Sunday, February 24, 2019


JZ recently mused on the capriciousness of life and the inevitability of "best laid plans" here.  Good fodder for thoughts on a very damp, rainy Sunday afternoon.  OUtside the wind is beginning to growl and thrash an angry tail; the cedars, pale greyish green needles breathe fright against the stark shivering trunks of winter-gaunt trees.  The moisture laden February air weeps a waterfall of sighs that splash and glint and fall to mist against the gleaming wood of the deck.

Jz muses how she is coming to terms with the life she has versus the one she thought she would have .... which I believe, truly, is probably every single one of us thinks at some point.  As if we wake one morning and as mists of sleep disperse, look into the merciless reflection of a stark mirror and go WTF .... how the HELL did this happen?

I think the reality is that we live the lives we chose... just perhaps not being truly cognizant of what that choice was or when it was made.  It is, instead, a series of small decisions, strung together, reverberating, humming, reacting to the thousands of choices made in the often monotonous realities of a life lived according to our present realities.  And our lives unfold, building on those tiny choices, the place not visited, the offer refused, the offer accepted, the path taken, the laneway at which we hesitate then move on...

And the reality is that in the end, we are exactly WHERE we put ourselves.  The trick is understanding that place is neither good nor bad just a reality - yet one that remains OUR life, the one we created.  The myriad interconnections with others throughout the inevitability of always making choices even when we're not aware it is a conscious thing we do. 

I think it in the nature of the human beast to always wonder, to think "what if", to muse "had I done this" - and of course there are the endless, circular thoughts in which we all engage at different periods of our life of "had I known THEN, what I know NOW" or what I believe is the silliness of the question "If you could go back and change things, WOULD you?"- I say NO.... NO, NO and NO again because we cannot relive or cheat time and return to those earlier moments in the continuum of cells dividing and increasing and dying and creating .... we are prisoners of a linear universe, in which only our minds can range unfettered and unencumbered by the absolute fetters of haivng to always move forward.

What we need to do is to embrace and consciously accept that the beauty lies in the fact that it is WE who put ourselves where we are ... that it is far better to take ownership of our lives, and as one who has, like JZ, looked in astonishment at where I find myself at times, understand that at the least, it is ME who put myself there.

Ultimately it is easy to recall past dreams, made when experience and realities now lived, were future events undreamt of and then say "what happened??".

I know I am not living the life I planned as a passionate, committed and determined young woman who was going to set the world on fire with my journalist fervour.  The one never going to get married, the one never going to have children. My dreams at 16, 17, 18 were of war-torn countries and prose that would start revolutions, of travelling light and unencumbered... of universities and knowledge, of careers and a commitment to the incandescent fireworks which ignited my passion and brought tears and rage and determination...

"Frailty, thy name is woman" .... in a manner of speaking.  Truly, my sister and I often joke that somewhere along the path, we switched lives... she was the white picket fence, the 2.5 children, the station wagon, I, the beacon of free speech and fierce independence.

Yet here we are.

And in the end, here we stand because of the path our own feet took and when all is said and done, there MUST be some comfort in that! In not being the plaything of capricious fate or the unwilling, unaware pawn of gods.

But even more importantly than that?  By god,, the battle might be drawn, or even lost, but the bloody war remains to be won and we are STILL the champions of our own fate!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

January 75, 2019

Image result for who do I live where the air hurts my face

Happy January 75.... or so it feels. And I'm a winter person - or at the least, NOT a summer person.  There is something delightful, mind you, about coming down in the dark of a winter morn and standing watching flakes drift by, the birds rooting in the pale canopy of snow which mounds on the deck, breathing in the crisp air which fills my lungs with a frosty sigh of a Canadian winter promise.  It is milder today.  Yesterday, out early for an errand, improperly dressed in a lightly lined raincoat, unzipped, no gloves or hat, the air was stinging against my forehead, contracting the blood vessels and creating a feeling of pressure, as if some Nordic god was pressing their fingers viciously against my temples.  I laughed, the air puffing from my lips, floating lazily into the still freezing grey of the sky, thinking of the meme which always elicits a giggle no matter how many times I see it t (especially at WHY I live where the air hurts my face!).

