I’m in Vancouver for the summer, looking after family and, in the off-time, reconnecting with the city of my youth. I feel myself fall into familiar patterns of being a daughter and a sister again, even as the daily habits of motherhood and office work seem increasingly far away. The Covid certainly doesn’t help normalize my days.
My explorations of Vancouver are a palimpsest as long-forgotten tales of my years on the North Shore and Kitsilano resurface even as I create new memories along familiar paths. Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights, a book I’m currently enjoying, takes readers through a varied suite of complicated “pleasures” that are simultaneously complex, bittersweet, joyful, and hilarious; following his philosophy that to focus on delight is not to deny “sorrow or fear or pain or loss” in one’s life but simply to fill it “more full of delight,” I push myself into the path of the new to see what occurs.
My regular track is to the BC Cancer Agency, but when I get the chance to explore I’m eagerly following Heritage Vancouver‘s “Hidden Gems” series on Instagram, and guide my brave two-wheeled steed down alleys and byways in search of treasure, architectural and otherwise. Three favourite finds so far: a pair of down booties donated to the universe by someone on Dumfries and that I wear when sharing homemade chai with my mother on the front porch, a crow roosting site in Burnaby, and Rodney Graham‘s chandelier hanging under Granville Bridge. At first glance, one might not see these three public installations as connected, but I do: I felt myself an unexpected witness to something wonderful. My loveliest discovery, though, and the one that keeps taking my breath away, has been the rekindling of my delight in being a daughter to my parents: my mom and I chat over lunch, and dad lets me drive him around. These are harder to capture in images, but give my days their brightest shimmer.