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Night Paddling - Monday, Sept. 26, 2022
Friday, Aug. 05, 2022 @ 11:52 am
Home, For Now
As the plane approached Vancouver for landing, I pressed my face to the window to look at the city lights sparkling in the night. I saw the curved strands of lights of the Lions Gate Bridge - Gracie’s Necklace - and my heart clenched, and I teared up.
Emerging from the airport, walking across the roadway into the Canada Line station. The asphalt damp, and the air thick and redolent with humidity and salt. It’s like I hadn’t really breathed in a month.
And then, walking up along Beach Ave to my apartment. The city silent and sleeping. Waves lapping against the shore. The air pungent with aromatic wet cedar. I breathe the air hungrily, and I can’t stop the feeling of being on the verge of crying.
My apartment feeling oddly small and quirky, the furnishings mismatched and the plants overgrown. Opening the windows and doors up wide to let the cedar ocean air indoors.
The next morning, my first morning back, I wake early, foggy-headed with jetlag, or perhaps COVID. I sit in front of the open sliding door with a cup of filter coffee, my god, the coffee is so good, how does Europe exist on so much dark espresso? The morning is windy and grey, a break in the August heat waves wracking the city. The ocean is whitecapping, and large waves roll up against the sand of English Bay.
Sitting there with my coffee, I think back on the trip.
A missed connection led to a whirlwind day in NYC. Taking horrifyingly expensive Ubers over to and from the Bronx. Getting really good Yankees tickets for a song just minutes before the game started. The sun beating down on me there in Yankee Stadium, all of the New Yorkers playing hooky on a Friday afternoon. The crack of the ball against the bat, watching the ball soar into the bleachers, a home run. The smell of fresh cut grass - that’s how good the seats were.
Remembering too late that I was a mere hour away from Jimbo but trapped by a wall of traffic and logistics.
Which led me into daydreaming about a future trip where I travel around visiting you all in the British Isles and some others.
Starting in Delft to see Melissa. Then across the Strait of Dover and over to Brighton to see Anna. Then up to Croydon to see Su-Lin. Then over to Swansea to meet my great-aunt (or is it great-great-aunt?). Then taking a break for some sort of long walk in the mountains of Wales (Snowdonia?). The over and up to Yorkshire to see Ness Hall, the estate from where my father’s mother’s family originated. Then back across into Ireland to wander into Orangepeeler’s pub, perhaps never knowing her name but still drinking beers and walking through verdant fields and hopping over rock walls together.
But for now I’m so happy to be home.