I’m sitting on a picnic bench in Water Valley Campground. I take a deep breath, the scent of pine (or spruce or fir) fills my nasal passages, conjuring up happy feelings and sending me on a journey to so many places in my memories.
- Jasper National Park in the 70s on a family trip. My first and ever-so-memorable time in Canada’s Rocky Mountain parks. Possibly what brought me to the area I’ve lived in now for thirty-five years, with the Rockies just an hour away.
- Mount Gambier, Australia in 1990. After almost three months of tropics and desert, a hike into the pine trees at the top of a mountain transported a homesick young woman to the Rockies for an afternoon. And now, thirty years later, the same scent in a campground in Water Valley returns her to Mount Gambier.
- And a plethora of hiking, skiing, and horseback adventures since moving to southern Alberta in the mid-80s.
Just over a year ago, my husband and I were in Toronto, there to accept his Volunteer of the Year award from Sail Canada. We flew in a plane. We stayed in a hotel. We dined in restaurants. We enjoyed what would be our last indoor live music event for more than a year. And we attended the Sail Canada awards reception and banquet. It all seems like another life now, a different reality. The idea of being in a room full of people, shaking hands, taking food from trays circulating among the guests, sitting shoulder to shoulder at dinner, all seem impossible now. A year ago, it was just life as we knew it, a life filled with people contact.
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About Becoming Pablo
When a troubled and mysterious woman turns up at Paul Hutchings’ Baja hotel, his thoughts are thrown back to a time when his own life lay in shambles. As he observes Sandra’s struggle to find her way through an unnamed grief, he revisits the losses that threatened to break him.
Seven years earlier, after losing a career-changing acting role, the love of his life, and in middle age, his hair, Paul was set adrift until an old friend extended a lifeline, and Paul embarked on a journey which dramatically altered the course of his life. As he left his home in the UK and travelled to Australia, the United States, to Canada, and finally to Mexico, Paul’s journey evolved from running to seeking.
A prequel to the women’s fiction/romance novel House of the Blue Sea, Becoming Pablo is a story of finding one’s true self amid the rubble of a life.
At this cold time of year in Canada, one can’t help but daydream of warm, sunny places, and this winter I found myself longing to return to Casa del Mar Azul on the Sea of Cortez, the fictional location of my novel, House of the Blue Sea.
And … drum roll, please …