I’m home – a day early. On the weekend, I realized that there was just too much to do and managed to change my ticket, not for the $365 originally quoted, but for the $75 change fee. There are a few worrying things going on here, and necessary chores; time to stop gadding about and get on with real life.
But that left me a whole weekend in Vancouver – rain predicted, but luckily there were many stretches without and even some sun. On Friday morning, Patsy and I reluctantly left Cabin #12, saying goodbye to the view, the hot tub and the chatty stellar jay that had kept us company. We collected driftwood and stones on magnificent Wickanninnish Beach, and then she drove us across the island to Nanaimo where I caught the float plane back to Vancouver. What a ride – soaring over the water with mountains on all sides – and in 20 minutes, back in the city.
I strolled that evening along the English Bay seawall as far as Second Beach; thousands out also on a mild Friday night, strolling or jogging by the water and sitting on the beach, the freighters on the horizon outlined against the setting sun. I came across a group of 3 musicians, a fiddler, guitar and mandolin player, singing the old folk song “A hundred miles.” “Lord, I’m five hundred miles, from my home.” I felt the words in my bones. As we gathered to listen, the sky was glowing gold over the water, the waves lapped at the shore – a moment of heaven in the heart of earth’s most beautiful city.
Next morning, Chris and I took the tiny ferry in the rain to one of my favourite places, Granville Island, for lunch and a stroll about. Anxious to avoid my shopping tendencies, however, with so many great shops around, he steered me on to see “The Sapphires,” a hilarious and moving Australian film about an aboriginal girl band in the Sixties. Adorable Irish actor Chris O’Dowd – our new heartthrob, Chris’s and mine, and for once, I’m sure he’s straight, so MINE.
That evening, old friends Margaret and Roy hosted a dinner again, this time with more friends from my time in the theatre here. And the following morning, Margie and I again went to Jane Ellison’s fabulous movement/dance class at the Western Front. Sunday afternoon, with the sun actually out briefly, I met Angus at the VAG Café. Angus rented my attic room 10 years ago, as a young musician training to accompany opera singers; he’s been working successfully ever since, has grown up and is engaged to be married. He and I had a Malaysian dinner on Davie Street with Chris, and I walked back to Bruce’s cosy flat in the drizzle, to pack and prepare for my early departure the next morning.
Awoke to such a high wind, the waves were smashing over the seawall. Nothing if not dramatic, Vancouver. The flight, though we were crammed onto an airbus, was speedy and painless – I watched an entertaining documentary about elderly people playing in the world pingpong championships, the oldest 100 years old and still competing. Inspiring.
Oh, the pleasure, once more, of walking through my own front door. Tenant Carol had kept the place shining, a bunch of purple tulips on the kitchen counter, the crabby cat almost affectionate. I registered the newly-placed things around that were my mother’s – a vase that was my grandmother’s, Mum’s throw tossed on a chair. Often on the trip I had the urge to call her. At the same time, it was a relief not to be worrying about her. In the darkness, I could see that the forsythia is blooming – and that my termite-prone deck had been ripped out, as promised, leaving a pile of rubble. So – back to work, planning classes, working on the house.
With so many fine memories, bird singing outside, spring in full flight.