May 12, 2017

Learning to Landlub--what happens after you move ashore

What strikes me first about life back on land is how far away nature seems. I now know the day and time but have lost track of the phase of the moon and the rhythm of the tides. I haven’t noticed the constellations yet and half-wonder if they failed to follow us home.

We tracked Orion around the globe. In Australia, the constellation was tipped on its head—and went by the un-majestic moniker, Saucepan. He regained his upright glory by the time we reached the Caribbean. But we’ve now been back in Vancouver almost two weeks and I’ve yet to catch a glimpse of the great hunter.

It could be because of the rain—which has so far punctuated but not overwhelmed the sun. But even the daily weather moods are lost to me. Where we live, the sky is filtered through a canopy of trees. It's no longer an endless vista, where we could see approaching changes long before they arrived.

We can’t hear the wind, or sense the shifts and changes that are more a part of a day’s natural cycle than the clock we all use. How right it felt to get up when the light brightened the hatch above our bed; to finish the laundry before the afternoon breeze set in; to shop or do school in the cool of the morning before we moved into the leisure that comes when the bright heat makes the day grow languid.

There’s much to adjust to here—but there’s also so much stress about things that just shouldn’t matter. It was remarkably easy to smile through the adventure of having our car towed. To change our plans—knowing that no plan should be rigid. I think the woman I paid the giant-ass fee to (so much for a new bed this month…) was surprised to have someone happy to deal with.

We’ve also been through more hoops than expected to get Maia back in school. But when the District Principal told me he bet I didn’t miss all the bureaucracy all I could think was how remarkably lucky we were to be in a place where so many people were invested in making sure my daughter received what she needed from the school—even if it did take three school board visits, two school visits, four phone calls and many, many hours…

There is so much to be captivated by now we’re back. We can take yoga classes on youtube, buy amazing new clothes at a second hand shop for almost nothing, there are FOUR gorgeous produce shops within a couple of blocks, there is still snow in the mountains and cherry blossoms in the trees. We’ve seen our families and Charlie the cat shows us each day how much he loves all his new space by racing from room to room meowing with enthusiam. Even at 4 am.

Houses are inefficient though. We have to be careful not to yell for each other now we’re spaced more than an arms span apart. And I end up walking from the fridge, to the sink, to the stove, to the table a long hallway away more than seems possible. And, of course, we can’t go to windward if the urge came to sail away.


Anonymous said...

This is such a perceptive and concise essay. I loved every word of it. Especially the opening paragraph. (I still have to look up "languid," though.)
Anyway, why am I the only anon commenting? Is everyone over at Facebook, or something? (Just a rhetorical question.)
Thank you for sharing this. It feels like "Planet of the Apes" meets Faulkner. Or Hemingway. I can't decide. One of them, for sure.

Diane, Evan, Maia and Charlie the cat said...

Thanks anon--yup, people seem to comment on facebook these days and while I know I can link comments I' haven't gotten around to learning how. Appreciate the really nice words though!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for confirming. No Facebook for me. Such an evil, insidious, yet seductive enterprise. (Not judging anyone who uses it - but concerned how Zuckerberg might become president.)

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