cherry blossom walks

24 Apr

Twas a year ago when I first started going on cherry blossom walks.  Unemployed then (what a recurring theme) I was looking around for things to do during the day when I wasn’t focussed intensely on finding work (hello, Service Canada).  A cherry blossom walk.  A tree walk.  What the heck, I thought.  I think I cycled over to mid-Main Street (couldn’t do that today for two edge of your seat reasons:  a.  my bicycle was locked in the locked room in the basement of my apartment building, along with the locked room key) b: even if my bike had been available, I overbiked yesterday (see: Lions Gate Bridge) and figured I’d better give my (aging) body a bit of a break.  Bored, restless, endlessly insomniaed, I skedaddled out of my abode well ahead of the scheduled time and wandered around Main Street for awhile, eventually eating a hamburger at the great hamburger place whose name I forget (see: don’t go spending money when you have no income).

About seven of us met up at 1:45 pm and off we went.  Wendy is the cherry blossom walk leader.  Her knowledge of the blossom seems unrivalled.  Since last year, I’ve been on several of these walks with her as she does them all around the town.  She knows for cherry blossoms.  She’s quirky, vaguely edgy, originally from a small town near Philadelphia.  Coincidentally, Laura, a fellow walker and leader of other types of walks, is also from there.  She is also edgy and has full time permanent work teaching ESL at Douglas College but I don’t hate her for that, although you know I want to.  They also belong to a band together – Wendy on bass, Laura on singing I think.  It’s a Greek band.  They are not Greek.

“Oh so this tree is a insert Japanese tree name – and it has these things that show that it is this and not that and it’s quite unique and then there is grafting and Latin words and flowering and leaves and holy cow look at that.”

Laura stands in the middle of the street to take a picture for the website.

“Car,” someone calls out.

Honk, goes the car.

“We are all going to die,” say I.

I never seem to retain the information that is freely given out on these walks.

“What kind of tree is this?” asks Wendy.

“That,” I pipe up, “Is a tree.  That is definitely a tree.”

We are mainly a group of middle-aged and on up women, probably because I’m not sure who else has Wednesday afternoons off.  I think most are retired.  There was one fellow today who wore a sweat suit that showed a. his belly b. the outline of his, well, penis.  Hmmm.  He referred to an ex-wife.

“I like the slow pace of this walk,” said he.

Indeed, I thought.  Seriously, the fast walks led by some others can be so fast you feel like vomiting the whole time.  I can bike up the mighty UBC hill but eeek on the fast walking.  I really need to stretch more.  I had a fantastic massage the other day but who can afford that every week.  Once a year!  The massage therapist was a kind of edgy woman which I’m not used to of late since I  have surrounded myself with more compassionate therapist type folks (see: art therapy, hospice counsellor therapy, not the temporary shrink though although a bit at first).  I overlooked her edginess though because the quality of the massage was fabulous.

One tree walk I couldn’t complete was back in December, in that week whilst mom was dying in Winnipeg and my sister was at her bedside (a place I had been the week before and not eaten anything or slept more than an hour and where I spent the majority of my time Ativan-ed up in the lounge.  I couldn’t even eat the butter tarts at the weekly tea for people who are watching people dying).  I kept checking texts from my sister.  “I’m going to go on a tree walk to try and get my mind off of things,” I had texted her.  “Mom thinks she is on an airplane,” she texted back.

I felt overwhelmed during the walk and ducked out early, kind of in the middle of nowhere.  Luckily, I found a Car-2-Go and drove (a great thing to do when emotionally overwhelmed, uh well) and toodled over to the grocery store and bought a Christmas cake.

Generally though, the walks have been a nice distraction.

Hmmm, revisiting those times of December I’m feeling a bit PTSD-ish.

Okay, so, I’m going to be teaching in the Explore program at UBC from May 20-June 20.  That pays well and is challenging, exhausting, invigorating all at the same time.  I really need to start getting up early so that my entire system isn’t shocked and overwhelmed.

After June 20th?  Who knows.  Who knows again and again.

“I shall call myself a starving writer,” I texted my sister today after I found out my little piece on grief is going to be published in the Vancouver Courier, “Sounds better than a chronically unemployed person.”

“Ha, ha,” she texted back.  I wonder what it’s like to have a sister who is chronically unemployed and really hard on herself.  I don’t know as I have a sister who has been successfully employed for years.  Well, opposites balance each other out or something like that.

Finally, thank god for potato chips.

And Rumi.  Seriously, read some Rumi.  I’m not implying that you haven’t.

And Miriam Toews although the last 1/4 of her book I didn’t care for.

 

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