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

 

 

 




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.

 





You know, it really it is the little things

5 07 2018

I woke up this morning with the anticipated July sun finally beaming in through the windows, and after my coffee and shower, I egged on my dog Jed to get him all riled up for his morning walkies. Well, could you blame me? He was laying outside my door, completely splooted (google it) out with his front paws crossed in anticipation, his brow furrowed as if in consternation about whether or not he’d get to go romp before breakfast. Hint: he always does.

He was delighted as always, performing cutesy spins and giving his high fives as I asked him if he “wants to go for a walk”. We headed out into the early morning, the air gently warm and the crows announcing our journey with raucous caws.

Sometimes we run. Sometimes we walk. There are times when I intersperse lunges and jump squats to make sure my arse doesn’t sag too much. But whatever I do, Jed comes with me. Tail high, prancing with pride. Isn’t it sweet to give your dog what he loves the most?

We did a quick route this morning as unbeknownst to him, he was heading up the mountain with the birthday girl and her dad for a day of ATVs, fishing and hiking. As we rounded the corner home, I stopped to pick a few sweet peas for a birthday bouquet and happened to look up as I began to head home. There in the sky, hung like a mobile over a baby’s crib was a giant Blue Heron. She (he?) was straight as an arrow, neck folded in, legs extended. The moment stopped as I just stood there to watch this creature soar over me. Beyond the twitter of chickadees and zzzz zzzz zzzz of the hummingbirds and the sweet songs of the swallows, this giant of flight was silent. I stood. I watched. And after this bird passed over me, I finally breathed deeply and regained my venture home when I noticed two bald eagles soaring together. My breath stopped again. The two birds circled around together, hanging briefly in the updrafts of the air below. Not a wing was flapped. They were close enough so that I could see the white feathers of their heads and the rich brown of their bodies. Jed stood patiently by as I stood still again, trying with all my might to absorb the beauty, the peace and the simplicity of this moment. After a few second they dispersed, perhaps spying a fish or two rising in the waters below.

I know it may have looked silly, but I clasped my hands in a prayer pose in front of my heart and breathed a word of thanks. To who or what, I’m not even sure. But the gifts given to me, simple and sweet, were too good to not be grateful for.





How about you?

24 02 2018

Oh I’m ready. I’m so ready.

I’m ready for open windows and soft breezes that clear that stagnant wintery dreariness from the rooms. I’m ready for sunlight creeping in at 4 am and the incessant chatter of birds outside my window. I’m ready to witness the patches of tired dirt-caked snow grow smaller every day and to bear witness to the tight little buds of leaves as they ready themselves to unfurl in  bursts of vibrant green.

I’m ready for evening walks in the spring air. I’m ready for washing the winter gear one last time and tucking it all away. I’m ready for the soft rains that nourish the soil and enhance the scents of new life all around us.

I’m ready for the daring of snowdrops and the audacity of tulips, sometimes reaching up through leftover snow that the sun hasn’t reached yet.

I’m ready to shake out the dirt and dust of being inside too much. I’m ready to bike along my lake and to hear the cries of the ospreys as they return to their summer home. I’m ready to breathe deep and fill my lungs with spring.

I’m ready to grill burgers outside and linger on the deck until dusk. I’m ready for beers on the beach with my dearest friends. I’m ready to hear the distant motors of boats on the lake and sprinklers with their rhythmic tick lulling me into a meditative state.

I’m ready to run without fear of slipping on ice. I’m ready to absorb the warmth of our sun. I’m ready for the quiet joy of rolling out my yoga mat in the early evening air.

I’m ready to embrace all the gifts that spring and summer are eager to bestow. I’m so ready.

How about you?