WINTER RETURNED this morning, and it’s nearly Christmas. Snow is everywhere, big fluffy flakes floating down from the heavens. I suit up for my morning run, but one look at the road conditions sends me back into the house to change into my “Icebug” trail running shoes, the ones with metal studs embedded in the soles. I head south on the gravel side road near my rural home. It’s cold and windy as I disappear into the rolling, resting countryside. This is the best.
ALTHOUGH SHE grew up in Ontario, and camped as a teenager in Algonquin Park, Marling came to love the Canadian west. Her favourite spot was the beach, dykes and mud flats ringing Tsawwassen, B.C., her home for the last two decades of her life. Even in her 70s, she led family crabbing expeditions across the mud flats. She followed the ebb tide on foot, hoping to grab a straggler or two with her barbecue tongs as they scuttled for deeper water. The outdoors put her in touch with her family heritage and her faith. Although she loved music, theatre and visual art, she found the most solace in nature.
A SMALL BROWN ENVELOPE arrived in the mail this week, containing a form letter from Canada Revenue Agency – the tax people – a single printed page, small type, in both official languages, declaring that the federal government no longer had any official claim on the estate of Marling Kilgour, my mother. This is known as a Clearance Certificate, the green light that says, “you’re done” for the estate executors.