There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort. ~Jane Austen
I can’t say I wish I’d stayed home these last ten months, but it is good to be back. Back among friends and back in my neighbourhood, the cozy, gossipy, crazy, infuriating, wonderful Protection Island. And great to find nothing much has changed: winter has come and gone, leaving a few casualties in my garden (my jasmine and my variegated fuchsia) and a new granddaughter to my good friend Frances. Oh, there have been the usual community feuds over various issues, which in the summer seem to mysteriously evaporate. And there have been the usual capers: the project to replace many island toilets with low flush models, which were barged over en masse and transported around the island with great ceremony in a poo-rade. Or the day one islander set a piano on Satellite Reef (while it was exposed briefly by one of the summer's lowest tides) in the middle of the harbour, for a performance and party.
I have been home for 10 days, enjoying day after day of classic Strait of Georgia summer, clean winds and clear skies. The wild grass in front of my house, which begins the summer brilliant green and lush, is golden and everything smells of dry fir needles and hot sap.
In my house, I wander from room to room, marvelling at all the space. I open and shut the refrigerator, amazed by the fresh food: three types of cheese, bags of arugula, bottles of chilling wine. I take long baths and help myself to clean towels. I sit in a chair on the porch watching the sunrise, or explore the corners of my garden, the overgrown forest at the back, the pond, the rhododendron dell. I putter in my studio, pulling out supplies and thumbing through art books. My home feels like a kingdom. And I feel rich.
Last night at 3am. Circadia completed her Pacific circle. Kim had promised to call me before he arrived at the dock here on the island, so I could be there to meet him. I slept through the phone ringing and didn’t wake until I heard someone having a long shower.
Circadia at the dock, Protection Island
He has captained the boat for over 10,000 nautical miles and will spend the next days having a well-deserved rest before he unpacks all his office boxes in the attic, brushes off his skull, and begins the process of re-opening his practice.
..the tired mariner.
I am already back in my studio most days, painting and preparing for the classes I will give in the next few months. And I am back at my desk, working on writing projects.
I will miss writing blog posts. Yes, this is my last one. As I have said before on this blog, your presence has meant a lot to me this year. You were my community and I often felt your interest and support on the slender thread of this journey over a wide ocean. I have learned a great deal from this year, some of which I already knew, but have been reminded of once again--that the fear which keeps us from doing the things we dream of is worth wrestling with (or at least ignoring). I wasn’t always as strong as I would have wished, as funny, or as brave, but I did it anyway, and it was a hell of a ride.
And thanks again for coming along with me!! Consider this an invitation to stop by my studio on Protection Island (23 Hispanola Place), check my website www.alisonwatt.ca, or email me firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have any questions or would like to be on my email list for shows and classes.
And so, Jane, I would say, perhaps there is nothing like staying home for comfort, but there is nothing like coming back after a long absence for appreciating it profoundly.