How time passes. That’s a phrase that occurs quite often in Mnemonic: A Book of Trees. How it passes without us even knowing. Yesterday John and I spent some hours with our daughter Angelica who lives here in Victoria where we’ve stayed for two nights while reading from our new books. Angelica works for the Land Conservancy so we visited some of the properties where projects she’s involved with are underway. She took us to Gonzales Observatory, a weather station built in 1912, where volunteers have been working on an oilcloth for the entrance hall of Ross Bay Villa, another TLC property. The oilcloth, designed by Simone Vogel-Horridge, is going to be stunning. She is a conservator who has done a lot of work at Ross BayVilla, a cottage built in 1865 and in the throes of restoration by TLC.

From various clues, she knows there was once an oilcloth in the hall. This is a sample she developed.

A cloth will be laid under the oilcloth with a grid on it and each section of the grid can be purchased for ten dollars. John and I each bought a section and wrote  a message on it. I love to think that a hundred years from now, or longer, a team of conservators will uncover our few lines and wonder about us.

Both Gonzales Observatory and Ross Bay Villa are in the Fairfield neighbourhood of Victoria. My family lived in Fairfield when I was a child and I roamed those streets on my small blue bike. Readers of Mnemonic will recognize Ross Bay from the cemetery on its shore. How many times I passed the cottage where the oilcloth will grace the hall, how many times my mother took us to swim in Gonzales Bay. My parents lived in a ramshackle cabin above Gonzales Bay when they were first married in 1950. Photographs show my mum, young and pretty in a black bathing suit, with her first-born (my brother Dan), on the sand in front of the cabin. We looked down from the Observatory to that beach and for a moment I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming or awake. That time had passed so quickly that I was now a mother myself, of a beautiful young woman who works in the very neighbourhood I knew so well as a child, and that my own mother passed into spirit exactly a year ago.

We read at the Vancouver Island Regional Library in Sidney last night, a lively audience coming out to listen and to ask questions and buy our books, supplied by Cliff from Tanners Books. Tonight it’s the Duncan branch. If you’re in that area, please come! We’d love to see you.


~ by theresakishkan on November 24, 2011.

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