growth

i have learned more about myself in the past two months than i did in the past 2 years. truth. and i have grown more in the past two months than in the past 2 years. growth happens when the fire burns hot and burns down what you thought was your existence, ripping away at patterns and thoughts and ideas and all those tears shed grow something new in its place. perhaps we are all seasons waiting for the devastation, the drought and the rains so we can keep growing into who we wanted to be once, long ago, when we thought we were fully formed.

and silver fish squirm out of open mouths feeding the air with words swirling in the tide pools grasping for the open water wave.

"unknown"

upload

 

Fragments and more fragments of pieces and memories, photographs faded and lost stitches and run on sentences waiting for the unknown to make itself known. Pieces of a puzzle from a billion different puzzles with no guide map or compass to find the way to the truth but I can file the corners down, and bend and cut and shape and pick out pleasing colours and create my own truth knowing it wouldn’t be your truth.

That clenched muscle deep in your stomach that can’t beat back the butterfly wings threatening to escape upwards until they pour out of your mouth, flapping towards eternity, the same one you got while standing out on the wing of the plane, the roar of the wind so loud that all you could think was, “I never knew it would be so loud” even as your body pushed back into the violent air, a cushion of trust towards the unknown opening and then it was quiet so quiet and time seemed to slow as you floated there breathless, hurtling towards earth, gasping at the sun low in the sky and realizing you were lost and had no idea where to turn, where the landing spot was and you laughed so loud because you realized in that moment that it didn’t matter.

And the run on sentence finds what it is looking for, the moment that it had forgotten and it closes the sentence.

the shape of clouds

upload

 

I live in an environment where the shape of clouds are always a varied affair of elegant evening skirts billowed across a dance of blue sky and black angry tuxedos swelling in a crescendo.  The soft fluffy puff of the poodle speaks of warm soft winds and sigh and a whisper knowing that the winds can blow in the eerie funnel shaped clouds that speak of a fury of wind and hail and tornados in the heat and aftermath of a cloudless sky of hot uncomfortable heat.

The clouds of last season's early spring were a low pressure affair of white that filled the sky like oppressive tulle and matched the snow that fell in thick wet clumps, the snow that no longer dots the greening landscape but judging from the lack of soft dots of cotton set against the palest shades of blue, it will fall cascading like a waterfall before the day is through.

I enjoy the high up flavor of grey streaks high up in the sky that speak of thunder and flashes of lightning as the moon lifts up and kisses the night.  I enjoy the lazy days of rocking in my hammock staring up past the tree tops to the ever changing shapes that whisper and dance across sunlit streaks of laughter and conjure up lost stories of childhood dreams and are their own meditation on days where watermelon cubes live beside the wild mint that tangles next to the strawberry vines and I watch and sip the honey sweet air of the bee buzz.

Then there are the winter days where the clouds are spread so thin stretched out from horizon to horizon, a white spider web on top of a white spider web on top of a snowflake over and over again so that the only bit of blue I can see is in a memory of another day.  The white of the sky meets the white of the snow topped ground and the white frosted trees stretch up the thick trunks and overturned roots disappear into the white fog that lifts up across the white encased ice of the river and it presses down and makes me drowsy and it blinds and stings in its sterility even as it sparkles and dances across my gaze when a glint of sun sneaks through.

And the cloudless nights that allow the blanket of stars to shine so bright it makes me gasp as northern lights sing across the prairies and forests dancing even above the city lights only slightly dulled as the green fire of the sky crackles and my heart reaches upwards finding the pull too irresistible to ignore and I am lost in the beauty never ever taking it for granted.

My house is brightly coloured, chartreuse green on the trim always there to remind me of warmer days, of now, reminding me that colour is eminent and the clouds will shift and turn and become something else another day.  The walls of my house are set against 70 year old maple floors and the orange hue of fir trim and I carefully licked on the colours of life onto those old plaster walls. A green plum which in most lights is the deep yellow of the sun and a pale blue called PEI sky and that carefully matched tiffany blue and various shades of green and a bright lemon fresh yellow and then there is the crush sip of an orange soda covering the floors and matching the soft blues of my basement.  What does this have to do with clouds, everything I say, because quite by accident, all my accents are the white shade of the most perfect summer billowing cloud as curtains dance and bedsheets wrap and sofas embrace.

