Thursday, April 29, 2010

Beauty on the Detours

My life took a few detours over the last year. By principle, I value detours. Most detours. You discover amazing, inspiring things you didn't even know existed.

One of my favourite detours happened in Mexico. We had no idea where we were going, but we followed hundreds of vehicles, all single file, for at least four hours (maybe eight when you count the waiting...) in all directions except the one we knew about. We passed through farms, along fences, and amongst families of rural life. We followed ruts in dirt roads and splashed through puddles. At times I expected someone to tell us it was all a joke and that we needed to turn around and head back. We didn't discover anything too significant that time, but I encountered that exhilarating energy in the pit of my stomach when I knew we were heading into an uncontrollable adventure. I smiled the whole way through. Bare foot. Singing.

I have been thinking about detours a lot lately. I kinda feel like I have been on a detour now for months. I guess at some point in time, the detour just gets to be the main road.

My friend Tracy and I went on an adventure a while back, just up island an hour or so. We took off from the main highway and headed into the Sunday driver roads. We passed by farms, fences and families of rural life. We followed twists and turns for what felt like too long.

"Then you go along the river for a really long time and when you see the crooked tree, you still have to keep going a ways yet." Local directions we were following from a lovely woman at the cheese shop. We went over a nostalgic one-lane bridge and under historic railway tracks. (As an aside, if you have read Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, you can imagine our setting.)

And yes, my stomach filled with glee and I felt like a kid. Wide-eyed, wanting it to continue. Adventure doesn't have to be too far from home. Or too big. A small town on the corner of nowhere street and nowhere lane will do just fine.

Yes, we found things we didn't know existed. Even better, we found little inspiring things. And one perfectly appropriate thing - a rustic-red shingled church on the side of the road, like a scene from Little House on the Prairie. The saying on its sign?

"Joy is finding beauty on the detours."

Rut or no rut, I can appreciate that message.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Vintage Collections

Thank you Andy, for pointing out this website full of whimsical, vintage collections. I recall seeing so many of these items in my youth. And some still float around in closets and boxes.

My favourite personal collection from my childhood comprised of two ice cream buckets full of colourful bottle caps. I loved putting my little hands into the mix and stirring them around. It was the time before twist off and most were bent from a bottle opener. Metal on metal on skin sounded like a quiet waterfall.

I also collected over 100 elephants of every assortment. Even when I was too old for a giant pink stuffed animal, I chopped Ellie up and stuffed her into pillows so I could still cry into her arms when needed.The best Christmas present I ever received.

My grandfather's stamp collection beckons me to this day and I love that my Mom hangs on to it. They are beautiful and full of history and I can imagine what letters might have been written if the stamps were ever used. I have stopped trying to collect books and passport stamps.

Today, I collect memories. Often in the form of digital photos. I collect weeds in my backyard, and most of them are beautiful. I collect blog postings, too. I already have more than I expected.

I collect rocks. Or I should say, my family collects rocks and we place them around our home together. I also have quite a few cheap necklaces and bags. My latest was a gift from a friend and the bright stripes make me feel better every time I pick it up. It came from India and holds the little bits of paper that seem to collect as weeks go by.

I have started a suit collection that I don't particularly like and would willingly trade it in for a few hundred Popsicle sticks or marbles.

Who didn't collect hockey cards?

I also collected Playmobile in my youth and still remember the smell of Granville Island when I hit the Kids Market to buy the little painter man to add to my collection. I was in my twenties and his french barret and mini easel made my day. He was my last purchase.

What do you collect?

Here is a photo of a vintage collection I saw at the side of the road in southern British Columbia. I kinda like it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sting Diving Competition in Victoria

I took some photos of a recent diving competition in Victoria. The large Canadian flag made a great backdrop for the boys in bathing suits.