Where has the summer gone? I’m finding it difficult to stay present in the stillness of today when my tomorrows are lined up like soldiers marching into battle. I long to return to my ten-year old self when the summer days stretched endlessly in front of me. Time is elastic and perceptions shift.
I have a house at the lake where my family gathers. This year my Colorado sister and her family camped their way here pulling a trailer, which they nestled neatly under the trees once they arrived. Once again I have my sisters beside me, if only for a long weekend.
On Saturday we three sisters drove along the narrow, winding country road into town for supplies for the weekend, stopping at every garage sale sign along the way. Who can resist a garage sale? You never know what you might need.
We stopped and poked about and did a lot of visiting. We found a few books at the first garage sale, bought an almost new rice cooker for $5 at the next one and found hidden treasure at the last stop.
When we five ‘kids’ first began gathering our families together each summer, we rented tiny rustic cabins on the Shuswap Lake close to the small town where we grew up. My mom would drive out to spend the day and my dad and step-mom stayed at a B&B close by. It was a great, big, messy, wonderful memory-making time.
I can still clearly see Dad sitting in a chair under the trees eating a mango and watching the grandkids play. I’m sitting beside him and as I reach for my own piece of mango he says, “There is no greater joy on earth than watching all you kids visit and laugh together.”
I smile back over at him, happy that he’s happy.
Now I know what he meant. I watch my own adult four children as they talk and laugh together. My heart grows bigger than life itself as I watch their relationships grow into deep friendships. I have an experiential knowing of what my dad was teaching me fifteen years ago.
The last garage sale my sisters and I visit is at the top of the driveway. Long tables are set up end to end, their surfaces covered with a sundry and assorted bric a brac. Boxes filled with books and larger items cover the floor, leaving narrow aisles for walking and browsing. One sister kneels at the books and a second sister heads directly to the back. Im wandering through the middle, idly picking up one thing and then another when I spot the hidden treasure.
My heart does that expanding thing as I pick it up and a frisson of recognition flows through me, leaving me tingling. I’m holding a simple pottery spoon rest decorated with my dad’s signature glaze. I don’t need to turn it over to see his stamp to know that my dad’s hands made this.
Of course we have to buy this! To find a piece of his pottery at a garage sale along a remote lakeshore road almost 900 km from where it was made is mystically magical. Serendipity.
The seller smiles and hands me back my money with the spoon rest, “It belongs to you.”
My dad’s spirit sits and rejoices beside me at the lake. It’s the next best thing to sharing a mango with him.