Category Archives: family and friends.

We Are Home.

We drove east from Hope, BC in pouring rain that turned to slush, to snow, to rain and back to snow.

On the ferry from Vancouver Island

It was a slower than normal drive to accommodate the conditions. I am grateful, my beloved factored in both the weather and my nervousness of driving in such unfavourable conditions.

I’m also grateful we did decide to finish our journey yesterday as the Hwy has been closed in both directions between Revelstoke and Golden since yesterday afternoon.

Stopped on the Highway outside Golden

We just slipped through.

The generosity of strangers.

About 20 kms west of Golden traffic stopped. A long line of cars serpentined along the road in front of us and quickly, the line grew behind us.

Traffic stopped

I took to Twitter and sure enough, DriveBC quickly answered my Twitter query — “Does anyone know what’s going on?”

There was a serious incident on the highway blocking lanes going in both directions. No information yet on when the highway would be open as it had occurred not long before we were stopped. No detour available.

It was a waiting game.

Until about an hour later when a young man hopped out of the U-haul in front of us, walked back to our vehicle and knocked on C.C.s window.

“There’s a detour road about 1km back,” he said. It will lead you to the outskirts of Golden.”

A pick-up had already turned around and was heading in the direction of the other route.

We turned around and followed him. As did other cars once the kind young man had passed on the information.

It was a backcountry road. The terrain was beautiful. Rolling hills with ranchhouses dotted amongst trees, lights glimmering in the fading light of day. The road was ploughed. Travel was easy.

About 20 minutes later we found ourselves at the edge of Golden. A stop to refuel, both vehicle and ourselves, and we decided to push through the 3 hours to home.

I’m grateful we did.

The road ahead

The Highway between Revelstoke and Golden remains shut down this morning due to avalanches. There’s a very heavy snowfall warning for the coastal highway leading into the interior today. Travel is ill-advised. And while there were travel warnings yesterday due to weather conditions, the roads weren’t slippery, just snowy at times and wet.

I am grateful.

Grateful for C.C.’s patient driving — both with the conditions and me as I tend to be a little tense (ok a lot) when semi’s roar past in a blur of flying snow and gravel, especially on curves!

I am saddened.

Our journey was punctuated by two serious incidents that took the lives of two people. One the day we left Tofino which closed the Hwy just east of Hope — we were stopping there for the night, and then the incident yesterday.

Lives forever gone. Families changed. Journies altered.

We drove home yesterday. Up and over the Coquihalla to the interior. Along the vast expanse of Lake Okanagan to the Rockies. We crossed over Roger’s Pass and then Kicking Horse further east. We drove down out of the mountains to the rolling foothills towards the city and home.

We carried with us our memories of our time by the sea. Our time playing with our grandson and visiting with our daughter and son-in-love.

It was a beautiful respite and a love-filled transition into the New Year.

And now we’re home.

This morning, I sit at my desk by the river, a candle burning, soft music playing in the background. Beaumont has had a brief morning walk and is once again asleep on the bed with C.C. I sip my tea and watch the traffic on the bridge travelling in the same direction we were yesterday.

In front of my window, ice islands stretch out from under the bridge and the river flows endlessly to a distant sea.

All is well with my world.

My Birthday Manifesto

It is good that once a year the day of our birth comes around to remind us to stop and breathe and give thanks for life, living and love.

It is good that on this day we are reminded of all the love that fills our every breath.

It is good that on this day we take the time to reflect and appreciate all we’ve experienced, received and given over the past year(s).

It is good to be thankful on this day for the people in our lives who make it so rich and special.

It is good to take time on our day of birth (and everyday) to acknowledge within us the deep place of knowing, who we are shines brightest in our connections to one another. That Love fills the intersection of each relationship with its never-ending flow.

It is good that we stop and acknowledge and give thanks for that which binds us together, connects us and keeps us safe – Love.

It is good that we give thanks for the Love that illuminates our hearts, filling our lives with such abundance and joy.

It is good that we give thanks on this day for the trials and tribulations, the pains and sorrows we’ve experienced. They are part of the tapestry of our life that lets us test our wings and unfurl them just a little bit further.

It is good to remember that no matter how dark the day, the light shines brightest in the darkness.

It is good that we fall into gratitude for the richness and beauty in the depths of all that is present in our lives.

It is all good.

And on this day of my birth, It is good to acknowledge how my journey is strengthened and made more beautiful because it is woven into the lives of so many people whom I love so deeply my heart aches in the joy and wonder of that Love.

