I stood in the middle of the road where I had stopped abruptly to stare at a caterpillar. He continued to advance, millimetre by millimetre, despite my scowl and obvious disapproval. Eventually, he crossed the street in peace and I continued on my way.
I had been bicycling home through quiet suburbs on a clear night. I came from the beach, and from friends who were tired of my antics and wanted to sleep off a busy day. The small, neatly organized houses in shades of blue and green interspersed with those short, reasonable conifers that look like they are bred for the city leant a bucolic air to silent streets. Sprinklers watered manicured playing fields in the moonlight and it was too late to avail myself of a drink but too early to retire to the comfort of the room in my parents’ house in which I’d been staying. I settled instead on the observation of this lone caterpillar’s pilgrimage, after which point it seemed only natural to sit on a nearby bench and smoke and think.
The pilgrimage back West was long and lacked any real excitement, which, when you are suspended in a metal bullet twenty thousand meters above sea-level, is a good thing. After arriving and spending an unrestful week in Vancouver, BC I lifted off once again for the Eastern United States, where I spent a wonderful two weeks criss-crossing State lines and visiting various family, and then on to Toronto for a hectic few days traversing the city, drinking heavily with old friends and running into old school-mates. By the time I'd finally returned to Vancouver, I was having a hard time seeing straight and was much in need of a few days of rest.
Now, having slept as much as is reasonable, I am back on the offensive; frantic as ever but mostly enjoying myself as I slowly prepare to leave North American shores again. I am enjoying my return but also eager to leave. More than anything it is good to be reminded that I still recognized the same street-signs; there is solace in the familiarity of the same shops and cafés and diners that dotted these neighbourhoods when I left.
Back on the street, I watched the caterpillar finish it’s journey. Somewhere a dog barked. Recognizing my cue I stood up, flicked my smoke at the caterpillar in a final salute and bicycled off into the night.