Good morning. It’s grey, dreary, quiet. I’m down to the last mug of the French press, contemplating a fleece jacket. I’ve not yet acclimatised to living on the ocean, despite growing up near it.
I’ve lived on the river for the last 12 years, on the Mainland, with the ocean a few kilometres off, but this waterside-life on the southern tip of an island that’s the last stretch of land in the Pacific Ocean before one reaches Hawaii, well… it’s an altogether more chilly beast on an early spring morning. One day, I’ll adjust. Today, there’s fleece… and time to think.
A Cinematic Escape
Lazily, I’ve had a “slow” morning. Quiet, breakfast, and coffee, watching David Lean’s A Passage To India. Thinking.
It was my mother’s favourite movie. I think I saw it as a youth, and I remember seeing it on PBS or something 10-12 years ago, shortly after her death, as I was consuming all manner of things loved by her in a deluded attempt to keep her memory alive. Needless to say, the movie didn’t really sink in then, either. I didn’t “get” it.
Now I’m about four years away from the age my mother was when she first saw it. Maybe now I’ll see what she saw.
A lot’s gone down for me in the 10-12 years since I last saw it. I still remember next to nothing of the film, so I’m quite enjoying it from my new eyes of being a woman in her 30s who also had two roads to choose from and picked the more complicated, daunting one after a good long think.
I also get to watch Passage in HD on my big-ass still-new-to-me TV, and the detail is so much more beautiful than I imagine it was back then. David Lean movies are like a master class in photographic composition. The lines, the colours, the light… things I’m really looking at as I fall back in love with photography in my new and highly-photogenic home.
A Riding We Will Go
I smiled and paused the movie to come write for you and I once the protagonist Adela goes cycling into the Indian jungle and finds a lewd temple depicting sexual scenes in stone, a la Kama Sutra, then has aggressive monkeys chasing her away. “What fun,” I thought. “And that’s what’s great about cycling. It’s so easy to just go a little further and investigate.”
Yesterday, I got the good wordword from my chiropractor that it’s okay to bring cycling back into my life, slowly, after a six month break. It’s my favourite way to discover the world around me, and if I’d never had back issues with it, I’d never have stopped riding, so… I can’t tell you how excited I am that a cycling life looms for me.
That’s why, when Adela has her first real “adventure” in India as a result of finally going cycling off the beaten path, it made me smile ear to ear.
There’s much of “real” Victoria I have never seen, and much of it can be cycled in 30-60 minutes, provided I make my life easier by using a bus to get to outlying parts, then cycle back to civilization. I have saddlebags, I can get to some of the neat food purveyors in other seaside areas, cycle home. I can bring cardio back into my life in a beautiful scenic way. I can photograph all the miles and miles and miles of coast and nature around me here.
It’s an incredibly exciting development. But I have to ease into it. And that’s okay too.
Moments of Doubt
Speaking of easing into things, I’m nearly four weeks into the move and, yes, doubts have risen from time to time.
The doubts don’t last long, and I don’t invest much in them because I know they’re just normal-humans-being-scared overthinkings. Did I make the right choice? Will I get a life, get a man, get a move-on? Will I have fun here? Did I unpack too quickly?
It comes, and quickly goes.
All I need to do to get my head back on straight is go for a walk (or: bike!), see some neat new thing that makes me like a certain element of Victoria’s citizenry, stumble on a new view somewhere, or return to Dallas Road’s incredible beaches, and POOF, I think, “Well, it’s a pretty damn good mistake, if I did fuck it up.”
And then I remember that my mother wasn’t the only one in my family who was into adventure. My dad lived in the Yukon for a year at the same age as I went Yukon-ho on my own — 21. My brother did his own kind of adventuring too, from hang-gliding to scuba-diving, and he’d be doing more now with the means for it. I think we’re supposed to be adventurers, us Camerons. I think I got root-bound staying in the same place too long.
When my mother saw A Passage to India, it was near the end of her marriage to my dad. It would be a long strange couple years and, with the hindsight of being a grown-up woman staring at the end of her 30s, I’m now wondering what books and films inspired her to set out on her own. Was this one?
What kind of doubt did she nurse as she considered doing what no other woman in the family had done — leaving her man, while still raising kids? Going back to school in her mid-40s, starting a career, providing for herself? If she did those things without doubts, she must’ve been a super woman, but I have a whole lot of evidence that she was normal, weak, and flawed like the best of us.
I don’t know what her doubts were, and safe to say, I never will.
But, as much as I love my dad, they just weren’t happy together, and the lesson I learned from their divorce was: If you’re not happy, make changes. It hurts, it’s hard, it takes worth, but there’s a lot of life to be left lived and doing it unhappily just isn’t the way to go.
My move here, to Victoria, is part of that life lesson their divorce gave me two-plus decades ago. If you’re unhappy, change it.
Did I make the right choice? I have no crystal ball but I think I did.
I do know staying in Vancouver would’ve been the wrong choice. So, there’s that.
Here’s to adventures, cycling, and seeing new things in a new life.
And here’s to finally feeling like writing more often. Looking forward to this feeling.