I started to look at some of the pictures I have taken in and around Vancouver over the last two years, since I met and started to visit Vince. I found some pictures I have not posted before, and I also find myself crying...Vincent, Skyping me from the airport before he took off on Saturday morning for Montreal, where he is now visiting his mother, sister and nephew, had a catch in his voice. He was trying not to look at the mountains.
Vancouver is a city ethereally and preternaturally beautiful. Her mountains, snow-topped and fir-ridged, her glassy inlets and bird-filled bays, her turquoise mountain torrents and moss- clean air, is perhaps the most beautiful city I have seen. Always a dangerous thing to say, as it is so connected to emotion. And this from a Capetonian. And a lover of Istanbul and her dreaming spires, with apologies to Waugh...And so many cities that I have not seen, and do not know...
There is a lot of Cape Town in Vancouver: the proximity of mountains to water, the pristine wild within the urban wrap. The ease of access to natural beauty. The omnipresent green and grey of a Cape winter. Then there is an Interlaken-ness too: Swiss Alp majesty, the brilliance of the sky reflected in the fjords, the rushing mountain water, the flowers at altitude. And her American roots: Northwest wildness, a bear-mountained, salmon-berried wilderness: Lynn Canyon; Grouse Mountain, where he asked and I said yes; Stanley Park; all within a Europe within North America, where strangers greet you and bus drivers, driving buses that arrive and depart on the minute, ask you how you are.
So, some more pictures. To pay tribute to her beauty, to thank her for the beauty she brought me, and to my husband, who loved me enough to leave, in addition to his country, a city that spoke to him daily in pictures and under his feet as he ran miles and miles along the seawall.
I am humbled by his love, and am sensible of the sense of loss that he must feel. Vincent, you are the stuff of dreams. And a real man. And I know what that means.
Mount Baker, in Washington, a couple of hours away.
Van Dusen Gardens, in the middle of the city.
Grouse Mountain flowers.
Granville Island's duck prosciutto: to live for. Smoky, fatty, sliced like tissue paper. Unforgettable.
Vince's neighbourhood, the West End, on English Bay.
The blackberries on the seawall. Bliss for a born forager.
The Syringe, below.
The beach, 40 seconds from his flat. Sundowner martinis.
City of glass and lights, from his balcony.
Sidewalk flowers: snow-in-summer.
Stanley Park's flower borders near the aquarium.
..and its wilder side.
Talking to chickadees.