Thursday, May 24, 2018

feeling... nostalgic.... a little sad, but happy at the same time

My youngest is currently in the magnificent city of Florence with her partner, -walking the streets I once walked many, many years ago.. I'm so so thrilled she and Caro are experiencing Venice (magical)- Rome (not a fan)- and now my favourite Italian city Florence.

It is truly an experience, a bacchanalia for the senses, the old walled city of Florence, in my sandals and my peeling arms (la Rouge Canadienne they called me as my pale, pale skin and freckles were no match for the hot European sun), hair cascading over my shoulders, curly and sweaty with the heat, rubbing the bright copper of the boar's nose in the marketplace, pausing with my cousin in the shade of the looming frescoed buildings for a cool iced coffee (yes a thing way back then).  My heart feels like it might explode thinking, remembering, feeling as if it were yesterday seeing Botticelli's The Birth of Venus, da Vinci's Annunciation... walking through the cobbled narrow streets to suddenly stumble onto a piazza, over which like a kaleidoscope of colour and simple beauty, the Duomo cathedral presides, a medieval masterpiece of terracotta.

That my girl is walking those streets and seeing those selfsame wonders astounds and humbles me and makes my chest hurt and my heart constrict, somewhere between joy that she is doing this to sorrow that once I was that young, carefree woman with my life stretching ahead of me, with horizons to conquer, mountains to climb, experiences to embrace.  Would we see the future when we are young and green and bursting with optimism and hope and belief in self!

D. and I were not together at that point, having had the very worst of breakups (my doing)- as I finished up my BA and struggled through those last few months full of angst and sorrow and an overweening rage that fueled me through bitter nights of alcohol and forgetfulness and to this day, I don't know how I finished up those final papers, passed those last exams....yet each street I walked, each corner I turned, he was there with me and like a ghost, haunted my nights.

Then the penultimate backpacking trip - beloved of the 60s and 70s crowd, a coming of age, a bucket list must, those European quests.  Something planned for, saved for, since my cousin and I decided at 12 we would do it.  Italy was at that juncture, the fourth country on our journey and one of the most beloved.  Pensionnes, hostels (giant circus tents in Munich), sandy, grassy hillsides in Greece with the hot sea pounding surf below and sand so hot that it couldn't be walked during the dog days of that long ago summer.

There was an innocence and a naivety our children do not have the luxury of owning in today's world with its terrible wars and frightened, desperate refugees, a world where terrorists lurk and a happy summer street with strolling people can turn into a blood-soaked reality of small men's hostility.

But life is a circle and goes forward despite everything and I say to my children, go forth and adventure for we have but one life and god knows, we don't want the future holds. In that sense, grasp the present, live the moment, embrace the unknown and take that step into the abyss....

And walk the Bridge of Sighs in Venice with your sweetheart's hand in yours and be in love in the most romantic of cities my beautiful girl.





Sunday, May 20, 2018

bloody SICK of the "royal" wedding...

I mean, ENOUGH already - a privileged, white male marrying a mediocre actress - the fawning and the worship and the over-the-top sighing- JUST STOP.

Got reamed on facebook because I said something to that effect with one outraged commentator on a friend's thread saying "we all did stupid shit at 20, I dwell on all the good things he's done" - well fuck off -it's easy to do GOOD things when you're rich and privileged and people are ready to grant you all sorts of outs as well as look at you with a shining eye because you are a 'prince'.

You couldn't help but read some of the crap that came to the surface about MMs family - I felt for her actually - but then that is one of the downsides of marrying 'royalty' - you're going to get people digging for the dirt.  But it's not like her crazy family is any worse - or crazier - than HIS. 

The 'royal' family is about as dysfunctional as they come ... hardly something to celebrate marrying into...

and yes, bless my little Irish Republican heart -there is an ingrained contempt for the family.

While I'm at it - never was a fan of the sainted Diana either - rather, she always struck me as a vindictive, whining thing, not the brightest crayon in the box as it were.  Again, I give her credit for some of the things she accomplished  - kudos to her AIDs work -in today's world where most of us harbour no prejudices against AIDs victims - or myths - she was a warrior in that regard and did a lot to bring the disease out of the shadows and into the light of day.

Truth,I find it hard to get past that picture of Harry in a Nazi uniform merrily enjoying himself at a Halloween party - granted, the last prince to marry a divorcee in that family was an avowed, unrepentant advocate of the Third Reich so perhaps it was Grand-Uncle's uniform?

But to the commentator that frowned on my criticism of the pair -F-U -so he did some good things -the massive privilege, wealth and adoration he commands simply by being born trumps that and simply adds a gloss that, I believe, is undeserved and unearned.

So there.  No more crap about that bloody wedding- thank god real issues can now come to the forefront.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

green....

Image result for nature's first green is goldI sit on my deck, surrounded by the delicate breath of spring... a kaleidoscope of greens.... soft, whimsical greens, greens touched by gold, the deep sensuous dark of emerald, the whisper of fairest feathery palest olive... and the flutter of wings and bird cry touch music into the green wash of forest.  Palest lilac breathes a symphony of sweet, spring breathe into the copse of trees swaying and dancing in the spring cacophony of life, the throat of the stream a deeper breath of burbling promise and wash of sound over rocks swept with a green mossy cover.

