Before moving North, I pictured how life would be there, and began to look forward to it. From the red-black pulse of a dirty life, I pictured how things could be different.
My life was night shifts, insulting rents, weariness and addiction. But I could picture how lif(more)e would be pure. Stripped down and unsullied. In the North: there would be fewer distractions. Less fog. Less bullshit.
I pictured a cleansing wind that would start somewhere in the Arctic and blow over me. Cheeks stiff in the chill. Emotions finally lulled to silence. I pictured peace, enforced by nature.
I had already visited the town where I would live: a dozen streets, a cinema, a grocery store. And nothing but taiga for a thousand miles in every direction. Heaving, grey-pink rock scabbed with lichen, scrub grass, and hardy mosses. The Canadian Shield, as described in school textbooks (and forgotten ever since): that obdurate stone that survived the imposition of icebergs and minus-50 degree winters.
No horizon here, not like in Vancouver. In Vancouver, you can see the edge of the sea where the ships slide off Earth. Falling into the sunset, falling straight into China like a dropped penny.
In the North, the land rolls on and on, studded with low trees and an aching empty stonescape. Birch and its lean paper trunks, jack-pine with its arthritic knots. Aspen whose leaves susurrate like ocean waves I've left behind.
In the North I would be less angry all the time. That's what I thought. Less obsessed, less consumed and addicted.
In the "North" - never just "the north." The change in latitude is substantial enough to warrant capital letters.
All that's actually happened is I've come all this way for no real improvement. There's some extra money. There's certainly more silence. (less)