Things I've Learned I LOVE
In both houses that have been home base for our travels, art is everywhere. However, it is not exclusively purchased from galleries or collected for collection's sake. Each piece has a story, from the fabric art piece on the piano, Seasons, to the abstract painting by my cousin Vince that reveals a glow-in-the-dark self portrait in the night. Framed and mounted photographs are in abundance, pictures that tell a story, images that enhance the feeling of place, home, and family.
NATURAL LIGHT AND NATURE
We have an affinity for natural light, as much as we can get. It pours in and activates the space, giving it energy, vitality, and life. It's also nice to look out and see nature: trees, water, animals, sky. I was reminded of the house in which we were married in Candle Lake, SK, that had walls of windows that invited in the forest. At Marcel and Kathy's "farm", a particular tree jumps out in my mind, with the pond in the background. At Pierre and Robbie's place in Guelph, a small body of water lies at the bottom of the hill in their backyard. In it, a blue heron holds court, apparently claiming the pond as its own. He was there again this morning, just before I sat down to begin writing this post.
I started counting the number of family members who have popped in to see us, some several times, on our travels in Kamsack, Calgary, Eramosa, Guelph and New Dundee. The total was already more than 30 by the time I got distracted and went on to something else. In all cases, family is family, and there is this unwritten belief or practice of pulling out all the stops to make them feel welcome and comfortable. We have certainly been treated that way and have appreciated each and every visit, anecdote, laugh and memory.
Seeing other parts of the country always provides ideas and inspiration that we can bring home with us to Fort McMurray. Sometimes it's the little things that resonate the longest, like that little gadget that Pierre and Robbie brought back from their Japan trip - they both work for Air Canada and have a level of seniority that takes them to many exotic destinations - a device that slips over the stem of your beer bottle that when plunged, automatically pops off the cap.
The "Gurgle Pot" has been fun, a water pitcher shaped like a fish that makes the funniest noises after you pour out the water. This has obviously caught on with the family, because there has been one in each home.
TIME STANDING STILL
Each of us, in our turn, has had to ask "What day is it?" at some point on this trip, and the one previous. Time literally stands still and keeping track of the day of the week is incredibly difficult. It is Friday today. I only know that because it is a transition day, when we go from Guelph to Toronto for a one-night stay in the big city before heading up to Trenton tomorrow.
In my mind, we have done things that really define my kind of holiday:
Wading out into the water with my iPhone, just to get a picture of that one lily pad in bloom.
Meandering through the shops in downtown Fergus, buying a book, buying several.
Visiting the Krajewski Gallery in Elora, watching the boys both gasp at a stunning painting of downtown Toronto, finding out moment's later that the painter's wife (also an accomplished artist) was sitting behind the counter.
Lying down on the ground, getting a great perspective shot of a statue in the middle of a beautiful park in downtown Elora.
Getting Heather to take a picture of Russell and Sons, just because it needed to be done.
Taking an adventurous walk through the forest on "the farm", stopping to take pictures of fungi, spider webs and the sunlight dancing off the moss-covered tree stump.
Stopping at the Banana Stand at the Farmer's Market in downtown Guelph, smiling at the obvious television reference to Arrested Development.
Going for a leisurely walk around the neighbourhood, going down to the pond, hoping to see the blue heron, instead finding some beautiful wildflowers.
Enjoying a laughter and story-filled meal, lots of great food, and a little too much scotch.
Watching the smiles of fascination and joy in the faces of Heather, Dylan and Ben as they got the grand tour of JP and Mary Ann's dairy farm. Seeing Dylan's smile as he stuck his finger in the milking mechanism and Ben's care and attention, spending a few extra minutes with the calf that had been born just a few days earlier.
Memories are made of these precious moments, of taking a leisurely pace, enjoying the love of family, the beauty of place and gift of time.
It's also nice to sit down and write. Heather wrote a beautiful piece yesterday called "Little Piece of Paradise". Enjoy it!