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My friend, M, is off on adventures in warmer climates. She started in Sedona, Arizona which I had heard of because one of my nieces went there last year and raved about the place. I should have left my idea of the place at that but I didn’t. Instead, I made the mistake of googling it and saw how incredibly beautiful it was there. Little twinges of jealousy arose. Then, M travelled on to a place that I have been longing to go to my whole life — The Grand Canyon. Just the name itself sends sighs out from my heart and into the atmosphere. You would have thought, that at some point during all those years I lived in Washington and was earning “good” money (as opposed to “bad” money”), I could have made the trip out there. But I didn’t. Instead, every vacation, I would head to my house in Spain to take care of what needed done — which doesn’t sound so bad, eh? But while I was there I was usually spending more time with plumbers, electricians, masons and hardware store owners than sitting at the beach sipping cerveza. So no Grand Canyon for me back then. M did it right while she was there. She wrote that she rode the mules to the bottom of the canyon, stayed in a rustic lodge and rode them back up again the next day. That would be an adventure even Harriet, the healing knee, would tolerate. But, alas, we are stuck here and can only do it vicariously, which, is, actually, more dissatisfying than not thinking about it at all!

Then M moved on to one of my favourite cities anywhere, San Francisco. If M wasn’t such a good, deserving friend, I would be incredibly jealous. Well, ok, I am jealous but not in a mean sense at all. Or I wasn’t until she sent me this picture that had me grumbling about being stuck still wearing four layers of clothes and boots, while some lucky souls were wearing sweaters and flip flops. Not that she would ever wear flip flops but you get the picture.

Her “caption” for this shot from San

20160304_131802Francisco was “Spring even blooms at Alcatraz.”  She had already sent me another picture of a linden tree blooming outside her apartment door. From my memories of going to Alcatraz in the 1980s, it didn’t seem that anything would grow there, certainly not good will and spring flowers. Maybe they’ve spruced it up since my long ago visit.

I sent her this picture back, with the message, “I am still living within the

My "garden" not blooming or even thinking about green.

My “garden” not blooming or even thinking about green.

Alcatraz of winter!” A little, well a lot, dramatic for the 7 inches of snow that we had that day. I hope that it didn’t sound too snarky and pitiful on the receiving end. Maybe the snow will all be melted by the time she gets back on Wednesday so she doesn’t suffer a bad re-entry to the black-and-white world of Toronto in March.

Every year since I moved to Toronto 20 years ago, I have longed not to be here from January to April — but I always am. Last year, I complained so much that finally one of the women in Sunday’s aquafit, gave me the use of her apartment on Ana Maria Island in Florida for a week. Maybe it would have been better if I had not experienced warm temperatures, sunshine, flowers blooming and being away in March. It makes my longing to skip this season in Toronto even greater. I think that everyone who lives in the North needs to have a spring break to go somewhere warm and sunny just to get over this late hump of winter and into spring.

Maybe next year I’ll do it — if I, if I, if I can. I remember once, when I lived in a fourth floor walkup in DC, I climbed up the stairs to the roof and found a bottle on the top landing. There was a note inside. It said, “If I had the proper clothing, I’d end all this today.” I think for whomever wrote that note and for me too, we just have to make life happen. If we don’t, then we just have to suck it up and keep putting notes in bottles or enjoying other folks’ Facebook travels to sunny beaches.