2012-02-03 17:09





By Gail Prussky

陈锦麟 选注

Like most people born and raised in a big city, I always believed that carrots[2] grew in trees. (Admit it. You big-city folks reading this are nodding your heads in agreement.)

But I’d always dreamed of living in the country. When my husband and I realized that our Toronto house was worth a fortune thanks to out-of-control housing prices, we decided to take advantage, sell and buy a piece of paradise in a town northwest of the city.[3]

That was four years ago. Now, me and Duane (that’s not his real name—it’s the “country” name I gave him. It suits[4] him) had no experience living in the country. But at this stage of our lives (we’re geezers), it was exciting to embark on a new adventure.[5] Besides, my parents were gone, the kids were grown and, frankly, if I saw one more condo[6] go up in my neighbourhood, the top of my head was going to explode.

The first winter in our new home was a tough one, with more snow falling than in the previous 10 years. I learned the true meaning of “cabin fever”—when I develop an uncontrollable urge to smack Duane over the head with a cudgel because I can’t stand the sound of the air blowing though his nostril hairs when he breathes.[7] We were trapped together 24/7[8]. A lot. It wasn’t pretty.

Fortunately our property[9] is located on a main road. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. Remember this, because I shall return to it later.

When spring came I found myself driving to the city at least once every few weeks. I needed to hug a tall building. I wasn’t adapting[10] so well. Duane, on the other hand, gleefully purchased an ATV, a chainsaw, a riding lawnmower—new toys he had only dreamed about.[11]

That first spring also brought wildlife, something we thought we knew about. A skunk began lurking about the property during the day.[12] The dogs would bark at it, I would throw things at it and it would just look up at me as if to say, “You want something, old lady?” It was getting annoying, because although my dogs aren’t the brightest of creatures, they have a strong prey drive and were just itching to get at that skunk.[13]

Duane decided to take matters into his own hands. He cornered the skunk outside the basement and proceeded to fire a BB gun at it.[14] This apparently annoyed the skunk enough to make it raise its tail and spray directly into a vent leading to the air ducts in the house.[15] That annoyed me enough to stop talking to Duane for a few days.

A few nights later, when I discovered Duane in his underwear on the deck outside the bedroom at 3 a.m., firing BBs at raccoons, I decided to put a halt to his antics and took away his BB gun.[16] He’ll get it back when he matures.

There are so many things to learn when you move from the city to the country. For example: It’s not a good idea to pull up a chair beside a farmer’s field in the dead of winter to stare at the ground just because there’s a sign that reads, “Corn—watch it grow.” Apparently, this is a summer event.

And it’s also not wise to stock your pond with hundreds of trout when you have a family of mink living there.[17] All I knew about mink was that they were made into coats and stoles[18] that my mother’s generation adored. Now I’ve learned that they are also incredibly good swimmers and can eat hundreds of trout in one month. Because Duane and I disagree about the ethics of trapping[19] innocent creatures, the minks are still there and our pond is now empty.

But there are so many wonderful things about living in the country. I first realized it would be different when I went through the express lane with a dozen items at the local supermarket and nobody threatened my life or even gave me dirty looks.[20] People actually smiled at me. And driving around the countryside is a relaxing endeavour, unless you get caught in country gridlock.[21] This is when a farmer on his tractor is moving bales of hay and you get stuck behind him.[22]

I have discovered clouds. I have seen all sorts of amazing birds and wildlife. I am fascinated by tree fungus and cicada casings.[23] I’m slipping into a new role and a new life and it feels good.

But I’ve also discovered gravel[24] trucks. Remember when I said that our property is on a main road? Well, it appears, as far as I can make out, that big industry sees the countryside as one giant gravel pit[25], with a few annoying farms and truck stops connecting it all together. Gravel trucks are big. They’re noisy. And they pass by my house a lot.

At first I was obsessed about sitting by the road with a rocket launcher, but common sense prevailed and I began to adapt to the sound of trucks passing by.[26]

But now an American company wants to dig a huge gravel pit just north of my home. I don’t see myself adapting if that happens, so I marched into battle with the rest of the local community. The quarry proposal is aggravating, but it’s given me the opportunity to bond with the people in my area, and that has been the clincher for me.[27] I am home. The city is no longer where I belong. I’m here for the long haul[28].

Besides, it truly is paradise.

So, apparently, carrots grow in the ground.


1. slicker:〈美口〉衣着讲究、精通世故的城里人。

2. carrot: 胡萝卜。

3. Toronto: 多伦多(加拿大东南部港市);paradise: 天堂,极美的地方。

4. suit: 适合于(某人)。

5. geezer:〈美〉老头,老家伙;embark on: 开始,着手(尤指新的、有难度的或令人激动的事)。

6. condo:〈美口〉公寓,公寓楼。

7. cabin fever:(长期独居斗室引起的)幽闭烦躁症;uncontrollable: 无法控制的;urge: 冲动;smack:(用某物)啪的一声打;cudgel: 短粗棍。

8. 24/7: 一天24小时,每时每刻。

9. property: 花园住宅。

10. adapt: 适应。

11. gleefully: 欣喜地;ATV: =all-terrain vehicle:(能行驶于各种地形的)全地形汽车(单座,敞篷,有三四个大轮子);chainsaw: 链锯;lawnmower: 割草机。

12. skunk: 臭鼬(一种北美洲产的动物);lurk: 潜伏,埋伏。

13. prey drive: 指要捕食的冲动;itch: 渴求,热望。

14. corner: v. 把(人或动物)困住;fire: v. 开火,射击;BB gun:〈美〉气枪。

15. spray: 喷;vent: 通风口,排气道;air duct: 空气管道。

16. deck:(房屋的)露天平台;raccoon: 浣熊;halt: 停止,暂停;antics: (复数)古怪而可笑的举动。

17. stock: 储备;trout: 鳟鱼;mink: 水貂。

18. stole: 女用披肩,女用长围巾。

19. trap: 设陷阱捕捉。

20. express lane: 超市里的快速结账通道(专供买少量物品的人通过);give sb. dirty looks: 厌恶地看某人。

21. endeavour: 尝试;gridlock:(街道上车辆过多造成的)交通堵塞。

22. bale: 捆;hay: 干草。

23. fungus: 真菌植物,如蘑菇等;cicada: 蝉;casing: 壳。

24. gravel: 沙砾,砾石。

25. pit: 坑。

26. rocket launcher: 火箭发射器;common sense: 常识(尤指判断力);prevail: 占优势。

27. quarry: 采石场;aggravating: 恼人的;clincher:〈口〉(促使某人行动或结束争论、讨论等的)决定性事实。

28. for the long haul: 长远地。




















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