Thursday, September 15, 2022

Guests and Getting Close to Year Six

Wednesday began with a walk with my friends and our dogs. On the way home, I found my new hard drive and cables in my postal box. Now my computer changeover is complete.

At noon I went to the ferry terminal to fetch Bev who came over to the island to have lunch with me at The Surf. We’ve been friends since high school, and we had a great lunch in nice warm sunshine on the deck of the Surf’s pub. It was lovely to be with a good friend, served good food and taking in a beautiful view of the Salish Sea. After lunch, we went for a walk together at Twin Beaches. And then I took her to the ferry terminal. And guess what! The ferry was there, fully loaded about to leave, but the gate attendant called to Bev to hurry, and she got on and it left. It was ideal timing.

It was extremely difficult to talk at times, for perhaps a minute, and then I’d be more fluent and at other times I could not get a single sound out. This feels new to me, this frequent changing of capacity. I am grateful to people like Bev who betray not a shred of frustration or horror. She is total accepting, and I really appreciate that.

Three of my favourite fellow thespians are coming for lunch on Tuesday. They are all alumni of the theatre at which I worked and trained; they are family to me. I heard from Bruce yesterday. And I’ve been invited out to lunch by Ali and Peter, but I’m going to decline because I have a meeting of the Doctor Search Committee on the night of the date they proposed. I want to speak as well as I can, so we’ll find another day. And Lydia wrote to say that she, her son Gene and his partner Sidney, and David, her husband are coming for the 24/25 weekend.

I had been feeling like a procrastinating student (something I never was), so last night I did a good stretch of work on some challenging clinic assignments that have been on my plate for a while. I can honestly say that the challenge of two of the articles is tough. I’m not finding it easy, and I’m anxious about how good a job I’ll be able to do. I’ll do the best that I can, and I know that because I’m a volunteer they’ll be fine with whatever I produce. But the research is challenging due to the complexity of the issues.

For one of the assignments, I had to learn how BC doctors are paid, and that took many, many hours of education because there are so many payment models—plus, there’s a lot of medical jargon and demanding nomenclature. So, it took many hours to write three comprehensible sentences—and I have to be able to fully explain them in our meeting. Three sentences for one article, and I’m working on three big documents. (I’m working for two committees.)  

On one of our walks yesterday, Sheba and I took a path we hadn’t used in a long time. A good part of the trail passes through deciduous trees, so it’s quite bright. We walked until we entered a large open hillside where we turned right to go up the centre of the hill.

The hill is smothered in tall green grass and scores and scores of Digitalis towers in Springtime and early Summer. But now, the Foxgloves are long dead, and the grass has turned to a thick blanket of golden straw. It’s dense, dense, dense and a beautiful yellow, and it’s also fragrant, like newly threshed hay. 

The sun was high above is and beating down making the colour of the straw intense. People had trampled down the grass on the trial creating a carpet of straw folded neatly across the trail and flattened. It was as though we were walking in a basket. The sun, the dog, and the restored order at Pinecone Park, and things going so well with the clinic… life is good.

In October, I’ll be celebrating my anniversary on this island and beginning my sixth year of residency. I’m looking forward to the coming year. I know when the wood comes, and how much wood I need, I know when the bills come, and that in Spring and Summer, Pinecone Park is very demanding of my time. And I know when our local fairs and special events are (even though I don’t usually attend). I’m resolved, though, to go to our Country Fair on Sunday.

Also, I have my gay posse events to look forward to next year. With Dan, Steve, Eoin, Fran├žois, and Jay, I have a gay community that gives my island heart for me. We all enjoy our dinners together; we love each other’s company. They’re a big part of my attachment to Gabriola.

We often declare that an experience is one of the greatest experiences of our lives. Moving here was truly, truly that for me! It’s been a five-year experience so far. That’s one good reason for top ranking. The other is that there was a time I was exuberantly happy—my early childhood was an extremely happy one. That was in the 1950s, and living here now, is an awful lot like living was back then.

There’s no fear of crime or critters. Life is slow and very close to nature. People wave and we have strong bonds with our neighbours. Children can run free. There are no sidewalks, and volunteers run everything. There are meaningful community events and most of us share a strong sense of belonging to a community we’re proud of. (Naughty preposition.)

I’m going into year six here wanting a future. I’m keen to go on. I want this nice soft landing on Gabriola to last much longer. I don’t want the hammock to stop swinging.  

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