Thursday, November 11, 2021

Adieu Phillip

Tuesday brought horrid, dreadful news. A mighty talent and a spectacular soul, a dear friend, passed away. Phillip was an extraordinary theatre designer! His costumes were other worldly. And he was the most gentle and loving soul. The news took all the energy and life out of me yesterday. The one good thing was hearing it from another dear, dear friend who shared my love and respect for Phillip.

Tuesday morning went from bright clear skies, to dark, dark clouds obliterating all blue. It went back to clear, then back to dark, dark, dark, and in the afternoon came the rain, at times very heavy. So, I read all day and made my third batch of seafood curry.

I also took time to go through my short speech that will open my conference workshop this weekend. I’ve reworked it several times and will do again so that It’s as short and informative as possible. Plus, I developed a poll to ask participants if they want the Canadian Stuttering Association to host on ongoing forum for us late onset stutterers and, if so, how often they would like it to convene us.

Dinner at Eoin’s and Fran├žois’ was, as it always is, fabulous. It’s like going to a four-star restaurant, so I took a bottle of very fine champagne for them. 

People put pumpkins in the forest on the roadside all through a stretch of North Road, two minutes from my house, for Halloween; this year I understand that there was 200+ pumpkins. They are all lit by volunteers on the night itself and the night afterwards, then the candles are removed, and the vegetables are left for the deer. So, last night, as I drove the ten-minute drive to their place, I saw lots of Deer feasting on the remains.

The drive back was done in killer blackness and, as is usual whenever I go out in the evening, I drive the entire way home without seeing another vehicle—and there’s only one stop sign better their house and mine.

Today on the CBC news, our weather was the lead story on the news. Rainfall is up 200% over past years for September and October, plus we’ve had two cyclone bombs, two atmospheric rivers and a tornado. And another major storm surge is predicted for this weekend. Meteorologists the world over are looking at our Fall as more proof of climate change. Thankfully, I can say I haven’t cared at all, thanks to my reading and fireplace.

Yesterday dawned clear and bright, and it stayed nice until the early afternoon when overcast skies took over. But our morning dog walk was dry and that’s always good news.

The darkness comes early now that we’re on Standard time and so regularly under a dark thick blanket of cloud. It’s cozier earlier now late in the afternoon. I eat earlier, go to bed earlier and read more. I read two-to-three hundred pages a day. I adore the Louise Penny books I’m reading. It turns out, I love mysteries. I should have known, given my love of the Hardy Boys books when I was young.

Paula arrived to visit on the 8th of September, and since then life has been very, very busy. Since then, I’ve had lots of guests and dinner invitations, and I’m glad of that. But perhaps not so bunched up. This weekend I’ve a three-day conference on Zoom. It’s going to likely wear me out, especially the day I lead my workshop. But after that, my calendar is empty. It’ll be good to idyll for two weeks, although I would never decline an invitation to socialize. And Christmas, I reckon, will be another quiet time for resting with books, pets and fire.

My dad had a log cabin on a local mountain. I never saw it, but I saw his photographs of it and saw a way of living I wanted. I went on to envision myself living in a log cabin as I feel asleep for the rest of my life. Not every night, but many, and always at the end of every trying day. But I never saw myself actually buying a log home. I was a city boy, a proud Vancouver boy.

And then, just over five years ago, I saw this house for sale online and I jumped into action, not realizing that I was fulfilling a long-held dream. I realized that after living here several months. The log walls intensify the sense of coziness here—particularly in the living room/dining room/kitchen that hosts the heart of the house: the fireplace. I must never forget how wonderful this wet season is; I must never forget the comfort of dark nights indoors by the fire. I love this womb of mine.

I love reading all the time I’m awake, only doing dog walks and infrequent shopping trips When I told Dr. Shoja I was moving here she said: “That will do more for you than I can.” In one short sentence, she gave me permission to quit such frequent therapy, confidence and pride. And she was correct about the impact of me moving here. I remember this story often in the glow of an evening fire in an otherwise dark room. This is what Winter is. Only better with snow. (That lasts just one or two days.)

I’m still waiting for my art supplies to arrive. I’m keen to see if, as an alternate to reading, I can renew my interest in drawing in coloured pencil. I love watching B movies that don’t require my attention; I just listen to them and look up rarely as I draw and colour. I’ve got a large pizza thing (I don’t know what to call it) that will make an ideal drawing board, and I’m going to get a small battery-operated clamp-on flexible light. 

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