August 31, 2006

Familiar Places


Something We Know is Lost

August 28, 2006

Beauty in the Breakdown

I am tired. Tired deep. Tired.

But my heart is light.

This weekend was madness. From the moment I locked the office door Friday afternoon to the moment I unlocked it this morning.

At the airport on Sunday, we walked out from the underground parking and there was a Fir tree swarmed with small black birds. Each one singing some story to the dusk sky. I have never seen anything like that. Tree limbs heavy with song. It was in such stark contrast to the steel and glass of the Domestic Arrivals fa├žade. A camera would never do it justice, only the sound of them singing, loud and exuberant.

I love airports.

The people watching. The good clothes and shoes. The bad hair. The flowers. Coffee in paper cups. Small luxuries, new books, glossy magazine covers. The lovers. The kissing, the hugs. The small happiness, the loud hello’s. The tired eyes and the hidden stories. The individual histories unfolding. We are witness to life here. Take the woman dressed in black leaning against the pole. Waiting for luggage, alone. Or the young lover who carried the most beautiful bunch of pink flowers. Not the cheap ones they sell downstairs, but something that took thought and preparation. And how he could not keep his hands or lips off of her, how she smiled at him with such openness.

I wonder if I wear that face when I see Jeff. (My heart surely does when I walk in the door.)

And the black man who caught my eyes and said hello. Or the way, even tired, we are gentle with one another. We share something, this mass of humanity. We share in some common joy, the arrival gate.

The birds just reminded me of why I love the airport. The surprises. The pleasures of strange people and how we are all attached in one way or another. Sitting on the limbs of our existence.



G.

August 26, 2006

August 13, 2006

Hidden Places

There is something to be said about the beauty of where we live. Could anything be more gorgeous, a study in contrasts? The lush green of the corn fields in the Fraser Valley to the grey green of sage in Salmon Arm? The dark jade green of the Columbia River and the pastel turquoise of White Swan Lake?

I love this beautiful place. With it’s red sun and it’s roundabout roads.

We drove twelve hours to a little lake up near Cranbrook for the long weekend. Johnny Cash on the stereo, winding through little towns and past fruit stands jammed full of tourists. I love almost every minute of it. (Almost?) Yes, almost all of it.

We stopped in Salmon Arm for a swim, sandy banks and pale green water. I was surprised by the oil money from Alberta that was being flaunted. Escalades and huge speed boats, eight out of ten plates from Alberta. It’s all good for the locals but I have to wonder what we are eroding. Everything bigger and better, the Texas of the north.

Walking along a side road in Golden was interesting. The gardens were so beautiful. Eden. Overflowing the neat perimeters in an ecstatic love of the sun and heat. South, deeper into belly of the province, the road smooth and silent, cleaving away from the busy main highway. Through Invermere and the deep valley, clinging to pink stone and blue blue sky.

Natural hot springs, sulfur and heat. (I ruined a bathing suit.) How delightful to find these natural springs on the edge of the river, large stones have been collected to cause it to pool, cascading down to finally mingle with the cold melt water. It’s only too bad that there was nothing private about it, FULL of tourists and children and loud voiced tipsy people. There was remnants of wax on the large boulders, evidence that this place is never quiet, that even at night there is a crowd.

The lake we camped at was so clear. No matter how far you swam, you could sit still and see the bottom, the soft wave of weeds. I went running the one morning along it’s banks on a little trail that wove it’s way along little bays and over a creek. Unfortunately though, I broke the trail… meaning the million and one little cobwebs that had been formed since the last person took it. And we all know how I feel about spiders.

Coming home we took the southern route. Yhak, Midway, Grand Forks, Greenville (a personal favorite). By the time we hit the Appalachian Mountains, the truck was full of tomatoes and peaches… tired boys and wet swim suits full of sand from Bromley Rock. And through the pass the clouds pulled in, the sky that angry dark right before a storm… until we hit Hope where it let down. Welcome home. But how could we sustain all this beauty if there was not the liquid sunshine?

Am I glad to be home? Yes and no. J. and I need to take a week and go explore some more, get off the beaten track.

Somewhere he knows from his railroad days is a town half forgotten called Donald. Pulling off the main road we ducked under the highway than wove our way beside the tracks until we came to a sign that stated Donald Cemetery. The only thing left of this town that used to boast a main road and a church. There were only a couple of traditional stones, the majority being carved out of wood. Worn away by weather and time, the stones were no longer legible. What a lovely find. It’s things like this that I love the most about traveling with J. His little hidden delights.

And now you know who I am having the love affair with. The green of home, the gold of soft hills and sage brush.



G.

August 03, 2006