“His body was single and each part seemed to love every other part.”
– Khalil Gibran, ‘Jesus The Son Of Man’
Saturday August 31
Our first visit today is with Ellen and Don in Gibsons. We’re scheduled to meet between 2.00 and 2.30pm so we have plenty of time for a leisurely breakfast, showers and to grab some wine and a Starbucks.
Somehow, we still manage to be a late. We’re in Gibsons, driving slowly along the street…looking for the house number…Wendy is checking the GPS…and then there is Ellen, walking towards us and waving.
Their home is on a quiet street. It has a lovely little Arbutus tree growing out front. I’d show you a picture of the house, and the tree, and Ellen and Don, etc…but due to some technical difficulties, we have no pictures of our visit. Nary a one. In their stead, I will be substituting images from this beautiful collection of photos of heron nests, taken at Stanley Park in Vancouver.
So…this is Ellen and Don, in front of their beautiful home
Ellen and Don are from Toronto. Don is a surveyor and Ellen is a mid-life coach and author. http://ellenbesso.com/
Of course they’re so much more than that too. They are world travellers and solid citizens of the world that they are traveling. Their latest journey, to India (they’ve been three times since 2007) is the subject of Ellen’s newest book ‘An Indian Sojourn‘. It’s a memoir of time spent volunteering, of tutoring Tibetan refugees in Dharamsala and of the ‘lifelong friendships’ that developed.
Wendy loves the book. She has a fascination with both India and Buddhism and the book details a journey of exploration into both. Wendy also loves how honest Ellen is, “She doesn’t hide a thing”. I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet but I will…as soon as Wendy is finished
The four of us sit outside on the back patio. The yard is filled with colourful Tibetan pennants and wonderful flowers. Somewhere in the yard behind me, unseen birds squawk and croak.
Here’s a pic of the four of us enjoying a chat over green tea and snacks
Wendy and Ellen dive into a deep conversation. Don and I, who are having a conversation of our own, catch snippets of it…’Ellen has gone off wheat and dairy’…’Wendy discusses long distance Reiki’…’Ellen loves the power of the coast’…they sound like a couple of longtime friends.
The hours pass quickly and before anyone knows it, the time has come for Wendy and I to leave. In fact, we seem to be a bit late. It’s all good. Ellen has invited us to a garden party next Saturday so we will return again in one week. For now…it’s time for us to fly
J.J.’s house, our next destination, is back up the coast highway in Roberts Creek. Wendy and Renee have coordinated on dinner and so along the way, we pitstop at the IGA for a few groceries. Wendy plots our course on the GPS and off we go again.
Lower Road, which we’ve just turned onto, runs parallel to the coast highway, from the outskirts of Gibsons to Roberts Creek and services the many beachfront properties. The home we seek is one of those and the drive from the road to the residence is fantastically long and lined with a lush young forest.
Two houses are at the end of the lane. The white one (nearest the water) belongs to the homeowner. The house above it is a guesthouse and that’s where J.J. has lived for the past three years.
Brian meets us outside and ushers us in.
Renee gives us a warm welcome and introduces us to her dad. She’s right, he is amazing
Almost the first word’s that Jean-Jacque says to us is something to the effect of ‘the Here and Now is the only place to be.’
He immediately reminds Wendy and I of our dear friend ‘Brian’ (not Renee’s husband Brian)
Not so much a physical resemblance, it has more to do with the stillness that he is and the peace that it immediately engenders.
J.J. asks me why I didn’t bring my flute…the answer is because I was afraid to look stupid (i’m pretty sure he knew that). He tells me that he also plays flute. They’re behind me on a rack.
There are so many and so beautifully crafted. My favourite is the one made out of a very small tree
J.J. is a very good flute player, Brian informs me that he is in fact, concert grade. Absolutely.
J.J asks what type of flute I have. I describe it’s patterns, scents and the leaking-air sort of sound I’m getting and show him a picture of it.
He says, “That reminds me of a flute I once bought. I could never get it to play. I told the lady and she sent me my money back and told me to keep the flute.”
He gets the aforementioned flute and when he plays it…it has the same leaking-air sound as the one I bought
He asks me the name of the lady who sold me my flute and when I tell him her name he says, “Yes, that’s her. She was in Sechelt two years ago.”
I find that incredibly funny…which is a really good thing because so does everyone else.
Brian takes the flute and compares it with one that actually works. His investigation reveals that a flaw in the design precludes the instrument from playing properly…ever (well that ain’t good news).
Wendy asks J.J. what he does. He brings out one of his art pieces. It’s a beautiful stained glass star. J.J explains that it is ‘The Merkaba’…The Body Of Light,
‘represented by the 2 inverted tetrahedrons symbolize the two great forces acting in the universe: (The Yin & Yang, male & female, sun & earth, positive & negative, etc..)’
He also creates large stained glass windows on commission. They are fantastic. If you head over to J.J.’s website you can see a lot more of this master’s work. http://www.suncoastarts.com/jjlachance.html
While dinner is cooking, Wendy goes down to see the beach. The evening’s red sky is a moment to savour and a promise of moments yet to come
Dinner is amazing…here’s Wendle’s report on that
“We enjoyed a feast of a dinner including freshly picked, mouth watering vegetables from JJ’s garden. Cooked to perfection…in what appeared to be an effortless dance between J.J. and Renee”
(all i know is for once, i actually enjoyed zucchini)
After dinner J.J. introduces us to some wonderful music. First it’s ‘Officium Novum‘ by Jan Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble. It combines Gregorian Chant and the voice of a soprano saxophone…and it’s incredible.
No sooner does this amazing music end then we are introduced to the Shakuhachi, an ancient Japanese bamboo flute with amazing versatility of range…even though it has only five holes and is played as you would a pop bottle
‘It was used by the monks of the Fuke school of Zen Buddhism in the practice of suizen (吹禅?, blowing meditation’
The sound is hauntingly beautiful.
J.J. tells us of a Shakuhachi Master living out here on the Sunshine Coast. Two other Japanese Shakuhachi masters flew in to visit him once and all three played together for the public. They sat spaced widely apart and played off each other’s breathing
That sounds pretty cool…like a Shakuhachi version of the movie, ‘The Warrior’s Way’
The evening grows late and Renee and Brian must be off. We must also but before we go J.J. shows us his workroom and demonstrates the art of stained glass using both copper foiling and lead cames
This day has been a tremendous blessing for us. We are so thankful to everyone that made it special…and particularly to Ellen, Don, Brian, Renee, J.J…and to you, the rest of our family.
We’ll continue our tale tomorrow and it should be fun….
…we’re going sailing with Luke
Moose and Wendle
We leave you this night with a taste of beautiful music.
Ladies and Gentlemen…we give you
‘Officium Novum‘ by Jan Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble