Jazzy attempts an incognito dip in the lake.
Is it possible to be nostalgic for a time you barely even remember? Warm sand between my toes, the cry of the gulls, the sound of the waves, digging a water filled hole to China. There are some things that stay with you forever.
“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.”
A vision board is a collage or collection of images of tangible and intangible things you want in your life.
Wow. People who actually make these things for themselves must be super focused and organized and on the ball. And of course have a really good idea about what they want out of life.
I wouldn’t even know where to start. My needs are simple, my wants are few. My head is empty. Therefore my (imaginary) vision board at the moment is pretty bleak and blank.
I’ve always tried to be very careful about the big and important stuff I wish for because things rarely turn out with the results I expect. It’s so much easier to just let life happen without trying to control and force and manipulate the crap out of it. There’s been nothing so far too hard to handle, and a million unexpected moments of joy that I never imagined could happen until they did.
Or maybe I’m simply too old and lazy for such brave visions of the future. I have a year to go before retirement. I would like to survive it. Is there a picture to represent that?
I guess I could put it into words and hang that on my wall – GO TO WORK. STAY ALIVE.
But then what if tomorrow I get run over by a bus? Does that make me a failure? If I had a board covered with pictures of places I’ve never been and people I’ve never met and expensive things I can’t afford and my family had to look at that after I’m gone, it would just make them sad. Poor lady, never got to do any of the crazy things she imagined she might. I would not want them to think my life had not been full because of a few small things it lacked.
If I had made a Vision Board for myself when I was 20, it would not have included pictures of me married to an outdoor camping wildlife enthusiast or living in tiny remote settlements in Canada’s Arctic. But that’s what life handed me, and I happily accepted. I never imagined myself living in Alberta either, but here I am.
I never wished to travel, but I’ve gone on some amazing trips. Next spring I might end up in Greece. But if I don’t, it doesn’t matter. I like my life more or less the way it is. That either makes me content and easy to please, or utterly unambitious and boring. I suppose I am all those things.
There will be no Vision Boards for me. I can see how they would work for some people, helping them to keep their goals and aspirations in view, reminding them where they’re going and what’s important, and inspiring them to stay focussed and full of purpose.
Meanwhile, I’m happy to wander around in the dark and deal with whatever I bump into. At least I know it won’t be one of those boards.
And if I find myself on a beach like this one, I’ll try really hard to cope.
My mother was the best cook I’ve ever known. We grew up on a farm eating home-grown, home cooked meals. What restaurant can compete with that? I don’t think I even realized our hometown had restaurants until I was about 10 years old. Mom once took us into a small diner partway through a shopping day, just to get us all something to drink, and my sister and I were awestruck. We started nudging each other and whispering that it was just like what people did on tv! Then I imagine mom felt sorry for her poor ignorant and deprived offspring and went all out and ordered us something to eat as well. I have no memory now of what we ate, but I know we talked about the experience for days.
When I was in highschool we used to walk downtown to the Lido Cafe, a Chinese restaurant where it took all of our cafeteria lunch money to get one egg roll with plum sauce. But the whole point was to get away from the school, maybe consider skipping a class or two, and see how many cigarettes we could smoke in half an hour. The food was hardly a consideration.
Eating out has always been more about the people I’m with, the ambiance and the atmosphere, the service and the presentation. Plus I like just about anything at all that somebody else prepares, so it’s hard to nail down a favourite.
When I was a teenager, there was a concession stand at the beach though, that made the absolute best french fries I’ve ever eaten. They were made with fresh potatoes, peeled and chopped right there behind the counter. Some one told me they had three different fryers with oil at various temperatures, and every batch had to go through each carefully timed stage. The wait was worth it.
The fries were hot and crisp and salty and the oil and vinegar soaked through the paper cone on our way back across the sand. Before we were even plunked back down on our beach blanket the gulls would be circling, screeching, ready to dive bomb and scoop up whatever was dropped.
