Liquid Savasana

23 08 2019

This morning dawned with a late August softness, a sky drawn with stretched clouds and a stillness that beckoned me from my intended plans. My regular Friday chores could wait I decided, as I put my paddleboard on my car rack and drove down to the Bay.

There, the water greeted me, still as glass, its molten pewter tones marrying the reflection of the blues and greys of the skies above. In silence, I launched, the only sounds the drips from the paddle as I drew myself along the shoreline. I was in no hurry, indulging in the sweetness of no agenda. I chose to head north, along the cliffs of Queens Bay, where kayaks and gazebos and canoes are tucked into ledges beneath the homes that stand watch far above.

I paddled along the edge of the rocks, seeing glimpses of fish hugging the drop-off. Giant boulders lay beneath the surface, tumbled from the face of the cliffs eons ago, precariously balanced on edges. The water fades from crisp clarity to a greenish blur until there is nothing but darkness. Sometimes it fades with jumbles of rocks, sometimes it’s a sheer face of an immersed cliff. The morning sun was perfectly aligned for seeing the magic beneath me. It’s always a wonder, a slightly unnerving one, when you realize how deep this lake really is. When you can go from five feet to over 200 feet deep in one single stroke of the paddle.

The ferry wake reached me at one point, the waves were gentle rollers, hitting me broadside and challenging my balance. I admit I might have whispered “Weeeeee” as I rolled with them. They pushed up against the cliffs, rippling and creating a moiré effect of the sky’s reflection, a fleeting Impressionist painting of jagged rocks and gnarled trees clinging to the rocks above me.

A kayaker greeted me in silence, we merely smiled and nodded without marring the quiet with unnecessary sound. As I returned, and rounded the corner, a brace of Mergansers rose from their underwater group feeding, their crests flashing brilliant ochre in the morning light. They looked surprised to see me, a few of them giving me a side-eye to make sure I was no threat to them. They quacked, murmuring mollification to one another. I stood still on my board to give them the space they needed and watched them until they dove under again.

I indulged in laying on my board in the middle of the Bay for a few minutes, my hands on either side of me, cupping water and pouring it through my fingers, a liquid savasana.

I think I could have stayed there forever, in that peace. In that quiet. In that embrace of a late August morning. This will see me through until next year, I believe, those moments of pure stillness, draped over me like a silk sheet. I have tucked it away into my heart, to revel in at any time when I need to.





Swan dive.

19 07 2019

We gathered down at the beach late Friday afternoon, drinks in hand, and sat with the vista of the north end of the lake set before us like freshly painted art, the mountains arced on each side, fading from greenish gray to the far off hues of deep blues. We laughed, visited and caught up with each other, setting the tone for the girls weekend before us.

I admit I was eyeing up the dock long before my sister whispered into my ear. Even though it was on the cooler side, I’m generally not one to miss out an opportunity to plunge into Kootenay Lake. None of us had our suits on, however, but when Kim subtly nudged me and suggested we jump off the dock, swimsuits were not a concern of mine. Winning, however, was.

We ran onto the dock while the girls on the beach hooted and hollered. While I ran, I stripped off my shorts and top, intent on winning the race AND launching myself off the dock in what I hoped would be a graceful, perfectly executed dive into the water. Right down to straight legs and pointed toes.

I stole a quick glance behind me and saw I was clearly in the lead. Full speed, I ran, with the edge of the dock a mere eight feet away, and the cool blue-gray waters of the lake beckoning me like a sweet lover.

That was when my left foot collided with the pointy edge of a metal boat cleat… And I went sprawling, catching my right foot under me with enough instinctual presence to flounder rather than fall. I windmilled in an attempt to prevent a full naked body skid along a very slivery aged dock and instead, launched off the edge in a frenzy of arms and legs, and, also, I daresay, bare bum in the air, and spectacularly bellyflopped into the lake.