And it is good to acknowledge on this day that I believe in Love. I believe in the power, the majesty, the wonder of this energy that embraces our world in such beauty it takes my breath away.

Because I believe that in all things, in all ways, in darkness and in light, in beauty and in sorrow, in joy and in loss, in wonder and in tears, there is always Love.

It is my birthday today. I am grateful for all of you who come and share this space with me, who leave comments and likes and tiny little footprints that illuminate my heart with your presence throughout the year.

I am blessed with this beautiful life I inhabit. In the love I know is real and true and deep and profound.

I am joyful in this space in which I find myself today and every day. This space where I get to live my life free of fear and turmoil. Where I know when I flip the switch the lights will come on. That when I open the fridge there will be food to eat. That when I open the front door, there will be only friendly faces to greet me. That when I walk the streets I do not fear bombs falling or guns rattling. That I do not shiver with cold because I have a warm coat and boots and gloves to protect me from the cold.

I am thankful for my home. My lamp lit desk that overlooks the river. My bright and airy studio that inspires my creativity and personal reflections and expressions. My home. My beloved. My family and friends. My delightful Beaumont.

I am grateful that my world is filled with such possibility, such joy, such Love. That I am free to express myself without fear. That I am free to be myself without censure.

I am grateful for another year to have journeyed around the sun connected to the world in new and exciting ways that enliven my outlook and sparkle-up my perspective of this amazing, crazy, sometimes thought-defying, inexplicably cruel and breathtakingly beautiful world of harmony and contradictions. Of grandeur and of pain. Of our human condition in all its multi-faceted dimensions. Of our natural world showing us what is possible when we let go of fearing one another and join hands in peace, hope, Love and joy.

It is my birthday today. I am so blessed.

In the tenderness of the dawn.

It is my most favourite morning of the year.

That first morning when I enter the living room and turn on the Christmas tree lights for the first time of the season.

Normally, this morning doesn’t arrive until after December 9th (my birthday). But, originally my sister was to have been here this week, and as C.C. and I are leaving to visit our grandson and family right after Christmas, we decided to deviate from tradition and put the tree up early.

Which is lovely.  As I write and reflect and look out the window at the world slowly awakening, the beautiful reflection of the lights shimmering on the tree has been added to my view.

How blessed I am.

My youngest daughter and her partner came over last night and joined us for dinner and in decorating. We laughed and shared stories and my daughter threw in the occasional comment about my tendency to want to ‘over decorate’. “Less is more” just doesn’t seem to align with my vision of Christmas.

When the last ornament was placed, and the angel carefully set upon the treetop, we all agreed, Vincent is a beautiful tree (And yes, he has been named after the artist in celebration of creativity, passion and all the vibrant colours of the world.)

It is in the decorating of the Christmas tree I feel the movement of our family tree the most. My eldest daughter and C.C.’s daughter both live in Vancouver now. C.C.’s son is on a U.S. tour with his band, leaving just the four of us to do the honours.

It was lovely and sweet and filled with moments to cherish and while holding the slight bittersweet tang of missing those we love who have over the years always been here to decorate.

And that’s the thing about this special time of year. It isn’t about gifts wrapped under the tree, or rushing from store to store to buy that perfect something someone may or may not want. It’s about family and friends gathering together around a tree, a table, on a skating rink, a toboggan hill, a walk through the woods.

It’s about time spent laughing and teasing, telling old stories we’ve heard countless times before but that still ring true with the sounds of love and familiarity that imbue their spirit.

It’s about one of the ‘kids’ finding the tackiest ornament (the one I swear I’m going to relegate to the garbage bin every year but just can’t seem to do it) and placing it in a very visible spot on the tree because you know, I’m going to hate it there! (And yes, this happens every year and I always feel the warm glow of love in its happening.)

It’s about Love.

Sharing.

Connecting.

Belonging.

Missing and longing too.

Because it is at this time of year, along with the loving of time together, I feel the absence of the ones I love, who aren’t here, the most. Whether they have moved away or have left this physical world for places beyond my ken, there is always that mushy place in my heart that has the sweet, tender aura of absence.

We decorated the tree last night. I sit at my desk this morning, it’s lights a shimmering glow in the window before me.

The river flows. Traffic moves along the bridge. The sky is dark.

Nat King Cole sings Christmas music in the background.  Dawn light will soon creep into the dark, gently tucking night back into the envelope of day that lies in waiting just beyond the horizon.

We decorated the tree last night. My birthday has not yet come and gone, neither has my beloved’s who celebrates his the day before mine.