I glory in my solitude, wallowing in the absence of demand or need or want. 

But being me, I pick at it... and find under the massive relief of a few days with only me, the aching hurt and knowledge of aloneness embraced.

I think most disturbing is the glaring absence of desire.  Not only sexual desire, but desire to achieve, desire to do, desire to explore and embrace and learn.  Rationally, I stand back, aware of the burden lying on my shoulders, yet curiously removed from its weight, accustomed as I am to the once crushing feel.

Part of that is the disconnect from my body.  Once lithe, healthy and limber and flexible, I feel far older than my years - mental and emotional weight combining with my physical reality to tether me to the ground, walking an endless circle under the yoke of resignation and duty.

There is a stirring, slight, insubstantial, a weakness of will and belief in self, yet with a strong if tenuous root... a perhaps.... a maybe.

Time will tell.



Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Regrets ... and other musings

Musing on the topic of regrets the past few weeks - how important it is not to make them intrinsic to the reality of self - because when all is said and done, the past is what it is and cannot be changed.  To hold on, to internalize and obsess on what was is an exercise in futility.

I think it only human to look at past actions and feel that pang, that sharp slice of pain, about choices made, paths taken and the rational me understands how self-destructive it can be to keep returning to "only if" but being human we tend to do exactly that.

Also lots of thoughts cannonading about my confused mind and heart about the implacability of understanding that no matter how many times you try to illuminate how the past is interpreted, we are each of us alone in our understanding of what we lived.  I've worked hard the past several years on numerous parts of my own understanding and tried, desperately tried, to accept the single most precious and intrinsically crucial key to self-acceptance - we can ONLY be responsible for ourselves - we can ONLY control ourselves and that includes how other people perceive us. 

Something came up recently that set me back on the pointless exercise of HEAR ME that I had long ago relinquished to the obsessive and damaged psyche of someone once worshiped. I am not and never have been a saint.  I actually never aspired to be one - but understood that being human, we are all creatures of dark and light, beings with numerous downsides and some quite wonderful moments of light.  Creatures indeed, fallen and yet precious, cruel and yet so incredibly, at times, kind.  Though no longer a Catholic or believer, the concept of the fall from Grace resonates - those creatures turned from the light yet so beloved, so cherished....

This event had actually nothing to do with me directly - albeit it resurrected some intensely negative and painful feelings I though I had worked through (and truth be told, I largely have) vis-a-vis my father and the mess he left me when he died. But needing to escape from my mother - whose emotions were quickly brought to a boil and bitterness and anger quickly embraced - D. and I created a reason to drive... and when I said, sadly, bitterly, "It makes me feel like a fool all over again.  It makes my anxiety flare because I look back and wonder HOW could I have been such a fool" - and he responding "Me too - I look back too and wonder the same" - and I knowing to what he referred - such painful, such agonizing beliefs - many - most - untrue - about me - never to be resolved or the truth to be known ....

It hurt.

And FUCK, I'm SICK of it hurting.

But such is the reality of life - you can only control yourself - not anyone else -and that includes what they believe of you -

Friday, April 13, 2018

gray.....

I have been accused of having a rather over-active imagination - together with being labelled an inveterate 'liar' when my stories, seemingly through their own volition take on a flavour and life of their own. The reality of course is somewhere in between. My Celtic origins do not allow for the dry rendition of facts when the story begs for colour and embellishment and the unfolding of realities and thought that doesn't necessarily always reflect the exactness of certitude.

Storytelling runs hot through my body and heart and is as necessary to me as air is to breathe.  My mind constantly seethes with random thoughts and patterns and imaginative forays into dream worlds rife with colour and movement and promise.

My entire life I have created imaginative scenarios to which reality has no recourse; preferred dreams of events and possible lives often with little connection to my own often dull and often sad concreteness of my aware life.  These often fanciful but immensely satisfactory stories have often provided me with an almost meditative source of peace in a stressful world, a momentary release of grief or an escape from my own depressive mood.

For some time now - years even - I have become increasingly unable to walk the highways and byways of my lurid imagination, and from the grayness of the reality of now wander instead aimlessly along pathways shrouded in fog and the darkling smothering dusk of despair. 

I feel the loss achingly....

Lately, I have sought in vain for the rich, vivid colours of possible, and instead, found myself stymied by the paths ahead which promise nothing but the confusing, roiling clouds of fog. Fog; toxic; particulates poisonous and sour, coating my pale skin, stinging the green out of my eyes and coating my once vibrant hair and dulling it, sweating out the curl and leaving it dank and odourous on shoulders bowed by the loss of dreams.

I no longer seem to have the succor of imagination and instead, seem to dwell, forever and always, in the dull, flavourless reality of existence without dreams.




Thursday, April 12, 2018

Recollections and memories

I was recently introduced by my buddy JZ (who is herself a wonderful read!)  to a blogger called Arti Jain - what a brilliant writer! Her words are to be savoured, run over your tongue, held gently at the back of your throat,  allowing flavours to subtly mix and the scent and taste to roll over  your taste buds like a fine, red wine.