And at work, I stare out my window in bits and pieces all day long and watch the clouds tell me what is coming, what has already come and what is here right now, in this moment.  And as much as I feel deeply rooted to the earth, there is a part of me that lives by the sky, by the shape of the clouds that drift across my vision telling me the stories of my soul.

and the roses climb

Untitled (polaroid sun 660 / impossible b/w film)

the roses climb and climb higher, so high i need a footstool to prune and deadhead as petals rain down on my feet below, so high i will soon need to pull the ladder out of the garage in order to perform the necessary maintenance, so high i wonder if i should build an arch and send them across the sidewalk and back down the other side, so high my neighbour can enjoy them from the kitchen window of her raised bungalow, so high they might reach the sky.

they were an experiment as most everything in my garden is and was and i wanted something different than the hearty rose bushes that grow large and fragrant dotted around my yard, a climber and i wondered, would a climber be strong enough to endure the long cold freeze melt of our winters, would a climber actually climb high enough to flank an arched entry in my front yard, would a climber actually scale the walls of my bungalow in the front and create a softening to the angles of that come from having a roof with all those peaks triangulated upwards.  i had no idea when i planted the puny little rose plant 3 summers ago that it would not only climb so high but that the profusion of bright red pink roses would waft such beautiful scent into my bedroom window and that the petals would create a carpet of colour to greet visitors to my back yard.  I had no idea that i would fall so deeply in love with the climbing roses.

in september, the new fence goes in and the eradication of my front lawn begins because lets be honest, i am running out of garden space so the roses will quickly follow and there will be climbers, so many more climbers but she will be my favourite, the first, the one that reminded me that i too grow towards the sun and that time changes everything, always.

gardening is my teacher, my meditation, my release from the stoic dance through the long winter snow.  gardening is more than creating a beautiful sanctuary for which to sit back and enjoy though that is a part of it but only a part. gardening is where i find myself, where i am reminded that life is a cycle, that there is fumbling stunted growth, there is beautiful blooming and shining, there are obstacles and hazards and death and the seeds from the living find new life and sometimes there is rebirth and sometimes life doesn't take, and it shrivels and dies before it has a chance to shine and that is okay, it returns to the earth and becomes part of the fertilization of something new.  there is beauty and there is neglect and a little attention to the neglect and there is beauty again though sometimes too much attention causes loss and heartbreak.

and i know you know if you garden, you know that there is room for control but there is no way to prepare for the fact that those slugs decided to take up residence and hid themselves so well, you never even knew they were there until it was too late or that all those summers of rain caused the blight that removed the long colourful stalks of hollyhock and the gaping hole of that loss still hurts your heart and how there was no way to prepare for the way that cranesbill geranium somehow spread itself to every single part of your garden, rising up in the swaying daisy patch, rising up in the mossy thyme of your pathways, rising up in the middle of the graceful hosta that makes that beautiful cracking sound when you divide her up every couple of years, rising up next to the tomatoes and the brightly smiling marigolds, rising up around the various mints that soothe your summer dry parched throat, rising up in a way that delights every single part of you that dreamed of brightly coloured cottage gardens as you first surveyed the neglected yard of weeds and quack grass.

and the roses climb and climb higher and pierce my skin and embed blooms in the beat thrum drum of my heart. and the summer heat rises up. and i breathe in deeply.

 

a trail of thoughts, in list form

sky (b/w)  

(canon eos a2 / fuji velvia 100 / 50 mm)

1. last fall, in the brisk cold wind, i lifted up bits of grass in my back lawn and pushed crocus bulbs into the earth.  i had read that if you plant crocus in your lawn, they will bloom brightly and eventually die down before the grass greens and grows tall enough to mow back.  spring can be a bit depressed looking with months of brown while the earth warms and the buds slowly burst into greenery.  i forgot that i had experimented with the crocus until my husband pointed at the tiny green sprouts and asked, what is that?  and then i remembered.  and now there are pretty yellow flowers scattered around the small patch of back lawn.  this fall, i will plant so much more all throughout the lawn and possibly in the front as well because those bright yellow flowers feel like the best kind of hope to me.

2. it is unseasonably warm this spring and as i look out over the valley of gentle hills, i see the green of grassy swatches taking over and the tops of the trees have a hue that speaks of tiny buds waiting to burst free.  it is also dry, much drier than the past few years and i must confess i like it.  i like a dry heat that has me constantly reaching for my water bottle.

3. life is quiet.  within that quiet it is busy but not in an overly, i can't handle it kind of way.  but my being is quiet, something has settled in me and i am having a difficult time articulating it.  i feel solid and in the moments that make up this life and there seems to be more living and less questioning which has made it difficult to come here and write.  maybe this is what peace and happiness or dare i say contentedness, feels like.  that is not to say that i feel stagnant because i don't but there has been a profound shift inside of me and i feel comfortable with myself for perhaps the first time ever in my life.  everything is good.  not perfect but good. solid is the only word that i can think of to describe it.  i don't feel like there is anything to fix inside of me and i am interested to see what experiences come next and how that changes me, grows me but i don't feel the need to work on anything with regards to myself.  it is curious but i like it.  it feels peaceful i suppose.

