Here I am at 100 000 feet hovering just above North Dakota, catching up on CBC television and eating Bits and Bites, pretending that they aren’t wheat. I didn’t get a chance to do my usual shopping for travel eats today before my flight. Instead, I was at the passport office this morning, incredulous that I had overlooked the fact that my passport expires while I’ll be away in Hawaii. I remember looking at it a couple of months ago when I knew I’d be working there, and for some reason, in my mathematical dyslexia I thought I’d read March 2014, when in fact it was March 2013. Luckily I looked at the passport around 9:30am and was able to race downtown to get an emergency one; it was ready by 1pm, which was incredible. 

After rushing to get photos taken, and getting in line for a number to wait my turn, I sat in the crowded room and began to do some pranayama: alternate nostril breath. I really needed to chill myself out and try to get centred; the fact that I hadn’t packed yet was a bit disconcerting as I watched the time passing away. I noticed that in one of the booths seemed to be smiling at all of his ‘customers’ , and he looked over at me doing my breathwork and smiled to himself, probably thinking, “Look at that hippie over there doing yoga in the middle of a crowded waiting room.” So, I silently prayed that I’d get window number 9, to have him as an agent; someone who could expidite the process. I was told from the first person at the check in desk that I should have it by 4:00pm, which meant that I’d have to sit in rush hour traffic and probably miss my plane. Sure enough, my number came up and I was directed to Lucky Window Number Nine and was met with a smile. He asked how I was and I told him that now that I had stopped crying, I was okay. He reassured me that this happened more than we think and that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, promising that he’d have me at home packing in no time and that the passport would be ready within an hour and a half. I was able to go home, pack, eat a bit, do my interview with the Nelson radio station and get to the airport in time; my sister Alex went back to pick up the passport while I did all this, and I’m so grateful for having some help from my friends. It was interesting that in the past two weeks, my dad has told me a story a couple of times about his friend on his ski trip who showed up at the airport to go to Switzerland, and his passport had expired so he couldn’t get on the plane. Another friend going to Florida for Winter Solstice checked her passport the night before and saw it had expired and couldn’t go on her trip. My friend in Montana emailed me yesterday to ask if she needed a passport to visit me in Nelson. My other friend Amir mentioned the other day that he showed up at the airport, had an expired passport, and had to rebook his whole flight. Some might say there were several signs, urging me to get my head out of the clouds and into my passport, but I clearly missed them all.

Just another lesson: we are all human and not infallible. I had been so busy last week with Folk Alliance, trying to get a new phone as mine had broken, marking yoga exams, and traveling up north for a family function that I just “gapped it”. And yet, as I sit here on the plane, filled with gratitude for the universe that continues to provide and protect, I’m feeling content. I’ll have a couple of hours in Kelowna before my bus tomorrow and plan on writing a tune in the morning before I leave…being at Folk Alliance last week has been so inspiring in terms of amping up the creative juices. To be amongst so many talented writers, musicians, visionaries and passionate people makes me feel that I am not alone. There are so many others who are also following this unsure and often uncertain path of music and art, and although the bank account suffers sometimes, my spirit does not. And from now on in, I'm going to be looking out for the signs.....

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