Monday, November 05, 2012

Slow Down and Enjoy...

The Stone fence is well fortified
How strange it is to live in an area where there is so much traffic. It is difficult to explain the road configurations where I live...there are four stop signs on the corner where our home is situated. If a driver is not paying attention, he might miss one of those stop signs...and then, if cars are coming from one of the other roads that intersects, two of which have no stop signs...there is more honking and vile language issuing forth than I have heard in a long time.

This fence is built behind the first Rock Garden, divided by a gravel walkway
Rain, a weather anomaly which residents here should certainly be accustomed to, makes the road, covered in Leaves and Needles from the Trees everywhere, slippery. One large white truck came barrelling down the main road and tried to make the rather sharp turn to one of the feeder routes, and ended up slamming against the Rock Garden outside of our Rock-fortified fence.

There are some mighty large Boulders making up that Rock Garden. And it was a mighty large crunch I heard when the truck hit the Rocks.

So it was with some trepidation that I wandered through the gate to have a look at what had just occurred. As I did, I saw the white truck back up from the Boulders, with quite a large, new dent in the side door, and take off very quickly, down the road. I imagine he was hoping no one had seen him, since he did not want to pay for any other damage than what he had inflicted upon his truck!

I went to see what the damage was to our Rock Garden. Three large Boulders had been displaced, but not badly. The main damage appeared to be on the truck, which came out the worse by far!

What amazes me the most about the intersection is that it has been as it is for years. There is nothing new, which might confuse drivers. The problem, as far as I can see, is that people drive far too fast on these small country roads. There are signs everywhere to slow down, take a wide turn around Horses and their riders, watch for Deer, children would have to be blind not to see all those warning signs.

Golden Maple Leaves shine in the misty light of Dawn
There is even a sign that tells drivers to slow down and enjoy the many varied farms in the district. Slow down and enjoy...

I drive by that sign about once a week, as I drive to a pet store that has the treats Lucky can't seem to live without. And the part about slowing down and enjoying the sights, scenery and just life...well, that part has hit home with me. 

The slow down part, at least.

For the last few months, I have been going at top speed. I have ignored pain and all the rest of the goodies Fibro and Arthritis can give; sleep became elusive, and tiredness was just a part of every day.

I find I am out of energy now. I can't find any more. Most of the time, last week, I found myself sitting down often, staring into space.  

I don't have the time to do this! 

Apples from a grafted Tree in our backyard...three varieties!
There are still boxes to open, the family room still needs to be put together, doctors and dentists to find...and oh! things do have to be organized! This, on top of doing other activities I've promised myself...including writing more often, interaction on the web, visiting scores of places here in Victoria where I have not been for years, signing up for art courses, finding new plant nurseries to wander in...the list goes on and on.

Yet, I can find no inclination to do any of them.

I want someone to take my hand, open a box for me, unwrap the first innocuous item, and then tell me it goes on the third shelf in the left cupboard in the hall. My decision making is at an all-time low. 

I do recognize this feeling, though. In one way or another, I've gone through them before...after divorce, after Katrina's death, and after moving to a completely different part of the province. All very stressful times, some worse than others, of course, where one must get through the Storm using every last bit of energy one can find. 

There is a small creek somewhere under the Leaves!
And then, the clean-up begins...

But before the clean-up, before the rebuilding of self or home, there is a time where the heart and mind catch up with each other. Heart tells Mind to settle down, open up and receive the love pouring in from every corner, smile, laugh and dance.

Mind tells Heart there are things to be done. Laughing and dancing in joyful abandonment are not appropriate at this time...damn it, finish what has been begun... 

Most of the time, since all this began with our move, Mind calls the shots. Keeping my Mind on the work to be done was all I did for the last few months. Very little time was spent in feeling Heartful.

I was mostly Mindful. 

Heart, very recently, has begun to demand equal time. Time to miss our old home and friends left behind in the Cariboo, time to miss the first Snow and Cold there ( yes, even this!), time to mourn a little. Time to feel gleeful, as well, to have found a place to land that is uncanny in its familiarity. Time for spiritual practices, time to talk to the Trees and Shrubs that grow here with such abandonment, time to go visit the Beach.

The Horse Farm, seen through the back fence, on an early showery Morning
Heart, left to its own devices, would say Begone! to all the niggling, mundane things left to do, whereas Mind would say those other fanciful things will be there when the practical work is done.

Last week, I was balancing the two, along with resting my Body, which aches a little more than it did when I first arrived.

I have no schedule, really. I can do as I like. When the family room becomes too much of an irritant, I will do it...I will feel like it then. And I have decided that every day I will do something to feed my Heart's requirements. Remembering Balance is what I needed.

And today, outside with Lucky, I heard two cyclists riding by.   (There are many cyclists here. I see groups of them riding every day. The winding, narrow Tree-lined roads are perfect for them.) 

Super place for small children to play on their bikes!
One said to the leader...I have no energy at all...

And the other said...Yeah. I'm not doing the whole route today...

I'd guess that's me. I don't think I'm going to do the whole route today.