4. yesterday i suddenly had an urge to document the world again, in photographs but not with my phone though of course i will continue to do that.  i had an urge to go on photography adventures with some of the many cameras that i have collected over the past decade and then some.  i am not really sure when this will happen but there is a kernel of desire that has sprung up inside of me, a thought planted into my skin.  so i shall see.

5. i haven't been writing much of anything.  not even that much in my paper journals.  thoughts come and then they fly across the sky leaving trails that eventually dissipate into the air and they feel impossible to document, too personal for even my own future eyes and the poetry of my words has fled because of the lack of pen to paper or click of keyboard keys.  writing feels awkward to me for the first time in my life.  this doesn't really upset me but it is something i have noticed.  perhaps it is a lack of desire to share in a world that is so filled with sharing or perhaps it is just that the trails of thought dissipate too quickly and are replaced with other fleeting thoughts.  and i shrug.  and move on.

a few things

Untitled  

because.  fish tacos.

i recently spent 2 weeks in california and it was pretty fantastic, all that blue sky and sunshine.  especially since it was all blowing snow and icy fingers over here.  i brought a few things home with me.

  • fish tacos.  no i didn't actually bring home fish tacos but i rekindled my love of the fish taco.  all things taco actually.  i have been eating a lot of tacos since i returned home and searched out some mexican restaurants to try out.  there are a lot more than there were the last time i checked.  and i found a really easy shredded chicken recipe in the slow cooker so that makes it easy to whip up a taco any ol' time.  yum.
  • ease.  i left my brain somewhere in the air between here and there and spent my vacation in a fairly dumb state.  literally.  i don't remember the last time i was so dumb and unable to even coherently string a sentence together.  turns out that is a perfect vacation because i picked up my brain somewhere on the way to work my first day back and it seems to have even picked up a few cells while i was away.  life is just easier when i am not stressed and i think it has been many years since i took a vacation that allowed me to turn off my brain.  definitely going to do this more often.
  • perspective.  i get tired and weary and worn down by things like the rude drivers in my city, the gridlocked traffic especially when there is an accident or you know when a bridge is under construction.  turns out we have no traffic here and also turns out there are a lot fewer rude drivers than i had imagined.  the freeways of california have a way of giving a girl a much needed dose of perspective.  yep.  even though there was actually an accident in one of the lanes on my flimsy little commute to work this morning, it only took about a minute to get down the street and over and back to where i needed to be.  hoping i hold onto this perspective for a while.  i am a lot less stressed over what turns out to be nothing.

 

the lonely

Untitled  

there is a loneliness in being human, a sense of isolation that can happen in between the spaces of shared laughter and conversation.  and it is okay, this loneliness because it is the space where we can separate out all the noise and find the familiar voice that has guided us through literally everything to this point, right here, right now.

it is harder to be lonely these days, truly lonely and i am starting to wonder if that is actually a problem for me.  it is too easy to pick up a phone and text out words, to read the words of others, too easy to connect in both shallow and deep waters.  and i look up and see the trees, long branches surrounded by more long branches and for a time they are lonely, without the brush of leaves covering them or perhaps they are truly lonely when the leaves are hiding their long limbs from view and birds are nesting and squirrels are scampering.  i don't really know.  because lonely can happen in a room full of laughter and conversation.  and lonely can happen in the quiet night of darkness and lonely can happen in a forest of whispering and squalling activity.

maybe i am not even talking about loneliness.

maybe i am talking about connection.  the quiet contemplative connection of self.  the coming to the quiet realization that is your own voice and that is the one voice that brings you to your knees. every. single. time.

but i like the word lonely.

i used to work the night shift at this motel on the edge of the small northern town where i was born and raised and lived for 21 years.  it was a different me than the me that i am now, a girl who lived to party and laugh and cry and rage and walk the extremes.  a girl who had dropped out of high school and whose options seemed both vast and limited.  the motel housed mostly young men who were in some way or another tied to the oil industry.  i worked from 8 pm to 8 am or maybe it was 7 pm to 7 am, it was a long time ago and i forget those specifics but i do know that i worked 12 hour shifts and that i negotiated weekends off because i lived for the anticipation of the party and the way those weekends made me feel that anything was possible because when you are young that is really what the going out to the party is all about.

chips hung from the wall and keys were under a case and the cash register was an old clunky affair and credit card machine was a manual device that you rolled over the credit card to get an imprint over top a carbon papered receipt. because this was the late 80s and interac and bank machines were yet to be introduced.  i would check people in, check people out and read everything from dante to stephen king novels to thick paperback romance bodice rippers to animal farm to the plays of shakespeare.

it was mostly quiet and at midnight, i would choose one of the porn vhs videos and pop it into the video player that would stream lonely dreams to those lonely men.  i would call the police when fights broke out, a window of glass pushed out into the dark parking lot.  i would find offerings of plastic flowers and carefully rolled joints in cheesy but cute cards stuck under my window wipers on my old ford fiesta.  i would eat dill pickle chips until my lips puckered and follow that up with a cold can of coke.

