one long separation

a mother & daughter road trip across Canada

illustration by marie andrée bureau,

excerpted from the print magazine:

I awaken early, bask in the coziness of my sleeping bag, the silence around us, and sense a familiar fragility in myself, a wave of grief.

I'm trying not to be sad, but I can't help it. I feel like I'm losing my mother.

It shouldn't have been a surprise, I suppose, her deciding to move out west. She's been spending increasing amounts of time out there over the last fifteen years, deepening her connection and her community each time. Last year, she moved out for a 'trial year' and loved it, so why did her decision to stay come as such a blow?

In theory, I'm happy, even excited for her. In practice, however, I am wrestling with feelings of loss, as much for my son, who snuggles into my mother like a third parent. But I've been traveling, coming and going from her life, for years. Why does this feel so different?

I have Pema Chodron's voice in my head, her gentle urgings to stay with what is painful, invite it in. I'm not sure how to do that, so I simply stay where I am. Resist the urge to get up and change the scenery.

I turn carefully and prop my head in my hand, watch my mother sleep, trying to remember the last time I slept so close to her -- as a child, perhaps? My eyes follow the contours of her face, the opal brilliance of her skin, the depth it carries, the history she wears ...

Alison Wearing lives in Tepoztlan, Mexico and Manitoulin Island, Canada. She is the author of the travel memoir, Honeymoon in Purdah - an Iranian journey, and tours as a musician with Jarmo Jalava, a world/folk ensemble ( When not writing or singing, she can almost always be found dancing - across floors, pages, shorelines, mountain trails...

Copyright ©2007 ascent magazine, first Canadian yoga magazine, yoga for an inspired life