Friday, August 29, 2014

Familial Feelings



We identify, or we do not. A listing of places we've visited can mean a world to those who've been there, whereas to others they are but unrealized and undiscovered words. So too for ideas and concepts and beliefs and contentions. Even when with 'other' people, strange or known, or when given a listing of familiar or unfamiliar names and places, we identify, or we do not.

As such, with the visit of my 'long lost' brother (though neither of us were actually lost), we met after 40 years again in Calgary (not forgetting the one week we were together in Bredarsdorp, South Africa, ten years ago). We stayed three days in dear friend Jessie Peter's vacant house in Calgary's Palliser neighbourhood (a pretentious name for a comfortable suburb). After the first night's barbecue at Peter and Laura's, our Calgary nephew and wife's house (since we both are his uncle), where Andy and wife Elsabe also stayed overnight, they were given a tour of the city the next day. That night we met up at Open Sesame, my favourite restaurant, and a symbolic beginning to the precious time we were yet, and are now indeed sharing. The details are in the names and places; it is in the accord between persons that one finds the measures of life.

At Open Sesame were Laura and Peter's children (Sean and baby Jack,) and Laura's parents, Peter senior and Caren, and 'my' Linda's best friend Karen, and Karen's daughter Lisa with her husband, also a Sean, as well as Linda's son Keith, and... Do you know any of them? And that late night, alone with Elsabe and Andy at Jessie's house, we four swapped our own stories, past and present. Words are like little clarifications; window-panes to the soul; and tears are jewels; gifts we give with grace.

The next day the family of us travelled in three separate cars for the two or so hours East, to the Badlands, and the Tyrell Museum's Dinosaur Provincial Park. Linda and Elsabe and Andy and I were in our vehicle; Laura and Peter and children, Sean and Jack, went in theirs. And 'my' stepson Keith and his friend, Rob, went in Keith's car. Got it? After a ginormous time with incredible dinosaurs we stopped en route back at Horseshoe Canyon, then later The Station, converted into a restaurant, in Strathmore. That night again we chatted into the wee hours, all alone with my warm-hearted younger brother and his perceptive and rich-of-soul pretty wife.

Then, Canmore's Spray Lakes road, Banff's Mount Norquay ski-lift road, and then down into and through Banff's town up to Sulphur Mountain Gondola (too cloudy to take). So on to beautiful Lake Louis, with supper in the chateau's Grizzly Saloon, and then on to Golden, where we turned North to Glenogle Lodge. Dorris and Norbert, the proprietors greeted us, she with hugs. That late night we conversed in the lounge, a grizzly bear skin and an elk head mounted beside the fireplace. And yet more doors were opened, more windows peeked through; vistas revealed.

The following day we visited Hemlock Grove, Giant Cedar boardwalk, and Skunk Cabbage boardwalk. We stopped off at The Railway-Looping Tunnels, Three Valley Gap, and... There was the Ramada at Kamloops, and Stanley Park drive in Vancouver. And the magic of the ferry between the smaller islands to Sydney, on our island, and at last the drive to 'our' Victoria.

On the 26th of August we shared the last sips of Dads whiskey, found beside his bed, 2004.

This morning as I type a man with his phone to his ear at Tofino's Middle Beach Lodge (a five hour drive to 'our' extreme West coast) stands on the vast lounge deck overlooking the sea. He listens intently for long minute stretches, nodding, and when speaking gesticulates, as though 'the other' can see. And as I watch it strikes me that we are like that, conveying our messages from inside ourselves with gestures and feelings and thoughts and care, whether or not the other person can get or respond to all the details. We are so much more than is the immediate. And as subtle as it all is, feeling is all. We forget the details, eventually. Yes, feeling is all.


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