it wasn't a great job and it was mostly lonely, the dark night rolling fog outside the window and the quiet hum of the heater and the ice machine, the lives rolling by on the highway barely a stone throw away.  it was the kind of lonely that forced my hand to write in those cheap journals i would buy at the drug store, thin papered lined like loose leaf and blotted with pens that always seemed to explode across the page due to my penchant for gnawing on the ends, a beaver creating a home out of nothing but inked words.

in the early part of the evening, friends would visit and boys would flirt, oh those clean cut city boys of summer working at the tourist centre, oh those roughneck oil boys with their tied back hair and rough laughter bawdy jokes, oh that boyfriend whose history is spotted with breakups and fights and that boy that won my heart and that one who was too sweet for my lonely ways, the one who felt too good for me as i held on tight on the back of his motorbike, trees rushing by as wind pulled my smile backwards.

but mostly i remember the time in between the visits and the check ins and the morning wake up calls, i remember the alone-ness of tracing the scars on that wood desk like tracing the voices in my head when my eyes were too tired and grainy to read. i remember the questions and the tentative answers and the dreams and the ideas and the quiet hum of the beginnings of a future that was some where out past the highway and the dense forest of trees, past the boys and the porn and the carefully rolled joints that promised of something else.

it was the place where i learned that lonely was a beautiful place to be, lonely was more than an escape or a prison, lonely was the one place where i truly existed.  lonely was where i found myself. again and again.  lonely was in fact the only place where i truly existed, the real me uncovered and raw, beautiful and whole.  free.

home

i have had many homes, some brief and some long and drawn out some that lived only in the spaces of my memory's heart

a snowy gravel road through dense trees, a white sand beach of rocky waves, a lonely tent swallowed up by the howl of something i couldn't quite identify

an old brick building with mold stained windowsills

a trailer that had holes in the walls and a carpet that when pulled back revealed the dirt ground beneath the cracks,

and that 1978 red ford fiesta that always had a cooler in the hatchback.  just in case i needed to escape to the quiet buzz of the forest and the crackle of a fire carefully made with kindling cut up with the hatchet that lived beside the cooler.

i have had many homes that lived under my skin

in the quiet spaces in between the living

in the lost howl of my insecurities and the gruff growl of my rising up

a bruised knee

a soft sigh

a whisper and a scream.

my little house now holds the pieces of all those lives drawn out on wax paper and melted in the sunshine, smears of colours that define and redefine and then redefine again.

because life is hard yeah.  it just is.  and it is easy too when you are lying in the sunshine brown skin baking in the light, when your moccasins curl under the afghan you knitted that one year and you don't have to go out into the cold, when eyelids flutter in the in between where you are no longer sure which reality is the truth, the dream or the awake and in that moment it doesn't matter because they are both real and neither are real and that is a good easy place to be.

and home is a scar that is always there, that your finger can trace backwards to the moment it came to be.

and home is a smell that arises out of nowhere and transports you to a place that you knew so well, a place long gone now yet always somehow embedded in the cells that make up the body that you house.

and home is that body that is made mostly of water, that shimmers and changes as the light and the darkness roam across the skin and reflects back the demons and angels that war inside of you.

and home is ever changing and always static.

home is the holy that is you.

Untitled

changes

decided I needed a little red in my hairs  

i have been thinking about how much i continue to change, so much so that i don't know that i have time to catch up with myself.  looking backwards, i can see where i have been but it is a bit jarring because i am no longer her.  and i spent a lot of time this year in a state of denial rather than face the question of who the hell am i?

i remember a sociology class i took back in the early 90s and the age old question of what does it mean to be canadian and how we find it easier to define ourselves by comparison, by what we are not.  i feel a lot like that with regards to my self these days.  it is hard to be definitive when my mind is constantly taking in new information and thus changing what i believe on a regular basis it seems.

i thought that at this age (46), i would have a defined sense of self.  i don't. not really.  but i am realizing that is a good thing because it means that i am still learning.  i am still open and flexible to changing my ways and my thoughts.  i am still growing and changing.  i hope that is still the case 20 years from now actually.  40 years from now even.  even if it is exhausting at times.

i had previously been under the delusion that change happened when i was faced with traumatic events and i don't really blame myself for thinking that because i had decades filled with a series of traumatic events.  life has been pretty easy going (knock on wood) and lacking in traumatic events over the past 5 or so odd years.  and yet, here i am still changing at a seemingly rapid (to me) rate.  so maybe it isn't the trauma.  maybe it is just me.

maybe that is a marker that i can use to define who i am.  i am a woman who is thirsty, thirsty for challenge, thirsty for words and ideas and experiences, thirsty to drink at the well of life even though that thirst sometimes is a quiet chug out of a glass bottle that has been worn down over years of time and sometimes it is a loud slurp out of a plastic pale blue squeeze bottle that is shiny new and smells faintly of a burn mark on skin left out in the sun too long.

