Being Here Now

My last post got me thinking about how Ottawa and I don’t know each other very well. I have to remember that when I arrived here almost two years ago, I didn’t feel well,  and wasn’t going out much. So, it’s sort of like I’m new here.

I’m sorry for dissing you Ottawa, and then denying that I was dissing you. I dissed. I did. But yesterday you got me straightened out.

The National Gallery, as seen from the native plant garden

Yesterday happened to be a perfect late spring day here in the Capital, coinciding with a friend’s invitation to visit the National Art Gallery to see a particular painting hanging there.

I accepted, and off we went into the evolving perfect day. Before going in, we wandered through the native plant garden left to ramble wildly beside the gallery and we watched a little bird with a big voice warble it’s heart out. We searched for, and found, wild strawberries my friend knew to grow there.

Music wafted from the Parliament Hill grounds and I felt happy that despite security concerns around the globe, the green space around our government buildings remains open to residents and visitors alike. A cool summer breeze blew up the river and through the pines  and a nearby cathedral was particularly beautiful against the blue sky. If you look closely there is a large spider sculpture emerging from the trees. The spider adds a lot to this perfect day.

The gallery itself is a beautiful space, the kind of place it would take a lifetime to know.

Inner Courtyard; National Art Gallery


My friend, a long-time Ottawa resident, describes the gallery as an extension of home – a place he and his kids lived and played on many weekends  and he knows exactly where to find many of our artistic treasures.  After a bit of wandering  he led us to our destination.

“The Jack Pine” by Tom Thompson

This painting – “The Jack Pine” by Tom Thompson,  is of interest because in a week my friend will join me on my first camping adventure in the van. We will be heading up to Algonquin, Canada’s oldest provincial park, to spend two nights on the lake where this beautiful painting is set. We will rent a canoe and if Pippa agrees, will enjoy a short paddle across the lake. (Italian Greyhounds are not known for their sea legs and have to be encouraged to even drink water, but I am hopeful liver treats will do their magic.)

Anyway, we spent time lingering among many of the Group of Seven paintings in the gallery, almost all of them paying tribute to the beauty of Canada’s lakes and forests, particularly here in Ontario, not far from Ottawa.

Just where I am now, I thought to myself.

There are 48 days until I set off on my 10,000 km journey of exploration across Canada but this particularly beautiful day in Ottawa got me thinking I would be wise to embrace the spirit of adventure exactly where I am in this moment;  not wishing at all to be anywhere else.

Ottawa, you were simply beautiful today. Thank you for the preview of things to come next week and I look forward to getting to know you more in the next 48 days.





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