The the calm before the storm. Those seven weeks with family and friends in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island, an interlude between the life I led in New Zealand and the life I will tread on the Eurasian continent over the next year.
There have been moments of non stop activity, my first week back was a whirlwind of crossing items off a seemingly endless to do list. There was a week of playing tourist in my home town, luxuriating in the Listel Hotel with Mom and searching out art galleries (more on that later), then a week of quiet Island Time at Mom’s beachfront garden home.
I spent my mornings waking up to the early sun and birdsong with a view of where the river meets the ocean outside a large, south facing picture window, the sunlight rimming the masts of sail boats at rest on the other side of a jetty separating the mouth of the river and a calm harbour. I divided my attention between google searches of what to do in Frankfurt and petting the cat I left behind when I decided to move to the southern hemisphere, curled up on the bed next to me.
The days passed gently, I mostly sat still, soaking in the therapy of Mom’s garden, screwing up my courage to finally restart my German lessons, smiling at the antics of the flock of starlings who devoured every last piece of fruit on the large cherry tree at the back of the kitchen over a mere 3 days, occasionally being coaxed from my outdoor office on the back deck by Mom enthusiastically waving me over to, ‘Come and see!’
I am descendant from a long line of farmers on my maternal side, and growing up we almost always had vegetable and flower gardens. Here on this bit of the Island there are different issues to contend with than on the Mainland: less rainfall; deer that have a taste for roses; sandy soil… As I listened to the methods used to manage the unique set of challenges within this small paradise in progress, I realized that organic living and treading lightly have always been an undercurrent of my life.
My desire to support organic agriculture finds it’s roots in my grandfather’s pride when he would tromped into the house, crowing in enthusiasm over the size of the zucchini he harvested for that night’s supper. My understanding of the importance of a clean habitat is built on years of watching the little critters who would play and forage in our gardens. The recycling bin quietly grew in size as the years passed by, while the contents of the trash can shrank in comparison. We were by no means the ‘greenest’ family in town, but the foundations were set, making it easier for me to change my habits today.
Is there a habit or philosophy you learned from your parents that helps you tread lightly today?