We welcomed some friends from our home town of North Bay and the brand new human they created, Ginny. You guys, I just love this kid. I miss her so much! She is a total badass, too. Here she is bleeding through her leggings because she took a header down a gravel hill just before our boat ride – I thought it was over, folks! I’ve taken falls like that! THEY HURT! Sliding on gravel can wreck your day, but after some love and cuddles from her parents, and some matter-of-fact first aiding, we made it out to Meares island, home of the 1200 year old trees.
The one in the background of this photo is about 900 years old, apparently.
There’s another special thing about this tree – last time I was here, it was with my mother. And she was pretty pissed at me.
See, the boardwalk on Meares island is really rough, and I didn’t know that Mom had become unsteady on her feet. This was before we knew about the brain tumour. I was shocked she was so upset that I’d wanted to take them to this trail. Again, before we knew about the brain tumour, Mom’s emotional responses seemed extreme and confusing.
I hadn’t remembered the trail being so rough, and I hadn’t known that my mother had declined so far in her health she wasn’t comfortable on anything but a paved surface. Plenty of people in their 60s and 70s walk these trails. Not Mom though. She was scared she’d be hurt. It started their visit off on a very bad foot.
We made it as far as this very tree. We took some photos by this tree, and a bright blue stellar jay showed himself in all his electric glory. We have photos of him too. If I get time to dig up those photos, I’ll post them here.
And here I am, years later, at this very tree. What you can’t see is my Mom is here too. In spirit of course, cackling along with her favourite aunt (they like to tag along on our vacations), but she is also in my pocket. I brought her ashes with me, to this spot, on this day.
And I left some in this tree. The next rain washed the teaspoon of ashes away, I’m sure, and I hope some molecules of what used to be her body will be taken up into this tree. Because even though Mom was angry with me at the time, weeks later after thinking about it and looking at the photos, she told me she was glad to have been there, and wasn’t that Stellar jay beautiful?
Right after this photo was taken, a Stellar jay chattered, and showed himself. I IMMEDIATELY started to cry, and explained myself to my friends who were unaware of my secret ashes-scattering mission.
My friend responded “well, good! If we can have everyone in tears by the end of this journey, we can declare this day successful!” (Refrencing Ginny’s painful face-plant that was referred to for the rest of the visit as The Incident.)
I love that I have a little bit of my mom in this tree. I love that before Mom died, she promised to send me schnauzers and birds. I see her in hummingbirds that visit my garden, in startling and delightful yellow warblers, and in the merry chattering Stellar jay, whose presence confirmed hers.
Love you, Mom.