So it was off to the ferry for me, with Georgia Strait and Victoria beckoning. When I arrived at the terminal, I saw that I wouldn’t make the next voyage. It would be an hour-and-a-half wait, which was fine. That would give me a chance to write a blog post.
I thought that Starbucks would get the creative juices flowing, so I joined the line. There was hardly anywhere to move since half of Vancouver was surely wanting to go to Victoria. I turned to the two women behind me and said, “Is the terminal always this busy?” And so began a journey to fast friendship. During our conversation, I mentioned Jody and soon Kitty and Kathy were saying yes to sharing a copy of our book. I got one out of Scarlet and told them that I’d see them on the ferry.
Retiring to a pocket of shade, I discovered that I didn’t have any Internet. No matter. I’d compose in Word and send it off to whoever’s out there in the evening. So I tapped and slurped and yapped to a young couple at the same table.
Done. (Actually, it doesn’t happen quite that fast!) I decided to find my new friends. As I approached their car, I saw that Kitty was reading Jody’s book, and she was crying. Oh my. It was time to load so I got back in Scarlet. As our lane was given the go ahead, I looked in the rear view mirror to see a car on my ass, revving his motor. Good heavens … tailgated on a ferry ramp.
Kathy, Kitty, her husband Craig and I sat together outside on the deck at the back of the ship. I looked around at the Pacific Ocean and the layers of islands that stretched away forever. “Do you think that some local people don’t see this beauty anymore?” “Yes.” So sad.
We talked about this, that and the other thing. I mentioned that I had arrived with a bag of Costco’s Almond Clusters so that I could feed the hovering seagulls off the stern of the ferry. Except that there were no seagulls. (Sigh) I have great decades-old memories of throwing food in the air and having the gulls swoop down to catch it in their beaks. But not today. At one point, I leaned over the railing and tossed a symbolic cluster up high. Nobody came by. The ocean swallowed it. Thuwup. (My best guess about cluster-sucking water)
And here comes a pretty young woman to talk to all of us. She’s a naturalist and has lots of things to say about marine flora and fauna. She knew her stuff, even that glass sponges (an animal) exist. But worlds beyond that, she glowed with joy. Her face was a symphony of expressions and her body extended, twisted and danced as she spoke. I was blown away. It’s nice that she was pretty, but that physical beauty was animated by her soul. I went up to her afterwards and said, “You have such joie de vivre. And you are a teacher, far beyond your subject matter. A role model for us all. Please don’t lose that. When you’re 40, may you still show such spirit.” She cried a wee bit and said thank you.
Kathy, Kitty and Craig laughed at my stories and shared some of their own. It was fun. I hugged the two women upon farewell. And that’s it, really … “Fare thee well.”
And now – Ta Da! – my girlfriend. I fell in love with her maybe 40 years ago and I haven’t seen her since. We’ve never written. I don’t even know her name. And she’s not even human. My love is a statue in Butchart Gardens north of Victoria. The truth is that the main reason I came to Vancouver Island was to see her. (I know I kid around a lot but this is not that.) Decades ago, I read a book called Narcissus and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse. I was enthralled to hear of Goldmund’s love of sculpting … the chance to catch the glory of life in stone or wood. Ever since, I’ve kept my sculpting mind hidden from everyone I know. But it’s still there … the need to create an image that captures the soul. When , oh when, Bruce, will you start that journey?
It took a while, but I found my girlfriend in the sunken garden. I sat near her for nearly an hour. She appears to be a teenager. She crosses her hands over her chest as she looks skyward. I thinks she’s missed me. I know I’ve missed her. There wasn’t much to say. We just sat together. Afterwards, I looked up to the towering arbutus trees in the evening sun. Their reddish bark glowed. Me too. Then I went to the bandshell and watched about fifteen couples dance the waltz and fox trot to a live band. I could smell flowers. Most of the folks were in their 50’s, 60’s or 70’s and they all moved so gracefully. I smiled.
Quite the day. Here’s to many more of them. Salut.