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celebrating Canada’s landscape

It didn’t rain. I carted rain cape and umbrella all day, and it was glowering and grey as only Vancouver can be, but it was mild and dry – in fact, a lovely day. Much walking and talking and eating, which is all I’ve done here – walk, talk, eat. First to Bruce, who has lived in the same small rented apartment on Beach Avenue, right on the water, for decades. This is part of the view from his balcony:

Next year, when my teaching term ends mid-March and I take my 5 week winter writing getaway, instead of going as usual to Paris, I’m going to go to Vancouver. I’d already decided long before the Paris massacre, and after that horrific event was tempted to change plans and go instead to my beloved city, for solidarity. But I’ll go to Paris again many times, and next year, I’m still going to come here. Bruce has very kindly offered me his apartment while he’s in Italy. Usually we are in Italy together in April, as we were this year. But next year, while he’s in Italy, I will be in Bruce’s apartment looking out the window.

I played a little something on his piano – the Bach Aria I’ve been learning, which I play extremely badly – and Bruce the pianist helped me, pointing out where I was in the music. When I’d finished he said, Thanks for reminding me why I didn’t become a piano teacher.

We walked to the Art Gallery to see an exhibit of Canadian landscape painting – beautiful. There are rooms of the traditional stuff from the 1800’s, Krieghoff et al, and then suddenly there they are in a blaze of colour, form and feeling, the Group of Seven. I fell in love with this, by Tom Thomson:

 After the shot, I learned we were not to take pictures. But am glad to have this one. More lovely stuff, including Emily Carr, that brave pioneer. A very good exhibition. Bruce and I are usually looking at Caravaggio and Fra Lippo Lippi. It’s good to celebrate our own artists, who celebrate our own landscape.

Lunch at the gallery with Chris, who met us there, and then we all did a tour around the shop, where Chris found some Christmas balls to his liking:

Said goodbye to Brucie, went for a long walk with Chris through downtown and Gastown and home by the water again, and then we rested and jabbered, while Chris admired his spectacular fish tank and cuddled his gorgeous cat Leon:

Leon sat on my lap for an hour while we talked – oh I miss that, a soft cat in the lap – and then I took Chris out for his birthday dinner to Bishop’s on 4th, where we had champagne, scallops from Quadra Island and dessert with a candle for the birthday boy.

Everywhere in this city, though it has changed enormously since I lived here from 1975 to 1983, has echoes and hauntings for me – remembered people and places. As if to remind me of that, a friend sent this photo from that time:


So much happened to me here. Vancouver still feels like a second home. I wonder if I’ll still think so after I live here for a month.



4 Responses to “celebrating Canada’s landscape”

  1. That last picture of you and Anna is SO great, Beth. I love it and seeing you with long dark hair. HAVE FUN IN HAWAII!!!!

  2. Kerry says:

    That photo looks so much like Anna and Eli! Everything is a circle.

  3. beth says:

    Thank you, friends – yes, it was amazing to receive that shot out of the blue, just when I'm here remembering being 32 with an adored 2-year old daughter, who now has two adored children of her own. Spending time with the people I knew 40-years ago, especially Chris, my best friend back then and now, still. I was an actress, I fell madly in love, I went to school to learn to be a writer, I gave birth and got married (in that order) here. Some powerful reverberations. And now – off into the wild blue.

  4. beth says:

    Kerry, so glad you're getting better!!

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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