Arlynn's Way (continued)
|The further she got from the city, the easier it was to breathe. Really breathe. The congestion of buildings and traffic thinned the farther north she drove. In its place, nature took up the torch. Passing through the Holland March, Arlynn rolled down her window and breathed in her first, deep breath. Clean. Heavy with the scent of turned soil and crisp vegetables. She pulled off the highway and found a local produce stand where she bought freshly picked carrots, peppers, tomatoes and romaine lettuce. So fresh the dark, rich soil still clung to them.
She packed her finds securely in her trunk, then headed back onto the highway.
The rich soiled fields gave way to forests. The leafy green expanse of the south shifted towards the more rugged mixture of pine and spruce and Birch trees interspersed within the grand display of rocky, granite outcroppings. Canadian Shield.
A frontier landscape, but one for which Arlynn felt a deep affinity. Just the sight of it made her body relax. The tension slipped away. The city was long gone. She could get lost out here in the wilds and not care if she were ever found again. A least Lance would never find her again and that suited her just fine.
She stopped one more time when she saw the pedestrian bridge rise up over the highway. This was her signal that she had made it to the Weber Charcoal Burger place on the other side of Orillia. It was tradition to pass through here each time she ventured north. It had felt like such a long time since she'd last come - at least two years.
Before Lance, she had come here every summer. Weber's was the doorway towards home. The south, with all its demands and obligations fell away and the north country opened up, expansive with possibility. Hope seeped into her. The heaviness that had been following her, eased up. She had truly left her City life behind.
The smell of grilled beef hung in the air, making her mouth water in anticipation. Her stomach took that moment to remind her it had been a long while since breakfast. She was grateful for the minimal line into the wood shack that housed the grills and order bar.
She placed her order and did not have to wait long. The Weber family that run the place was a well oiled machine. Cheeseburger, fries and vanilla milkshake was handed off to her with a smile and she made her way out passed the cabooses that housed the dining cars and down the steps to find a picnic table under the dappled display of maples. They were still green, but looking a bit tired. Soon autumn would have them blazing red, yellow and orange.
While she ate, she watched several families explore the place. Climbing up into the huge brightly coloured Muskoka chairs to take their photos. The children's laughter carried on the warm breeze.
By the time she was back on the road, she had to tell herself not to speed. A wave of excitement rolled through her. She was on her way. The cottage was just a few more hours north. There, she'd see her friends and to start the next part of her adventure, whatever that held.
Oct. 19: - CONTEST ROUND: Setting Description. ▼