 

 

filters

Untitled

Anyone who really knows me, knows that I can be a bit intense, a bit compulsive obsessive.  When I decide to do something, I am like a dog with a bone and I don't mind putting in the work.  I can be quite single minded about things and throw myself into the journey with a great deal of passion.  The opposite side of all that is I can scatter easily, become unhinged, lose myself in the voices of others and suddenly the world is like a tilt-a-whirl and I can't stop the spinning.

I am sensitive.  Extremely sensitive.  And that doesn't mean I cry a lot though I have when crying is warranted.  It doesn't mean I can't be told hard truths and it doesn't mean I break easily or am too fragile.  I am incredibly strong willed and have no problem hearing opinions and giving my own.  I used to confuse sensitivity with weakness but that is not really the case for me.

I am sensitive in these ways:

1. I am constantly tweezering out dog hairs from the bottoms of my feet.  This doesn't happen to my husband or to anyone who comes and visits us.  Just me.  I have porous skin perhaps?  I do know that I have incredibly sensitive skin and it turns rosy red easily, it rashes easily, it doesn't do well when I fly and switch climates and I swear I must be allergic to my own sweat along with the a laundry list of known allergies to basically everything that is beautiful in this life.

2. I see the spaces in between the words, the innuendos, the feelings, the shift of the eyes, the words unsaid.  I see them clear as day and sometimes it is overwhelming to see the obvious when everyone around me is seemingly oblivious or in most cases just plain old oblivious.  I suppose you could call it a super power but some days it just feels like a plain old curse.

3. I hear all the conversations around me even when I attempt to block them out.  I hear them all at the same time and somehow my brain manages to catch all the nuances even while I am having my own conversation with someone.  When I am around large groups of people, I often need to escape in order to find the quiet.

4. I feel all the emotions around me even when I attempt to block them out.  I feel them all at the same time and I find myself mirroring them and feeling them as if they are my own.  Again, when I am around large groups or even small groups of people, I often need to escape in order to sort out which emotions are actually mine.  This can either make me the life of the party or the wallflower depending on how good I am at sorting out what is not mine.

5. I get overwhelmed inside my head when I go too long without being alone.

I am really good at taking my alone time and have learned over the years of my life that it is necessary.  Enter social media.  I love it.  I love the connections, the ease of finding information, the conversations, the visual array of amazingness, instant access to news and politics.  All of it.

It was in so many ways, easier to manage when all I had to do was walk away from my computer.  The days of the smart phone sort of changed things again only I didn't catch up to ensuring I could manage that change.  I haven't been good at stepping away and it has become socially acceptable somewhere along the line to always have your phone in hand.  I see it on elevators, as people walk down the street, in restaurants, at parties, shopping malls, hell even at the gym.  I used to walk and read large books when I was a full time university student and full time worker bee and people always asked me how on earth I could do it and still see where I was going.  It was a skill I learned out of necessity because there were only so many hours in a day and hello, English major.  Now everyone seems to have mastered that skill with their phones and since I had already mastered that skill, it just came oh so easy for me.

So, the pauses in life became a rapid fire of information, a rapid fire of news and stories and conversations and all carefully curated by other people on facebook.  In between deadlifts or walking downstairs for a work break, or while waiting for the car to warm up and. and. and.  Suddenly I had no pauses between activities.  I logged off of facebook yesterday and took a 24-hour pause and noticed that I would pick up my phone, realize I didn't need it and set it back down.  I paused.  I thought I might leave facebook for a week, a month or however long it took for me to find myself again.  It took less than 24 hours for me settle back into myself.

All I needed was an escape in order to sort out when emotions are actually mine, in order to find the quiet.  I am sensitive but I am strong and I know who I am when I take the time to filter out all noise around me.  So I will log back on to facebook but I will be more aware that facebook is for me like being in a large group of people and I need to escape when I find myself overwhelmed just as I would in person.

