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Winter mourning…

February 4, 2010

The salt off the inlet and the rich sturdy smell of cedar filled his lungs,

and his heart,

with ghosts…

The ghosts of the long dead,

whose ungathered chains and hanging skirts and tattered feathered wings were what keep them tangled up in the branches of trees…

The forest,

the mountain’s big beard—

the biggest,

creature-infested beard of them all—

bristled with millions of trees…

Vancouver had a living smell…

— in The Man Game by Lee Henderson

I recently met a woman who has written a book about how to live a life you love…

And then a minute or so after handing me her business card,

and gushing about her wellness workshops,

she told me that she finds it so difficult to live in Vancouver…

She can’t stay here much longer…

She needs to go somewhere else to do what she wants to do,

creatively…

I raised an internal eyebrow in the shape of a question mark…

But then I’m not one to talk…

I have a copy of YOU are the Answer…

 

When everything feels like the movies...

 

Today I broke a habit…

Instead of going back to bed after Starshine and Little Gem got on the school bus,

which has been my standard operating procedure for the last little while,

I went out on the sidewalk and hula-hooped myself into a lather…

Four years after buying an IPod I’ve finally figured out how to use it,

without reading a book,

and I worked it into my circus routine…

And this morning I got a big thumbs up from all the neighbourhood ladies,

who make it their business to go through the blue bins,

before the recycling truck rolls down the street…

Many years ago I learned to say good morning in Cantonese…

It takes nothing more to make a person smile,

from ear to ear,

in this Chinatown,

than being greeted by a mother’s tongue with a friendly,

早晨. Jóusàhn.

Remembering a few simple sounds,

goes a long way to connecting with a lost soul train…

 

A smile from a veil... Do you think you can tell???

 

While I was whirling up and down the street,

Dickie J from next door took Baby Jack out for his morning pee,

all over my Abraham D’Arby…

Dickie J asked me if I’d forgotten to take my meds…

I assured him that this kind of activity precludes the need for meds…

But a weekend decaf latte would be just what the doctor ordered…

By 9 am. I had so much energy coursing through my body I’d washed the front porch,

and started reorganizing my basement…

In the Summer of ’07 I was on my way home through the Okanagan from a roadtrip to the Rockies…

Starshine, Little Gem and I spent the night at a rustic fishing resort,

off of a logging road high in between Coldstream and Oyama…

Prime Pine Beetle country…

When I woke up in the morning,

with the scent of woodstove in the air,

Little Gem held my face in her hands and said,

I’m getting a message…

We need to go home right now,

and you need to start packing up the house…

When I get messages I do what I’m told,

on the double…

So we got in the car and made it home by dark…

When I listened to my voice mail after being away for a week,

a friend had called,

to say,

I’ve got a bunch of moving boxes for you…

Just let me know when I can drop them by…

Two days later I’d packed up half my house…

And just when I’d run out of boxes another friend called and said,

I have some moving boxes if you need them…

Now the thing about seeing things before they happen is,

you never know when they’re going to happen,

or how,

so you just have to be ready,

at a moment’s notice…

And the thing about packing up half of your house,

is that after two and half years of those things you thought you needed,

and couldn’t let go of,

sitting in boxes,

you realize that you don’t want them anymore,

and it is time to send them downriver…

Today I took a van load of household items up to My Sister’s Closet,

for women who are rebuilding their lives,

and starting anew…

And this last week I made a quilt from clothes that I wore in my twenties…

Clothes that were buried in my basement for fourteen and more years…

I cut the clothes up into squares,

placed them with intention on my living room carpet,

and then sewed them into place,

with purpose,

and closure…

This morning while I was washing down my front porch,

a classmate from flamenco walked by…

She said that mine used to be a punk rock house in the early 80’s,

and that she would party here…

There are stories full of secrets that have hungered to be heard in my house,

in the time since I packed my boxes…

And tonight,

while I was writing this,

they voiced gratitude for someone they could depend on…

Someone who would be willing to puzzle up the pieces,

by listening,

and feeling,

with a heart wide open…

 

And with this promise I will bring you home again...

 

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