Thursday, June 29, 2006

Perfect Days

Perfect days are often those that pass without notice; they slip by quietly, unmarked by any pomp and circumstance. Then, there are those other perfect days that are so memorable that we flood with emotion every time we recall them. The reason I'm writing about these days is the mention by my friend Ray of the way I had talked about Aboriginal Day up here (I know, I had said that I wouldn't use my friends' names in my blog entries, but Ray constantly leaves his “digital footprints” behind in the form of comments). My first Aboriginal Day in Inuvik two years ago will forever be branded in my mind as one of those days. I remember going off on my own in the morning to watch the parade go by on Mackenzie Road. I had my camera in hand to capture the “floats.” The quiet of the town that bright morning gave way as the sirens sounded and children danced. The rest of the day was spent on endless runs between the store for slushies and the park bleachers. My friend and I took in the northern games, including the thrilling blanket toss, with a high-flying expert doing somersaults thirty feet up into the air, sometimes forming an arc so that the people holding the blanket below would have to scurry en masse in order to catch him. The youth partook in the jigging contests and the drum-dancing, and our “Canadian Idol” from Inuvik performed a set.

Every subsequent Aboriginal Day has been compared to that first one, and so far, neither my second nor my third has lived up to my expectations. That's the problem with perfect days falling on an annual event. I'm glad that my family had never made a big deal out of Christmases or birthdays – as a result, even as I don't have any particularly memorable Christmases or birthdays, I also don't have some pinnacle of joy to which I'll compare every subsequent year.

Other perfect days in my life thus far:

The few days spent on Saturna Island with my friends and teacher in my final month of high school. I loved the ferry rides over, the suntanning on the deck, the breeze blowing our hair wild, the winding drive through the woods, the arbutus trees leaning out over the water, the reading of Keats and Shelley with my friends, the hikes down by the water where mounds of purple starfish lay.... If ever there was a place that could be called my idyllic paradise, Saturna would be it (along with Newcastle Island, but that's for another entry).

Here's a recent one: Last Saturday, I went to the high school graduation ceremony held at the recreation complex. The hall was beautifully done up in grey, red, and black, with the outlines of graduates' faces lining the two side walls. There was a lit-up archway near the entrance, and the grads slowly made their way through with their escorts – mostly parents and younger siblings. I was so moved that I began to get choked up, particularly when I saw the students with their family members. That night, I was invited to attend the banquet. After supper, the grads danced with their moms or dads, and again, I could barely contain my emotions. If there was one experience that wish I had, it would be the splendour and ceremony of a high school graduation.

My summer holidays will start in a couple of days, and I truly look forward to creating and building more perfect days, both the ones that slip by unnoticed and those that will meld into my very being. In some ways, however, I don't want the summer to come or to end because this is a summer that will herald several monumental changes, and will signify the end of an important phase. I'm already feeling the waves of nostalgia even though my holidays have yet to begin.


  1. I know for a fact that you DID have a high school grad, even if it wasn't like other that of "regular" folks. But did you miss both your university grads? I know you had already moved away by the time your second grad came around. You poor thing, how could your life be complete without that milestone? All that work, and none of the celebration! We'll throw you a party this summer to make up for it!!!! (Yes, any excuse to have a party.)

  2. Yes! A party is in order, especially when you'll be gone before your birthday yet again. We'll have to throw you an early birthday bash, and make it one to remember. And thanks for putting my name on the blog, I feel special....