living in gratitude on saltspring


something i am super enjoying right now is having hair. i don’t know if i’ve ever enjoyed having hair so much. jere gave me the undercut in december, so that is definitely fun, but it’s also never been as long as it is now. i generally get a hankering to cut it off before this point. when it was shorter i didn’t use shampoo, but a few years ago i had to start again because it was just getting so greasy. i think i could just handle it better when it was shorter, but now that it’s long, there is so much of it to be greasy. so i still don’t use shampoo, but a mix of baking soda and a few essential oils (lavender/rosemary/tea tree etc) does the trick of keeping the grease down. i have also had to start using conditioner, because long curly hair is a nest for knots folks. when we were in the the yukon two years ago i fell in love with aroma borealis’ earth scents conditioner, the ingredients are almost completely natural, and it smells DIVINE. on the beach on saltspring, bending over to gather rocks, the smell of my slightly damp freshly washed hair was wafting on the salty breeze. a small joy.


so saltspring. oh saltspring. how is it i have never been to this island before? maybe because the wee island is so firmly entrenched in my heart, i had no room for other islands? who’s to say? i have been on the spring busy train, i think, wanting to get out, explore, do new things, visit with friends, replenish, revel. the long weekend seemed like a good opportunity to visit a long-time old friend and experience a new place to boot. it was immediate joy biking off the ferry – the trees, the spring buds, the beautyfull funky houses, the feeling of island (i realize van isle is also an island, but because it’s so big, that feeling is quite diluted), the riding of my bike down new unknown roads. i was probably grinning like a fool. coreen and ken were so welcoming and generous with their space and time. i stayed in their incredibly inspiring wee guest cabin, built above a small workshop/storage space, a lovely little building. and it made me want to start working on my own! oh the impatience! i arrived at their house shortly after dark and we continued my current trend of after midnight bedtimes, oh boy. the next day was SUNNY (eeeeeee!), so after a relaxing morning of coreen’s delicious buckwheat pancakes, and a tour of ken’s fabulous inspiring workshop, i took to the road to see ganges. like i said, i am used to the wee island, where there are almost no amenities, so it felt strange to be on a gulf island and have a ‘town’ with real chain grocery stores, retail stores, hardware stores, galleries, restaurants, pubs, schools, etc. an economy essentially. it kind of made me question why i am choosing to move to an island with none of those things, and a ferry i easily get sick on during rough weather. though maybe the answer is partly in the question – remoteness, a more basic lifestyle where if you want something, it is more likely you’d get it faster if you made it yourself. there are many reasons, though i must say i am a bit hazy on them right now just because i had such a good visit. i went to a great little show at a gallery in the square, all works done by one woman who did a lot of layering with duralar (like vellum), which was right up my alley. inspiring. after checking out the shops and sitting on the beach with a snack, i made it home in time for all of us to head out to coreen and kens friends for dinner. the inspiration did not stop coming. i had not previously met s & c, but they welcomed me warmly. s took us on a tour of their incredible garden and told us about all the work and redesigning they are doing out there, and inside c made us a sumptuous mouth-watering dinner of pad-thai. o h m y g o s h. it was divine. and it had egg AND chicken AND shrimp in it. s said a dozen eggs went in:) a little lazy while after dinner we sauna-ed in their lovely huge sauna. i gotta say, i am going for a record in saunas these days, i having them A LOT. maybe about once a week. and i think i am just going to keep going. such thought-provoking subjects came up at dinner. s & c had just come back from sri lanka where they learned the concept of light and dark money from a local. they were told by this man that sri lankans generally did not accept dark money because dark breeds dark and light breeds light. they have no desire for darkness in their lives. so if a waiter is being lovely to you, it is not because s/he wants tips, it is because s/he genuinely wants you to be enjoying yourself. light brings light. another local asked c what his spiritual practice was, and he had to think about it and realized it is gratitude. which jostled me and made me realize it is mine too. i consider myself spiritual, but it is an unnameable spirituality, just that i believe in something greater, a sort of cause or reason for it all, maybe. but gratitude feels right, a constant giving thanks for all that we have, all that we are given, all we have the fortune of beholding.

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look at these beautyfull things ken made! a willow backpack, skin bag and recycled wood crate.



i picked this up on the island. isn’t it a wonderfull sentiment?



coreen gave me this gorgeous pendant her mom made. when i’m not wearing it, it sits on the counter so i can drink in it’s beauty. i think at some point in my life i have to take up jewel-smithing, i find the process – and the outcomes – fascinating.


it’s a form of prayer, i think – gazing at and revelling in beautyfull things.


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