I came up, sputtering and coughing to see my sister bent over in absolute hysterics. She managed to ask if I was okay in between bouts of guffaws. I climbed the ladder and stood in all my glory, dripping wet, gave my audience on the beach a loud WOOOOOO-HOOOO and then looked down at my foot. It… well it wasn’t broken, but it was instantly swollen and rather pinkish-red. Not a speck of toe nail polish remained on three of my toes. The polish was, as we discovered the next day, embedded in the boards as three long purple streaks, as if to say “Kris was here… and here… and here…”

It could have ended badly, but I’d rather not think about that. I’d rather think about how I provided a good laugh for my friends and I also that I WON.

 





Lois.

8 07 2019

She was more than a bit long in the tooth, to say the least. A bit grungy, a bit worn.  A lock that needed persuasive urging to open. A tinge of long-ago smoked cigarettes greeted us as we opened the door to our weekend getaway AirBnB in Surrey. Lois The Motor Home was the 1980’s rode-hard-and-put-away-wet version of a unique (so we thought) funky and inexpensive place to stay after we dropped the kids off at their own place as we prepared for a fun and epic festival and shopping-filled weekend away.

Jill and I looked at each other, and burst out laughing as we entered the old motor home parked on a beautiful property just on the border of Whiterock. It was quiet and forested, with a hot tub and pool for us to use whenever we wanted. When we mutually decided to book it, we thought, Hey, what a fun adventure…. “camping” in the city!! Why not?!

We unloaded our car and set about planning our days ahead of us. This was when we discovered the owners didn’t exactly hold up their end of the traditional AirBnB bargain of supplying the basic necessities of… well…. normal life.

No toilet paper. Two towels. No garbage can/bags. No dish soap. Minimal dishes. Nary a broom to be found. NO BOTTLE OPENER.  Jill messaged the owner with our concerns and someone brought us two rolls of TP and some soap with a couple squeezes at the very bottom to do dishes with.

But hey, sometimes you’re faced with these situations and there’s not much else to do other than laugh about it and deal with the status quo. We made due at the time. The next morning we found the shower head was more intent on facing the wall instead of, you know… OUR ACTUAL BODIES. The water puddled on the floor under our feet with no way of being absorbed because… you know TWO TOWELS and all. The fuse blew every time we tried to blow dry our hair. We laughed about our smoker’s lung after breathing in that stale smoker smell.

We weren’t there all that much for the first two days. But on Saturday, we realized we were running low on TP and our towels were hot soggy messes. I went to the owner and asked him for more toilet paper and a couple more towels, so at the very least we could have something on the floor to mop up the leaky shower.

He looked at me with an odd expression and (I SHIT YOU NOT) said “But I already gave you two rolls.”

I placed my hands together in an effort to prevent myself from punching this dude in the face and finding some sort of calm within a prayer pose and said, “Yes. But you see, we’re girls. We need more than two rolls. And more towels too. That would be extremely convenient if you could provide this for us.” I gave him a smile that I hoped relayed more of a hopeful message, rather than a murderous one.

He looked vaguely out of sorts and offered to wash our towels for us after admitting he had no more toilet paper.

That was the moment when I knew I wanted to write the AirBnB review. I’m still penning it in my mind as I write this post.

He luckily scrounged some more TP for us and two fresh towels were laid out for us upon our return that day.

But you know, all in all, these are the sorts of adventures that can either ruin your trip or make your trip something to remember. Jill and I are both pretty easy-going gals, and we sure as hell laughed a whole lot about it. Maybe some people would have been horrified and demanded a refund while seeking modern comforts. But to me, we both survived and the memories and laughs we shared together are more precious than gold.

But, for the love of all that is good in this world, at least provide adequate toilet paper.

 

 

 

 

 

 





10 ways

13 03 2019

A couple years ago when Dan and I went to Puerto Vallarta (our first real holiday, just the two of us, since having kids), we went to Yelapa for the day. We met a couple on the boat and chatted with them a few times during our excursion.

At one point, after we were pleasantly pickled from a couple of (AMAZING) margaritas on the beach, she mentioned that she was Finnish and that when they were married, they chose to involve both languages for their vows.

So I said “Mina rakastan sinua” to her and her mouth dropped open. We both then laughed and laughed.

