Buoy and Bauble

My favourite store at Peggy’s Cove was one that seemed rather like nothing from the outside. Maybe that’s why I loved it so much.

From the outside I saw only hints of glass and flashes of colour. The building itself looked rather shabby, with peeling paint and dirty windows. But inside lay a sea of treasures.

The ceiling is low and covered in fishing net that is attached to the wall by dried starfish and shells. Many of the items for sale were truly vintage – well worn from years of hard work.

A small stack of used books greeted me first. Then I looked up and saw the bold colours of painted buoys. They hung wherever there was space, all dressed up in maritime colours.

More subdued were the retired lobster cages, sun bleached and aged with sea water. Driftwood, coral stones, and rusty anchors gave the place a certain unexpected appeal.

A large whale jawbone drew the clicks of many cameras – mine included.

At the entrance an old man sat, whittling away at small piece of wood. He was polite and cheerful, with the patience of a seasoned fisherman.

Perhaps my favourite aspect was the old glass bottles that lined the window. Some were chipped, and most of them were a little bit dirty. I like to think that they were found objects – bits and pieces that he had collected through his years out on the ocean and along the beaches. Or perhaps they were old bottles that he had collected over time. Medicine, alcohol, pills… I think they are my favourite because there is a kind of curiosity behind them.

As I left I passed by his front desk where the old man sat. The table was covered in large sea shells and small hand-painted buoys. Five dollars. They were simple. It wouldn’t be hard to make one myself. But I handed over the money with a delighted smile.

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Birthdays

Christine Fichtner Vancouver

An absolutely gorgeous day

I’m not sure when birthdays started to become days much like any other. As a child, I loved birthdays. The whole day was special. Now that I’m working, it’s just like any other day. Except that I’m older now.

I just use it as an excuse to get my friends together on one day. It’s always hard to organize dinners when everyone has such different schedules.

Today is my birthday, but it’s also my first day back to work. And I got scheduled last-minute to teach another class, so I ended up working more than I expected. Not a bad thing, but I thought I’d be more upset that it happened on my birthday. But I’m not.

And I’m undoubtedly not the first, nor the last, to have this realization. But I’m there now, I’ve had it, and I’m not too bothered by it.

I am lucky that the weather turned beautiful. A cloudless sky, a nice cool breeze, and a hot sun. Perfection!

Christine Fichtner birthday

So I treated myself a bit. Fresh fruit and an excellent read. All in all not a bad day at all. A pretty good return from a wonderful vacation (about which I will post more later this week).

Best of all, tomorrow is Canada day, so I get the day off!

Vacation!

Christine Fichtner luggage

It’s finally time for my 4-day vacation to the Okanagan! Going to visit wineries, and pick plenty of fresh fruit.

Which means I’m not bringing my laptop, and won’t be able to read your blogs or reply to your comments until Monday.

I hope you all have a wonderful week, and I’ll see you all soon!

Plums

Christine Fichtner Plum Blossoms

A photo I took a while ago, since I haven’t updated in a while. Our plum tree has finally blossomed! I hope that means many plums! Also hoping the bears don’t get to them first. I shall keep constant vigilance to ensure harvest ahead of the local wildlife. Paws off our plums!

It’s Worth it.

Christine Fichtner Seawall

Spring means gorgeous weather, which means I can finally spend time outside.

The Seawall is a gorgeous place to go jogging. There are two in Vancouver, one along each side of the inlet. I go to the one closer to my house, of course, and get this amazing view as a reward.

It’s nice to jog in areas full of fellow runners and casual walkers. The clear skies always bring forth smiles. The numerous adorable dogs help, too. One day I’ll have a dog to walk every morning. One day.

So though the whole time I’m jogging it hurts and I’m questioning why I decided to torture myself like this… all I have to do is look out to the ocean and realize just how worth it it is.

Eternal Gaze

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The forest sprawled, unending over the mountains. Trees grew intimately and the thick canopy hid all from view, undaunted by time and distance.

She paused at the top of the hill. Grass claimed the rest of the path. She shifted her bag on her shoulders, her eyes tracking the sun, the wind, and the oncoming clouds with an understanding that only pain could teach.

It was silent but for the restless branches and territorial birds. The valley was serene as it was treacherous. Beautiful as it was deadly. She brushed her fingers over the handle of the knife attached to her waist. The clawed scars on her shoulder and back burned like the fires she lit at the heart of winter, desperate to fend off the cold and the animals.