I read one just now about 'head-washing' day in India and here, as I sit gazing at the goldfinches fluttering around the feeder, while the cool Spring air, still with a bite of winter slips in through the French door, cracked to let in the taste and scent of awakening earth, I felt myself in India with dusty-soled children running and playing,sweeping around neighbourhoods and in and out, ebony, oiled hair gleaming and bouncing on narrow shoulders.

It reminded me of how much we,as humans, have in common, despite environment, regardless of culture, background or the other factors we place so much emphasis on to determine who we are.  At the same time, I was poignantly aware that the world is mutating and changing and even those small moments of understanding - that frisson of recollection of a common experience - are disappearing in a morass of catastrophic change.

But Arti's wonderful memories of hairwashing day resonated - both in memories of my mother's recollections and my own.

For my mother, growing up in misty Ireland, rainwater was collected each week (an easy task in that green isle)- then Saturdays the big iron pot was heated on the old Aga and using homemade soap, infused with lavender and drops of oil, the thick lustrous waves of my mother's head and her sisters and brothers were all washed, rinsed clean with rainwater to shine and dry in the changeable skies of Ireland, reflecting not the thick oily black of India but palest blond, rich, wine coloured red, darkest mahogany ..

But she and her siblings, as I did with mine and the many neighbourhood children, ran wild through  the streets and byways of their community, stopping into whatever home was handy for sustenance and a quick admonishment to get out and run once fed.

My own children also had their neighbourhood gang, with a few more strictures, a more careful eye, stricter limits on distance and checking in.  It is not, I have always asserted, that the world got crueler, but rather, the awareness of the innate cruelty was dragged into the light of day...

Even when my children were young, that careless, wonderful independence they experienced was almost unique among my friends, who through fear and an excess of care, kept their children close. 

And as children are cossetted and worried over, controlled and bound about my strictures and loving bonds, I find it achingly sad that so many children will never experience the heady joy of simply running wild...

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Down the rabbit hole

Sometimes looking into mirror (which I actually try to avoid) I'm astonished at who looks back.  I remember when mirrors were merely surfaces which allowed me to assess the makeup job, the clothing, the hair... then they became enemies, to be loathed and ignored and avoided, dodging even reflections in plate glass windows, feeling physically ill at the images which looked back.  Now, they are simply avoided when possible, not out of loathing or any such active emotion, but more a lethargy and complete disinterest in the reflection of self.

I've never had a great deal of conceit about my appearance.  Certain aspects of myself engendered some satisfaction during certain periods of my life.  My hair has always been a point of pride, reddish-brown, thick, lustrous curls and waves and the ability (which is genetic)- of growing long and lush.  My legs (when thin), long, shapely and firm -not skinny- never skinny but athletic and strong.  I've always had small breasts, something lamented when young then rejoiced in as I aged (such a PAIN breasts are!  Always in the way, ruining the lines of shirts).  My butt at one point was decent - not the 'bubble' butts so admired today but firm and shapely from miles and hours and days and weeks of cycling.

I've never been a girly girl- not ever - (albeit, which makes me grin, many moons ago, when working as a journalist for a provincial paper - ergo I didn't ever see my editors/paper staff face to face but phoned in stories)- another journalist friend was asked "what's she look like" - the response being "I wouldn't kick her out of bed for eating crackers"!) -never having the patience - or the interest - in fuss and muss of hair and makeup and clothes.

I loved sexy clothes though - and when in the right head space could garner my share of attention - when confidence and happiness were my lot and being the 'smart' versus the 'pretty' one growing up wasn't an issue.

I think back to asking my father - "da, am I pretty?" and he hesitating, searching for words (already causing my heart and mind to clench and shrivel)- and his response "in another era, you would be a beauty" - what a shitty thing to say to your pubescent daughter....

I DO have a face and even figure from another time  but had I the confidence, the belief in self, the certainty in self, then I think being NOT pretty but confident would have sufficed.  I look back over my life and I remember women of my acquaintance who were neither pretty nor striking and had neither lissome bodies nor sexy chests yet radiated confidence and a self-awareness that attracted people to them like flies to honey.

Several in particular came to mind - my friend Caroline who I once wrote about here.  In an era when being heavy was almost unheard of, when children were wiry and strong and skinny and girls as they grew remained slender as reeds, she was an anomaly.  At 14 she had breasts and hips and burgeoning flesh with heavy arms and solid legs and a round belly. So too had she a blooming English complexion, pale with a gentle blush to cheeks and clear eyes and soft hair as glowing and rich as mink.  I watched, astonished, as men flocked to her overt and lush femininity and a crook of a finger brought them panting to her feet.

I knew another girl, Eden, as tiny and child-like as my Caroline was lush, with a sunken chest and spindly limbs, and soft, dark gold hair around a pug-nosed face.  Delightfully promiscuous, she never lacked for partners and it was she who chose and picked and decided whether to repeat - never the man.

So logically I understood growing up that neither looks nor figure were truly the factors that attracted partners to you but that often indefinable sense of self, of confidence and belief in your own worth that made you someone who could choose and attract and be that individual.

