Tag Archives: passage of time

I Remember

As I am sure most of the world knows, we are all dealing with having to be isolated, away from each other. Many of us are dealing with having to be on our own, alone. And that is very new. I am enjoying my hermit mode but today I wasn’t interested in reading or watching TV, I wanted to think, I wanted to remember. So I made myself a little challenge: how much could I remember of my childhood. To put things into context I have more than six decades of experiences to remember.

Because I have lived in so many places and I know what years I did, I can calculate where my memories fit in the whole scheme of things.

Winnipeg, Manitoba  ages 0-5

I remember my very first friend:  Tanis.  I liked dogs better than I did most children.  Tanis was a boxer. I don’t remember any of the kids.

Kirkland Lake, Northern Ontario ages 5 – 8

I remember picking blueberries for my mother to make a pie. I had a pail but I probably ate as much as I put in that pail. I remember the rocks we had to climb. It was part of the Canadian Shield. If I think hard enough, I can feel the stone beneath my hands and smell the grass. I remember the houses we lived in, that I played in.  I remember a horse and sulky racing along the main street. (A sulky is a lightweight cart with two wheels and a seat for the driver)

Good memories.

Saint John, New Brunswick ages 8 – 13

I can remember walking back from a local swimming hole with a group of boys and girls and it was hot. It was hot enough that I took off my shirt. A boy came up to me and was horrified that I would take my shirt off, he told me it was not allowed because I was a girl. I’m retorted that I might be a girl but I didn’t have anything to prove I was a woman. Or something along those lines. His comment upset me and I went home and told my mother. I don’t remember her reaction but I don’t remember being upset again. I also did not take off my shirt again, in public.

I remember watching kittens play beneath the feet of huge horses. It was a working farm that my friend Marion lived on. The horses were Clydesdales  or Percherons, really big working horses but so incredibly gentle. I remember playing with the piglets. Until they grew up and became mean.  They were destined for the pot.  I spent a lot of time on that farm. The family was so incredibly generous.

I remember Kathy T. and her cat Rusty.  Rusty was an outdoor cat at Kathy’s home but he was best friends with my dog Beau and would come and sleep on my bed at night.

I could continue but this post is long enough.  I am pleased that I could still recall those idyllic times. The person I am today was formed in those distant times and I was lucky, my childhood was a positive one. I plan on one day in the future, looking back on these days.  It has been a rough time but it could have been worse.  I am thankful for the blessings of today, small though they may be.

I enjoyed traipsing through my past.  If your past is remembered, it is not gone.  How about you? Any memories you would like to remember?

 

 

 

 

 

The Canadian Shield  is a large area of exposed Precambrian igneous and high-grade metamorphic rocks (geological shield) that forms the ancient geological core of the North American continent. Glaciation has left the area only a thin layer of soil, through which the composition of igneous rock resulting from long volcanic history is frequently visible.[3] With a deep, common, joined bedrock region in eastern and central Canada, the Shield stretches north from the Great Lakes to the Arctic Ocean, covering over half of Canada and most of Greenland; it also extends south into the northern reaches of the United States. Human population is sparse and industrial development is minimal,[4] but mining is prevalent.    WikiPedia

 

 

Awkward

 

We have all had those moments that are a little, well, awkward. Sometimes they are funny moments, even endearing.  Sometimes you want the world to end to hide your shame. When I think of that word, I always think of an incident involving a stage, an audience and a pair of fishnet stockings. I jest not.

Before you get too far down that rabbit hole, let me explain. It was part of an avant-garde play I was doing in University. The majority of the characters spent their time hiding behind wooden boxes and would jump up and sit on a box to say their lines and then hide again. Think of a Jack-in-the-box.  Seems simple enough. Hahaha. Anyone who has ever worn a pair of fishnet stockings knows that they are tough, steel tough.  My costume was simple but those fishnet stockings tripped me up quite badly. They got stuck on a nail that someone had forgotten to remove from the wood box. Whatever the stockings were made from wouldn’t rip. So, I missed my cue to retreat behind the box, more than once.  It took me several minutes to work the nail loose so that I could retreat. I don’t think the audience noticed but my cast mates did. I took a little ribbing after that.

I’m not going to regale you with my many moments of awkwardness over the last 60 years because, well, this post is not that long. But it could be! I’ve been on stage, forgotten my lines and had to improvise. I’ve been on a date when I forgot my date’s name. Now that was awkward!  It’s OK I figured it out before he noticed. There wasn’t a second date.

Then there was the time I was visiting a friend’s cottage.  There must have been 10 or 15 people in the room when I inadvertently bumped into a floor lamp as I was about to sit down.   A noisy room for some reason went eerily silent as I turned to the floor lamp and apologized. It did not go unnoticed. Welcome to my world.