I'm going to try the first part of the title to this post...the slowing down part today.

And tomorrow...I'll begin to enjoy.              

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A New Home

Our New Home
Sometimes, when Lucky and I go for our Morning walk or when Graham and I go for a leisurely drive...I want to pinch myself. I must surely be dreaming a lovely, lucid dream...

The decision made, the employment accepted...those two things spun my life around for a few months. I'm so glad, now, I had that time, yet the period before we moved seemed never-ending.

Somewhere amongst all the decluttering, the garage sales, finishing bathroom renovations,  placing our home on the market, finding renters when it did not sell in our two week allotted time period for a sale...somewhere during that time we took a trip to the City of Victoria to find a home to rent.

One of the stained glass windows and wood ceiling
Oh, my! What we had considered reasonable rent turned out to give us very old, non-updated, rather unsafe homes. In one place, we were advised not to turn on one appliance with another...

We had given ourselves two days to find a home. Graham was still very busy wrapping up work at his previous employment, so our time was at a minimum. No longer hopeful our home in the Cariboo would sell before Winter, we decided to find a larger home than we at first anticipated, since we would not be buying a home elsewhere for awhile. 

At the end of the first full day of looking, trying to find addresses in a very busy City ( I don't recall Victoria being so large, and busy and vibrant, when last I often visited fifteen years ago! It has grown enormously...) we were both discouraged, tired and hungry...not a great combination.

A lovely cozy nook, where I'll while away rainy afternoons
At that point, my lowest, I think, I didn't care if I ever left the Cariboo. My home there had been updated to the nth degree; why was I trying to go backwards? Ah, me...

We considered paying higher rent. And we considered looking at another rental we had not tried. The consideration about paying more rent did not bother me a great deal, but it was certainly bothersome for Graham.

Had we not had that day of looking at lower priced rentals, he would not have so easily accepted paying more. As tiring as that day was, it had its purpose.

Graham looked at another list, with a higher rent in mind, and almost instantly found our present home.

I looked at the photos on display and knew, deep inside, it was ours, even before the call was made to view the home...

Partial view of the front of The Church House
It felt like home, you see, the photos showed a home so familiar to me I could have been going home to dinner rather than a first viewing. I had enjoyed many dreams previous to this home-finding trip; most of them involved a home much like this one. I'd dreamt of an old red gate with much Shrubbery surrounding it...I had been looking for that old gate for most of the day...

That first viewing left me in awe. The home is a renovated church...I believe it was built in 1916 and moved to its present location in the '70's. It was bought by its present owner around 1996. With pavement right up to its doors, our landlord had to break up all of it before he could begin building his vision.

And what a magical vision it was! So many different Woods make up the exterior and interior I spent many hours, after moving in, trying to identify each section. There are two lovely stained glass windows, one depicting a Sunrise, the other a Sunset. The entry and our loft bedroom are graced with dancing light each Morning when Sun is present.

The Teak Door...
We left the first viewing with Graham saying he wanted to sleep on it and me knowing full well I wouldn't sleep until the papers were signed...

But Graham loved the home just as much as I did and the next morning, papers were signed and the home was ours. When we arrived, we parked our car on the other side of the home...and there, right outside the car window was the 'red gate' that had appeared in my dreams.

It was hanging off its hinges when I first saw it, as it was in my dreams. It has been fixed since and is no longer a gate, but part of the fence, now that we've moved in. It is a red Cedar gate, very like the faded red gate surrounded by Shrubbery which I visited fairly often in dreamtime. 

The second visit cemented the idea of living here even more strongly. I wandered through on my own, loving the feel of this place, where people prayed and celebrated, where children learned ( for a time, the home was a Montessori school) and where music was a prevailing hobby.

...leads to the backyard deck...
Music is ingrained into all the Woodwork which is so prevalent in this home. The piano that was used remains here still, and once in awhile, I'll play Chopsticks. Sometimes, in the deep silence of Night, I imagine I hear children with their voices raised in song...

We went back to the Cariboo tired but satisfied with the home we had rented and ready to face the last hurdles before our move on September 25th.

Again, once our possessions arrived...the ones we decided not to sell at all our sales...I was so busy trying to find where I wanted to place everything I don't think I was aware of anything much the first few days.

I had made a decision, when our move from the Cariboo became real, not to use the computer other than email. It helped focus went entirely to our move.
...and one of the back gates.

Although I was not distracted by the computer, I missed my cyber friends more than I can say. I so appreciated the emails I received giving me encouragement and will remember to return the favour if ever anybody else goes through a time like this.

We've even already had overnight visitors! How wonderful it is to live close to family and friends and how lovely it is to know that in a couple of hours I can be in Port Alberni, where my family lives. As a matter of fact, I will be travelling up Island on the weekend, just to look after Graydon, my grandson. Oh, joy!

It is Raining today...buckets of Rain, the kind of Rain which, when I lived on the Island, would have made me cancel appointments. I loved Rain then but not with the appreciation I feel now. After living in a semi-desert environment for five years, I am relishing each huge drop of Water that falls. I can feel its nourishment against my dry skin  and I know each and every Plant on this Peninsula is loving it after the long, warm dry spell we've enjoyed since moving here.
Depiction of Sunrise using beautiful to look at in the early morning!

