You’ll have to forgive me for the pomp and the abundance of adjectives. I’ve been watching a little Orson Welles biopic and feeling a bit verbose.
The recent heat broke before dawn and the temperature fell a few degrees. Skies are cast in grey with a wind carrying a ominous reminder of the north Pacific chill we’ll be battered with for months once the season ends proper.
Its almost-autumnal whispers feel treasonous after the hot summery days we’ve enjoyed of late, given far too few for the first many weeks of the season.
Labour day looms, and with it an all-too-soon sense of Vancouver’s unsummer coming to a close.
The forecast says more sunshine is to come, but many today woke with that “great northern land” sense of the oppression we’ll soon be under.
I worked on a documentary the other day, on the job, and it was about a Danish designer, and they spoke of the Danes and how they’re two different people — moody and oppressive in the winter, and carefree and awesome in the summer. I realized then it’s not just Vancouver that’s schizophrenic with the seasons, but rather most of the northern world.
So this is why I’m resisting writing as much as possible right now. Because life, and this season, are short.
This spring was one of the most disappointing I’ve ever experienced in Vancouver, and summer never appeared until August. I was on the verge of switching from being Seasonally Affected to becoming Permanently Defected, but then summer arrived. This is only the second iffy day since the end of July.
In my cold fingers and shivering bare legs, I sense the long, daunting season that may be ahead. Last year’s summer wasn’t great either, making for an insufferable wait for this past month’s fantastic weather.
The rise of Vancouver’s delayed summer was coupled with the end of my own season of discontent as well. My back is slowly getting more livable. I’ve had some really nice bike rides lately, and I’m beginning to feel there’s hope for recovery to a place where I can cycle as much as I like and have the lifestyle I long for. Not there yet, but a great ride with a couple days off to recuperate is an okay balance for me.
With present reprieve from both Vancouver’s weather and back woes, I’m trying to just enjoy the moment, embrace the season, and remember every bit of daylight I can for when those 18-hours-of-darkness-days return, where the laughable “daylight” is often under mottled moody Pacific skies or rain-forest deluge.
This winter, I’ll do the writing I’m eager to do. I’ll continue working a little less “at the job” despite not needing so much rehab time for the back, and I will write a lot.
Right now, there’s no guilt for taking the time to remember other things I love about life, because I had felt so little passion for anything for quite a few months there. Injuries are as oppressive as heavy weather storm fronts when it comes to living life the way you would like. Passion tends to be a good thing for writers. To be devoid of it, well, that’s a crime.
To be freeing myself of feeling trapped is a sensational page to turn.
Lately, I’ve been cooking great food, rediscovering my bike, enjoying the sunshine, lazing around with movies when I’m not doing the first three things, and that’s about it. I won’t have vacation time this year, so I’m doing the best to plant a little vacation fakery around my work weeks of late, and I’ve fooled myself quite handily at it, too. I haven’t had the money to be social, after all the expensive rehab since March, and cock-ups with the medical claims, so having at-home-and-in-the-hood staycationing has been well-timed and fantastic for the soul.
The end of summer has always been a time of sadness and apprehension for me, but this year it’s not. I’m not sure what the difference is. I’m normally categorically despondent at the thought of an onslaught of Vancouver’s wet, grey winter. With only a month of real summer, you’d think I’d be even more so this year, but I’m not. I guess it’s because I have plans and goals in mind already for the grey heavy months to come.
I’m hoping seasonal sunshine and warmth continues until my September-end birthday, and I will continue steadfastly ignoring the literary arts and any goals until then.
It’s strange. I’ve never been this at peace with what I’ve been denied because of injuries before. I have this incredible gratitude for the little things I get to go and do of late, especially when the day ends and I’m stiff and sore but not in pain or worried about what the next day will bring.
I got to watch baseball 10 days ago. That was wonderful. I got to cycle in Stanley Park on Friday, and by the river the week before. Both wonderful things. Tomorrow, I have a cycling adventure planned with a friend, and I’m a little nervous but more excited. It feels great to not have the apprehension I’ve had. On Monday, I get to see a concert — a concert by the same band I was absolutely heart-broken to cancel seeing in May because my back injury was becoming worse instead of better.
Then a week or so later they announced a Labour Day return to Vancouver. My heart sang. The goal was to have my back healed by the gig. Well, it won’t be healed, but it’ll be good enough that I can go and bounce around… a little. And that’s awesome.
I’ve said before that my year of unemployment was a gift because it reminded me of simpler food, putting heart into cooking, and really learning how little one needs in life… and that I became aware I had most of what I needed.
I’ve believed for a while that my back injury was teaching me a few things. Gratitude for just being able to get around and have personal freedoms is just one of the lessons. The rest are for me to chew on a while longer.
It’s a bitter-sweet autumn-is-somewhere-out-there morning, and, as it turns out, that’s just fine with me.