Tuesday, February 14, 2006

On Good Days...

Last Wednesday we had a great day. It was one of those days that you remember it for days and weeks later. It's the type of day that compels you to extol it's virtues on your blog and release a description of it's goodness out into what a friend of mine recently described as "the think gumbo of the zany internet."

I'll start at the beginning ("a very good place to start...")

One of my favorite things is waking up in the morning with the sun sneaking through the cracks in the blinds. I don't know why I love this. I love that the shades aren't fully open. I think I like that even though I can't see everything outside the day streaming in anyway. It makes me feel more cozy than Christmas. This will sound silly (and perhaps it screams "This guy definitely worked at a day care for two years!/Put in a children's book!) but when I start a day like that, snuggled under blankets, opening my eyes, still half asleep with sun streaming into my room I feel like a little bunny. Just like a little rabbit waking up in his warren. A 5 foot 10 rabbit who's craving some raisin bran for breakfast. Anyway, it was in this cozy state that I woke up last Wednesday.

After a quick meal of the sweet breakfast nectar: raisin bran (whilst reading a good book, one of my favorite combo activities) Jacqui and I made our way outside. The day was really amazing. Cool clear, sunny. The mountains were incredible, towering like...well like mountain, standing in sharp contrast to the brilliant blue sky. We walked down-hill, down Burrard St. towards the ocean and Kitsilano beach. We were going to meet Jacqui's dad for coffee. He was over from Vancouver Island to visit us in the city. He came to see the current play at the theatre and spend some time with us. We turned left onto Cornwall St and found him sitting outside sipping his morning beverage. We made our way to a local coffee shop where I had the first Americano of my 24 year existence. It was good, but the company was better.

My father-in-law is just a great guy and hanging out with him is always fun. His name is Edo. Well I should say his nickname is Edo. His given name is just plain Ed, but after building houses in Japan he picked up this fun variation mostly because the Japanese have a hard time ending words with consonants. So "Ed" was brilliantly transformed into "Edo-san". After coming back to the states the "San" was dropped, but "Edo" forever remained. It was great for me as a new son-in-law because it totally avoided the whole what the heck do I call the in-laws dilemma. ("Ahhhh! Do I call him 'dad"? Do I go with 'ed'? Or do I just sort of avoid calling him anything directly?")

Anyway, Americano in hand we made our way even further north, down to the shores of False Creek, one of the large ocean inlets that carve up the Vancouver shoreline. The water was clear and the view of Stanley Park with the mountains behind was beautiful. We turned East along the waters edge and made our way past one of the many harbors that dot Vancouver's waterways. We continued past the harbor to Granville Island. Since coming to Vancouver Granville Island is one of my favorite places. It's not actually an island but a peninsula that sticks out into False Creek. Fifty years ago Granville Island was just large outcropping of fish markets and working class industrial buildings centering around the fishing and boating industry. In the years since it's turned into a quaint little village of shops, markets and restaurants. It's original corrugated tin buildings still remain, painted over with bright friendly colors. There's some great book stores, some delicious restaurants and other little shops and galleries (one of my favorites is a great hand-made paper store great for crafting (at this point my friend Dave would inevitably ask me "And you're sure you're not gay?).

The highlight of the Island for me though is the giant market on it's Northern most tip. It's huge and it's like something out of a movie. There's just rows and rows of fresh ripe, eye catching fruits and vegetables. When you see fruits and veggies at Granville Island it's you're like watching a beauty pageant for produce. Everything is shiny, colorful and piled high in aesthetically pleasing cascades of edible goodness. There are butchers with any type of meat you could want and though I'd never thought I'd say this about meat but it's actually really pretty when you see it at the market. And then there are the bakeries...this is my real weakness. Fresh baked scones and huge soft loafs laid out in a variety of eye catching arrangements. I don't usually even need to buy anything when I go. It's like going to an art gallery or something. Jacqui and I are simply content to be found exclaiming "Oooh look at that bacon! It's so thick! Amazing!" or "whoa what kind of fruit is that? Have you ever heard of a kingalingadu? Me neither!" It's a fun excursion, normally and to share it with Edo was a double pleasure. He ended up buying us some fruit and together we enjoyed some meaty chunks of smoked salmon (a hugely popular local delicacy) It was just plain fun.

After this we, left the island and made our way back towards our house. Realizing that we're poor apprentices and might need a few groceries Edo continued his generosity and offered to buy us some selected items from the D and W-esque grocery store near our house. It was so nice, and not just because we got some free groceries (although I'm sure that didn't hurt to bolster our feelings of goodwill toward the world), it was the combination of everything. The quiet, gentle company of my father-in-law, the warmth of the sun, the visceral crispness of the air and the beautiful quality of normal everyday moments.

It's not often that I can distill these sort of things and see them for the little miracles that they are. Do you ever have that? Where things that you've done a thousand times-- in my case, waking up to sunshine, getting coffee, walking with loved ones--suddenly come into sharper focus and you see clearly what they really are? Anyway I don't really remember much after we got home. I think I spent the day working on some of our projects, cleaning and reading, but the magic quality of the morning stayed with me all day and gave me something ephemeral that I can't quite explain, but that a week later is still with me.