You see, a bajillion years ago I had read an article in some stupid teen magazine that was “Ten Different Languages To Say I Love You”, and I have remembered almost every one. 34-ish years later.

French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Finnish, Russian, Swedish.

(I have a tendency to store meaningless tidbits of random information in my brain, yet struggle to remember where I parked my car when I went grocery shopping.)

Anyway, she was quite amazed that I knew how to say I love you in Finnish, and, quite wryly, she also confessed that her own husband had difficulty remembering the phrase to say to her during their vows. He tried his hardest to defend himself but given the circumstances he conceded defeat.

 

 

Forgive the spelling, this is how I remember it:

Je t’aime

Iche liebe dich

Ti amo

Te amo

Wah eye ne

Mina rakastan sinua

Ya lyublyu tebya

Jeg elska daj

 

 

 




Wait for it…..

9 12 2018

In retrospect, perhaps it was some sort of comedic karmic comeuppance when I said that we were lucky to have avoided any major issues with flying in the last few years.

We flew from Cancun into Calgary last Saturday, after a delicious week of turquoise blue Caribbean water and hot Mexican sunshine, lazy cribbage games and indulgent drinks imbibed before noon. It was a lovely getaway.

Our plane landed in Calgary a half hour early, thanks to some tailwinds. Lucky for folks living there, but now some of us had a 4 and half hour layover to kill before jumping on the plane to Kelowna. All in all, though, not a big deal. But then, as we made our way to the gate to get ready to board, the announcement came over the speaker that our flight was delayed 30 minutes. I could see the collected eye rolls of various passengers as we all plugged our phones in and tried to find something else to kill the bonus time.

Finally! The little Dash 8 arrived and I watched with amusement as the harried passengers offloaded and raced to make their various connector flights. It was cold and snowing that day, so I imagined that was partly the reason for the delay.

Finally after 45 minutes we were allowed to board. The ground crew de-iced us and the plane was ready to go…. but then the pilot announced that she was told there was an exterior panel issue that they needed to fix before we took off. Back to the gate we went, to wait for another ground crew to come and fix it all up….with a few exasperated sighs and seat shuffles that bespoke of most people’s frustrations.

Oh, wait. Did I tell you the best part? We had an active farter on board. One who, for whatever reason, thought it was entirely acceptable to drop rancid air biscuits every 5-10 minutes.

So, while we waited for the repair and then another de-icing, this furtive gas-passer continued to torture us all with what I can only assume is the raunchy results of a gastric inability to deal with Mexican food. Beans, beans, the musical fruit, and all that, I suppose. I sat with my scarf over my mouth the majority of the time. Tentatively I would gauge the air and find it safe, only to be lambasted yet again with another malodorous cheek squeak. It got so bad that one fellow sitting behind us announced that “Now would be a good time to use the facilities if anyone has to go”.

I believe this if the first time any of us had to deal with turbulence on the ground before. The tension and anger was simmering tangibly among us. I seriously considered auctioning off my little supply of Ativan to the highest bidders before anyone decided to lose their proverbial shit (pun entirely intended).

Finally after two hours of sitting in that tiny little plane with a lone wolf letting trouser trumpets fly, the pilot announced we were ready for takeoff. I have never felt such mutual jubilation in a group of tired, annoyed and disgusted people in my life. The rest of the flight continued uneventful, and apparently the guilty tooter had ridden him (or her) self of the intestinal issues and no further sphincter sirens were emitted.

 





Within the grace of saying goodbye.

30 10 2018

I wasn’t necessarily overly “close” to Naomi, but the reality of knowing this authentic soul is that when you knew her, when you spoke with her, when you got to hug her, you felt so enveloped in her love that you honestly felt like her best friend.

She departed from this earthly level of existence (something tells me she’d love this explanation) and left behind a rich tapestry of folks left reeling from this loss. Far be it from me to appropriate the grief from those closest to her, but let me tell you, in the standing room only space of her memorial today, I looked around and witnessed a gamut of human beings whom she touched on many levels.

