In “Messenger”, a poem from her anthology Thirst, Mary Oliver writes: “My work is loving the world.”
Today I turn 65. I plan to spend the rest of my life loving the world. It is the least I can do to say thanks for the abundance that wakens me daily to gratitude.
A loving partner warms my heart and supports my passionate attention to writing and photography, though it means less time with him. My bank account is meager but adequate. My friends account is overflowing with wealth.
The home that shelters me is cozy and welcoming and looks out on beauty. My closet holds enough old clothes to wrap me in comfort in any weather. The food in my kitchen comes from farmers who care about the earth. The shoes on my feet carry me comfortably on my daily walks.
In fact, they have just carried me on a neighbourhood walkabout, where I found all these things, and so much more, to love. This work of loving the world is the most satisfying I have ever undertaken. I want to share with you some of the gifts from my walk.
Welcome to my neighbourhood. (And for those of you who’d like to see more photos of this beautiful place, see the link after the last photo.)
Steps from my front door, roses and lavender are blooming.
“Rhapsody” is the right name for these dolphins, who swim in the air just steps from my home.
All summer long I’ve watched sculptors tease shapes out of blocks of stone. Their outdoor studio has been the walkway by the Rotary Centre for the Arts, just steps from the library.
I have more books than I will ever have time to read, thanks to the library just three blocks from my home.
Friends live in this building, across from the library, so we can visit frequently and never need a designated driver after a celebration.
Kelowna is committed to public art. These dancers recently began swaying to the music right across from the library.
This is Mike O’Rourke. He and his wife own O’Rourke’s Uptown Market. They turn themselves into pretzels to run a viable business while at the same time satisfying the fickle and demanding tastes of regular customers. They bring in farm eggs and free-range chickens, local produce in summer, and artisan baked goods, cheese, and specialty foods year around.
On a day as hot as this end-of-summer birthday, the dappled shade of Kasugai Garden offers release from the heat.
When tourists flock to Kelowna, we are reminded how lucky we are to live here year around.
The waterfront boardwalk is part of my walk nearly every day of the year. When I round the corner, the tower of my high-rise home peeks through the willows.
Gert Maas’s sunbathers, visible from our deck, bask in any weather, every day of the year, on the beach at Tugboat Bay.
The great blue heron was fishing today, standing perfectly still on a log in Rotary Marsh. I had the wrong lens and was looking directly into the sun. So this is an earlier photograph, from the same spot where I would have taken one today at a different hour, with a different lens.
Robin’s children and their families, who live in Australia, sent us this beautiful basket of goodies. The first Sunday in September is Father’s Day in Australia so we celebrated that yesterday and my birthday today.