Canadiana

“I’m glad that I decided someday wasn’t 2034 and that it was okay to do something indulgent and magical any time I wanted to.”



We always seem to be saying to ourselves, ‘Someday, I’ll do this, or someday I’ll do that…’

Whether it’s moving to Italy or losing 60 pounds or changing jobs or buying a sail boat or in my case–building a tree house. Someday I’m gonna build a tree house. I started thinking about exactly what that ‘someday’ meant, and when exactly was it going to be?

I remember getting a phone call from one of my dear-heart childhood friends and it changed everything for me. It put my ‘someday’ into action. She had called to tell me that her husband of 25 years was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. I was so shocked and so shaken. I had just seen them for dinner a few nights before, and they didn’t say anything about his tests. They were waiting to see what they were going to be dealing with. Someday indeed.

I decided the very next morning that mine had arrived. I walked out into my back yard and eyed a set of trees that I thought would be perfect for my forest oasis. The fellow that built my house nine years earlier met with me that weekend and wandered around with me, making sketches and jotting down his ideas. “I want a suspension bridge connected to the trees from my house Phil. Have you ever built a suspension bridge before?”

“No,” he said very matter-of-factly, “But I can just look on YouTube.” That made me smile.
Eight weeks later I had my tree house. Overlooking the Elbow River from about twenty feet off the ground, it has become the ideal writing room/coffee shop/crying post/dining area and overall ‘Ah-Ha’ hut. I have a small table with four chairs and an electric heater that looks like a fake wood burning fire place. (I don’t want to burn the thing down after all.) I have wi-fi and speakers and disco lights running around the entire thing in case I want to have a small rave one of these nights. I LOVE my tree house.

I’m glad that I decided someday wasn’t 2034 and that it was okay to do something indulgent and magical any time I wanted to.

Before my dad passed away a year ago, we were able to wheel him out there and have him look around. He thought it was “really great.” As we came back over the bridge, he said to me that he always wanted a tree house. “Someday I thought I’d build one,” he said quietly.

I knew exactly what he meant.

>Jann Arden is a singing writer who hails from rural southern Alberta. She loves cooking and baking and walking, which she has to do much of, considering all the cooking and baking. She loves her small five-pound canine companion and considers social media her nemesis. Jann travels 200 days a year and enjoys it for the most part. In her spare time, she reads, watches the BBC and looks up words in the dictionary. Jann loves life, even when it’s hard.

COMMENTS

  1. Wow! What beautiful writing Jann! I do know how you feel. I am in the middle of a “what now?” haven’t done anything, feel-sorry-for-myself kind of week. At 67, I feel I can write that now, instead of just thinking it. My friend Nancy Burtch and her partner Noelle, just sent me this story and it actually made my day.

    I may not have a tree house due to lack of space in a backyard with no trees, but I have a Mom that I am taking care of. She is 92 and still going strong, I think. Actually, she is starting to forget a lot of things, like every five minutes, but taking care of Mom is something I felt I had to do because no one else was going to. We were estranged for a long, long time when I was 16 years old and a lot of resentments were formed, both by her and myself. Through the years I often wished I knew what her life was like. Well, I still haven’t found out too much! lol

    Anyway Jann……Thank you for giving me the inspiration to keep trying and to smile each day. My two long-haired Chihuahuas thank you!

    p.s. the two, long-haired Chihuahuas are my best buds, my little dogs.

    • The Harrowsmith Team says:

      We are big fans of Jann Arden here at Harrowsmith. She’s the person we’d most like to invite into our kitchens for a cup of tea and confessional. In November, Random House of Canada is publishing Jann’s latest memoir, “Feeding My Mother: Comfort and Laughter in the Kitchen as My Mom Lives with Memory Loss.” We know it will provide solace to many–put it on your Christmas list!

  2. Beautiful. I have been thinking a lot lately about my “some days”. Turning 55 and waking up to mortality. Change is in the wind. Action is my new focus.

    • The Harrowsmith Team says:

      It’s always reassuring to hear that one of our stories has inspired change and kick-started something grand, Melanie. Thanks for letting us know.

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