Lucky is one, however, who does not remember how he once loved Rain as he raced through the wet, muddy Puddles five years ago. And he certainly has no appreciation for this funny wet stuff. He is accustomed to Rain in the form of Snow...

I will, strangely enough,  truly miss the extremes of weather in the Cariboo. There is something large and grand in Nature's furious Storms there, where she will leave a silent, sparkling carpet of white, her fury spent; but assigning deep Cold throughout...

Three huge Trees guard our entryway
It was an unforgettable experience, and one I shall cherish. But it is time now, in my daughter's words, to experience the Urban, rather than the Country.

And if this is all a lucid dream? It seems to be a vibrant and welcome one, and if it is lucid, I guess I can choose to live it.

After all, I do believe it is one of the best dreams I've, so far in this life, experienced... 


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Moving with Raven

Time stood still as we waited for confirmation about our relocation. Over and over, I began to write...and over and over, I closed the computer when sitting in one place became too anxiety-producing.

I love the patterns in the bark of the Interior Fir Tree
I've been pacing for a couple of months, now. It's good exercise, at any rate, and does seem to lower tension a bit. And I've realized, during any chaotic period in my life, that I paced through it all. Not that this is a big epiphany or anything; it is only an interesting thought!

I imagine my pacing will accelerate over the coming months. We are moving to Victoria, B.C.; Graham will begin his new job on October 1.  

I'm not sure I quite believe it. Victoria is one of my favourite cities. Never in a million years did I ever believe I would  actually live there. But it appears as if, for the next four or five years at least, that is exactly where I will be.

Poppies everywhere!
This will be as much of a transition for me as moving from Qualicum Beach to the Cariboo. As I write this, traffic sounds and other city sounds have become completely foreign to me...yet in a couple of months, I will have to acclimatize not only to a noisier environment, but also to the change in weather.

Driving the highway into the city of Williams Lake has prepared me for anything. City driving will not bother me, especially since I already am familiar with Victoria, having had relatives there over the years.

Victoria is surrounded by Ocean...the Universe obviously listened carefully to my plea about, live by Ocean and her Beaches. You can believe my first  walk on a Beach will be something to write about...I will have come home.

Our young friend Raven  
The last couple of months of interminable walks and garden work has allowed me to say goodbye to our home here. Many tears were shed, believe me. I love this home, this place, the Animals...yes, and even the extreme weather. But I will love the memories just as much, perhaps even more, from afar.

We will be so much closer to the family! Day trips are not out of the question...Port Alberni, where family lives, is about two and a half hours from Victoria. It is a small hop, as compared to the vast distances  we traveled in the Cariboo.

And as well, we plan on buying our retirement home/weekend retreat in Port Alberni. I am so excited over traveling up Island to garden in a home I know I will not leave again.

These Poppies will bloom until Frost
There are many unknowns. I try not to trouble myself over them. Our house here will sell, in the time allotted. The garage sale will be organized; movers will be contacted, excess furniture will be sold. All those things, taken one step at a time, will be done, one after another. Worrying over them will not get them done any faster, in fact, it may hinder the whole process.

So say I...

Finding a place to live in Victoria is my main objective, right now. Something inside me needs to know I have a place to go arrive be. It will settle me down. We will rent and there seem to be many, very expensive homes but few in what I consider a reasonable price range.

Delphiniums a little the worse from Wind damage
But then, the last time I rented any home, was way back in the early seventies. Things have certainly changed since then!

An apartment/condo would be ideal for Graham and I, but we have another member of the family to consider. Lucky may not do so well with long hallways and elevators and an inability to go outside at will. And so, hopefully, we will find a house which appeals, yet does not cost an arm and a leg...a daunting prospect!

September, in my mind, has forever been the time of new beginnings. This year, certainly, will be one of the more memorable ones.

I will have time to harvest my garden, to watch the Perennials bloom a final time. Lucky and I have met a Raven who follows us on our morning walks. Having just made his acquaintance...and an odd acquaintance it is!...I want to study him a little more, before I leave.

He has a message. As yet, I haven't deciphered it, although somewhere inside me, I know what it is. It is only a matter of removing the blockages I've put in place, long ago, in order for me to hear...

One morning, he sat here for a long time, contemplating...
In the meantime, Raven appears to be listening to my concerns, inserting the occasional gurgle or squawk, as Lucky checks out the overnight visitors. He flies from Branch to Branch, Tree to Tree, as I walk...bobbing his head at me, cocking his head when I speak. He is a young Raven. I imagine he is as curious about me as I am about him.

I will miss him, as I will miss seeing all the wildlife I have made friends with over the years. I am so eternally grateful to have had the opportunity.

Lilies are smaller than usual this year
A new stage is beginning. There will be much to do before I can see the finish line for this particular stage.

I know more tears will fall, when I leave. A piece of my heart will always reside here in the Cariboo.

It is the way of it...