“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors.” -Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky
On a downtown walk with the urban forest behind me, I traveled the length of my own street and unexpectedly found a lost piece of myself. I crossed through a lively parklet one street over, enjoying the quiet community of older houses, condos, and towers. As the early spring sun shone down, I came upon a pop-up art show in front of a large wooden brown house. Several canvases were for sale propped up against a fence – landscapes depicting that very forest and the ocean left behind. A homemade sign advertising painting lessons added to the bucolic feel and stirred a longing within to go on a road trip, notebook in hand, to draw upon the creative threads this scene inspired – I could imagine my senses wide open, the joy of collecting all kinds of ephemera, and exploring unknown paths. It’s always a delightful surprise to come across a part of one’s self in this place, the territory of our own sacred selves, casually walking down a street both known, yet unknown.
Another part of my self was found at a reading at our local community centre, the Indigenous writer-in-residence invited by the downtown main public library to read from his collection of children’s stories. Our small group was at once transported by the cadence of his spoken words, enchanted by the magical sturgeon, the romance and heroism of a sasquatch and lyrical frog renderings. The part that awakened a self quietly slumbering was prodded by the haunting songs sung in newly reclaimed language, filling the lecture hall with the echoes of ancient forests, fast running rivers, and lands now known by other names. I left the hall feeling that I had entered another’s sacred territory…
Spring increases access to all kinds of territory – we find ourselves outside more often among leafing trees and fragrant blooms. The language of light and shadow invites us to sit awhile, breathe in the scent of Sakura wafting through the air and open our senses to the new unfolding all around us, creating spacious territory within.
Today, after a break from blogging (to celebrate my May birthday and spending time with Terry’s sister out from Toronto, Ontario), I notice on a recent walk home from downtown that time has moved us deeper into spring. There is now an exuberant green lushness amid the receding winter grey on the mountains and flourishing beside the deep blue of the ocean. Ten days of warm sun gifted us with days for wandering the cobblestone streets of Gastown, the bustling market stalls of Granville Island and the enticing stores at the Park Royal mall in West Vancouver peppered with tasty lunches along the way. The falling rain today has slowed down time, bathing that lush green in sparkling droplets – the busy streets much quieter now and friendly faces hidden beneath colourful umbrellas, leaving a sense of mystery, creating precious space between seasons and territories.