Possibly, in decorating the tree before our birthdays this year, we’ve created a new tradition of when Christmas appears in our home. Perhaps, this will be a new way of stepping into this season of Peace, Hope, Love and Joy that will lovingly embrace the ever-changing landscape of our family tree.

The tree is lit. My heart is light and just a teeny bit achy. All is well with my soul because deep within me is the tender knowing that, no matter where the ones I love are, they are always at home in my heart. I carry them with me always.

 

Mountain Magic at Twin Falls Chalet

Twin Falls from a distance

When my daughters were young, I imagined sharing mountain time together. Of hiking and skiing in the backcountry. Of getting away together to places far from the maddening crowd, where Internet and cell phones did not interrupt being present in the presence of being together.

This weekend my youngest daughter and I created magic together on a trip into the backcountry to Twin Falls Chalet, a remote mountain lodge run by the irrepressible Fran Drummond.

It was a weekend of pure bliss. Of time to kick-back, relax, spend time with my daughter, and to push myself physically. It was also an unexpected gift to fall in love all over again with being in the mountains.

I had forgotten. Forgotten how mountain time, especially in the backcountry, is restorative and rejuvenating. And in this time of my rejuvenation post leaving the formal workforce, it was a welcome and much appreciated respite.

Beginning of our hike into the Chalet

The hike into Twin Falls Chalet is not a cakewalk, but it is beautiful. It’s just over 8 kilometers with about a 300 metre elevation gain to the Chalet. Lots of switchbacks and lots of views that take your breath away. (Our second day we hiked the 10km trail – up to the top of the falls (another 350 metres elevation gain) and then hiked along the Whaleback down to Marpole Lake and back to the Chalet — exquisite!)

Arriving at the Chalet Friday evening felt like finding Hansel and Gretels cabin in the woods, without the mean old witch stoking the fire.

Instead, you stumble into the Chalet to be greeted with a warm welcome and offer of coffee by its proprietor, Fran Drummond, a tiny speck of a woman with 82 years of life under her belt and an attitude that goes on into forever.

As my daughter and I were hiking out yesterday we talked about Fran and her incredible attitude. There’s no ‘end game’ for Fran. There’s just ‘the game of life’, and one she sees herself playing with every bit of her being until her last breath in some distant future. Fran sees herself going and going and going, continuing to run the lodge, which she’s overseen for the past 57 years, with the same passion and vigor she does now. She’s feisty, determined, stubborn and did I mention opinionated?

Sitting down to an incrediblely hearty and delcious meal at the large family style table includes Fran’s recounting of stories of her years spent hosting dinners and guests at the Chalet as well as her work in the oil patch as a librarian for a major oil company and a trainer. It also comes spiced up with her commentary of Parks Canada, how Canada is working (or not) and what the government, on every level is doing wrong (with a few rights tossed in with the same elan as the Amaretto she’d liberally sprinkled over the fresh peaches she’d hiked in earlier in the week that she served for dessert on Saturday night along with fresh baked Butter Tarts straight out of the wood burning oven). Fran is that unique ingredient that makes the stay at Twin Falls so enchanting, invigorating and fascinating.

At one point Fran told us that she was considering running as an MP for the PC party but she wasn’t sure she could take 4 years of living in Ottawa. “Why would you want to?” I asked.

“Because Canada’s not working,” she replied, nodding her head and giving us her mischievious grin and laugh. “Everybody’s got a responsibility to make it right and I can’t just give up.”

Giving up is not in Fran’s books. And, even though Parks Canada is looking to shut the chalet down at the end of this year for a major overhaul next spring that will see it out of operations for 2020, Fran is determined to fight them to the bitter end.

Having spent the weekend amidst the rustic and magical environment of Twin Falls Chalet listening to Fran share the history and lore of the area, I believe her. She will not give up.

I spent a weekend in the backcountry with my youngest daughter. It was a beautiful time spent connecting and communing with nature.

It was pure Love in action.

I forgot my reading glasses — which made reading and writing challenging. I also didn’t take in any paints and only had a ball point pen to work with.  it was kind of fun and challenging!

Home again. Home again.

I am home.

We left Gabriola Island on the 10:05 ferry Saturday morning and began the journey back. We had intended to wend our way through the Okanagon but grey skies, rain and C.C.’s Interclub golf game Monday afternoon gave us pause to reconsider.

We drove through in 2 days.

I am grateful we did.

I am ready for home. Ready for routine. Ready to settle in and ease into for this next phase of my life.

