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I have been writing more and more frequently in the last few days and so I know it’s time to share a bit. This is my usual pattern. Write, fumble..write, wonder how one can have writers’ block when one isn’t really a writer?? scratch, write more, stumble, feel a bit of flow, laugh at the crummy stuff I’ve come up with… and then in one fell swoop write something I feel I can share. It’s like a quick exhalation of real coherent thought… although this is subjective!!

The rest of it, all those little pieces of writing-excess, they are good and important and all that, but for me, the thought that hits home has a specific feel. I might compare it to the feeling you get when you swing the club and know, right away, that it’s a good one… maybe it doesn’t quite get you that hole-in-one, but it’s fairly straight and it’s not going to hurt anyone. It’ll go as far as your experience, strength, and equipment will allow.

And so I plan to make this a short post….

My last few months living down in a valley and working up on a mountain have been everything I had hoped for and so much more! It’s been refreshing, fun, social, and rewarding to work outside again. My snowboard and I have made good friends. I might not know thirty words for snow, but I know that “variable conditions” mean many different things to many different people and that the whole feel of the mountain can change in a matter of twenty minutes or twenty centimeters..

The season is coming to a very quick close. As I find myself in another period of transition.

I’ve also come to realize that as I settle down into routine and into living in one place for more than a few months, that the vastness of “new and different” aren’t lost – instead they change. I might see the same scenery day-in and day-out; speak the same language; align myself with those old familiar social norms; it’s all so the same. But really everyday is unique. There’s a richness in routine. The layers of the people we meet, the decisions we make – it’s fascinating and it keeps the spark alive. I’m especially impressed by my friends.

I don’t want to sound like an over-indulgent parent, but my friends are amazing! They make hard decisions, follow-through even when the going gets tough, and have the gumption to admit when they’re wrong.

They are funny when it’s appropriate and hilarious when it’s not.

They stand strong, ask for help, melt a bit, reorganize, restructure, change their friends’ kid’s diapers and down an 8-pack of Lucky in the sun when they have to. I have friends that run marathons, start new lives in foreign countries, and deliver new lives without even melting a bit!

I could go on and on, but I think I mentioned this being a short entry?

It’s been quite a ride. The forecast continues to call for variable conditions, with a 50% chance of melting.

Well, I’m happy to say that I didn’t get lost in the far northern reaches of British Columbia. And although I’m certain that my mind has wandered away from me more than once in the last couple of months, I’m positive that I am in good physical health and in a generally good state altogether…

Englishman River Falls

Englishman River Falls, BC

In reality I spent most of June and July engrossed in the laid-back culture and the natural beauty that makes Vancouver Island the best place in the entire world. Home was nice. It’s just so damned beautiful. We really do have something special on The Island. Let’s not tell too many people ’cause I think it’s catching on.

Home was busy and wonderful and sunny and comfortable. I didn’t spend much time in one place – not more than a few nights – and so I guess I didn’t get much of a chance to settle down again. This is not, apparently, the way to set oneself up for success in matters related to resuming normal home-like activities. I didn’t even ever actually unpack!! In fact, I managed to find a smaller backpack to stuff my belongings into. Due to this amazing feat (among a few other things) I made the decision to keep going. Just a little longer. Just a few months. I’ve made my way over to the intriguing and diverse continent of Europe.

Prinz Georgs Garten, Darmstadt

Prinz Georgs Garten, Darmstadt

After landing in  Frankfurt a few days ago, I caught up with a friend from high school. Isn’t facebook amazing? For all it’s faults, it’s certainly a good medium for staying in contact with those far-flung friends from around the world. Not only was Wesley residing in Germany, but he lives a mere half hour away from the airport! How wonderfully coincidental. Isn’t it also so wonderful to be met at the airport? This is quite a novelty and so very much appreciated. It’s nice to be led around by someone in the know?  It can be quite an ordeal to navigate airports and cities after hours of breathing re-circulated air, eating plastic food, and that incessant worry about deep vein thrombosis (I jest). Truly, though, it’s nice to follow for a bit, and it was nice to see a familiar face, albeit one that is all grown up in comparison to that fresh-faced 18-year-old I once knew.

