Tuesday, October 23, 2012

writers festival: saturday - 1

I was much more relaxed the next day.  On the SkyTrain I sat near a window and wrote in a small, pink notebook on the way to Waterfront Station.

When I got on the bus I forgot which way I was supposed to insert my ticket into the grabber machine so the driver helped me.  He seemed depressed.  I began to imagine what his life might be like.  Maybe someone close to him recently died or he was going through a break-up.

Maybe he didn’t like his job.  Did he feel used?  Oppressed?  And I thought about how his work was very important.  If it weren’t for him, we’d have to walk an awful long way.

What could I do to make his day better?  I didn’t know, so I just sat there and loved him.  I mean I held my heart open for him, if that makes sense.  A wordless prayer.  When I got off, I said, “Thank-you.”  And meant it.

Granville Island didn’t even seem to be part of Vancouver.  It felt like a secret magical place, a refuge for creativity.  I walked along the cobblestone sidewalks, stepped in and out of artsy shops: hand carved buttons and yarns of all colors, pottery, paintings, leather-bound journal books, and handmade puppets.
inside a shop called Kimdoly Beads

I bought two small wind-up toys at Kids Market, stocking stuffers for the children.  I also bought a round stuffed raccoon with large, gold-speckled eyes and a “fridge rover,” a magnetic car that drives up the refrigerator door when you let it go.  I took in all the colors, the flashing lights, the kites hanging from the ceiling.

Tibetan singing bowl
When I entered Grandharva Loka, a world music store, I was met with bonging and clanging.  A customer was playing around with a large concave drum.  The store was tiny and packed with instruments I had never seen before—a Satar, Tambura and Dotara, a Tibetan singing bowl, a rocking chair with strings attached to its back.

Eventually I rested on a wooden bench near the entrance to the Public Market.  A young man ran by with an armful of french bread, his white apron flapping.  He reminded me of Alfredo Linguini in Ratatouille.  I caught a whiff of cigarette smoke as an orange Vancouver taxi drove among the crawling cars along Johnston Street.  Two gray-haired ladies sat down beside me to munch on roasted chestnuts they bought from the street vendor.

I loved all the sights and sounds.  And I heard a small voice, an inaudible song upon the breeze.  All this is for you. 

I thought, Yes, now is a time to celebrate my birthday.  It doesn’t come until June but, you see, every day is the best day to celebrate your birthday if you can only remember.

So... happy birthday!

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