Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday night thoughts . . .

At noon today, we walked our house guests from Paris to our little island ferry and waved good-bye. We couldn't offer them famous cafés, wonderful public art, or macarons, but they seemed to enjoy sitting on our beachfront terrace sipping rosé.
Their son is settled in the same city as our son, the two young men having met quite a few years ago in that great gathering place for adventuresome youth, Banff. They've become really good friends, and for several years, as we've headed off to Paris, we've been urged to look up B's parents. Finally, last spring we met for dinner (with the added benefit of a new restaurant noted in our little Paris moleskine), and suggested they include us on their West Coast visit this summer.
The weather co-operated -- I even went for a refreshing saltwater swim, but couldn't get anyone to join me.  Wine on the patio was followed by a walk to explore the island, and then we crowded 'round the kitchen island while Paul made up his famous paella. Such a great meal for entertaining (she says, who doesn't have to make it!) -- a simple salad, some fresh green beans, lightly steamed.  My homemade handpicked-from-the-back-lane blackberry pie for dessert.
And then this morning I woke to this stunning, magical sunrise -- not sure the sailors need to take warning, but it is a red sky (and did indeed signal a weather change -- cloudy today).  Our guests didn't come in for coffee 'til almost 9, so I had ample time to sit and drink it in, tea and sunrise.

I'll admit that we both sighed a bit, realizing that the guests we'd invited actually were going to show up, that we'd have one more round of laundry and cooking and doing the social work that visiting is. You get busy, right? and sitting with friends, new or old, can feel something like work, something that keeps you from working your way down the to-do list.

But I'm glad that we made the (really very small) effort to put together an afternoon's refreshment, to cook and enjoy a meal together with people who matter to our son, to his friend, and now, to us. I'm glad that we slowed right down, did nothing for one whole day but focus on that visit. A bit ashamed that it should feel like such a big deal to slow down that much, but glad, nonetheless, that we did. Grateful to summer's leisure for nudging us in that direction.
Just grateful, in general.

And after enjoying a day together, after they left this afternoon, we napped, I swam (so delicious, one big saltwater swimming pool all to myself!), we read, we ate leftover paella and blackberry pie, and savoured the quiet of our own company as much as we'd savoured the company of guests. It's all balance, isn't it?

And after all those beautiful sunrise images, since we're going for balance, here is tonight's so-serene sunset.
Ahhhh, deep sigh! Tomorrow begins another week, and I head into it beautifully restored by a satisfying weekend. You?


  1. It's so true that home feels especially cozy AFTER the guests leave...even when they are wonderful guests. You have had a gorgeous sunrise.

  2. Hi Mater, I'm back!
    just caught up with your blog..before even trying to string a literate sentence together for my own!
    LOVED the wedding images, brilliant idea to use a grad student as their viewpoints will be so much better/fresher. Wish I had been there to grab a plate of paella, though I have enjoyed some amazing food myself over the last couple of weeks.
    I think I too was close to being very low just before we left (especially when I just re-read the last post) although amazingly with my MA looming I think I am good to go now. It is horrible when it happens though and yet maybe it is our brains way of making us just stop, you have not really stopped much and wonderful though guests are peace is as important too.
    I tend to be happier alone in a crowd, which is strange but I find it more restful looking in than being on the inside. It is very much an age thing for me I think.
    Your dress post is great, I have worn very different clothes on holiday, I did not even miss my black wardrobe, Leyla was most unsettled to see me wear a black T-shirt on my return. I wish I could spend longer by the sea just so I can wear lighter colours. London just seems to demand black, I know it's in my head but that is the colour of my comfort zone here.
    Better get back to posting I guess, have fun at work, I am not back for a couple of weeks but i do perversely pop in from time to time.

  3. Glorious. Just glorious. And I'd have joined you in the ocean. Can never resist:).

  4. Hi Mater, I would have jumped in your big salt water swimming pool!

    Gorgeous photos, lovely weekend.

    Have a beautiful week.

  5. "we walked our house guests from Paris to our little island ferry" - that must have been exhausting. Sorry, I had to. Really nice post and great photos. Ben's parents really enjoyed their trip.

  6. You live in a magical place. I will be in Vancouver the last week of Sept.....perhaps I should ferry over to your beautiful island?! I, too, would have joined you in the salt water swim.....nothing like the salt water cure for body and mind alike.
    Travelled to a marvelous dance venue in the Berkshire
    Region of Massachsetts ...Jacob's Pillow. One of my summer traditions. The performance by the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet was simply spectacular.

  7. Terri, It's true -- there's an old folk tale along those lines. Someone who wanted peace and quiet and was directed to bring various animals and people into the house so it got noiser and noiser. Then he got rid of them and realized true peace . . . feels a bit like that folk tale here now ;-)
    Alison: I'm glad you're back and look forward to seeing the holiday pics. Interesting what you say about black and London -- I know, though, that I dress quite differently when I'm on island as opposed to off island -- much of that, of course, has to do with working or not.
    You must be excited AND apprehensive a bit about the MA -- hope you save a wee block of time for chatting with us occasionally.

  8. Lisa: Oh, it would have been fun to have a swimming partner!
    Susan: Ditto -- can you imagine? you, Lisa, and I paddling around -- oh, and apparently Pavlova would have been keen to jump in as well.
    Zach: Just can't resist teasing your mom, can you?
    Pavlova: I've just googled that dance festival and it sounds magical. Lucky you! As for your visit here, once classes start, it's pretty much head down 'til April 'round here. Weekends are sadly filled with marking. But if we're over in Vanc'r that weekend, perhaps we could meet up for coffee, depending on schedules. Are you in Vanc'r for work or pleasure? Any particular plans?

  9. Oh, those pictures are just amazing! Incredible.

    I know what you mean about just taking the time to enjoy friends and letting to to-do list go for a while longer. Not always easy to do, but always worth doing.

  10. Yes, the "Pillow" is indeed a magical place!! No worries about your busy academic year....I did not mean to invite myself.....just to see Bowen Island! My husband will be there for 2 weeks of business.....I shall join for pleasure and if, by chance, you have some or wine
    would be great!
    PS. know of a good pilates studio in Vancouver???

  11. Sue: Those to-do lists--they can really control us!
    pavlova: We're not actually on Bowen, which is much closer to Vancouver and definitely worth a jaunt (altho' I admit I haven't been there for, whoops, 50 years!) -- we're on a tiny island off the very big Vancouver Island. If you have two weeks, you may very well want to do a Vancouver Island circle, taking a ferry over to Victoria, then driving up the Malahat Highway (stunning views) to Nanaimo where you'd catch the ferry back to Vanc'r. OR you could do a 4-5 hour drive into the Okanagan (wine/lake country -- also very beautiful).
    I do my Pilates back here on Vanc'r Island, but I've heard that Beyond Pilates on Davie is good. Depends where you're staying -- are you in a hotel or renting, and are you downtown?

  12. Oh my, so gorgeous. Sounds lovely.


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