Frankfurt

Frankfurt

Wesley is a computer scientist and his girlfriend is a mathematician, so the conversations were interesting, to say the least. Some of their friends, all of whom are physicists or scientists of some such, came over for a party one night. It got crazy, I’m not going to lie.

It was really fun. And everyone spoke English…most of the time. And we cooked and ate and drank and I realized that home is where you make it.

Frankfurt DOM, 1866

Frankfurt DOM, 1866

We spent most of our few days together catching up on over a decade of living, all the while exploring the cities of Darmstadt and Frankfurt. A definite highlight for me was sitting on the edge of the Main River and eating leftover chili. The old churches are all right too. Germany is pretty cool.

The Würste isn't so bad...

The Würste isn't so bad...

I’ve eaten bratwurst on the streets. Well not OFF the street exactly, but more from street stalls. The mustard accompaniment covers the bits of dirt and debris …just kidding. I think the theoretical physicists’ sense of humour may have rubbed off on me.

Theme Song of the Day:

Night WindowsThe Weakerthans

 …

British Columbia is a place that sings loudly to me.  I have grown up with the mountains and the ocean and the forests in my backyard – three decades of walking through postcard-quality scenery on a day-to-day basis – and yet it still takes my breath away. 

We’ve all heard that one of the great things about going away is how much you appreciate what you’ve got when arriving home again. This has to be true for so many people around the globe.  The comfort, familiarity, and routine of home…it’s got its appeal.  We derive focus and a sense of direction with this blanket of habit and recognition.

A pattern to smudge over the chaos.  

In this part of the world, on the west coast in particular, we are blessed to not only have wild, natural beauty at our doorstep, but the laid-back friendliness of the people that surround us should not be taken for granted.  A simple stop in the middle of a busy street (with a slack-jawed look of confusion) warrants a stranger stopping to not only offer assistance… but you know what?…uh, I was headed in that direction already so why don’t I just lead the way and make sure you get to where you’re going?…Want half my muffin?

It’s like living in a Disney movie.

This is not to imply naivety.  Not at all.  We just have friendliness and it perpetuates itself…one person smiles and then the next.  It’s science!  As a whole we are educated and alert and maybe we have an underlying confidence that allows us to put ourselves out there.  It’s really something.

Where am I going with all of this provincial pride?  Well I didn’t actually intend to go on and on about how great we are up here in the Pacific Northwest.  I just couldn’t help myself…! 

But truth be told, I guess it all comes down to the fact that I’m seeing home in a very different light than ever before.  My main component isn’t here anymore. A huge part of the ‘home’ equation has been taken away.  My comfort and belonging is emotionally tied up in the life I have been building with one person for ten years.  I can still appreciate the qualities of home.  I still have that life…it’s just very different now…it’s individual – my observations may be more objective in some regards because of this… or, I don’t know – maybe they’re teetering towards a more subjective nature?

Anyway, I didn’t have too many expectations of coming back.  I knew I had to face the paperwork I have been putting off.  I have beautiful new babies in my life (all of them boys!) that I have had so much fun visiting.  I am honoured to take part in a couple of weddings, some BBQs, and more than a few parties!  I get to visit with friends and family and its been fantastic so far. 

A few hiccups along the way have threatened the digestive peace that is home.  Some of the hiccups are bigger than others, but I know I am strong; I can handle these…I will drink my water upside down and get through the worst of it (by the way – in Oz they stand on their heads and drink water right-side-up to cure hiccups).  

I am very aware that as issues arise, the temptation to pull away from all of it gets stronger.  I have to be careful not to become too numb or distant when dealing with stressful situations. Sometimes the little things seem unmanageably big and then at others the big things seem so small in comparison to all that I have been through. 

Uh…yup….’subjective’ is the clear winner here. 

Give me the stress of a lost bus ticket or a language barrier any day – it seems easier than trudging through even the smallest confrontation or mishap at home.

All of this: the good and the bad, it’s all part of life.  Things should get easier as time moves forward.  For now I am happy to visit ‘home’ and I am looking forward to heading back on the road in only a few short weeks.

Let the adventure continue.

Island View Beach

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