-farming-kind-of-girl. The year's work was almost done and fall is the time of year our farmers reap what they sew.
I have been mourning the loss of daylight since the first day of fall. The day when the darkness started overtaking the daylight hours was a very sad day for me. I like to bask in the sun like a cat and I was missing the daylight before it was even gone.
My brother mentioned he feels the opposite when our days start to shorten. It means the demands of the yard and all of the outdoor maintenance of the summer season is winding to a close. He can do his "fall clean up" then sit back and enjoy the darkness. Darkness = time off, in my brother's eyes.
I thought of our farmers (namely our dad) who work from sun up until sun down throughout the growing season and wondered if Dad felt the same as my brother as his work days started to shorten. Did he take that as a sign from above to slow down? Or did it create even more pressure for him as he raced against the daylight to do all he wanted to get done?
I don't remember our dad as "a farmer". I hear stories of how he got by on a few hours of sleep when there was work to be done. Dad was a worker. Was he working towards creating that window of "leisure time" that this generation has come to expect as a reward for a "job well done" (or done good enough)?
I would like to hear Dad's stories about harvest time. He worked under pressure. He had asthma that was nearly debilitating at times. Was fall one of the worst time of years for him as the grain dust infiltrated his mask and robbed him of the ability to breathe? Did the easing of the daylight hours bring him the same gift of relaxation my brother now feels? Or is the ability to recognize and savor life's natural cycle of slowing down a gift Dad would be grateful his son has inherited?
This quick trip to visit Mom and my brother was to tend to the parcels of land that Dad purposely kept, to pass along to his four children. We were just tending to the paperwork to make that reality come true easily one day.
This trip should have been all about thinking of Dad and his wishes. It should have been a time to reflect on the hard work and sacrifice Dad made to build an "empire" he wanted to pass along to his children. This trip should have been filled with memories of a time long ago and honoring the gifts Dad has left for his family.
Instead (this story has a boring ending) my mind was filled with my recent conversations with Revenue Canada. In an effort to ensure there are no surprises as we tend to the business of changing land title registrations, I called our friendly neighborhood tax department to ensure this would not result in any negative tax implications for Mom. Instead, I found out that this transfer of ownership will trigger GST. A story that does not yet have an end as I await a phone call from a Revenue Canada agent.
Despite everything we are trying to do, to make Dad's simple wish take place (without Revenue Canada taking a large piece of Dad's hard earned legacy), it seems there is going to be a "cost" incurred.
It seems so simple. Dad wanted to give his children a physical piece of his legacy. A gift. That is all. And Revenue Canada is dictating the rules as to how this will affect ownership and thus, taxes must be paid.
Thankfully memories, stories and that which we hold in our heart is not taxable. Take that, Revenue Canada! We are rich in so many ways which you cannot touch.
That which is not taxable is the best gift of all...