My day began with slight miscalculations. I’m staying near Kamloops, BC on August 1 and 2. Since Kamloops is directly west of Edmonton, I figured I’d spend the night of July 31 in Alberta’s capital. I could sit in the West Edmonton Mall for a few hours and drink in the aura of rampant commercialism. However, truth be told, Kamloops is directly west of Calgary. So skip the mall and revel in the beauty of the Icefield Parkway between Banff and Jasper … gorgeous mountains on all sides, complete with a few glaciers. I can’t wait.
Laundry time yesterday morning. Real showed me the washer and everything looked straightforward. So around went the clothes. Then the drier. As I reached for a Bounce sheet, I had the niggly feeling that I hadn’t put anything of a similar nature into the washer, such as detergent. Sadly, I was correct. My T-shirts and shorts were very wet and still stinky. So back into the washer they went.
I like my brain, even when I forget stuff, like standing in the basement wondering why I’m there. I mean, who wants a totally efficient mind? If I was focused all the time, there wouldn’t be any room to contemplate life, death and the universe.
In the afternoon, I went to see Taiko drummers at the Japanese Garden in Lethbridge – eleven women and one man who smashed the heck out of the skins atop two-foot-high wooden drums which looked like giant teacups without the handles. The fellow especially gave it his all. His whole body moved to the rhythms of his sticks. Wide stance, trance-like facial expressions, small Japanese words slipping out of his mouth. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. The women were in their 40’s to 60’s, I’d say, and you could see the exhaustion on their faces at the end of a piece. All sorts of rhythms from the different drummers. Quiet tappings that grew into thrusts of power and back again. I was gone into the music. Thank you, Taiko folks.
And then there was the peace of the garden. Gently curving paths. Gently curving grassy slopes. A reflection pond hosting pagoda statues. A four-foot-high copper gong that I rang with an oiled horizontal post. Then I held the gong for a couple of minutes until the vibration died. Sweet.
A family of five came towards me on the path. I’d guess they were from India. I asked them If they’d like me to take their picture. “Of course. Thank you.” After I had done the deed, the girl of about ten smiled at me .. so fully, so lovingly, so much beyond the usual contact we have with each other. Like the drumming, the outside flooded the inside. Thank you, young lady.
I had a nice talk with the hostess at the visitor centre. When I was about to leave, she asked if she could hug me. So we did … for a long time. Just holding – no tapping or crushing. Lovely.
Veronica, Real and I went out to dinner at Luigi’s Pizza and Steak House in Lethbridge. Our server was a nervous young man. He tried describing the daily special but all he could manage was “chicken filet”. Veronica told him, “Luigi’s has such a big menu. It must be hard to keep track of it all.” When he walked away from the table, I gave her the thumbs up. That’s just what the world needs: compassion.
Back home again, Veronica and I sat for a bit on the deck. We talked of the last hours of her mom Joan and my Jody. Of letting go. Of telling them that it was okay to go. Wanting to be alone with our loved one as she died. Four moist eyes embraced our loves in the dark of the evening.
Then it was time with Real and Veronica’s two dogs. Luigi, a furry little white thing, lay in my lap, purring with my petting. Riggs, a British bulldog, occupied my other hand with rubs. So here and so now.
Today, I’m visiting my sister-in-law Nona’s dad Gordon in a nursing home before Scarlet guides me to Calgary. I’m staying with my friend Isabelle and her husband … Bruce. I don’t know. Two Bruces in one house? Could be trouble.
How I met Isabelle is another story. Tomorrow.