I was at Kris' place 'til 2:30am on Saturday night. She was having a backyard fire, and Dustin was there as well. I hadn't seen him since high school, nor had I seen Kris for nearly as long. It was a beauty night, and we enjoyed it for sure. When I left there, I had a full mind, so instead of going back to Brian's to go to sleep, I went straight to the ball court to shoot buckets til 4:00am. It was the right thing to do...
I got up around 8:00am, quite slowly, but meandered around til my brain and eyes caught up with the rest of me. I had to go get a saw to get the piece of wood I needed for my future carving, and also some flowers for Michelle, so I did that when I got it together.
Just after lunch, I went back to see Kris at her place. She was the one I wanted to see on Michelle's birthday, and we had that planned since before I left British Columbia. The night before was just a kind bonus...actually, a real special bonus.
After a really nice afternoon talking with Kris for hours, I went to the water to the spot that I scouted last week to find the piece of wood I wanted for the future carving for future Sage when she is 18. The piece of wood I am gonna carve is for the bed to rest the quartz in that I had on the swims with me while Michelle was in the hospital, as well as in my hand during the Terry Fox run. I will also carry it during the run portion of every triathlon I do in the next 7+ years in Michelle's name...pouring every little bit of energy into it that I can.
Aside from the wood being on the water's edge, the place to park was directly under a huge willow tree. That made things more fitting with laces of serendipity as the willow tree has become synonymous of everything surrounding Michelle for me. That comes back to the song I had on repeat while I wrote the article about her on the day of her passing. I left it on repeat for days afterwards...
Brokedown Palace by The Grateful Dead from their live album, Dead Set.
Gonna plant a weeping willow
On the banks green edge
It will grow, grow, grow...
Of course, the end of the song...
Fare you well, fare you well
I love you more than words can tell
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
To rock my soul
My conversation with Kris was like medicine. She has known Michelle since they were little, little girls, and has gone through her own tragedy with the loss of her husband of 31 years...who was also a high school friend of mine.
One of my most special moments with Michelle was with Kris and Shane. As with Jeannine, they have always been a part of my world surrounding her.
Even before I came back here, I was really looking forward to seeing her, and choosing to spend time with Kris on Michelle's birthday was what felt right in my heart.
Leaving her place confirmed that.
I went from her place in Stayner, back in towards Collingwood to the spot I needed to go to, to find the piece of wood.
Seeing the huge willow tree as I drove up filled my heart some more. When I parked, the first thing I did was get some of my mixture of native ceremonial tobacco that I grew for giving offerings of thanks and gratitude. It was also mixed with some sage I had picked from the Okanagan in BC from my last set of triathlons there in 2018.
Another splash of serendipity with Michelle's sweet little sunshine having the name, Sage.
You can kind of see the beginning of how I intend to shape my future carving for the quartz for future Sage...
I'm trying to do the best I can to honour Michelle in the purest way I know how, as not only does she deserve nothing less, but also so much more than I can conjure up. As much as this day is about Michelle, it is also about Sage, and in context to me, future Sage...nine years from now.
As Kris and I talked for quite some time, I didn't have too much daylight left to get to the spot to cut the wood for Sage's crystal, and then go back to Brian's place to get the flowers I had gotten earlier in the day to bring up to the top of the mountain to give to Michelle.
I have found that on top of Blue Mountain is where I have been drawn to, to speak with Michelle, and feel her essence. It's where I can be in peace away from everyone else, and also one of the places I know that spoke to her own heart.
I took apart the bouquet to place the individual stems in the shrubs along the top wall if that's what to call it. (Giggle.) I kept one stem of flowers that is in the colour that has always made me think of Michelle since it was what she chose to make her formal dress out of all those years ago. That colour has just stuck with me because of her. I think a lot of the reasoning for that was the way that Michelle had fun messing with me in telling me about her dress, but not letting me see it, or the colour. She is so gawd damned sweet, so I enjoyed watching her version of messing with someone...me. It was too cute.
The purple flower that I am going to dry out the small petals to use in the bed of the future carving that I am going to do for future Sage...
(For some weird reason, I am enjoying saying that... Future carving for future Sage. Simple pleasures, or sheer lunacy?? Giggle.)
After I placed the individual stems in the shrubs, I got some more of the tobacco and sage mixture to give another offering, hold some gratitude, and give my eternal thanks for Michelle.
It's almost too dark see now, and I am getting chopped up with mosquitoes, but I am going to sit here for a bit to talk with Michelle, and send her some birthday love through the air while I listen to the trickling creek flow behind the shrubs I placed her flowers in.
I miss her so much, and I have made that abundantly clear, so I am just gonna sign off for now to immerse myself in appreciation of who she is...
It was hard to find the trail back up to my van. Not only was it dark, but thick fog had rolled in from outta nowhere. It was eerie, but I liked it.
Everything about me was full in mind and in heart....except my belly...it was definitely not full.
I got some food, and went back to the house. At some point, between leaving the ski hill, and being back at the nest, I started realizing that it was the perfect day.
So much of that was because of Kris. She is something. A different kind of special, that is for damned sure, and she made all the difference in what Michelle's birthday came to mean. My gratitude for her is profound to put it in a diminishing way. (I'm not well versed enough with words to explain that properly, but that lil' hilarious firecracker is etched in my soul.)
A simple message rolled in from Kyla, just asking how my day was. Kyla is another old friend who has known Michelle since little girls. I told her it touched my heart that she checked in to ask that...and then we back and forth'd for awhile, until I decided that I wanted to just go see a late movie to stare and brainlessly eat popcorn.
(Some of them already know me at the theatre as I have gone three times in the past week.)
As with one of the other movies I saw, I passed out again while the movie was playing, and I didn't really care 'cause it was shit, but that wasn't the point. Even though it was the perfect day, it was all emotion, so I felt quite drained, and the movie served the purpose of turning off the brain and staring, so passing out during it was welcomed. Mostly what I did during the movie was drift in and out of the hours long conversation with Kris though.
(Our old-school friends would kind of understand the nature of what that can mean without me having to say it.)
The only bummer of the day was that when the movie got out around midnight, I wanted to go shoot some ball in the park to dive a little deeper into thoughts of Michelle, but it was raining, so I wussed out even though I have my snow & rain ball with me aside from my good ball.
Oh well, can't win 'em all...
When I got back home to Bri's, I did some writing deep into the night and went to bed around sometime between 3:00am and 4:00am.
My final permeating thought on Michelle's birthday, was simple...
"It was the perfect day."
Except that Michelle wasn't here...
I love you Michelle.