Having lived here five years on Hornby, I learned home is not a place as much as a feeling. It is the people in my life that I carry in my heart, the ones everyday and the ones faraway. It's the moments people here made me laugh with abandon, cry without shame, and the moments when hello or goodbye crack open with love. To me, my home on Hornby isn't a place anymore. Its become the dazzling sunrise from the east and the wind tumbling the tall trees that surround. It's found in the happy walks either in the rain or the sun with Michael and our dogs. Its catching up with Becca or Juanita at the Co-op checkout and the teatime break during Life Drawing. Its waving at each and every person that drives by and the impromptu conversations with people you come across at the beach. And it is most especially the kind and fascinating people that inhabit my life; my students, my neighbours, and my dear friends that share bread, smiles, and happiness around our dining room table and the many tables we've been invited to around the island. Home is the joy that lives in the interconnected lives, hands and hearts that fill this house and island.
The yard is sopping and squishes underfoot as I walk across it. Often the grass-turned-mud sticks me in place and requires I take a little extra effort with each step. The dripping trees are far past saturation and the creek runs quickly to the sea. The older I get the more I appreciate the ubiquitous rain of our west coast. This warm winter is so inviting that I find myself pulled into the yard in admiration. It gives me time to notice the perfect circles forming in the pool that use to be my driveway.
It's been grey for a week, the sun hidden behind persistent fog. I remember the same last winter when it felt like the clouds were pressing me down. Growing up on the west coast it is easy to forget the grey, to see it as everyday. Then yesterday I ran into Jan who said how she found the weather so beautiful. It made me look with new eyes and reminded me "we don't see things as they are, we see them as we are" (Anais Nin). Beauty abounds.
I can hear them from our house and no wonder. There are literally thousands of sea lions along the shore and small islands from Ford's Cove to Heron Rocks and apparently even more all along the coast of East Vancouver Island from Campbell River to Nanaimo. Playful, loud, photogenic and funny, the sea lions remind me of the children who inhabit the warmer tides of summer. Inspiring with their innocence and big, sweet eyes, I am reminded how joy cannot be purchased, only shared.
With our trusty Lucy by our side, we spent part of today walking further afield along Anderson Drive. It took only a few steps to find new wonder, reassuring me there is still so much to discover living here. Struck staring at the intersection of ocean and shore, the gentle January First light made me ponder what else 2015 has in store. If this is any indication, it is going to be a happy new year indeed.
This is the first glimpse I catch of the ocean on my way home from doing whatever business comes with living on Hornby. Sometimes I'm riding my bike and sometimes I'm in the car but it always makes me turn my head. The sky is at times overwhelmingly blue and at others grey but always commanding and spectacular. And if I'm particularly lucky the cows grazing complete the fairytale of a farm sitting beside the elegance of the sea.
There is no denying I love taking a shower. And after 4 years of tending to things always higher on the priority list, we finally got the chance to renovate and upgrade the bathroom. Thanks to our handy friend Aaron along with multiple trips to Splashes, Home Depot, and, of course, the Co-op, we created the bathroom of our dreams.
Now every morning I start my day with warm little raindrops falling on my head. Another bonus is the increased water pressure from upgrading the 30 year old plumbing. In a stroke of renovation providence we were able to work the orange vanity tile into the shower to tie new and old together. Thank goodness for the little bit of hoarders in us that kept the random tiles we found when we bought the house.
Of course, after the dust settled and got cleaned, we got into some serious styling. I'm not really a hanging-shower-caddy-getting-knocked-around kinda guy so imagine how happy I am that the spacious shower allows for this sweet ceramic stand.
Is it possible for someone to fall in love with a sink? Michael certainly thinks so. We are so lucky that the new sink and old vanity (revitalized with a swanky shade of country green) seemed made for each other.
And this little piece of DIY my talented husband conjured up finished it all. We laugh because its another project where I provided the one percent of inspiration and Michael, as usual, came up with the rest. How I love to find things for him to do. That said, we kept promising one another that this will be it for a while. But we are truly discovering that when you own a home you love those are just famous last words. And what is a home without guests?
Grey rules the sky this Fall, a grey reflected by the mirror of the water surrounding Hornby. It brings greater appreciation though for the pumpkin pie of trees along the south west side of the island and a welcome break for the armies of downward cast mushroom gatherers revelling in this year's bounty.
The summer crowds have packed up their excitement and the ducks reclaim their court. And while still warm the morning air holds the promise of Autumn sweaters and wholesomeness. This life is always the letting go of something dear to embrace something different and while not new this cycle of change learned from years of walking the same line is comforting. Whatever the day and new season bring I know I will meet it with wonder.
Sophie lived where she loved the most. From her first time here in 1998 running up and down Helliwell at full force, unstoppable and unflappable, to when we moved here and she could roam around in the backyard (and sometimes much further), blind, deaf and completely safe. Oh, and happy. She lived well and I am so thankful to our Hornby home for giving her such freedom.
The mornings are cool before the warmth of the day and night comes too soon. Crickets rub their legs and our fruit trees ripen. And the perfect time for a day sailing. Feeling blessed.
Sometimes I wonder whether I could imagine anything more beautiful or magical than what supernatural Hornby has to offer. And then other times I know I couldn't even if I tried.