Waking Up In Canada

Time Out Just To See

Compacting Sunday October 23, 2011

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In my world, Sundays are enshrined as rest days.  The day starts with Mass. Time for dinner is set around the big activities: Are we having a fry for breakfast? Where and when is the football today? Then slotted in last is the small, important things: Sunday papers, naps and if there is a quality Sunday matinée on the television. Summer time adds the extra question of whether the hay needs to be bailed today. Not that I bail hay, but the men in my family do and that has a knock on effect on its women, whether I like it or not. Sunday is a rest day, barr farm work. It’s a long day and I enjoyed its slow pace.

In Banff, I work Sundays. I don’t mind, and appreciate that most of my life I have been blessed with Sundays off.  I still make sure to maximise my free mornings in honour of the day: Mass, breakfast out, easy living. This morning, I lay in bed cosy, debating when to get up. I heard my housemate shout, and I immediately pulled open my shutter: the lawn was white. Overnight a light sprinkling of snow has decorated Banff. Yesterday’s rain is now deadly ice and I have learned this morning to stay off the white stripes on a pedestrian crossing.

In a valley of calm, the white dusting adds a further layer of peace. the world seems quieter when it’s white, as if there is a collective intake of breath at its beauty. The streets are as busy as a normal October Sunday and I struggled to find a seat in Wild Flour, my favourite coffee hang out. People around here are ready for this weather and celebrate it. Outside a man takes a photo of his girlfriend in the middle of the road, no doubt getting Cascade Mountain’s white backdrop. I hope a car does not come and slip on the ice, and I remember I am not in Donegal, and cars drive slowly here whatever the weather.

I rarely read the paper here. It was custom at home: my Sunday Times and Dad’s Donegal On Sunday, covering everything we would need to know. There were sections I never read, and I wondered if I should just leave them in the shop. As for the rest, it would take me until mid-afternoon to read, and often a few pieces kept until after dinner. Here, I don’t give it the time. I feel it would be a waste of a paper. I am working at 2. I am aware of its absence. The main news comes to me on Twitter but I miss the opinion pieces, the interesting side bits that made me think outside my box and also, to learn more about Canadian affairs and Canadian reporting. I take a newspaper left behind and glance through it, reading a few pieces that stand out. Some people think that print is dead but I just have to look around this coffee shop and know differently: Sunday mornings replaces laptops for newspapers.

A friend texts about his Sunday dinner and I have a pang of jealousy. It has been 11 weeks since my last Sunday dinner. I make up for it by investing in breakfasts. Next time, I will order my pancakes and bacon and maple syrup, regardless of whether it is Canadian dish or not.

As a Catholic, I respect Sunday as the day to go visit God, and to take it easy just like He did in the Bible. However, regardless of your faith, it seems a good time to just take it a little easier; rest, review, renew for the week ahead.  My week ahead starts at 2pm today. I’m embracing the peace and quiet of snow and Sunday until then.