Good to know.  Breaks are good, I will take a lot more of them now without feeling the need to say anything about it and I will keep notifications off because really, I don't need unnecessary interruptions while I might be on a self care break.

silence

Untitled  

the noise circled and spun and spiraled

she longed for the silent escape of a a moment

for the voices to stop

for her mind to quiet

so she ventured into the center of the noise

and found blessed silence.

the wind howled across the frosted air and her pulse quickened, her breath puffed out as she realized that the voices had nothing whatsoever to do with her and she had the power to escape across the snowy landscape into the womb space of the in between.  her past was back there and her future was out there and the space in between was the silent now, the center of everything, the quiet of nothing.

and she exhaled.

and listened.

gently held

gently hold  

when i feel fragile, i remember that i am gently held in this world by so many.  our collective experiences are vastly different and yet so very similar at the core of it all.

and today a friend posted some snow tulips and i remembered photos i had done of tulips in the snow once and so i went looking for them.  7 years ago.  how can it have been so long ago and then i realize that it has been years since i have intentionally taken photos with my very expensive paper weights of cameras and lenses.  okay, that is not entirely true, i have recently started taken photos again for self portrait compositing but it is slow going.  a weekend here, an hour there.  as i looked back at all the photos i used to take, my mouth sort of dropped open.  and then i remember that i used to carry one or two or three cameras with me everywhere and the thought of doing that again feels exhausting and not where i want to be right now.

we change and we grow and we stagnate and we lose ourselves and we find ourselves and our passions burn hot and we burn out and rest and our passions change and alter and my life feels like the same old same old until i look back at where i have been.

recently, i have been feeling a little lost, like i exited a path that i knew and now i am lost in the vines and brambles of a pathless forest.  i can see the moon changes and i can feel the sun on my face and i know north from south and east from west but i don't know where i am going and which direction i should take next.

and i guess that is okay because eventually i will get somewhere and actually right here is not so bad anyway, so maybe i will take a rest and wait for the tulips or the next snowfall.

mash up - November 2014

facebook snippets because this is my space and facebook is easier but things have a tendency to get lost in the ether of too muchness. October 2014

  • sunny skies, a long bike ride, early day errands completed and now ty dog and I will laze around drinking tea, cooking for the week and watch girly flicks (hello practical magic) while duke is making the music in camrose at a tribute to john prine. the only question is how much leftover halloween candy will I eat. hee.
  • apparently there are snow fall warnings all over alberta except for the city of edmonton. sorry everyone but I am happy to wait a while longer. happy dancing on my snow free lawn.
  • she listened to the trees breath their song of slumber and she listened to her ragged breath of fear and struggle as her feet kicked up leaves gone brown and awake never felt so good even as the darkness begged her to sleep.
  • the thing about the cold is that you can layer up in sweaters and cosy socks, feathered up coats and thick knitted toques but nothing prevents your cold nose from running and you reach into fleece lined pockets to discover that you forgot to stock them with kleenex and then you remember that your granny always had some tucked into the ends of her sweaters where rib knit met wrist. and you sniff and smile and do the same.
  • being married to a musician means I come home from the quiet slice of water bubbled lane swimming to the loud move my feet dance of rehearsal's music notes coming up through the floorboards. it also means my dog doesn't come bounding at me with crazy licks because he is with the band don'tcha know and would rather bounce his head to the guitar licks downstairs.
  • An important documentary, directed by Young JIbwe, "Missing" Documentary for Missing and Murdered Women is available to watch online. Please share and stand for these women and their families.

  • on this very dark and rainy november evening, I didn't want to go to the gym and do my leg weight workout. I was exhausted. but I did it and the sweat poured and my legs felt like lead even after a few km run warm up. and now I am even more exhausted. but so proud of myself for pushing through. and now there is a bed waiting for me to fall into it and fall into it I will. as soon as I drag my ass out of the locker room and home.
  • suddenly winter. the first drive is the hardest. I wouldn't mind winter if I didn't have to drive in it. bleh.

suddenly winter

  • guess I better go shovel before it gets dark out. grumble grumble grumble.
  • the arrival of winter snow has me wanting to cozy up with hot chocolate and a good movie and maybe some baked goodness. but sunday is a double workout day. guess I can save the cozy up for the late evening. pushing through the hard days.
  • flashback. i haven't seen this movie in forever but i loved it so much. excited to watch it again.  http://www.amazon.com/Ladies-Gentlemen-Fabulous-Stains-Diane/dp/B0095D82TY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1415581369&sr=8-1&keywords=ladies+and+gentlemen+the+fabulous+stains
  • big warm hooded coat sounds great in theory. and it is. if you don't mind hair knots rat nest, unintentional dreads, hair caught in zipper, getting cross purse off, driving with hood hiding side views, static and all the other associated pains of the constant coat off - coat on. oh well. at least I am warm.
  • the look of winter. yeah yeah no makeup, no filter, eek.

winterme

  • happy birthday michelle, ma belle, my sister no longer of this earth, the butterfly wing of love. I miss you and love you. today and everyday. born on the day of remembrance and died in the spring of easter, grateful you gave me holidays to mark the line of your life.
  • note to self: bring warm blanket to work tomorrow because my window view cubicle is effing freezing. like. unbelievably shaking all day with my coat on my lap cold.
  • contemplating the day, lipstick helps.

