Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Point of Land.

I have been going to the same beach since I was a baby. Since I could hold my own in the water and had the ability to dive under the surface, I have made it a habit, each and every time that I swim there, to orient my body towards the same point of land off in the distance and dive down, down and back up again. I emerge again blinking back the salt water and use that point as a compass needle. For just a moment, it is just me and the ocean and those rocks.

I have never actually physically stood on that point of land. It can only be seen from land or from the water.  But each year since I was a child, I have dived into the water towards that point.  Like blowing out candles on a cake, I renew my promises to myself and direct my whole self towards this jut of trees and rocks.  Each dive under the water, connects me back to the 12, 16, 22 year old and the me I am now.  I am , among other things, a delicate balance between salt and water, I plunge down  into the cold depth and come up for air.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

State of constant wonder

"I think the brain is afraid of being in a state of constant wonder […] I think we should reinstate wonder, banish expectations." - Rectify

I have been watching the show Rectify on Netflix this summer.

It is about a man named Daniel who was put into prison (on death row) at the age of 18 for the death and rape of his girlfriend.

It's not really a who-done-it, although there are elements of that. Instead, the show is more focused on the inner and outer lives (and where the lines gets blurry in between) of people going through something unimaginable.

Twenty years later, DNA brings doubt to his guilt (despite a guilty plea, which may or may not have been coerced).

He is released into the world of his loving and supportive family, which seems great, except after years of being warped by solitary confinement, it is not as straight forward as it sounds.

The show depicts the first couple of weeks of freedom. A word which I have italicised because the meaning of true freedom is an ongoing theme throughout the show.

The show does not reveal if he is truly guilty or not, it keeps that question unanswered and proceeds to ask a set of other equally important questions.

What does freedom mean? Many of the characters are trapped in narrow lives and although they have not physically lived in a jail, they have not lived full lives (have any of us?) either, especially since for many of them, they have been singularly consumed with freeing Daniel.

Daniel's freedom is also cast into question. The conditions that he has lived under on death row, often in solitary confinement, have significantly changed his demeanour, his speech pattern, his grip on reality and he is re-entering the world as an adult, that he last occupied as a teenager, all of which have left indelible marks.

In one moving scene, Daniel is played music to by the prison chaplain the first time in a very long time in solitary confinement, and it becomes all too clear the depth of his deprivation.

It also asks about our ability or inability to behold wonder. Daniel's reaction to even the simplest things like a grocery store, an inflatable man in front of a store and cell phones, made me take stock of how much my brain has become accustomed to everyday objects and has almost ceased to see things for the first time. As a result, my expectations of what I think I see and know threaten to crush me at times.

I urge you to watch it. It is beautifully filmed and the story is told from surprising angles from which I had not thought to look before. After watching one of the most recent episodes, I had very vivid dreams of drippy cherry blossoms mingled with dark black tornado clouds. The cinematography tapped right down into my psyche somehow. It's not everyday that that happens.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Snap Menu

Right now, in this season, everything we eat is either turgid with water or slipping down under the leaves and rotting into the ground. The moisture fills in every vein of kale and rounds out each blood-fillled beet with water logged vitamins, .

We must put what comes off  the stems right into our mouths or can it or freeze it, or share it  if we hope to capitalize on all this pent up moisture and energy because water evaporates baby and every other creature is living more fully right now positioning themselves to take advantage of our waste.

Eat those peas and carrots now while they crunch.
Crunchiness comes at a greater cost later on.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Only what you can carry

For years I lived within sight of Tancook Island.  Many people had moved off of it and nearby islands to live on land in the same community I lived in. It did not seem that far away.  Isolated, for sure, but close.

A couple of weeks ago, we finally went to Tancook island for the day. By ferry, even though it is clearly visible from land, it still takes nearly 50  minutes to get there.

Tancook island has a population of 100 in the winter time. Double that in the summer.

It has has one of the last one room school houses in Canada.

The thing that struck me the most as a mainlander is the fact that the only things that get on that island are by boat.  If you buy groceries or get library books or a new mop or chair, you have to get it to the ferry. They put it in a special locked boxed and then you retrieve it as you walk off the boat.

Living on an island without a car ferry (the ferry only carries one car at a time) would really cut down on all the stuff which I surround myself with. I would think a whole lot more carefully about what goes on that ferry and into my home and into my car.

What would I carry and what would I leave behind?

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sew puns

I am hopeless at sewing, so hopeless that my home economic teacher told me to stop whining when I completely bungled my sewing projects.  I am still not sure why they did not just teach us how to hem pants and darn socks.  That would have gone a lot farther.  Anyhow, my kids are more willing and able to learn how to sew. Their grandmother helped them make pot holders for my birthday present. I was very impressed and the sewing puns kept us in stitches. It was sew funny, you had be there, I sewpose. You should have sewn it.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

As parades go...

I am a big fan of parades. What's not to like? People dressed in costumes, music, the occasional sweet being tossed your way.  However, if I had to choose only one parade a year to take my kids to, it would be the Pride Parade hands down.  The Santa Claus parade has nothing on it.  Sure, it's hosted by a magical character who promises great things and perks us up when we are starting our descent into seasonal darkness, but it is the Pride Parade that says, loudly and proudly, "yes, you and you and you, we are happy you are here!"  Come out of the shadows of doubt and fear. "We want you senior citizens, and teenagers and babies and everyone in between, to be here, standing and dancing in the light of day. We, the banks, and the police and the mayor and the everyone want you to be who you are without conditions."  

When I really think about what it is I want for my kids, is it infinite magical possibilities on Christmas morning? Or is it wholeness, happiness and justice regardless of their abilities, sexual orientation, and race?

Santa can't bring all that, but we, all together, marching together through the streets , blowing bubbles, dressing up in feather boas and chaps, handing out condoms and suckers and balloons just might.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Ode to the mason jar.

It being summer, we have berries to jam.
Jam needs jars and so do periwinkles and iced tea at the beach and hot bacon fat from summer-visitor- pancakes and left overs too yummy to compost yet and fresh herbs for keeping for later.