When I finished high school, I couldn’t wait to leave my medium-sized town to move to Toronto.  I was 19 years old, and the city held promises of new friends, late nights, live music everywhere you looked, and above all, freedom.  I didn’t want to live in the university dormitories (I cringed at the whole concept of frosh week), so I moved into my older brother’s house on the Danforth and took the subway to my bookstore job and to my school.

Seven years in, I still love my city of Toronto —  but now I enjoy escaping to the quiet life outside the 416 area code.

My parents live in the country now.  Not in Newmarket, where new subdivision homes are being built in the blink of an eye. No, they live a bit further away.  A few hours further.  Take one road, then another, and then stay on that road for more than 100 clicks.

It’s so beautiful.  Simply beautiful.

And here’s where I find the differences between country and city.

You know you’re in the country when…

1.  You have to clear the snow from your driveway with a tractor, as evidenced below (my stepdad is driving this):

2.  You have three cats and a dog.  In our Toronto apartment, not even one pet is practical.  My kid sister took these photos before I could tell her not to use the camera “flash” directly in the animals’ eyes (but aren’t these animals beautiful?):

3.  You’re going to sleep and you don’t hear anything.

In the city, there are no shortage of noises — buses, cars, neighbours, the annoying motorcycle driver who speeds by your bedroom window at 3 a.m….

When I travel north, I leave the sounds behind.  This allows me to create new sounds that turn into new songs.  My latest song, “Don’t Think, Just Feel” (unreleased) was finished during my last trip to the country.  It’s a nice place to put your thoughts in order.  Aside from the four animals running about, it’s generally quiet and peaceful.

Enjoy the photos below of the winter wonderland that is Grey County, Ontario.  The first one looks like the surface of the moon to me (minus the glare from the window).

Now I’m turning on my electric guitar amp to practise for my Canadian Music Week (CMW) showcase with my new muse, the Epiphone Sheraton.  I’m back in the city, after all.  The acoustic guitar can stay in its case for the time being.


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