And I actually believe that... that it IS what you carry inside, the solidness of your own belief in self that makes you attractive, but still.... I avoid mirrors and walk quickly by reflections which mirror back what I am not....





Sunday, April 1, 2018

Life as it is

We, all of us, I feel spend a good part of our lives dreaming of what we believe is the life we want - starting from a very young age, we lie in our beds and envision the 'perfect' life which always lies ahead in the clouds of future possibility. We grasp our waking dreams and mold them and smooth them and twist them into approximations of our wants and then as they dry out and the cracks begin to filter through the smooth surface of hope and need, we feel a commensurate crack in our hearts.

But people being people we run to the local hardware store and buy glue or plaster or anything else that will smooth a coat of belief and want over the fissures and ignore the way they dimple and sag because beneath that coat the fissures widen, the cracks sigh and send small tendrils of angst and pain and acceptance around the reality of the now and the harshness of the light which shines cruelly onto the hurt lights unforgivenly the truth.

A wonderful therapist I went to for three years when D.'s cruelty became unbearable and the sweet siren call of the silence called, told me truthfully: where you end up in this journey of yours may not be where you thought you would end up.  He said the spires that beckon in the far distance are altered by time and distance and the sparkling sameness of sky and possibility and as I walk, one step, then another, then another the path may branch and the destination I thought I was seeking ends up in an altogether different town.  He, wisely, also told me he would be walking with me, but that the choice on which path to take, whether to tarry and rest or push forward, whether to run or in despair, collapse on the side of the path and cry, were mine to make and he only was there to keep me company.

For someone who had spent every day, every week, every month, every year since she was 16 with an obsession, an implacable reality of painful adoration, of a love so committed, so unswerving that all the myriad needles of his contempt, his wrath, his self-loathing struck and drew blood but didn't, in the end, shatter my love, to find myself here, now is still an astonishment.

But my therapist was right in the end. The destination I arrived at in the end was not one I could ever in 45 years have envisioned I would arrive... it continues to astonish, sometimes sadden, sometimes give me a fierce, cutting type of joy, tinged with dark tendrils of writhing, painful electric shocks of disbelief and sometimes tumultuous and agonizing drops into the before.

To muse more on....


Monday, March 26, 2018

an introvert's dilemma

The reality is I'm pretty much a textbook introvert.  I have flashes of gregarious extrovert - and through practice and determination can put on a good face even when I'm really uncomfortable. In fact, many people would be startled and disagree with me being an introvert as a sociable Irish family meant I learned to walk the walk, talk the talk when required.

But the truth is I need - really down to the soul NEED - downtime.  When alone, I never have the TV on or the radio going -oddly, D. who self-identifies as an introvert never has a silent house - but for me, SILENCE is as necessary as air. It provides me with the time to process things, to allow my brain to calm, my spirit to settle... constant noise, constant chaos literally can make me physically ill.

I am crowd-phobic and cannot stand to be pushed, shoved, grabbed, manhandled... although I have iron self-control and never allow myself to panic, inside I am screaming.

There have been moments in my life where the extrovert me has been in ascendry and I have sparkled, laughed and been THAT girl at parties who knows everyone and everyone wants to know... but those periods were brief and always I needed to scuttle home at some point and cocoon.  

My initial career as a journalist was in itself schizophrenic ... for it was not uncommon for me to vomit before a one-on-one interview, then sail in radiating confidence and expertise.  

I was happiest researching on my own, and basked in pure joy when doing my Master's - which required marathon sessions in the library (long before the Internet LOL)- 12-14 even 15 hours and it was not out of the question of me spending 24 hours researching, writing and checking facts.

My mother is my polar opposite. An extrovert who despises her own company and seeks constant stimulation even at 93.  She has the television going almost the entire time she is awake and seeks my company when watching.  There are times I feel as if my head will explode - as to make a difficult situation harder - she is very deaf and refuses to wear hearing aids so the decibel level is beyond all... she also seeks my constant attention and while I'm happy to have her here and nurture and care for her, her demands now that she is feeling better, are difficult to endure.

I am truly going to have to find a compromise we can both live with.  A compromise between her craving for company and noise and my absolute need for some down time and quiet....


Thursday, March 22, 2018

paradise...

Truly, this whole retirement thing is terrific... I sit watching the kaleidoscope of wings and feathers which flutter outside my dining room on the raised deck.  Goldfinches, newly returned from more southern climes, red-winged blackbirds with that distinctive and trill so evocative of summer, the house finches which have been loyal in the bitterest of winter storms, chickadees, bold and bright, cardinals, blue jays, a downy and hairy woodpecker - identical to each other except in size.... life on the wing...

Sunlight spills in molten streams across the faceted window to the world, sighing life and heat into the slow melt of snow and ice which imperceptibly begins to recede.... I hear the rush of stream in the creek beyond my yard, swollen with snow melt and rushing frantically through furrowed crevices, sparkling in the light which spills into its foaming growling mouth, sparking fire in its cold grey depths and promising life as beneath the mud which sits placidly at the bottom, turtles stir, somnolent and slow and fish begin to wake.

