Besides the weather, my reservations probably stem from being in my (part-time) home city for the conference rather than travelling to it. While other participants stayed at UBC, enjoying a more communal experience -- a bit like summer camp, with evening sing-alongs and video screenings -- I commuted from our apartment. As well, I cut short the last day in deference to family commitments that couldn't be ignored.
Having pushed toward completing my paper over the last few weeks, plus juggling a number of other commitments, I had the almost inevitable collapse yesterday. Before I succumbed, though, we took my Mom out for a walk. I hadn't seen her since before we left for Europe, so couldn't postpone a visit. She's a bit of a moving target: her aging memory/cognitive abilities make advance scheduling useless, and she heads out for a walk about 8:30-ish each day. Sometimes, after checking with my sister that there are no conflicting appointments, I call Mom that I'm driving over for a visit, but if someone else gets there first, I may waste the driving time. Last Wednesday, I thought I had her, but before I'd left the apartment, my sister called to relay the call she'd just got from Mom, in a panic because her old friend had shown up at the door, having driven over an hour, and she suspected she'd committed to me as well. . . which she had, but no harm done and no point raising her anxiety levels.
So Monday's walk couldn't be put off, despite my wobbliness and fatigue. And it was lovely, well worth the effort. We'd walked Burnaby Lake with her a few months ago, and loved it, then Paul and I ran it several weeks ago. I realized on our run what good memories I had of Mom's enjoyment there, her spirit buoyant, her cognitive weaknesses rendered so much less important by her physical confidence in a strong stride. In fact, although it took me weeks to get round to it, I'm determined to layer such memories while I can. I'll admit to many past frustrations, lingering resentments, even, regarding my mother, but I've laid those aside in the past few years. I'm grateful that I have enough time now to appreciate a rather sweet, very shy, somewhat awkward woman for her gentle enthusiasms.
Plus what a treat, to have a vista like this one open up in the middle of a city. These photos were taken on my cameraphone, so they're not great (although I'm surprised to see how decently they enlarge, if clicked), but you get the idea -- can't you almost smell that green? At one end of the park, you can hear trucks thundering by on the 401, and in this photo, if you peer carefully, you'll see highrises in the distance, but we were scolded by squirrels, regaled by woodpeckers, and entertained by ducks and their wee ones.
And water lilies flashed their gleaming whiteness at us . . . a benificence to reward my decision to ignore impending illness and get outdoors. . .
And now that I've got the major to-do's ticked off the list, I'm taking some lazy days. If you need me, I'm out in the hammock. . . .