i get to be alive here

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camellias in the spring are like sixteen-year-olds at a concert of their teenage idol. they lean far over the barrier designed to hold them back, reaching out and screeching, voices hoarse, tears in their eyes. imploring their heartthrob to sign their album, sign their t-shirt, sign their hand, sign ANYTHING. just touch me! they scream. and then they swoon. fall all over each other and need to be carried off to revive and get some air. camellias are like ladies in the throes of passion, overcome.  

these camellias live for nothing but right now. they give it all. they leave zilch to the imagination. they are not demure, nor coy, nor shy. i do not have enough adjectives for these flowers. they droop on their branches, threatening to snap limbs beneath the burden of their beauty. i gawk at them as i pass by, my mouth agape at their audacity. they toss themselves at my feet, shouting: pick me up! see me! i am here! sumptuously whole with their feathery pistils sticking straight up or in jumbles of petals, they layer inches thick in the gutters, the whole opulent mess of them. i kick through them like leaves in the fall.

god i love spring.

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now for a slight change of pace, i have a bit of a rant. i did four new routes at work over the span of five days, and it got to be a bit much. i know i said i often like doing a route for the first time because it is like a scavenger hunt, but once or twice a week on a new route is a good amount of scavenging for me. when you have to scavenge four days over a five day work week, along with carrying ridiculous amounts of flyers, AND U-LINES (catalogues) (posties loathe u-lines), AND walking up steep hills doing both of the above, you start cursing every house you come to whose mailbox is not immediately obvious.

let me preface this by saying, i love that we still have door-to-door delivery, i love that i get to see so many hidden parts of this sweet little city, i love that i get to be outside walking for hours everyday, but PLEASE, make my job just a wee bit easier. if you are one of the fortunate ones who gets your mail delivered to your door, hear me out. postal workers love big mailboxes that hold both a newspaper and the mail comfortably, and that we can open with the back of the hand that is holding the mail we are about to put in it. you know, the flip-up top kind. plain and simple. it is amazing to me the things that people do with their mailboxes. what we do not love are the antiquated mail-slots that are about three inches wide by one inch high that you can barely jam a magazine through. generally we do not love mail-slots at all. we do not love the spring-loaded mail-slots that you have to use one hand to lift from the bottom, while the other hand tries to push the mail through. we do not love the mail-slots that are half a foot off the ground so that we have to stoop (with our uber heavy satchels) to get the mail in. we do not love mail-slots that live behind screen doors (again, invisible from the street) that no longer have a working retract-arm, so that when we open the door, it threatens to slam against the wall, shattering the glass. we do not love the mail-slots that have the new fangled brush inside them that is supposed to act as insulation, but instead acts as a mail deterrent so that we have to push our whole hand through to get that piece of mail in there, at which point the dog lying in wait on the other side attempts to bite our fingers off. the owners being so kind as to NOT have a ‘beware of dog’ sign on the door. or even better, a ‘beware, the dog we leave free to roam the house during the day is just waiting for you to slide your fingers through our dog-snack trap so he can eat them’ sign. we do not love it when you camouflage your mailbox by painting it the same colour as your house. we do not love it when you paint over your house numbers, the same colour as your house, rendering them invisible. but we do like that better than when you choose to have no house numbers at all! because at least then we have a chance of getting the mail to the right house. we do not love it when you put your mailbox at the back door, especially when there is no sign at the front door indicating that this is what you have done, but double especially when the back door is an additional 30 meters from the front of the house, because i am not sure if you are aware, but we already walk A LOT in one day. we do not love it when you once had a mail-slot, and have now upgraded to a flip-top box (THANK YOU!!!), but have LEFT the mail-slot, only to stuff it with newspaper etc. our eyes go to the first mail-receptacle we see. if we see that slot, we go there and try to shove that mail in, only to be thwarted, then look around and realize the good mailbox is down at the bottom of the stairs. camouflaged. please get rid of the slot or put duct tape over it or something. we do not love it when you park your vehicles right in front of your mailbox so that we have to squeeze through sideways and upside down to get to it. we do not love it when you have ten stairs that descend into your yard, only to have another ten stairs to ascend to get up to your mailbox. we do not love it when you have a tall latched gate, grown over with ivy, blocking our access to the mailbox we can plainly see at your front door. we reach and reach and try to unlatch the gate to no avail, until we realize there is a NEW box, in the shade on the other side of the gate, that we can reach through to put the mail in. (please get rid of your old box!!!). perhaps the thing we do not love most of all is when you have NO BOX. when you have no box, we spend our valuable time staring confoundedly at your front door, wondering where the camouflaged mail-slot is, until we go hunting around the side, and then the back, and then the other side of the house. only to come back to the front door, where we again stare, convinced there is a hidden receptacle somewhere, until in frustration we slide it under the mat. if there is a mat. if there isn’t a mat, i sure hope you got your mail.

sometimes i find it a wonder that there is not a mailbox perched way up in the top of a tree with a frayed rope below it that says ‘climb me’. though for that challenge, i would probably drop my satchel and do it. at least once.

it’s been a long week.

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despite my complaints, there is still much joy here. like i said last post, i am really starting to like this little town. i’m not saying i want to live in this or any town long term, but while here, i am sure appreciating it, and when i leave, it will be a pleasure to come back and visit. especially in the spring. daily i am walking around assaulted by splendour. burgeoning lilacs and their heady scent, vibrantly glowing orange california poppies, blossoms of all sorts, galore. and the views!!! the snow-capped coastal mountains across the strait; the verdant mass of mt.benson; the bay of ocean wonder – sometimes placid, sometimes tumultuous, always interesting; the harbour full of boats whispering adventure; the islands butting up close saying – come visit me; and the hills! as much as i complain when i haul a heaving satchel full of flyers up them, or my achilles tendons moan after too many days of up up up, they sure provide a feast for my eyes. without them, there wouldn’t be these views. and the streams and rivers that run through this town! they keep surprising me. they show up in forested gullies at the edges of peoples lawns. they incise steep valleys and dead-end roads and make me wonder if maybe i can cut through to the next street over, until my ankles get covered in mud and i realize just how steep the climb up the opposing ivy covered bank really is. not a worthy short-cut. they carve watery paths through this little city, keeping the surrounding forests intact. and in those forests people and animals roam. they play frisbee golf and volleyball. they fish. they lounge. in the lakes, they swim. i think if i was a city dweller, this is where i would set down my long-term roots. 

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*these last two i took while at work.

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