I needed to get out of the house yesterday. Mr.Q had a practice in the morning, and it seemed like a good opportunity for a little solo time. I was a little stumped for ideas, though, not to mention motivation. So, I opted for my usual “go-to” plan, and packed up some knitting, and a letter I’ve been meaning to write for a month, and headed out for the neighbourhood coffee shop. I was going to sit myself down for at least half-an-hour, dammit, and have a date with myself, whether I liked it or not!
I got as far as the end of the block, and kind of stalled. I didn’t want to go to the Bean. I didn’t want to sit that close to Hastings Street and the traffic and the noise. Not to mention the crowds – on a sunny Saturday, I probably wouldn’t even be able to get a seat. But mostly, I just couldn’t muster the energy to take the same walk down the same streets again. My back was tight; my feet were uncomfortable, all tightly-laced into my walking shoes. And I knew I didn’t want to go anywhere that would require taking public transit.
But, I also didn’t want to turn around and go back inside.
Then I got my answer. As I was standing, stumped, at the corner, a couple of gulls came skreeling overhead. (I love that verb, skreel. So evocative. Onomatopoetic. Applicable only to gulls and bagpipes, which gives it a particularly romantic, misty, moory, maritime, Gaelic-y kind of resonance. Me, wrapped in a shawl, wandering a moonlit shoreline...)
Listening to the gulls, I found myself walking in the opposite direction, almost without conscious decision. My feet knew where I wanted to be, if my brain couldn’t make up its damned mind.
By the water. The thing I love best about this place. I needed a dose of the ocean. So I made my way down the street to one of the many mini-parks that dot the “waterfront” in our neighbourhood. (The neighbourhood being separated from the shoreline by the railway and the docks) I had the camera with me, and tried a few pictures of the cherry blossoms and the tulips. I just started wandering west…the northern-most street in our neighbourhood follows the waterfront, and is punctuated by a number of these mini-parks. Small flower beds tended by the residents, cherry trees, benches overlooking the harbour. I made my way from one to the next, almost without thinking about it.
Somewhere along the way, I realized that what I really wanted (needed!) was just to move. To walk and feel my body in motion, with no destination, no goal to distract me. To just be, in my body, in the sunshine, smelling the blossoms, without my brain being all incessantly “pick a little, talk a little, cheep cheep cheep”. Blah blah blah.
I did end up at a coffee shop, one quite a bit further away than I’d intended. By the time I got there, my legs were a bit tired, but the stiffness in my lower back was long gone. On the way, I watched a tugboat at work, and some people working on a fishing boat tied up to the dock. I walked by a group of people digging up a community garden for spring planting. I noticed that the cherry blossoms were almost finished, and the apples were starting to bloom. And the chestnuts were putting out leaves that will soon be a canopy over all the side streets.
And my brain finally shut up!
It was a good morning.