Heather (left, looking very va-va-voom) & me at the Vancouver Folk Festival this past weekend.
Heather and I have been best friends nearly half my life – since I was 18. Since then she’s become a sister to me, and she is a very significant, inspiring figure in my life. I can’t even imagine what a huge, clueless dork I would be if Heather hadn’t come into my life in my most impressionable years, with all her wonderful influences. (Well, I’m still a dork, but I would have been a way huger dork if I didn’t know Heather!)
Heather is one of the most magical people I have ever met. No, let me rephrase that. She is the most magical person I have ever met. There is no one else like her in the world – which is too bad, in a way. The world would be a much better place if there were more Heathers. She is a singular, pure, brilliant, enchanting spirit.
We met across a crowded room, in a poetry class at college. I thought she looked like a young Mia Farrow with her short, blonde, gamine haircut. She thought I looked “ageless.” And we told each other so at coffee break.
Heather & I back in the day. This photo was taken inside her lovely old blue Volvo. I think we were on one of our nighttime drives to Whonnock Lake.
And a friendship was born. We both lived in Maple Ridge at the time (my hometown), and we developed a weekly ritual (often many times a week), of meeting at the local public library and then going to Subway, where we would discuss the importance of pepper on a cheese & veggies sub, and other things. She lent me her Bjork Debut and Cub CDs. We went for walks in the woods. We frequented Roots, the sweet little Maple Ridge health food store, for various types of tea. We went for countless wonderful drives in the countryside at night, sometimes stopping to lay on the hood of the car while stargazing and listening to Brave New Waves on CBC. We baked elaborate strawberry cakes and read each other poetry. We hung tin foil stars from tree branches and lay under them on an old quilt. We drove to Fort Langley on warm summer evenings and drank lattes at Wendell’s, the cute bookstore/cafe there.
We also developed, for many years, a ritual of daily phone calls – I remember the call that started it all: “Oh my god, Christy! Michael Stipe shaved his head!” (This was 1994.)
Before you go thinking she’s some dreamy fairy girl, I should add that Heather is totally hilarious and tells a fart joke like none other. And I love her darker, twisted, mischievous side.
Heather has an amazing personal style and design aesthetic that I have always admired. Receiving a present from her (and I have been the lucky recipient of many!) is a thing to behold, all wrapped in tissue paper and bundled with nubbly yarn, acorns and fern fronds. A staunch protector of nature, Heather spends hours hiking in the woods and volunteering for conservation organizations. The beauty of the natural world has intertwined with her incredible artwork, her fashion sense, her decorating, and the way she lives her life.
For the past six years I’ve been lucky to live just two blocks away from Heather – how cool is that? She and her lovely husband are moving into a condo that they bought, but luckily they’ll still be in the same neighbourhood, less than a 10 minute walk away, right next to Stanley Park. Which is a good thing – if I go too long without seeing her I get a terrible case of Heather Withdrawal, which involves depression, anxiety and the shakes. She has this healing quality about her, and I feel sparkly and fresh just being in her presence. Good thing I see her pretty often!
Life with Heather is dreamy, fun and fabulous. And I can’t imagine it without her.
You can visit Heather’s blog, and see an example of her beautiful artwork here.
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