Tag Archives: homecomings

Home and heart…

April Chapbook Pages
Irvine, California
May 7, 2009

Always a bit slow on the uptake, I’m still working on April pages when the month of May has already begun.

I am again revisiting the “home” theme. I’m not sure why it is such a compelling one to me. I suppose it’s because I have occupied many houses but haven’t felt like I’ve been home in a long while, but rather unanchored, shiftless and somewhat discomfited. I have often wondered about that… what that was all about. Why did I never feel at ease enough to bond with my surroundings or the beings who peopled them?

I think it has much to do with the dynamic of the relationship I’ve been in, in which I’ve never truly felt at ease. It was mutual; or perhaps it was singular, and being sensitive to others’ emotional emanations, I picked up on that and was not able to ease into trust either, knowing that I could not rely on someone who could himself not withstand the vagaries of life. I used to tell my mother that I had married a coward.

Certainly, he has a sense of self-preservation, but he has no sense of community, and during my most difficult and trying times in these sixteen years that have come and gone, I have been left to my own devices to cope; been told to ‘fix’ myself where I was broken, and if I could not achieve this on my own, to go get the appropriate help. Never was there a sense that perhaps he was in need of some fixing himself, and that perhaps he might perceive that part of the problem that festered between us was of his own doing. Never was there a sense that, when the going got tough, that for the lack of knowing what else to do that he would do nothing more than simply listen and just be present. But… this doesn’t matter now, because it shall soon no longer be of consequence, and if I’ve grown as a result of this pairing of spirits, then it will have served its purpose, regardless of the outcome.

Perhaps this obsessive refocusing on the “home” theme is that I am returning, after so many years of being abroad, to a place that is equally strange to me now as my initial trek to California was almost two decades ago… home, indeed.

Home is where the heart is, they say. I am rediscovering my heart, a little bit of it each day. It tells me that it’s okay to feel again; to be wonder- and gratitude-filled; to hope, to love. It tells me that no matter where I am, or where I find myself, it will always be with me and that I will always be “home.”

So I embark on this next journey with an open heart… with a heart that will embrace all that it encounters with a sense of hope and wonder. Perhaps this time I will truly have found my way home.

Love, Adriane x

Chapbook pages… February

I’ve been working on my February Chapbook pages, deciding to use my visit (and photos) to Canada as creative fodder. I took this photo while sitting on one of the boulders edging Chilliwack Lake. I remember being asked by Alex, with an incredulous timbre in his voice… “You take pictures of rocks?” Yep…

The writing intended to accompany this photo:

On Going Home

It has been long. Not so long that all of the details are obscured, just long enough to be fuzzy, like a long-forgotten humbug pulled from the depths of a coat pocket.

I never imagined that I would ever return, especially to this new part, this lush foresty and mountainous richness so close to where the people live. They live differently here than in California.

There is a common sense woven through their spirits, and a prevalent kindness. Here the dirt from the streets and air is regularly ushered away by the rain. Sometimes it drizzles… sometimes it pelts. It leaves behind a fresh scent, like wind-whipped laundry pulled from the clothes line.

It felt good to be home. Different, but good. Cradled. Like slipping my feet into an old pair of long-forgotten slippers. It provided an odd sense of security, though I will be returning to it with only my belongings and my child. My valuables.

Daily I brush off the fear that starts to surface. The discomfort of change seeping out from my middle. But as the tree drops its leaves and reburgeons when the days grow longer and the nights shorter, and the spring grass pokes out from underbrush, so too does my life inevitably alter. It would serve me well to learn from Nature.

This has been yet another forest fire, leaving me charred. Dry and brittle. Pain-filled and longing.

With richer soul, I anticipate a time of gentle regrowth. Renewal. Hope.

On journeys and coming ’round full circle…

We’ve returned from our exploratory trip to British Columbia. For ten days we stayed with my friend Cindy and her family in her home in Chilliwack. Chilliwack, other than it being a 70’s band’s namesake, also happens to be a beautiful little town in the Fraser River Valley.

Chilliwack is crowned by a ring of snowcapped mountains. Other than the first couple of days, which were rainy, the weather behaved itself quite nicely for most of the rest of our visit, the clouds breaking up to provide bouts of sunshine-y goodness for our enjoyment. 

 

The city center is like many modern day small town centers – always in the process of being re-vitalized but never quite making it back to its former (and rightly due) splendor. We walked up and down along one of the main downtown arteries, Wellington Ave., where many of the town center shots for the television series Eureka are filmed. The filming crew apparently shuts a segment of the street down to vehicular traffic though they allow foot traffic through the set in between shoots. Unfortunately, we were unable to witness the amazing transformation of “Main St.” as they were not filming any episodes during our visit.