lipstick

  • she stood and stumbled, face as white as the soft sheet that supported her and the world tilted and spun and for a moment she felt the poignant reality of her mortality as she sank into the ever falling darkness. sometimes being sick is a startling sink into the worlds you forget exist.
  • this boy is all tired out from loving on and worrying about his sick mama

tiredty

  • please tell me that I am not the only one who chews on her coffee cup when the coffee is gone. glerg.

coffeechew

  • lifting the heavy things. cause that is what I do, birthday fun yo.

birthdaygym

  • colder than it looks

colderthanitlooks

  • i know, i know, we already have snow but get ready for snowpocalypse my fellow edmonton peeps ... it is coming to a neighbourhood near you. sounds exciting until i consider the driving, the shoveling of said snow and the fact that it will be with us for the next four our five months. the snowfall warnings on my phone are starting to grate on my nerves.
  • it is crazy out there. holy snow. drive safe peeps. I took the bus home and it took twice as long as it normally does. and now for the first of many rounds of shoveling. thinking that will take the place of my gym workout tonight because no way do I want to drive anywhere.
  • I've been waiting for the grey to come in, the silver strands of age. I've been waiting for a decade and have the same 10 strands of glittering silver. I guess what I am saying is I might dye my hair the red gold that was for decades before the waiting set in. or I might just keep waiting.

 

beginnings

morning snow ii  

as the world around me hovers in a state of crisp death, the sleep of the frozen, the fading light that sinks deeper and deeper into itself, i am reminded that this is the month that i was born into.  this is the time that i came to live, came alive. and there is a cycle of reminder in that.  and i remember birthday parties in the middle of the dense trees surrounding a long stream of frozen ponds and skating parties with warm fires to warm frozen toes and thermoses filled with the chocolate aroma of a thick steamed drink.

my birthday this year is on the new moon.  and that feels special.  and i will be spending the evening with myself (well and ty dog), with some rituals, with a lot of burning blazing candles and i have made some decisions about the way forward, about myself.  the past year has felt momentous and the work that i have done pushing myself to limits that i didn't know was possible for me.  well really, the past few years have felt that way.  i have put in a lot of beautiful but hard work into my life and into sorting out all the cobwebby foggy corners that had been neglected for far too long.  and over the years, things have shifted in huge ways and i feel like i own my life again after the way lay of grief and depression which found me laying dead in the ashes.  but i wasn't dead, i was just sleeping and in that sleep, i was also growing.  and then i had to claw my way up out of it and it looked nothing like i thought it would.  it looked nothing like what i thought i wanted.  but damn it is really good.  mostly.

i have made peace with decisions, peace with the shit, peace with my dark demons, peace with my light ways.  all of it.  i feel like it all burned down years and years ago and i attempted to build it back up without taking the time to rise myself up.  the past few years, as i have been dealing with the consequences of that, i suddenly found myself a new person.  life happens and we don't always see ourselves in it.  the new self that emerges.  the unknown self.

i am going to be exploring this unknown self, this new face in the mirror.  the shedding is complete.  i am coming alive.  and what a life i have built to come alive in.  it didn't look like much when i was in the clearing because i was so focused on righting the pieces one at a time and it wasn't something that happened in a day, a week, a month.  i am talking a good year-ish for each new clearing in the various areas that had been previously neglected.  i don't mean to be vague, it is just all so personal you know, the job/career - finances - discipline - accepting and falling in love with what i have, where i am now in this life of lifetimes.  all the stuff, the daily routines, the ways of living.  i wiped off the lipstick and the magic and dealt in the realities and sort of discovered that reality is the real magic.

i put aside the output of creativity that had been my life for so long.  i stuck it in a trunk and let it grow dusty while i focused on what needed to be focused on.  it sounds awful but really truly, it makes me smile because i needed to do that.  i recently had my palms mapped (which was freaking amazing by the way, i am still processing how amazing) , and i am paraphrasing out of context so bear with me, that my self-reflection has been in service of art, and not the other way around.  i do not use art to understand myself but my self-reflection feeds my art.  it was a truth that hit me hard, a truth that i see in myself.  its funny because for years after my twins died, i think i tried to use my art as a way to self reflect, to figure things out.  and it so didn't work.  not at all.  it made things worse.  it wasn't until i put my art away and focused on other things, that i truly started to heal and my intense triathlon training brought me back to starting to find myself, all those hours and hours upon hours of solitary physical work helped me to learn myself again.

and now.  on the eve of my birthday, my head is filled with expansion and i have bit by bit started dusting off the trunk that sealed in my art.  i told some friends recently that my training has, along with all the other things, become fully integrated into my life.  it just is.  and all the pieces are.  my life is full and bright and feels easy in that way that focus and hard work, living in integrity feels.  within that i have a lot of time on my hands.  i am ready.  to create again.  and i have learned focus and my truths. and i have no fear.  and i have some very focused and intense ideas.  and this feels like the best place to start. again.  differently.

and so within the cold dead of winter.  i begin.  and i will share as i go because art is meant to be shared.  it just is.