It's amazing the thoughts that racket around in the confines of my mind... entire conversations!  It is not the best way to deal with the issues in your life, mind.  When you have entire conversations, pros and cons included, within your own heart and mind without allowing any words to actually be articulated,  you tend to leave the person with whom you are having the conversation out in the cold.  The reality is I am an inarticulate person. Words are problematic if I actually must speak - getting them from inside my head to my lips and out into the world is something I've struggled with my entire life.  It just seems to take so much damn effort. I think that is why I find writing at least palatable ... I don't have to make "sounds" - it is like emitting noise somehow short circuits my thought process.

In retrospect, it is partially my issue and partially an issue of the individuals not asking me directly. Because when all is said and done, I seldom dissimulate if directly challenged.  As I have said to D. many times, all you need to do is ask - I will most likely answer honestly.  And while I don't put a great deal of credulity in star signs, there's no question the descriptions of my sign I have read do, in many ways, reflect who I am (Cancer, the crab)- like a crab I tend to come at things from an angle, not entirely directly and further when nervous, upset, even angry, I tend to withdraw into my shell and brood.

I find my thoughts often centering on travelling ... and the places of which i dream are the vast heather- covered highlands of Scotland, the sweeping gorse covered hills of Wales, the soaring purple Irish mountains with their towering cliffs falling to a grey cold sea.    Not the teeming cities of Europe (several of which I did visit back in the halcyon days of old), with their fascinating byways and narrow streets, their iconic ancient ruins and quirky and charming bistros.  I seek solitude I think, wide open spaces which allow me to breathe and feel the yoke of responsibility and demand fall from my bowed shoulders.

The issue of course (apart from money and time, neither of which are plentiful at the moment)- is physically the kind of escape for which I yearn is beyond me physically.

And I think that reality, more than any other, might just spur me to finally do something about it!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Musings on a Sunday morning....

Snow drifts from a soft grey sky, crystalline breath of winter sighing paleness into the white of a Sunday morning.  The black squirrel peers impatiently into the window, perched on top of the grey tin garbage can that hides a cornucopia of deliciousness.... peanuts, sunflower seeds and crunchy seeds.  The trees are pale grey spires, with a lacey canopy of branches swaying in the wind which sigh, yearning arms reaching to the drifting sky, pockets of pale crisp snow nestled in dark nooks.  The creek is swollen, burbling almost black through the sheen of ice which clings to its banks, sliding silently through the pale dawn, snow falling silently into its deep, dark heart.

It's hard to believe I've been here a year and half...  That the exhaustion, the frantic reality of the daily scramble to get up, get to work, clean, cook, take care of business, the monthly forays to Montreal eating up time and energy (to take care of my mother) and all the myriad of other things that made up my daily slog are behind me now.

Not that life is without its stressors and demands...

While one of the primary motives in retiring was to take mum in at some point fulltime, a fall the very summer of our move meant that was vastly accelerated.

But enough of that - despite the sometimes difficult demands,  my time is more my own than ever it has been in longer than I can remember.

And I'm doing NOTHING with it....

When you're working, when the daily grind is wearing you thin (metaphorically speaking  - otherwise at least there would be an upside!), you imagine of what you will do with all that TIME when you're retired!  Inside your head, you plot and you plan, you create vast tracts of moments which can be put to this use and that use and get this done and that done.

Except I haven't and don't.

For a good part of the past year I've harangued myself, criticized my lack of activity, been desperately disappointed in my sloth and lack of ambition.  Yes, there have been circumstances, some extenuating, that put roadblocks in the way - my mum - first being desperately ill but now as hale an hearty as a 94 year old can be, some unanticipated surgery on my part, and always, throughout it all - the gross reality of being too heavy, weighing me down, impacting my limbs (particularly the leg I hurt almost 9 years ago now), making my journey through each day one of effort and chronic pain, but emotionally crippling even more than physically.

We are our own worse bullies, are we not?  Standards we would never inflict on friend or family, become ruling guides to our lives.  Imperfections we would recognize and forgive in others, become momentous and unforgiving when we see them in ourselves.  Realities which to those outside our own narrow scope would provide good and solid reason for not moving forward on certain goals become insubstantial and unreliable, "excuses" as it were for failing, something I abhor.

I could not even have written this much even a couple of months ago - my own self-loathing and lack of faith in my own abilities was overweening... at times it still is.

But there is a slight lightening over the horizon of my failure, just a hint that perhaps, going forward, something can be achieved, snatching from the maelstrom of self-recrimination and the stinging switch of self-made flagellation.  And of course, even writing that, thinking it, the light flickers then darkens...

A small start... an effort to write - something that for a good part of life was as necessary to me as breathing...