Nothing brightens my day more than running into my boys while I am out for a walk. I had been stuck in the house all day doing my chores and painting. I’d been standing at the easel for a couple of hours when I looked out the window and saw it was snowing. It wasn’t the nice fluffy flakes but more like thin streaky strips of spit with a pin sized iceballs attached to it. This is Victoria and being an ex-Yukoner any snow is more than enough reason to drop what I am doing and run outside.
I rarely walk any where other than down towards the harbour. And I hardly ever do my harbour walkabout without Ceilidh, my Shetlie constant sidekick, tagging along. Somedays we go one way and other days we go another but we always make sure we make a sweep of the whole waterfront. I like to check out if there’s any strange tugs in town and try to suck in some nature while I am at it.
Like the tug “Jose Narvaez” I caught the other day by the nick of my teeth (strange tongue twisting name for a tug). He just popped around the corner as Ceilidh and I were rounding the rock at Songhees. It was tough trying to get a good picture of him as he was smack in the sun’s glare as he glided by. If I had been there one minute earlier I would have caught him scooting under the bridge with full sunlight beaming on him. Good thing I missed that otherwise I would have experienced enlightenment.
To heck with studying religions to find fulfilment. Nothing makes me more happy than being surprised by a tug while trucking along the harbour front. Honestly I think I need to see a shrink and get my head checked out.
Today for instance – there I was walking along in this streaky snow storm thinking to myself how I was going to quit all this nonsense. Yep, no more chasing tugs, no more painting, no more blogging. I am going to pack it in and get a real job. Make some money, pay off my credit card from cross Canada trip ( you all have been reading My Inner Canada Blog blog I hope). I had it all figured out. I was going to pack up the studio and store my stuff for a year. After the year, if I was happy about not painting then I would either sell it all or give it away.
Then just as I was coming over the top of the railway tracks I spotted the Valiant and the loaded chip barge over across the water by LaFarge.
” Oh Boy” I says. Then I look closer and I can see the Cates XX tucked in behind assisting with the barge. Another “Oh Boy” but louder this time. ” Well for Pete’s sake there’s the Foam too” I bellow out to a few homeless folks sitting by the railway tracks. There they are in all their Glory and I was too far away to take a good photo. What to do! I felt my heart flicker and my stomach tense as I didn’t know which way to run. I had my little pocket camera with me. Not my good Canon D40 with my super-duper lens. Which means I had to make a mad dash towards the bottom of the hill and down to the fishboat pier by Island Plate and Steel.
If I run one way sure enough they will go the other. I’ve learned that scenario from past experiences. My guess was that the Valiant was heading towards the bridge and then out of town delivering the chip barge to wherever chip barges go.
Ceilidh and I are not a pretty sight running. She’s old and I’m old. I’ve never been a runner, never wanted to be a runner. Nope, I am just not made to run. Don’t have the body type, too much fat on my non-runner bones and my dog is build just like me. We’re square, short-legged and look alike. Which I take as a good thing since everyone tells me how cute Ceilidh is. Don’t all dog owners resemble their dogs? Well, certainly our jogging style is the same.
We run with a hop, swagger, drag, crunch, swing, all at a pace slightly faster than a walk. While I am crunching and swinging poor Ceilidh is dragging and swaying. She puts her ears back, tilts herself sideways, one eye on me the other in the ditch. Probably she is trying to hide her embarrassment at being hauled along a public path in this undignified way. She insists on keeping her distance from me by stretching her leash out tight as far away from me as she can get. I’m sure she is thinking ” I hope nobody thinks I belong to her”. Just like my kids use to do to me when they were teenagers.
We hippity-hopped up to the pier as fast as we could go. It was littered with all sorts of fishing and boating repair stuff and garbage. I had to unleash Ceilidh and jump over crates, crab traps, metal bits and pieces to get to the end of the dock. I was all freaked out as there was several large fish boats tied up and blocking my view. I was tempted to jump down about 15 feet unto the moored boats to get a closer view. But it was too late. “Here they come” I shouted at Ceilidh. Smoke billowing, engines vibrating, tugs rolling, guys jumping, marine birds flapping and my heart leaping.
The mighty warriors were coming in all their glory. Decked to the tee. All the my boys in one shot. Tears stir. If my knees give I’ll end up upside down in one of those stinky fish holds on the boat below me. It’s snowing white sleet streaks, the water and sky are mixed with dull murky greys. The colours popping. Reds, oranges, blues, blacks and movement coming at me were enough to put me in cardiac arrest.
Once they passed under the bridge I chased back over the railway tracks in pursuit of the Cates and Foam. I knew that they were going to help the Valiant get safely under the bridge and out of the harbour then they would turn around and head back home. So off Ceilidh and I go, doing our famous loop de loop, back up the hill and over the railways tracks to the other side of the bridge.
We were both weak and faint when we got over to the rock at Songhees. We could see the Valiant sliding out of the mouth of the harbour but no other tugs. My shoulders slumped. I had missed the boys as they slipped back to home base.
As I stood there watching the Valiant leave the harbour listening to my heart beating, sucking up my shoulders I thought ” I am one damn lucky girl”. With Ceilidh laying at my feet all stretched out and panting, both of us dishevelled, shaking from exhaustion. It’s like Xmas over and over and over again when I come across my boys. Today was an extra special day seeing them looking like mighty warriors as they pushed, pulled and belly up that barge through the harbour. As I’ve said before” life can’t get better than that”. Now its home to paint.