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Country Mouse, City Mouse

I am driven by two conflicting desires- the desire to lead a country life and the equal desire to lead a city life.

After a recent night out, my friend’s dad speared a pancake and deposited it on my plate.

“Well you must be the Party Queen,” he said pleasantly.

It was true that I had coordinated a rather successful night out in Toronto, beginning at Embassy (a Kensington dive bar) and culminating with 4 a.m bugolgi at a 24 hour Little Korea hole in the wall. It’s been a while since Toronto felt like my life. Well no, that’s not true, but Beaches houses and Bar Isabelle dinners and working as a cook at a casual fine dining restaurant seem miles away from this. My Toronto is Kensington dive bars and Fahrenheit coffee, XO Karaoke, St.Lawrence Oysters and old friends appearing from the aisle of a crowded Spadina LCBO, against all odds in such a huge frantic city. My Toronto verges on cliche with Trinity-Bellwoods picnics and bike rides to Sunnybrook, pool hopping at DunBat during a 40 degree heatwave.

But I also identify those early farm mornings as mine- the chilly glimmer of the sun I have beaten to it’s start in the day, second cut alfalfa rough on my hands, the horses eager for their breakfast. I can fix a broken fence board or drive a tractor. I remember the weight of brown eggs, still warm from the hen who uttered a warning cluck as I removed them. The pet calves and lambs, boxes of hatchling poultry, driving out to Arda pasture after a thunderstorm to check on the cattles summering there. Apple trees down the tree-line, limbs sagging with late summer fruit and the bees drunk on the fermented fallen fruit. Lake Huron wild in a storm, the waves crashing up the honeycomb rock and receding, unpredictably. Combing the bright white dunes, sunburnt and half naked, for a quart container of sand cherries- that’s my life, too.

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