November 19, 2009
Day 19 with a great gap between Day 15 and 19 ...
My narrator and writer have been very busy ... I think I will use my airport waiting time to fill in the gaps ... in my journal ... and ... if I have the time/opportunity in London I will transpose to the computer and upload to my blog. But if I don't ... I will not fret.
I am taking this trip to give the gift of my presence and love to Pat, not to get on with my life under different circumstances in a different country. I am taking with me beautiful hand cream to give her feet and hands a massage, and photos of my funky furniture to show her what my (almost) latest obsession is. I will take wool to make her a pair of socks while I am there. My big sketchbooking journal will accompany me in my suitcase, and my small one will travel in my pack. I am also taking two novels, one to leave there; one for the return trip.
I am wearing black almost everything this trip ... except for my hiking boots and the red shell that goes on over my black fleece. I will wear the new (quite small) black pack I bought for $12 at MEC the other day. After I made my purchase, the nice man behind the counter fixed the strap on my old faded green MEC pack, the one that has been everywhere imaginable from Norway to Namibia; from Malawi to Mongolia with me. Since I wouldn't be dealing with real backpacking on this trip and the underground is friendly to my red suitcase I decided (finally) to take the small red suitcase that trundles along on wheels instead of my great yellow back pack.
So ... black with touches of red ... except for the soft purple silk scarf. The second time I went to Africa I stayed in London with Pat for a couple of days enroute. I had bought a hooded Tilley jacket that was a beautiful shade of purple. Pat and I were wandering around an outdoor market. She saw the scarf and immediately bought it for me telling me she wanted my neck to be warm and draft-free on the long flight ahead of me.
That scarf has been almost as many places in the world as I have been. I lost it once and was heartbroken. But it turned up a couple of weeks later under the sofa at the cottage, a little muddy and pock marked, because one of my baby groundhog orphans had been suckling on it. The scarf, like my underpants and socks, it seems, was quintessentially me. And that scarf represents for me the quintessence of Pat.
For 54 years Pat has been my anchor, and my life preserver. We've moved in and out of one another's lives for over half a century. We've laughed together, cried together, lived together, visited countless art galleries, marched in protest marches, traveled all over England together, and now that we are old and no longer quite as prim and proper as we once tried to be, gotten drunk together on wine and brandy. It was with Pat that I saw Judy Chicago's Dinner Party and the wonderful retrospective of the woman who created our National Arts Centre spider. Together we visited Cambridge University and took a boat ride on the Cam, and, over the years, we have visited a great many of the cathedrals Pat loves. The last time I was in Britain Pat drove us to Blewbury where we poked around doing research for me. (We both loved that.) Pat's sons took me to the London Zoo in 1977; Pat toured me around ancient canals and market areas during that, my first trip to London.
But those are simply highlights; it is all the moments that are not very memorable that our friendship has included that make her my dear dear friend. I cannot imagine a world without Pat in it. The very thought that she might not make it through this time terrifies me.
I am so glad that I will have these four or five days with her. I wish it could be longer, but life doesn't always allow us to have our druthers.
Must run now ... I have to take my car in to have the winter tires put on ... and the oil changed ... Life in these hills includes winter even though it seems to be taking its time getting here this year.