She knew that one day she would meet her end under the eternal gaze of the forest. The time would come when she would finally meet the death that fell, wet, from storms. That lingered in the eyes of beasts. So her body would become part of life, eternally reborn.

She breathed the smell of oncoming rain and stepped into the forest’s embrace.

—-

The mountains make me want to pack a backpack and roam the vast wilderness.

Fresh Winter Snow

Christine Fichtner Grouse Mountain Vancouver

 

Crisp, cold, biting the end of your nose and the tips of your ears. Fresh, pine, and tall trees that tower towards the sky.

An unmistakable scent. Clean, fresh, reflecting the sun’s radiance. Pristine, glittering in the day’s light.

And sometimes the scent of burning logs. Smoke from a warm hearth. Rosy cheeks and glowing faces, warm in their laughter.

Immortal Dance

Christine Fichtner Chinatown Koi Vancouver

 

They swim, unmoving in their act of eternal motion.

Gold upon water’s soft blue. Floundering its fins in an immortal dance. Braving the currents, it perseveres. For it knows that one day, when it has struggled enough, it will be rewarded. Transformed and exalted. Eternal.

Balance

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Balance, I have found, is one of the hardest things to maintain in life.

On one hand, but on the other. How do I find a good medium?

Though I don’t think about it very often, and perhaps compared to others it’s not as bad, but I am a rather work-driven person.

The idea of having not working is so foreign that I cannot even consider it. When I came back from Korea, I immediately started teaching after only one and a half days. Never mind jetlag, never mind vacation. I had to work.

I want to work more on my writing, but how can I not teach as many hours as possible during the week?

So I fill my hours with teaching, and the rest with writing, and the next thing I know I’m exhausted and haven’t taken a break in weeks.

I love writing. It’s a huge passion. And I love teaching, too. But they’re work, no matter what I might think otherwise. And yet if I’m not teaching, then I should be writing. if I’m not writing during my free time, I’m wasting precious hours. I’m slacking off.

So where do I find a balance?

I’m still searching for it.

It’s all a state of mind, for me. I have to remember that I need breaks, too. I can’t work nonstop, even if I enjoy it. The exhaustion is crippling and unhealthy.

Moderation. Balance.

I’m working on it.

 

Nature’s Blinds

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Whispers like paper rustling. Footsteps, heard but never seen. They come out only when the air is thick with misted secrets. Swift, beside you, then away, they appear when they are hidden by nature’s blinds.

Droplets swirl with a grudging smoothness, disrupted as creatures dart, trailing soft brushes of wind that brush your skin. Shivers travel the length of your body as the air seeps under your jacket, creeping with gusty sighs along your skin. And you continue to walk, oblivious to the wonders that pass within feet of you.

And should you be so lucky to catch a glimpse, a shadow, a shade of the creatures that migrate under the safety of the fog, you are quick to dismiss it. Fear not, you tell yourself, it is a tree’s swinging branches, a stray dog, a winging bird. Nothing more. And you lock the door to your house with relief.

Above the fog the air is clear and the sun beams and the wind dreams. And every once in a while the edge of a wing, of a tail, of horns, breach the edges of the mist and glint in the revealing sun. They dive back down with a lingering trail, a wisp of their presence.

But you simply relax, knowing that it is the wind that moves the fog, that lifts it and swirls it and blows it in playful waves. You thank it for clearing your view as the fog trails away. And the wind laughs through your hair.

It was really foggy for a while. But always sunny further up. Gorgeous.

Appreciating Where I Am

Really, ever since I came back from Korea, I’ve felt like a tourist, appreciating just how beautiful of a city Vancouver is.

I’m especially lucky to work near the water, and to walk past this every day.

Lonsdale Quay

And if I’m in one of the classrooms with a window, I get to see some amazing sunsets.

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I’m so glad that I’m able to appreciate the natural beauty this much.

My phone has a panorama feature??

So I found out that I can take panorama shots with my phone. I, err, totally read the manual…

So I kinda went to town cus it was sunny out, and Vancouver is beautiful.

Granville Island

Granville Island

False Creek

False Creek

Rainbow ferry ride across False Creek

Rainbow ferry ride across False Creek