“ There are things known and things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” – Aldous Huxley
I’m sitting at my desk on what I hope will be a warm and sun-filled day, I love the feel of the soft breeze coming in through the open door whispering of possibilities. This West Coast summer of ours has begun on a moody note, with the many rainy days painting the forest with lush brushstrokes of vibrant green, growing so wildly that our favourite trails are choked with new growth. After last summer’s drought conditions and browned grass, this cool lushness is dazzling to behold and the fresh green scent in the air, intoxicating!
There are other sweet things to consider as well, a nesting pair of Glaucous-Winged gulls has built a nest on the roof of the small 4 story hotel that is across the alleyway from our apartment building and I have the perfect view from my 9th floor windows. The female usually lays three olive brown eggs that are mottled with a darker brown and I was thrilled one day to see exactly three after many days of watching a very dedicated Mom sitting on her nest on some of the hottest days that graced early July. In the days that followed, one egg ended up outside of the nest as if rolled by the mother to it’s final resting spot at the base of the nest, perhaps she sensed no quickening of life and wanted to create more room for the other eggs, it was only later that I discovered how important this third egg would be to the new family!
One evening, a week or two ago, long after the sun set, I heard a different cry from the female gull on the rooftop and knew that something was changing, these cries were meant to encourage the chicks as they began to peck at their shells and eventually emerge under the star-filled sky, I could hardly wait to see the newcomers in the morning! Sure enough, I was greeted to the sight of two balls of fluff, both soft brown in colour with dark leopard-like spots, two siblings of roughly the same size whom are now toddling about on the roof on fast-growing legs as I write this post. The third (now hard-boiled!) egg that lay at the base of the nest for all those days quickly became nutritious food for both the female gull and her chicks, leaving me with the thought that nothing is wasted in nature!
When one becomes a voyeur of nature one has to accept the danger that is often present, it’s part of the territory and it made itself known rather quickly, coming in the form of a dark shadow flying low over the buildings, a majestic eagle parent looking for gull chicks to feed it’s hungry eaglets waiting in their heavy nest in a tall tree somewhere in the forest ( there are at least 5 nesting pairs of eagles in Stanley Park!). I have seen one particularly good hunter make off with at least 2 chicks from other rooftops, I feel sad but understand that each set of parents wants to make sure their own brood survives – so far, my little gull family is safe and thriving.
This summer also finds me restless as if a beat to an unknown heart is thumping inside my chest, I find myself asking questions after reacting to the recent news depicting the violence, mistrust and hatred that we are all so capable of leashing upon one another – I wondered how I might be of help and have now started by moving out of my comfort zone and saying “hello” to someone who may have come from a different country (Canada recently welcomed 25,000 Syrian refugees and some of them live in my neighbourhood). I’m reminded of when we were traveling and living in Mexico, how often we were referred to as “foreigners”, a true description for sure, being as we were from Canada and not Mexican born, but still that word bristled until it eventually dropped away as we went about our days living more like Mexicans than Canadians, I believe we eventually lived in this beautiful place as neither, just simply two human beings living peacefully in a colourful and very alive part of the world…this is my wish, that we can find a way to live together on our unique planet and simply “be”…
Journal Entry: December 04, 2004
Yesterday I was thinking of all the travelers who live down here in Puerto Vallarta. How they create another life for themselves in temporary homes that become filled with objects, linens and other necessary household items. Our space is filled with books, notebooks & pens, some small colourful mats in tropical pink and yellow from Huguette (on our kitchen table and night table) – I also have a scented candle, a gift from a former employer to use over the holiday season. When we move to the “Paloma del Mar” hotel from our studio here at the “Janitzio”, I plan to burn the candle then and to treat ourselves to some specialty teas that I brought from home. Our life here is very light and mobile, it’s a matter of moving our backpacks from one temporary home to another! A lot of our friends and neighbours have to pack away a whole life here before returning home – sometimes as our Seattle friends, Gudrun and Leslie in #205 found (they arrived this week), a part of that life was lost to the rainy season. One of their containers was ruined by a heavy rain; tenants can store things on the roof of the “Janitzio” – but there is no one to keep an eye on them and things can get wrecked. Another friend, Ted, recently picked up some shirts he had stored away at a friend’s – he hadn’t seen them for 2 years or so, some are very colourful apparently! – Terry and I saw him on his way to the laundry the other day. Last night we ran into Ted and his lady (they live in another building close to us – we can wave to each other when we are on our balcony) and Ted treated us to one of his freshly laundered tropical shirts. It was quite bright, perfect for Vallarta!
I am very happy to live so lightly – we had to purchase a few small items, the rest we were able to borrow from the collection of used items donated and stored in the “Janitzio’s” laundry room. When we leave, we will check to see if Gudrun and Leslie can use any of these items – they will be staying here until April. Our other items will come with us to the “Paloma del Mar”. Isobel and Frank (who used to stay at the “Janitzio”) now stay at the “Paloma del Mar” and have household items to share with us. After we leave the hotel, we will give the things we purchased to them – we bought 2 cobalt blue mugs, 2 sturdy pale grey plastic bowls (for soup & yogurt) and a very sharp knife from “Rizo’s” (our local go-to store) – a very small cost to make our studio and soon to be hotel studio, home!