It’s March Break in Canada, and it seems that everyone is jetting off to hot tropical places to spend their week of vacation. Deprived of sunshine and chilled by the incessant winter cold, I can totally relate to the desire for warmth, turquoise water, and sand so hot that it exfoliates your feet as you walk along the beach. Ah, the tropics!
And yet, here I am, quite happily ensconced in my cozy home in southwestern Ontario while it was getting battered by snow and wind all day yesterday. As exotic and lovely as a Caribbean trip would be, there’s also something satisfying about staying put and enjoying the subtle simplicity of this holiday week.
The fact is, my family has never been into tropical vacations. I’ve never been to a resort before because we’ve always travelled independently. To put this into perspective, my aunt and uncle did go on a trip this week, but not to your typical destination: they’re in Nigeria for ten days, which is pretty much their idea of fun. I share the view that I’d rather be traipsing around hot, dry West Africa than sunbathing at a five-star resort in Mexico. I know that that idea of travel doesn’t appeal to everyone, nor should it; how dull the world would be if we all had the same tastes.
Since tagging along to Nigeria wasn’t feasible this week, I’ve had visitors for the past two days — my mother, grandmother, and two brothers, who have driven in a large loop from Muskoka via Niagara to Bruce County to visit. Since A.’s nursery school is closed, he’s been delighted to play with his big uncles. They took him to the park at 8 a.m. yesterday and even sneaked in a trip to Tim Hortons, where they bought him three Timbits. He’s never had a Timbit before in his entire life, so it was an exciting experience for his impressionable three-year-old mind. Mostly, we sat around the table drinking pots of tea, reading books, cooking large quantities of food, walking around in the blowing snow, and talking about the maple syrup operation that my parents set up last weekend to collect and boil this year’s sap.
I’m looking forward to a weekend full of social gatherings — monthly supper club on Friday night with a pizza theme, a St. Patrick’s Day party on Saturday where I’m supposed to bring my fiddle (I need to get practicing!), and more guests coming over for dinner on Sunday. I absolutely love having a home filled with people, whether staying overnight or just coming by for tea. It feels like such a compliment to have a home where people want to come. I get a surge of energy from being surrounded by friends and family, and love hearing their voices raised in conversation, the sound of footsteps overhead, muffled laughter from somewhere in the house. March Break has has brought us together in a way that we wouldn’t be if we were on a tropical vacation somewhere else. Staying put forces me to look inward to my home life and revel in its beautiful simplicity, reminding me not to take for granted the wonderful spot I inhabit in this world.