In any funeral, memorial, or celebration of life there are messages from the loved ones left behind that we hear and bear witness to. And as I get older, these messages resonate more deeply, more richly. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Tell the ones you love that you do love them, deeply. Hug whenever you can. Be kind. Take that time to call someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Reach out and attempt healing if your souls have disconnected, because you guys… life is short, it’s so short and so goddamn precious.

Last night, as I was almost ready to crawl into bed, I got a message from a lifelong friend. In the form of a meme, it summed up the truth of connection. It came at a serendipitous time, as I was grieving for her family and thinking of today’s service. I am so guilty of not reaching out, and staying in my nice comfy hidey-hole of my life that I let opportunities pass me by to even just say hi. We get wrapped up in our crap, time slips by and before you know it, it’s been days/weeks/months/years since we’ve spoken and connected.

But thanks to the silver linings of things like today, we can breathe deep and remember what is so truly important. Not the stresses at work, not the cost of gasoline, not the argument with your partner about laundry.

It’s us. ALL of us. The tapestry of relationships that weave our lives into a rich blanket of connection. It’s dancing and laughter. It’s tears and arguments that resolve into tender forgiveness. It’s moving beyond our attachment from a desire for revenge and retribution, but rather to a humble acceptance of our human fragility and strength.

In her way of being a connection for so many, she has proven today that she has the power to unite. The message I received loud and clear this morning was that we are all here for a short and sweet time and we need to: Breathe. Hug. Love. Laugh. And dance. Don’t forget to dance. And don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. It is when you are that, that you are most human.

I love you all. I really do. And to Naomi, thank you. Thank you for your lessons we all were blessed to receive today and above all thank you for YOU (and those two bald eagles circling above the church after your service. I stood and watched, breathless and aching for your family).

xo

K

 





And so we mourn.

19 09 2018

In retrospect, my blog posts always seem to have the same essence and theme. My lake, my friends, the seasons. It’s a rich flavour, a repertoire I feel isn’t overly tiresome, and yet I find myself second guessing myself every time the mood strikes to write for fear that it might seem redundant to some.

Nevertheless, I pondered the last few days about this and decided to write on!

The sunlight these days is low. It shines differently, doesn’t it? A deeper yellow, a brighter cast. It’s warmer in its glow and cooler in its warmth, such a strange dichotomy. It shines on the waters of my lake, seemingly enticing me to plunge in, but my soul and my body know the chill and coolness it hides in its sparkling invitation. Yet I feel like I should, just one more time. Strip down, run in, let those waters enfold me in a brisk embrace, flooding me with icy affirmations.

The leaves are turning. It’s earlier this year, don’t you think? Given the fire season and smoke and cool weather that hit us in mid-August, I am not surprised. Even the last few weeks in September have denied us those hot days and crisp nights. The worst fire season in BC’s history has taken a toll in everyone’s experience. Beach days were cut short, camping trips dampened. No evening campfires. Long walks disrupted by lung-choking smoke. This demoralized me. This demoralized everyone. It evoked a deep sadness within my heart and soul for all of us. We live all year in sweet anticipation of these Kootenay Summers and to be denied even a few days of its offerings, to be denied the heat, the sun, the pure intense bliss of it all, it’s like the loss of a love, a summer fling cut short, a too-soon breakup of an intense love affair that takes your breath away. And so, the natural progression of the changing of the seasons was cut short and shoved almost violently in our faces.

But I digress. Above all, the moments that come along to gift us sweetness are always here, present and ready to whisper lovely reminders in our ears. As I left this morning on my early morning run, the coolness of the fall-ish air enveloped me. My dog was giddy, as usual. Yes, I was cold, but the air. The air was like a vitamin-infused oxygen bar all around me. I ran and I breathed in, nourishing every cell in my body.

So we mourn this loss, as we should. The loss of those days that shine like diamonds, as laughter echoes into the dusk and holds us to the promise of one more summer. Those diamonds, they sparkle and beckon. But we need to remember that there are also pearls, that glow within from a cool golden hue and allow us to revel in being present no matter what. And it’s time to don a different jewel, to wear it with gratitude as the season turns.