Life will out... the circle of seasons continue despite the best efforts of many who far from the feel and understanding of the earth, plunge blindly into mayhem and destruction.

Truly, humankind is a blight on the earth - yet moments of kindness, of compassion of caring with no altruism,no engagement in reciprocity, exist and flourish.

Glass half empty?

Glass half full?

or Glass waiting?



Wednesday, March 21, 2018

History repeats....

Lying in bed, gently cupping my poor abused breast, I curl around myself, my body a little shaky, tears threatening to spill over.  I muse on the fact that the ugly little gremlin, now sitting in a lab somewhere is exactly where my mother's blossomed 30 years ago.  Same spot almost exactly where she first had it removed when, belly swollen with my fairy child, I arrived in Montreal to look after her.  A far more major undertaking in those days, she had a fairly radical lumpectomy, spent several days in hospital and when confirmed that it was cancer, underwent chemotherapy and radiation.  I remember her lying huddled in the bed, frightened and apprehensive, and thought again how history repeats.

Like her, a dark little spot that had to be incised, like her, an estranged partner who while distantly caring, is removed and uninvolved.  But there are differences also... my experience in the OR radically different.  Not pleasant, at parts, quite painful but I remained awake through the entire procedure, topped up with sedation to calm and drugs to ease pain.  In at 8, home at noon, the soon to be scar throbbing but not disfiguring despite the amount of matter removed along with the gremlin (albeit that may not be the reality once the swelling subsides).  Most astonishing were the 50 plus stitches pulling together, muscle and tendon and flesh from the very deepest cavern of my chest to the pale, freckled expanse of breast.  I actually thought myself impervious, stoic.. resolved to take this in stride.  D. seemed actually more distressed, the nurse laughing and saying she felt perhaps he needed the sedation more than I as I smiled and calmly lifted myself from stretcher to operating bed.

But Monday afternoon into evening, Tuesday, I struggled with bouts of weepiness and trembling, hiding myself in the bathroom when feeling it would overwhelm.  Lying in bed the last two nights, rocking myself, the disconnect between my body mourning its failure and my mind which refused to accept that it was impacting me. 

The body and mind refuse to communicate, yet underneath, sinuous and soft, drifting in the morass of thought and emotion, my emotional psyche slides through, a winding path of hidden spirit nosing through the intricate labyrinth of refusals and implacable iron resolve to push through this and deal.

I think I'm actually not concerned from this point - next month I find out if the child of my breast is dark or pale and will go forward from that point on the path chosen.

In the interim, I cup my poor breast and internalize the pain, physical, mental and spiritual and feel a quiet triumph that the small gold rings remain.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Whingey Whiner Wendy...

that's me...

Honest to god, reading over the crap I've been posting I envision a Goth adolescent with hair dyed a deep inky black, white pancake makeup and kohl-lined eyes... an angst ridden Pollyanna, sighing about the house, having dramatic outbursts of existential despair and stealing dad's absinthe when he's not looking...

Well buck up Buttercup, life deals a hand and you do what you can with it... all the whining and wringing of hands does nothing but irritate and alienate. Hell, I'm boring even myself.

I watch my picture postcard backyard as the heavy wet snow floats down from a gunmetal sky.  It's the sticky type that clings to the branches of trees, drapes the branches of firs and is a bloody menace to shovel.  The bird are active at the feeders, their feathers ruffled and fluffed, then startled as clumps of snow imperceptibly melting, suddenly fall to the ground.

Musing on death today (promise, not in an angst-ridden way, more of an intellectual exercise).

It's inevitable my thoughts turn to death, with a mother who has been said to be dying yet has rallied and has energy and appetite to spare.

A friend's wife recently died a very awful death, fighting with her poor disease-ridden body to the very end.  It was a tragic and messy end, he is traumatized and rootless... telling his sister he is just getting through his day then suddenly is overwhelmed and brought to his knees.  She was 52, a stranger in a strange land, ending her journey in the frosty white embrace of a Canadian winter, far from her steamy, tropical roots. She was fortunate (if that word can be used) to be surrounded by her husband, who loved her to distraction and his loving,caring family who rallied round and were with always through the last bitter weeks.

D. and I were discussing death the other day, grappling with the possible reality of finite days for my mum, a woman he has known since he was 19.  I drift these days, confused and uncertain -my reality being that her appetite has improved, her colour rosier, her energy levels clearly better.  D. feels it is the innate human need to fight for that last inch of life, to grasp with both hands and the last of our strength to the realness of days, the knowledge of looking into the abyss spurring and frightening one into clinging to the now.

I just don't know.

He feels that all humans are afraid of death - of the uncertainty, the not knowing.

I disagree - and he asks me, well, what would you feel if you knew you were going to die?

Unbidden, unplanned, the word hangs in the air between us "relief"...

He is taken aback, disconcerted.  but what do you think happens after?  I reply, I don't know - I had faith but that was a very long time ago and deep in the soul I think I believe there really is nothing after.  Perhaps a life force, which like energy, becomes another form of something but the memories, the realities of my life will be gone, eventually fading to moments of poignant recollection in a loved one's heart, then snuffed to annihilation as the passage of time and generations continue.