 

 

 

the lonely winter

Untitled  

(holga / ilford 100 film)

winter feels so very lonely to me this year and i have been thinking about the whys of this and whether this is a new feeling with respect to winter or a leftover emotion from winter's past and my observations are this,

  • we walk our dog every single night at the same time as it is a routine that he needs and demands and we give him because his life has not always felt safe and he is a rescue dog and that is just the way it is.  it is a little thing that makes him feel secure and i get it because i have the soul of a rescue dog and routine helps me feel much the same way even though i jump off cliffs and leave my comfort zone all the time but i keep routine within that.  digression is my middle name.  in the spring, summer and fall we are always running into people and their dogs, there are a lot of dog lovers in our hood.  now that winter had deeply rooted itself and our 6:00 pm walks are now in the black of night, we never run into anyone on our lonely walk of three.  not a peep.  there is the occasional car but otherwise just the frosty breath of our snow crunch walk.  it is a good lonely actually as it feels as though the white world is ours and ours alone.  but i wonder about the doggies and i wonder if they still get their daily exercise and exploration and play outside as they bark out of windows at our ty dog proudly prancing in his booties and coat.
  • the snow muffles sound in a way that feels lonely and the wind howls and blows the snow around and you tighten your hood and pull down your toque and delve down deeper into your scarf until your face is barely visible, a lonely bulky figure, indistinguishable from the next, walking head down at a fast pace not stopping to smile to make conversation because the cold prevents you from even wanting to stop at the crosswalk never mind for another person.  isolating lonely which is not a good lonely.
  • "lets meet up for coffee or a drink or lunch" happens less in the winter because leaving the warm cozy of your home feels less than desirable.  going anywhere is a huge pain.  you have to warm up the car which entails clearing off any snow that may have accumulated on said car, defrost the windows and scrape off any large chunks of ice.  you have to pull on your boots, wrap a scarf around your neck, ensure you have enough layers on then pull the parka over top and oh crap the keys are on the table instead the side table where they are supposed to be and so off come the boots because they are still wet and frozen from your last trip and then back on and oh crap your hair is pulling on the parka zipper and so it comes off and you tuck your hair in carefully as you pull it back on.  toque on head, gloves or mitts on and damn it you really need to change purses because getting the cross strap purse on and off over the big furry hood is next to impossible and when are you going to just pull a backpack down and use that because it would be way easier.  breath.  you are almost out the door.  and then you navigate the ice and snow and avoid the bad drivers who want to run into you and finally arrive at your destination with rosy red cheeks and wet knees because you slid down on the ice on the way from your car after somehow managing to secure a parking spot only four blocks away.  and the coffee shop is hot and you are suddenly sweating and it is a big production hug hug kiss kiss, hair pulls and flies in a static dance around you as you attempt to remove all the layers until you finally sit down exhausted by it all knowing you are going to have to do it all again soon.  not to mention, the cold and then melt has caused your mascara to drip down your left cheek and you laugh and talk and reach behind your head and realize you have a huge rat's nest tangle going on that will take you a good 30 minutes of hair brush pain when you get home.  better to be lonely than to deal with all that especially when i already have to go through it to go to work every day and to go to the gym every day and oh you know maintenance stuff like massages, grocery shopping and assorted errands that are needed.  i love you but come over here and i will make you coffee.  oh wait, you would rather stay home too.  i totally get it.
  • white.  the white sky, the white crystals that float in the air, the white ground, the white breathe, the white steam, the white trees, the white overtakes everything.  there is a loneliness that sits in the white that is almost indescribable but when you live with it for months on end, you feel it just below your breastplate, right there.

there are so many beautiful and good things about winter but there is a thread of lonely that runs through my veins at this time of the year.  at the beginning.  during the adjustment period.  it has only been a week since it began and i haven't figured it out yet, re-learned its ways.  i am still using the wrong purse, the wrong gym bag and i time the warming of the car wrong and i am not as organized as i need to be but i will get there and then i will notice the other things, the way the snow lights up the city, the sparkle and beauty and magic in it and it will eventually feel less lonely as people adjust and bright eyes peep out with red cheeks and smile and commiserate with you and total strangers strike up conversations about the weather and we all feel like we are in it together, hearty and somehow brave.  and i will remember to keep my hair in braids and my backpack will make life easier and i will store layers and extra warmth in its pockets and by the time the lights of christmas wash over the snow, i will be looking forward to snowshoeing in the quiet hush of the trees and i will marvel at all the people out and i will skate on the big ponds and laughter will cut across the ice.

and i will wonder why i ever thought winter felt lonely.