Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Two Steves; Two Chrises

Go, go, go. That’s what I do! From the moment I get up, I’m going full out. It’s wonderful to have energy again and to want to work on the yard and gardens. Watering doesn’t feel onerous at all anymore. I like watering. I water each plant individually, not wide sprays for me. It saves water to feed each plant directly and to not overdo the watering. I can check on the health of each plant this way.

At noon, I stopped, got Sheba into the car, and took off for the Haven where Shirley is taking her course. We went to the Surf for lunch where we were the only people eating indoors. We were also the only people eating without wasps. We had a joyous reunion. Shirley lost her husband four years ago. Mark was charismatic. Many loved him. I still express my sympathy, every time I see her.

Then we took Sheba for a walk along the beach. There is nothing more beautiful than being on a beach in sunshine and a soundtrack of waves and ripples. The vast expanse of water is a magnificent view. Born on the edge of the ocean, love the ocean forever. Then I came home exhausted. And rested. And opened a package from the postman: my first Donna Leon novel.

This is what I’ve done: I’ve decided there are two Steves. The one I’m with when we’re together alone, and the other comes out when there’s liquor and an audience. I like daytime Steve. I love being with him. Evening Steve is risky. It’s best to watch a movie with eventing Steve.

After saying it one day to someone, I drove home thinking about this new way of expressing my relationship with Steve, I occurred to me that I have a similar feeling about being me. There’s silent me, at home. I love being that person. Then there’s ‘out there’ Chris with challenging, exhausting speech. I don’t like being stuttering Chris, but if I want friends, I gotta stutter. Speaking exhausts me. It takes force for me to speak. I use too many muscles and the wrong muscles. That’s why I had to relax when I got home. 

At 8:30 I did what I’ve been doing every night for a while: Walking in the backyard. It’s like going to church. And speaking of church.

I was a good Catholic boy. I behaved because I believed I had a guardian angel watching me. It made me wonder how many Catholics there were in Vancouver. In B.C. In Canada. In the world. There were Catholic countries everywhere. Sound it seemed to me like the guardian angels were like the police. An army of faith with wings. That was how God knew everything. I had things figured out.

My behavior often provoked punishment and I was raised in exile. I felt I had to be a grateful, well-behaved young Catholic, or I might be returned. It was easy to do because it came with a Catholic cub scout pack, a choir, putting on plays and new friends from catechism classes. I loved church until I realized I was gay. And Jesus turned into Santa Clause and joined my list of disappointments.

However, to this day, I am passionate for architecture of faith: churches, cathedrals, temples. I love the outside of the buildings and I love being inside even more—particularly if I am alone or with only a few people being silent and when no service is on. I’d go into a church at least once a day when I was travelling alone. I love churches, that’s why you often see images of them on this blog.

Side note; best church experience was in Carcassonne where the old part of the city has become entirely made up of galleries, stores and restaurants. It’s Disneyville. I was not enjoying being in the town at all, but my friends liked it. Then I saw a church, so I told my friends where I’d be and told them to go and have a good time and then come and fetch me in the church. It was a nondescript little church, but it was full of absolutely, glorious floral displays. I, and a woman attending the bouquets, were the only people there.

When I was alone in a church, I’d often listen to music. I travelled with a collection of Gregorian chants. So, I found a seat in the Carcassonne church and watched the woman refresh her displays as I put my earplugs into my ears. It heightened the church experience to listen to hymns. And because I was listening to the music with my eyes closed, I didn’t hear anyone coming inside. So, I was surprised to see a small grouping of men in suits on a hot, hot day, clustered near the altar. 

They turned out to be a visiting choir from a Russian orthodox church, there to rehearse and then perform in the evening. They told me that I was welcome to stay, and I exalted in their music. I was treated to an acapella concert of Russian hymns in a vaulting arched church that made their magnificent harmonies echo. It was a breathtaking experience.

I feel safe in a church. When I had my first serious panic attack when I was alone in London and knew no one at all in the city, I turned to a priest for help. I made an earnest effort to find a faith that fit, but I couldn’t take any faith to heart. I have long felt that science is my true faith. Still, I love churches. I like the idea of them. I like their history. I love their music and incence. I love everything about them—especially In Europe and other foreign lands. 

I tried to go into a church here on the island, but it was locked.

Today: Guess what. Watering, yard work, walking, spa. All the usual on these wonderful days. It’s hot again, but the backyard is mostly shaded so it’s not at all uncomfortable. All day, I hear very little. I hear a car go by periodically, or Omelius, next door, barking. And birds, and the fountain. And the air is infused with the evocative fragrance of dry grass. I love sunny late Summer days. They are soft and feel extra special because we know Summer is ending.

I’m thrilled by how beautiful P.P. looks after all my work. And I have today and two more days to do yard work before Lydia, et al, arrive.

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