Brief Moments of Beauty in the Harbour City

Cross stitch design from the Janlynn Collection. All that's missing is the street guy with the funny t-shirt panhandling out front.
When I was last in Nanaimo I walked past a rather rough looking guy who was wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the line: "My train of thought has left the station." Now, I am so far out of the loop that could be the name of the Rolling Stones' latest tour for all I know, but I did think it was quite a witty shirt for a grizzled street guy to be wearing. I smiled at him, and he asked me for change. I gave him a loonie ($1), and now I have a new mantra. "My train of thought has left the station"...I love it.

I stopped in at the wonderful needlework store, The Stitcher's Muse, and was interested to see that they now have an area for people to donate their surplus embroidery tools and supplies for re-sale, with the proceeds going to the local women's shelter. What a good idea! There were some nice frames there, lots of pieces of linen and aida cloth, and lots of patterns and yarn. It was nice to see the items displayed neatly and with care, as opposed to the jumble similar goods end up in at the thrift store - makes them more saleable and in keeping with the gorgeous displays in the rest of the store. (They do have an excellent mail order service, and I would even consider the shop worth a special trip to Nanaimo if you are on Vancouver Island or nearabouts.)

As I was browsing, I overheard a quiet conversation between a customer and the salesperson who was helping her find what she needed. The customer, a sixty-ish woman, was saying that she was recently bereaved. Her husband just didn't wake up one morning, and she said it was a complete shock as he hadn't been ill. She said she hadn't been able to do anything since, and thought that maybe stitching would help. It was all I could do to stop myself from either a) giving her a hug or b) congratulating her on choosing such a fine mode of self care.

Nanaimo is not usually a city that offers such an afternoon of lovely moments. At least, that has always been my assumption. Now I wonder if lovely moments are always happening in odd and quiet places, when one might least least expect them. I must try to be more receptive.


  1. it is often like that, for me anyway, where you least expect it something really nice happens....I'm now desperately trying to remember an example, but that train of thought has indeed left the station

  2. What a sweet story. It's so true. Stitching is the perfect way to heal the soul. It makes me think of the women of yore who had to stitch. I'm sure it was restrictive to many but possibly - equally a refuge to many more. It sure must have beat doing the laundry back then.

  3. That was so sweet. I don't think I could have resisted butting in on the conversation in the shop - even if it was just to tell the woman how sorry I was for her.

    Once when my usually very healthy husband was in emergency with a suspected heart attack (it wasn't!) I spent the time waiting with him while knitting on a sock. It gave my hands something to do for the approx 8 hours it took for them to finish up all the tests. When I knit the second sock later, it turned out larger because I wasn't so tense! Luckily he could still wear them ok. I would have hated to waste all that knitting!


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