I search my mind and soul, prodding to see if there is a form of denial in the calm acceptance I feel is genuine and find no crumbs of self-delusion nor semblance of pretence.

My mother has great faith, a deep,abiding and gentle sureness that I can admire if not internalize. She believes implicitly in god and the joy of the hereafter in heaven where she will rejoin those she loved in this life.  She says and has said to each of us,more than once "I'm not afraid of dying" but she is - I sense it in her periods of denial, in her desperate claim to be on the mend.  "I almost died" she says, astonished, her very tense implicit that that was then and this was now when she is not dying.

I do not despair at her imminent (or not so imminent) demise - she is 93 and has had an incredibly rich life, full of adventure and friends and experiences to be envied by those of us without her breadth of experience.

But that is enough for this post.  The concept of death and its implications are complex enough to require musings and thoughts aplenty...



Saturday, March 10, 2018

I struggle within myself to understand why the removal of my gold rings is causing such poignant sorrow and a confusion of emotions need to be picked apart and straightened and rolled into orderly balls of understanding.

I think too of my breasts, such a wonderfully sensitive part of my body, and imagine the feel and look of it so different AFTER - while not radical, a large piece will be taken and I can't help wonder if this will be yet another nail in the coffin of a sexuality which burned so brightly, so intensely that what we had would set the universe aflame... 

As women do, I have discussed with friends what indeed is the spark that sets us ignite... while cerebral imaginings are without doubt the most powerful aphrodisiac, the feel of his hands on my breasts, squeezing, pinching, owning could send me spiraling into a maelstrom of mental, emotional and physical pleasure that would leave me panting and exhausted.  

For women, breasts are one of the first signs of our sexuality... a physical manifestation of those restless yearnings which many of us had no name for in those heady adolescent years. I started out feeling bereft, overlooked and shamed in that department.  An older sister with huge beauteous breasts was one thing, but when your 10 and 11 year old sisters had more than you had dreamed off in your 16 years, it lead to a lot of teasing... not malicious per se but nonetheless leaving a tender scar.  For despite reaching my 5'8" height early, broad shouldered, with an expanse of rib cage, long-limbed and just BIG (not fat, not even heavy(then) although as an adolescent I thought I was both), I had what I then perceived as these woefully lacking breasts sitting slightly and shyly and easily overlooked.  Yet those small mounds had such sensitive tips despite their paltry opulence brought such great pleasure... I remember the first time a boy cupped my breast and the breathless, choking GLORY it evoked.  In later years, with D. such a source of pain/pleasure that the right sequence of actions and reactions could bring panting, breathless BLISS....

I remember coming home from university, clean undies stuffed in my purse but planning on raiding my sister K's cupboard.  A shopaholic from a young age, with the exception of the breasts, we were much of a size - tall, long-limbed and solid.  She wore a dress that summer day, linen with simple embroidery, long sweeping skirt but the front  - oh the FRONT... silk ribbons criss-crossed from neck to waist - adding a naughty yet virginal somehow delight to a simple classic piece.  Ripping it off her back as soon as we got home, I poured myself into it (tightening the ribbons!)- and strutting, sexy S. - stalked to the dining room where my da sat reading the paper with his half glasses.

What do you think da, I said striking a pose?

Looking over his glasses at his strutting daughter, he said in his dry tone "on K, obscene, on you, unseen" and went back to reading!

Yet I grew to love my little breasts... revelling in the pleasure they gave, finding finally in D's eyes the beauty I couldn't see when younger.  Then children came along and those same breasts nurtured and loved them, as my milk flowed and gave my beloved babies sustenance and liquid love, I grew to appreciate them even more.

Like the gold rings, my breasts have been dreaming of past days for a very long time ... a body part which if anything with increased weight has proved to be bothersome and irritating even... yet I cup my breast and wonder if the loss of part of it will impact how and the manner in which I see the world.  

This is the female form, 
A divine nimbus exhales from it from head to foot, 
It attracts with fierce undeniable attraction, 
I am drawn by its breath as if I were no more than a helpless vapor, all falls aside but myself and it, 
Books, art, religion, time, the visible and solid earth, and what was expected of heaven or fear’d of hell, are now consumed, 
Mad filaments, ungovernable shoots play out of it, the response likewise ungovernable, 
Hair, bosom, hips, bend of legs, negligent falling hands all diffused, mine too diffused, 
Ebb stung by the flow and flow stung by the ebb, love-flesh swelling and deliciously aching, 
Limitless limpid jets of love hot and enormous, quivering jelly of love, white-blow and delirious juice, 
Bridegroom night of love working surely and softly into the prostrate dawn, 
Undulating into the willing and yielding day, 
Lost in the cleave of the clasping and sweet-flesh’d day. 


(Excerpt from Walt Whitman's I Sing the Body Electric)

Thursday, March 8, 2018

memorium...

My fingers roll the smooth gold between them, seeking the to unscrew the small clasp... the water is warm around me, steam drifting into the darkness of sky and forest, tendrils of fog sighing through the yearning bare branches of trees yearning for spring.  Above me, the sky is overcast and lowering.... pressing down and hiding from my seeking eyes the cold gaze of star and moon.