We did, however, get acquainted with the wonderful used bookstore The Book Man, and its friendly red tabby cat. The bookstore is purportedly a favorite stop for the cast and crew of Eureka in between takes, and I can certainly understand its appeal. There were aisle upon aisles of books in all manner of disciplines, and a few little nooks and crannies with comfortable seating in which to test drive your finds. Your warm lap is all that’s needed in order to entice the shop’s feline companion to sit a spell with you. While in town during this visit, we also happened upon a hobby stop on Mill Street, where Gabriel picked out a couple of model airplane kits to build. The owner also graciously allowed Gabriel and Christel to drive a couple of slot cars around a most impressive track (that he built himself), which takes center stage in the small shop. There are modest expansion plans in the near future, involving the tearing down of some walls for additional space.

On the Saturday after our arrival, we took a walk down a snowy trail to the shores of Chilliwack Lake, which was partially frozen. The boys found much amusement in tossing rocks, large and small, onto the lake’s frozen surface, as well as breaking off chunks of ice and hurling the pieces onto the lake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was cool outside but not terribly so, and with the sun out we were quite comfortable. We drove back along the road some and stopped along a river. Cindy had packed a cooler for a picnic, and after toiling for a while to get a fire going in one of the grates at one of the picnic areas, we finally roasted some hot dogs and marshmallows.

We went home smelling of fresh air and firewood. My mom used to say that if they figured out a way to bottle the scent of coffee, she would wear it as a perfume. I feel much the same way about the smoky scent of a wood fire.

 

 

 

 

 

On another visit into the town center, Cindy and I had lunch and tea at Apeldoorn’s on Mill Street. This quaint little tearoom served up a variety of tea brews as well as a three-tiered tower of crustless finger sandwiches and sweet treats. We picked the Vicar’s Blend and Earl Grey Cream for our tea selections… both were delicious. We arrived after noon and it was still bustling with clientele, almost all of the tables were filled as guests took their turns at sampling and sipping the fare.

During this particular visit, Cindy and I also stepped into some of the little gift shops along Wellington St. and I was able to find some souvenirs to bring back for family and friends. Our final stop was at Klassic European Deli, a deli specializing in … you guessed it … European goods. We picked up some coldcuts, breads, specialty chocolates and cookies and a half dozen Kinder Eggs, which apparently American children are too stupid to eat without choking on the small parts, so they don’t sell them here and it is Gabriel’s personal mission to consume as many of them as possible while we visit Canada. We soon discovered that all the meats and breads were very tasty as we made sandwiches using our newly purchased foods for dinner that evening.

Cindy and her husband Alex are both very fortunate to be able to find employment in the job sectors which hire in Chilliwack, and are able to make quite a decent living to boot. Many inhabitants, though, appear to commute to other areas, including all the way to Vancouver. Perhaps as the economy perks up, so will the business opportunities mount in the outlying areas. I went for a job interview into Vancouver and it took us two hours to get to the far end of West Vancouver (by UBC) with access to the carpool lane. I figure it would take another half hour, at the least, to scale that distance driving solo. I personally think that would constitute a form of self-torture… if I find work in Vancouver, we’ll be living a lot closer to the city… or in the city. 

On the day of our Vancouver visit, we also stopped at Granville Island, had some clam chowder, salmon burgers and fish ‘n chips for lunch, and walked around a bit.

The market is huuuuuge, not that you would notice it being so from the outside. We were originally planning to visit Stanley Park as well, but it was getting to the middle of the afternoon and we were worried about getting stuck in rush hour traffic, so we decided to leave. We were all feeling a bit under the weather anyway. 

We had all sorts of other plans to execute during our visit, but one of Cindy’s kid’s got sick… and then the other… and then I started feeling it and Gabriel as well… and then both Alex and Cindy… so the snowboarding trip that we’d originally planned on with the kids was abandoned, as was the Harrison Hot Springs visit. Ah well… next time. 

It felt good to be “home”… I hadn’t set foot on Canadian soil since departing from my mother’s funeral in 2003. It’s been a long time, and I had felt that without my parents being alive anymore, that there wouldn’t be much incentive for me to return to live there. Oddly, I felt at peace there. It did feel like home, even if it wasn’t the same coast that I grew up on. Strangers smile and greet you when you walk by them in the street. Even though there is a limited population, I got to speak French on several occasions, both in Vancouver and in Chilliwack.

This will probably sound like weird “woo-woo” stuff, but I am sensitive to the vibes of the different places that I pass through. Even though I like the feel of L.A. (and it’s immensely different from the vibe here in the O.C., which is where we live), I really liked how Chilliwack and Vancouver felt (they were each, in turn, different). I’m looking forward to the change… to the move… to the new adventure… to coming ’round full circle… to going home.