But do I really remember how they tasted? Or were they that good because the sun was hot on our sun lotioned skin, the breeze from the lake was warm and fresh, the sand felt soft between our toes? Was it because there were always guys with a football or a frisbee showing off while they waited for us to join their game? And later when we were hot and out of breath, the water would feel amazing?
The company, the atmosphere, and the presentation – that little concession stand on the beach had it all. I’ve had excellent seafood meals in posh places with exemplary service and fabulous wine. But the sun and the sand were missing. There were no screaming seagulls. The fries were tasty, but without that subtle hint of Coppertone, they’re just not the same.
Mostly it says “for the love of gawd could you please roll out that vacuum cleaner sometime this month? And blow some dust off all the knick-knacks and bric-a-brac?”
It also tells people that I am a theme junkie. I love all things African, although I have no idea why. Started off with the living room with masks and elephants, zebras and lions and animal prints, and that motif over-flowed into the master bedroom. I’d be perfectly happy letting it spread throughout the whole house.
The kitchen has a beach theme. Seagulls, sand, blue water, anchors, lighthouses, a little fisherman in yellow rain gear. The room that used to be the toyroom when the grandchildren were little is now a guest bedroom, but still sports a yellow and orange zoo-ish kind of statement with walls covered in tole paintings. There’s a lot of northern stuff in the rec room and another bedroom with a south western vibe.
Perhaps all of the above helps to explain why interior decorating was never my forte. I decorate with things I like and colors that make me happy. Elephant grass yellow, chille pepper red, black, burnt umber, purple rain.
I’m a Taurus in love with creature comforts. I hope my house is homey; soft and snug and safe. A place where you can come on over and relax. Or maybe dust off an elephant or two, if the mood hits you. I’d be perfectly fine with that.
My sixteen year old self would not have paid the slightest bit of attention to this spaced out old lady spewing her well-meaning but scatter-brained advice. So I know there’s really no point in saying anything to her at all.
There are wishes I’d like to make for her though, if I were able to fling them back in time and spin them around her so-serious little self and somehow make them come true for her, even for one glorious day .
She is a waitress at the Bluewater Tea Room on the shores of Lake Huron, wistfully gazing through the screened windows at her little yellow Valiant parked in the sand and baking in the sun.
Wishing she could be somewhere out there on the beach herself, instead of in here serving foot long hotdogs and home cut fries to skimpily clad tourists who keep tracking in the sand. Wishing they would just get back on their stupid boats and sail off into the sunset and take their gawky teenaged boys with them. (Not to mention all those cute little blue-eyed blondes with their long bronzed limbs – it makes her sad that she isn’t one of them.)
She is wishing it wasn’t so hot, and that ‘el groucho’ in the back sweating over the grill could think of something nice to say for a change. And that she could smack the leering face of the next smirking moron who asks her what time she gets off work today. Because after her shift she is almost always too tired to do anything except drive home and kick off her stinking sneakers and shower the smell of the deep fryer grease off her skin and out of her hair.
If I could, I would grant this sixteen year old self a little more empathy for the guy in the kitchen who works all those long hot hours trying to keep his little business going. In a few more years he will have to give it up and the tea room will be torn down, and she will never learn what becomes of him and his food splattered apron and dangling cigarettes and snarly old face.
I would grant her a moment of amazement, of unbiased objectivity, just the very briefest of epiphanies when she looks in a mirror so that she can realize the great worth and the special beauty of that brown-eyed girl looking back at her.
I would let her feel the power she possesses to bruise an ego and to break a heart because she has no idea she is capable of doing either one of those things.
I’d let her know it wouldn’t kill her to be a little more pleasant and less uptight, and that it’s perfectly okay to smile more and to laugh out loud and to tease people back, even if they’re scary strangers. It’s okay to have fun.
I would grant her a greater appreciation of the warm breezes off the lake, the smell of the water and the scent of suntan oil, the sound of the gulls and the sight of them circling in the sky and swooping down to squabble over some scrap of food. I would make her really look at those famous lake sunsets that she always takes for granted.
I would draw out more laughter, more sparkle, more joy – because they were always there, deep inside her, trying so very hard to get out.