Back to the Sea

Looking back on the journey is rich with story. More than 3 weeks ago I began the physical travel …. Months and years before, the emotional saga.

Born in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia more than 50 years ago, I have a soul and heart connection to the sea. The waves of learning have come through my life in a song of both smooth and tumultuous rhythm. My particular story has been to move a lot, meet a vast variety of people and experiences and always moving steady and persistently back to the sea…. Or forward to the sea?

Homelessness is relative. Although I have always had a wonderful supportive house and roof over head, loving family tucked inside safe and sound – I have moved so many times I have lost track. My sense of direction is skewed and confused and I find myself frequently lost and wandering. Waiting for the next urge and idea that takes me off to another location and story. The bond of close relationships, family and friends, has an intensely strong pull on me.

I recall early in my young life, having summer vacations by the ocean, playing in the surf, walking in the red clay dirt of the Bay of Fundy, Minus Basin in Nova Scotia. Only there do I feel the call to “go home”.

Back to my roots? Is there a physical genetic or sociological drive to return to those early times? Is there a desire to re-live past young happy moments that repeated over my early years? Is the scent of the raw and sloppy wet ocean bed a strong path burned always in my brain? Is it the same for all beings? Like salmon going home to spawn? Is it true that we all search for an early happy time that fills the senses with longing, visual, olfactory, and intense? Is it the music of the day, or the cool cement steps that lead to my grandparents home on hot summer days of play and no responsibility?

My mother and brother share something similar I think. Both of them born beside the sea in the same small town and both of them driven to return. My father was successful in his military career and it took us to reside in exotic and domestic locations always a distance from Nova Scotia’s calling. My mother made a comfortable home for us wherever we rested our heads. My brother and I found friendship in each other briefly until our peer age cohorts of that particular location called our interests. Schools, activities, sports, and daily routine both helped us remain close and drove different experiences into our reality.

My mother maintained friendships and family connections. She sent and received Christmas cards, letters she handwrote with care and personal attention. She introduced us as we got older to the life she had left early in her 20’s. She often would tell us stories and updates, who is married, who is ill, who unfortunately had died and she would not ever see them again.

Her youngest brother, her parents one by one, some relatives and close friends have also passed on. I can only imagine this leaves a longing still stronger to return to “home” and spend precious days and mindful moments with ones dear.

My father was ill many years before he died almost 2 years ago now. His careful care giving consumed many hours and all of the energy my mother had. Since that time she has sorted through the years, the moves, and the memories of our lives and hers. Finding herself longing for the comfort of friends and remaining family in a location that is affordable and familiar, she began the conversation of moving “home”.

Deciding to leave me, her youngest child of two must be one that I respect and honor as being particularly difficult. We have been through much together and no better support to me as a person, as a mother, as a professional and as a daughter. She has imparted and shared her journey and in doing so enriched my own.

With nervousness and uncertainty she began the search for a home in Nova Scotia. My older brother had retired after our father died, and moved he and his wife and their son to Nova Scotia. He is happy and comfortable nestled in his roots. He enjoys the pace, the music, and of course, the bounty of the sea. He has a sailboat, eats lobster and has learned to play the fiddle. He has found such a joy in his life and a much needed break from the career he was very successful at for many many years.
Mom checked out real estate, condos, houses and settled finally on a lovely luxury apartment where she is the first tenant in her suite. Plenty of room, albeit no where near the size of the space required to place all her precious memento’s. She placed her BC condo on the market and went on to take the painful steps of going through years of her life and that of her life long partner, and her two children and five grandchildren who spent many happy years over their lifetimes.

We set a date, she bought my flight and the next chapter of the journey begun. 14 Oct 2011 I flew from Victoria BC to Kelowna.

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