A springlike emergence
in the quickening winter.
January 27, 1999 6:43 PM
15:42 Home; Whistler, BC -- Canada :: WED
27 JAN 99
Incommunicado. Floundering a little. But righting myself. Weary from the
dual journeys across space and across my self, the journeys through peoples
and people. But gathering myself for the journeys coming. Warming to the
preparation, thinking, perhaps the trail won't lead so far from the threshold
this next time. Not an inner journey, but a stationary one.
Snowflakes flutter and collect this afternoon in Whistler, outside the
double sliding glass door. On the deck, on the boughs of fir and cedar,
and on the rumpled paper-bark of the several birches in their silver-grey
sleep. Here the lake narrows into the River of Golden Dreams along whose
banks rusty brown marsh grasses push up through the collected snow. A
wind kicks up so that birches sway and needled boughs waver and the light,
liquid mass of snowfall eddies and roils before settling, lightly, on
my deck and on the mountains obscured. Tomorrow will be a ski day, I think.
Inside is new wood and white walls. A smallish, cozy place. My own place.
A long time since I've said that. My own place. Somehow a 36' trailer
just doesn't suffice. Not the same. Throwing your voice in my trailer
would likely break a window. I have my reading chair from a famous Swedish
manufacturer with its earthy red cushions and curving laminate birch and
from it, between paragraphs of John Nichol's The Milagro Beanfield War,
and Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace, and Milan Kundera's Farewell Waltz,
and the all too appropriate Winters Tale, by Mark Helprin, I've watched
the sun set on Rainbow peak.
The place came mostly furnished, leased until June. I've hidden some of
these furnishings away and brought in some new items from the afore-mentioned
Swedish assemble-it-yourself manufacturer. After several trips to Vancouver
and Squamish I've filled the larder, the pantry, the refrigerator and
now can survive for a week snowbound without having to pay Whistler prices
for groceries. Also up from my Vancouver storage locker are photographs
(my own work) and paintings, fresh from nearly five years' hibernation
in their corrugated cardboard nest. The guitar on which I've never quite
learned to play more than Pink Floyd's, Wish You Were Here: it is here,
along with my falling-apart-desperately-out-of-date-and-needing-replacement
stereo amp/tuner and an accompanying ramshackle turntable.
In short, I have been building a home, a warm hearth, a comfortable place
to live, to entertain friends and relatives. My sister's here, with her
husband and my 15 month old niece. One of my father's brothers has lived
in Whistler since 1965, married and brough four children into young adulthood.
Aside from visits with this bounty of family, a couple or three mornings
a week I play pickup ice hockey and other days I ski. Sometimes I'll drive
down to Squamish with a cousin and we'll ride mountain bikes on one or
another of the plethora of the single-track trails available there. There's
a small cinema which observes the holy day of Cheap Tuesday Night Movies
(five bucks a pop) pickup indoor soccer is played every Wednesday night
out at the high school.
And now that my Vancouver friends have discovered where I live, they're
all promising and planning to make the short weekend pilgrimmage here
at every opportunity, with reciprocal offers of a warm hearth and cozy
lodgings for my occasional forays back to the city for this or that task
or object which cannot be performed or acquired in Whistler.
And so, while afternoon slowly becomes evening, I am thinking I have finally
arrived home. After nearly five years without a home, I am thinking about
my storage locker and the contents of it, which not so long ago I disparagingly
referred to as 'stuff'. But I think about it now, still filled with objects
my little Whistler cabin cannot house, and realize that all along it represented
home during a time I thought I didn't need one.
And outside, as the afternoon becomes evening, snow continues to pile
up on the deck. I think it's time to order some firewood, as much to warm
my heart as the hearth. Then I'll call my uncle Cliff and tell him to
take tomorrow off as a 'mental health day'. Afterall, it's supposed to
snow all night.
Those who know don't talk.
Those who talk don't know.
Close your mouth,
block off your senses,
blunt your sharpness,
untie your knots,
soften your glare,
settle your dust.
This is the primal identity.
Be like the Tao.
It can't be approached or withdrawn from,
benefitted or harmed,
honored or brought into disgrace.
It gives itself up continually.
That is why it endures.
Attributed to Laozi
The Tao Te Ching
Trans. Stephen Mitchell