I realize I will have to snip the rings.. and feel a choking, burgeoning sadness erupting from my entrails, threatening to spew sorrow into the night air.  Having intimate piercings is not always simplistic... with four golden rings, their smooth unbroken sweep of promise giving lie to realities.  They can twist at times, tugging suddenly as you go about your everyday business... I can't help but smile as I think of those times when suddenly you develop an awkward, odd type of walk, tightening your thighs, spreading while trying not to be obvious as the ring has twisted and is tugging tender folds of skin.  Tight biking latex shorts were some of the biggest problems, as friction and sweat as my legs pump up hills and sweep around corners pulling and tugging until cursing, I would have to pull to a stop and quickly adjust in what is (hopefully) a quiet corner.

Yet they've been an intimate part of me for so long I can't recall when I got them, a promise, a claim, a reassurance and an owning.   While it has been too many years now since those promises were broken, the claim rejected, the owning torn asunder, I have clung to them as dreams once realities, full of colour and passion and belief and a great, incandescent joy, an understanding and great beauty in knowing where I stood in the universe....

I used to laugh at those that descried physical and concrete symbols, tattoos, piercings and their like.. and the oft-used adage, but think of what they will look like when you are 80!!  I used to retort, I LOVE the idea of having them at 80, of harried nurse's aids helping with a bed pan, seeing the glint of gold amongst the greying, ginger curls, the D on the wrinkled posterior and realize for an instance, that this old creature, frail and aged was once young and vital, passionate and intense, with dreams and beliefs and needs ... and perhaps think, if just for that moment, on the inevitability of time and its ravages on our bodies and minds and in that second, in that flash of time, remember to embrace their realness, embrace their passion.

Such pleasure those rings have given me... physically, the tugging by his fingers, the rubbing and the friction and the quick dart of pain when pulled.  I loved walking around in the every day world knowing I carried between my thighs his secret marks of ownership.  That as I dealt with the humdrum realities of children, and home and bland, boring work, the other me, the writhing, wanton, passionate creature of stolen moments, fleeting, wonderous weekends, hot nights behind locked doors against the intrusion of the other world of children and demands,was really always there, simply another intricate aspect to the confusion of thought which is each of us.

So many changes in such a short period of time!

But the rings must go as the 19th draws nearer and the bland demands of medical necessity insist.  For in my breast squats something which must be removed... a possibly evil child or one with malice yet no true ability to alter my life. 





Wednesday, February 21, 2018

a river runs through it....


I stand and watch the water sweep by through the melting landscape of ice and snow. Joyous, fierce and determined, the once placid creek, swollen with rain which weeps from a grey sky and snow melt from double digit temperatures leaps and bounds and fiercely climbs the banks of its erstwhile prison, triumphant in its heady freedom.

I sit,sipping coffee (nectar of life) and contemplate the realities of aging.  On the floor above, my mother lies sleeping, dazed and exhausted with the after-effects of pneumonia and industrial strength antibiotics.  

I have always said, from a young age,that old age will not capture me nor bind me with its cloying breath, that the inevitability of the body's slow but insidious decline into sore limbs, faltering steps, eyes blurred and hearing dimmed will not be my lot. Old of course being a relative concept, one you deem clear and hard and delineated when your limbs are young, your heart strong; a concept that change and mutates and resolves itself into a confusing array of ill-met goals as you travel the wavering thread of life granted you by the Moirae... as they sit weaving in their far away eyries,watching with immutable gaze the fate of the frantic creatures we call humankind.'

It takes great courage, I think, to keep walking, to keep to the path, putting one foot in front of the other.  Knowing in the dark recess of restless nights that perhaps the dreams of youth and belief in self are simple static in a sleeping mind and that the soft tendrils of dreams soon disappear when the cold light of day creeps in and dissipates the last clinging tendrils of belief in achievement.

Harshest to contemplate is the possibility that what you have lived is the sum of what you will ever live, that the achievements you've had to this sad point in your life is the total of what you will have wrung from this desperate existence.  I think of myself in my early 20s, strong limbs, ambitious and fierce, with vistas to conquer and mountains to climb and wonder.....





Friday, February 9, 2018

Cold beauty....

I love autumn.. most people would concur the rich tapestry of green, gold, vivid red and every shade of cream from palest taupe to deepest brown against the cerulean sky of the third season provides an eminently gluttonous feast to the eye and soul.

Yet winter brings with it, its own cornucopia of great  if more subtle flavour.

The ribbon of highway winds away in the distance and the whoosh of tires on roads slick with slush and salt provide a hypnotic rhythm to my thoughts.  Snow clings to the bare limbs of trees, yawning yearningly to a steel grey sky. Evergreens, muted in the early morning gleam, flow palely in the soft light, while ice spills in a frozen stream over the reddish hue of the exposed Canadian shield rock. 