As we drove my mind wandered to thoughts of ‘the future’. What does it look like? What will I do? What’s in store?

It is inevitable that my mind does that. Leap into future planning, future vistas.

Home isn’t just a place to be. It’s the place where I live my life, day by day, moment by moment.

I like structure. I like knowing what I’m doing, what’s ‘supposed to be’ happening next. And while I am still committed to my ‘unplanned’ summer, I feel the urge within calling me to look into out there, on that distant horizon for ‘what happens next’.

I am resisting its call and looking within instead.

Peering deeply into myself to feel the ebb and flow of creativity as it crashes into the shores of my desire to be present with all that is when I stop pushing and pulling and trying to make ‘what is’ into something I want it to be.

For now, I shall be spending time preparing my workspace. Clearing out clutter. Setting up my studio to be a space that infuses each day with creative spark and inspired curiousity.

There’s a fair amount of ‘grunt work’ to be done.

Since moving into this house a year ago, I have not tackled the back storage room where all my boxes of art supplies were loaded in by the movers.

On the road as we drove…

There is no rhyme or reason to the placement of the room’s contents. And, because the move out from our old home was so fast (the sale included a 14 day possession date), a lot of my supplies were simply loaded into boxes without a plan. The movers didn’t label what they were packing so now I go on the adventure of discovering what is there. What is needed, and what is not.

I’m excited!  Stampede is on and I don’t have to dress-up and play cowgirl. I get to revel here at home as I create my ideal studio space in which to paint and draw, write and contemplate, create and grow.

Yahoo!  I may not be out kicking up my heels, dancing to a two-step, but I shall be dancing with the muse as I unpack and explore what happens next in my studio space.

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And…. I created a video of C.C. and my stay on Gabriola. It was a delightful time!

Island Life. Slow and easy does it.

The View From Where I Sit

Island life is a slow, easy pace. The biggest decision of my morning here at my sister and brother-in-law’s on Gabriola Island is whether to have coffee on the north deck or the south.

Decisions. Decisions.

This morning, I added one more decision. To take the seaplane from Silva Bay to the south terminal in Vancouver, (20 minutes + half hour transit) or, two ferries (4+ hours).

Seaplane won. Simple. Direct. And bonus. I get to spend the day exploring the beaches of Gabriola before returning to Vancouver.

This trip is unplanned insofar as my schedule is determined by my daughter’s needs for childcare as she settles into a new job and juggles work, family, and a nanny 3 days a week.

Tomorrow, Thurlow, my grandson, and I will spend the day together.

Colour me excited!

It is the most precious part of this trip. To spend time with him without adult supervision (I’m hoping my daughter doesn’t read this as she might get a little perturbed by my suggestion that time with my grandson is all about being a child at heart!) 🙂

Before I left for Gabriola on Monday, my grandson and I walked to the park at the end of their street for playtime. Apparently, an hour walk was a bit longer than my daughter anticipated. When my phone rang and I answered, she advised me I needed to get back.

But he’s not ready to leave yet, I told her.

She suggested I pick him up and carry him home.

I don’t think he’ll be happy about that, I replied.

I didn’t pick him up but we did manage to wander home in time to meet the nanny.

It is perhaps one of the greatest joys of being a YiaYa. Not feeling the pressure and responsibility of time, schedules and disciplined structure. It’s why I like my name ‘YiaYa’.  There are no-no’s where my grandson is concerned!

And on this trip, there is no need to create a schedule — other than to coincide with what works for friends and family whom I may be visiting. C.C. is looking at flying out for a week to visit friends on Vancouver Island. He’ll fly home and I’ll continue on my journey. Or he’ll drive back with me.

That’s the plan. And that’s the beauty of the plan. There’s lots of room for change!

Namaste.

 

 

 

 

The Sacred Nature of Waves

From my journal yesterday:

I sat by the ocean and wept for the joy and beauty of being alive in this moment right now. My tears flowed into the sea and the sacred embraced me and this ordinary experience of being human opened my heart to the awesome beauty of our shared humanity.

We are all capable of greatness. We are all part of the light and darkness of being human.

Where we walk, how we walk is our choice. Let us step lightly on this sacred planet.

I leave this paradise of Gabriola Island tomorrow to return to Vancouver where I will spend a week with my grandson, daughter and son-in-love. And then… the script is not completely written. I shall take the ferry to Vancouver Island. Visit friends. Wander the island.

Unscripted. Unmapped. Unwritten.

Such a joyful, beautiful time to refresh, relax and rejuvenate.

I am so blessed.