Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Early spring time in January

Back in December, I was feeling pretty crummy. By that I mean that I was miserable, snappish, cranky, and probably kind of hard to live with. Fortunately, my spiritual director was able to make some time for me, and when I told him how I was feeling, he listened patiently and finally suggested that I might need something to look forward to -- a retreat, or at the very least, a bit of break from being a mom.

See the deer?
The minute the words left his mouth, I knew exactly where I would go and what I would do. I called my dearest, longest-standing friend and asked if I could come for a visit. It had been well over a year since we had been together, and a visit was long overdue. So we set a date for the end of January, and I booked my trip.

Looking out the window of the plane as we touched down in Nanaimo, BC, I remarked to my seat mate that Vancouver Island has to be Canada's closest thing to paradise. I walked onto the tarmac carrying my winter coat, and into 5 days of heaven.

I call it heaven because I recently read something somewhere that said, in effect, that any moment that your heart feels like it will burst with happiness is a little bit of heaven here and now. And the weekend was a necklace of joyful moments strung close together like beads. Singing Kookaburra as we poured tea. Walking in the rain and sun. Marvelling at beauty. Cooking wonderful meals and drinking home made wine. Enjoying good music. And talking about all the things that never make it into our phone calls, letters, emails or texts.

Friend time was what I needed the most. The bonus was that it is very early Spring on Vancouver Island, and we visited my favourite garden on earth in the one season I hadn't seen it.

It was a cool and rainy day,
but we had dressed for the weather, 
and seeing palm trees made it seem much warmer!

We ducked out of the rain for High Tea
in the Butchart home -- as you can see, it was delicious!

The Butcharts' beautiful home houses an historical display
from January 15th to March 15th, so we enjoyed seeing
the lifestyles of the rich and famous from the early 1900s. 
Below, my friend is standing in front of an orchestrion 
(the early twentieth century version of a synthesizer)
and we are enjoying the sounds of a Swiss music box 
that plays eight different tunes.

When we headed out to walk the garden paths,
it had stopped raining.
The garden looks very different in dormancy...
but that's the wrong word -- there are buds everywhere.

This is the first time I really noticed the terraced landscaping.

The heather's starting to bloom, 
and who knew there were so many berries on the shrubs?

Faint bits of colour appear on the budding trees, even in the reflecting pool.

I  never noticed the tree trunks before,
but even they are pretty!

And the moss on the trees and rocks 
in the Japanese garden is incredible!
Unfortunately, my camera doesn't do justice 
to the colour of green. It's more like this:

The Blue Poppy Cafe had signs declaring a Spring Prelude,
and when we went in, we discovered that the cafe had been transformed
into an indoor garden complete with a large fish pond... 
Things were much more colourful inside!

I have seen spring at Butchart Gardens before
but I must admit that I also enjoyed winter there,
mainly because the company I kept 
was just as enthralled with everything as I was.

Sunset on the ferry home was pretty amazing, too.

It was a perfect weekend, except that I missed a pretty important funeral back home. Life is bitter sweet, but when we really get to heaven to stay, it will be one long diamond necklace of joy!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Take a minute and tell me what you think...