The Inuit have, I am told, more than 50 words for snow.... the hardiest of our nation's people, the first of our nation's people knew the infinite flavour of its touch and appearance.   In the hollows of the forest which line the highway are steel blue shadows, whispering, sliding into the palest of blues then into cream and palest white, the surfaces smooth and untouched yet by foot or paw or wind.

The only absolute I have found in this life is that there are no guarantees.  It is, when all is said and done, a crap shoot.  That is neither good nor is it bad... it is a simple reality that if internalized gives you a certain freedom.  It doesn't undercut desire or plans for the future but rather, if accepted, allows your imagination scope and possibility - more crucial, it gives you the flexibility to pick yourself up when your world goes to hell, when the plan goes awry... when the promise is unmet and the yes, even when the ultimate destination turns out not to be what your anticipation had conceived.

I think it saddest when I read of a dream met, a deepest wish fulfilled, a yearning made flesh and find the individual lamenting shortly thereafter that it wasn't the absolute most fantabulous, bestest, dreamiest thing after all... because on reaching that they realize that nothing can be maintained at "perfect" for every moment.  That in the dream there is a little flaw, that in the hoped for desire, they found a part they hadn't conceived of, that perpetuating that high is an impossibility.

Which is why I think I liked the old fairy tales best.

They had blood and disappointment, guts and broken dreams, they had harsh realities of possibilities and often frankly awful endings.   The sanitized versions that are continually being revised and prettified and made "palatable" for overprotective parents and puritan minds are in themselves the biggest lies, lulling their precious children into a false sense of security.   But the children know... deep inside the mind and souls lies the kernel of awareness we each carry from our moment of birth, the knowledge that there are no promises that can't be broken, vows that can't be foresworn.

The very essence of life is unpredictability.

Live with it, internalize it and accept it- then you can move through this uncertain path and find, as I do in the highway stretching before me, hidden beauty.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

cocoon....

I pull the bulky flow of thoughts around my shoulders, skin flickering at the shards of belief which scrape across the sensitive expanse of angst.  Time shivers in the cool embrace of past experiences and the multi-coloured patchwork of broken promises and shattered dreams.

Time is much in my thoughts these days... the inevitable passage of its reality.  I watch from the narrow end of a telescope and see behind me the expanse of was going to do and one day's that litter the fractured path of my life.  Excuses, justifications and lost possibilities brighten the patchwork of fabric, and I feel a poignant sadness as my fingers feel for the closed reality of their former promise.  I lie back, pulling the quilt around my body, a slice of blade caught in the weaving cuts and bright blood trickles from the soft expanse of flesh.

I am surrounded, the me, the soul, id, the existential core of self that lies enveloped in smothering blankets of excess flesh and wonders how I was caught yet again.  I look out from the pads of smothering revulsion and feel trapped, caught in a body I don't recognize nor wish to claim.  That little mark..... the small blackness trapped in the blue-veined breast pulses and sends a soothing promise of nullity and cessation of pain.  

Like a callus, I rub my shoulder against the shard of promise and revel in the clear, bright reality of pain it brings, illuminating for a moment the greyness of an existence lost in idle speculation and lack of will.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Whither wander....

It sits, nestled deep within the surround of pale blue arteries, snaking outward through the expanse of pale red muscle and white tendon, a small darkness I sense there deep beneath the surface.  A pale of smoke which amorphous and innocuous sighs and bleeds outward.  Look closely and  the lines you think delineated and sharp bleed soft into the surround of flesh... reaching, like a flower in delayed motion, you breathe out, and in and the small darkness sighs and expands.

I open the mirror and the sun spills through the large doors, beyond which the forest grows and the creek beneath a thin, crackling layer of ice sighs past the house.  My eyes, like the ocean surface bleed colour from the sky and shift in waves of possibilities and melding of tint from palest green to darkest forest gray...

Behind my changeling eyes I feel myself as if a sideways glance (because direct will obliterate the true reality), that flash at the corner of your vision.... I breathe out.  I always felt most real when the flesh lay taut over the bones, when pale expanse of skin blinked shadow and shade as it followed the contour of muscle and tendon.  I felt myself then behind the flesh, almost free, and loved to look down the expanse of gross flesh and see the clarity of bone, the sharp jut of hip, the concave of belly and the long bones of thigh and calf with the sharpness of knee providing breathless contrast to their sweep of pale length.

Now, encased and imprisoned in gross flesh, I sit shivering beneath the surface, crouched behind my prison of broken vows and the reality of monotony and despair.  I whisper to the darkness I sense deep within and coax it with promises and seduce it with possibilities of sweet air and freedom.  I cup if gently in my mind, butterfly caresses, whisper of soft papery wings across its throbbing pale dark coolness, breathing softly, encouraging and coaxing....

Beyond the window, the squirrel rummages in the disordered churned snow of the deck, seeking sustenance and hope.  Simplicity personified in the bushy tail and busy prehensile fingers as they dig through the snow for discarded seed and peanut shells. 

I sit and raise the mirror yet again and watch the colour bleed from my eyes as the sky thickens and snow clouds roil and over the pristine landscape greyness descends.... and deep within I feel the thrumming of my small dark and smile.  I wonder at the needless complexity and confusion of the human beast and watch the squirrel do what he needs to survive.