And now for something completely different: Planet Gabriola.
In Vancouver Thursday, a walk in Stanley Park with Bruce and lunch outside – seafood chowder for me, of course – at the Brewpub. And then one of my favourite journeys in the world, a walk along English Bay to catch the little ferry to Granville Island. I went to my favourite shops there, the hat shop to buy yet another beret, the paper shop where I bought yet more pens, and through the food market to buy saucisson sec for Chris. It’s a simply gorgeous place. And then the little ferry back, dinner again at the Sylvia, sitting by the window, watching the clouds.
Yesterday morning, a long walk along the seawall, and then out to the South airport to catch the float plane to Gabriola. I got to sit in the co-pilot’s seat again, as I did last time, beside Ryan the handsome pilot. A stunning 20-minute flight low over Georgia Straight before skimming into Sylva Bay.
I burst into tears. I’ve been to Gabriola many times, but for the first years, before Chris moved here too, it was to visit my beloved friend Patsy, who as you know died earlier this year. I’ve wept three times so far, missing her. Today on the dog walk this morning with Chris, I told someone I’ve asked Chris to take me to where she is. “You mean in the cemetery,” said the woman, and the tears poured. One of my oldest friends, not in her little house in the woods, with a clump of the stray cats she fed and cared for snoozing on the porch, but in the cemetery.
But Chris is here, thriving though struggling still sometimes with his speech issues. His house is a haven. He’s a man of exquisite taste; every corner of this log house holds something interesting and beautiful – including his pets, Sheba the white Labradoodle who’s woolly like a sheep, and the Bengal cats Ethel and Fred.
I always think of Gabriola as Brigadoon – an island floating in the mists of time. Chris has made lots of good friends here, mostly through Sheba; he goes on big dog walks and small dog walks with different groups, today the smaller one, five or six women and their diverse array of canine companions, a cheery, chatty group on an hour-long walk through the woods. I am forest bathing and meeting lots of dogs.
I’ll share some photos in a separate post. Right now I have to go cry again.