Someone once said to me that you can judge the integrity of an individual by how well they handle knotted Christmas lights. When you think about it, that is quite wise. I have seen the frustration, the anger that often arises. I have also known people to simply buy new ones rather than face the daunting chore of unravelling of last year’s.

I am not the first person to have to deal with an awkward situation nor will I be the last. But aren’t they just moments in our lives to be lived as best we can or as the worst we can?  It’s all about how we deal in the moment when it’s happening to us or around us. We can find the humour and compassion to survive both.

The Bus Stop

It was a beautiful mid-summer’s day.  It was early enough that most people had not gotten into their cars to start the day.  But one lady was slowly approaching a local bus stop.  Marcella was starting her day the way she did most every day: walking to the bus.  And like every day before this one, she was complaining.

“I am getting too old for this nonsense.” She mumbled to herself.  “Every day I hurry to get to the bus stop just so I can wait.  The bus is always late.  Always!  And I know if I come late then that damn bus will come early!”

Marcella wasn’t a young woman but she didn’t consider herself old just yet.  Yes, she did have sore knees and her feet would swell if the day was hot, but she was not ready to be put out to pasture.  There would be time enough to be old.  For now, she just liked to take advantage of the fact that everyone else thought she was old.  She could complain all she wanted.  People were so polite and considerate.

As she approached her destination, she became suspicious.  Something had changed.  A new bench had been deposited beside the bus shelter.  Marcella was uncomfortable with change so she looked at this new piece of outdoor furniture with distrust.

“Now why would someone put a pretty new bench out here where it can get all wet?” She queried, “kids will be playing on it before you know it and it will get damaged.  Now why would they do something so silly?”

“So that you can be more comfortable while you wait for your bus, you silly old woman!”

Marcella was startled!  She let out a sharp cry and turned around.

“Land sakes!  Beatrice you scared five years off my life!  And you are late!”

Beatrice didn’t respond immediately.  She simply nodded at the first woman and then proceeded to make herself comfortable on the new bench. After a moment’s hesitation Marcella followed suit.  And then the conversation continued.

“I think it’s very nice of them to want us to be comfortable while we wait for their bus.” Beatrice always seemed to find the good in any situation. She was exactly the same age as Marcella but she looked 10 years younger.  People thought the two of them had a strange friendship.  One always saw the good and one always saw the bad.

“Well I think it’s a terrible waste of money.  They should spend that money on buses so that we aren’t always waiting!” True to form Marcella saw the bad. “And think of the trees that died so that our bums could be comfortable.  It is a terrible shame!”

“Oh, I bet this is a green bench.  No trees would have been killed. People are getting smart about that.”

“Beatrice you are going blind, this is not a green bench.  It’s brown. And an ugly brown too.”

“No, no I am not referring to the colour I’m talking about the bench itself.  Nowadays these things are made green.”

Marcella shifted in her seat and stared at her friend.  She knew that both of them were getting older and that sooner or later their mental capacities would begin to alter.  She hadn’t thought that Beatrice had gotten that old.  But now she looked at her very carefully.

“Beatrice what colour is the sky?”

“Well that’s a silly question, its blue.” She turned towards her friend. “Is this a trick question?”

“What colour is the road?”

“Now I know you’re up to something.  The road is grey, just like your hair.  And before you ask, the grass is green.  Now what’s up?”

“Last question.  What colour is the bench we’re sitting on?”

“Well, it’s brown.  What is going on?”

“Hah! You admit it!  This bench is brown!”

“Well of course it’s brown, woman.  Are you blind?”

“A minute ago, you said it was green.”

Beatrice looked at her friend dumbfounded for just a moment.  And then she burst out laughing.  Poor Marcella just looked on, confused.

“Marcella, when some one refers to an item as being green, they are talking about how it was made.  Green items are made by recycling other items.  They are not necessarily referring to the colour.”

The woman in question sat without moving for just a moment.  Then she turned away from her friend and sat up straight facing the road.  She was processing what she had just heard and trying to understand it.

“Are you telling me that this bench my bum is residing on could have been somebody’s deck?  How do you know where this wood has been?  And who has been doing what on it?  It could be filthy!” No sooner were the words out of her mouth then Marcella jumped up and turned around to face the offending bench.

“Oh, you silly old woman!  Sit down!  I don’t care what this bench was in a previous life, now it is comfortable and I can get a load off my feet.  That’s all I care about.”

Begrudgingly Marcella did as instructed, but gingerly.  As she was settling back down on the bench she started to think.

“Do you think there’s any way we could recycle a few people I know?  I can think of something useful I like to make them into:  how about two gorgeous 40-year-olds for one wrinkle 80-year-old?”

As both women started to laugh, they saw the bus.

 

the end

Keep Me Posted

 

Lord keep us posted,

On the plan that you had.

I know you are brilliant,

But things have gone bad.

 

There are locusts and fires,

And floods and a plague.

Forgive me dear Lord,

Your details are vague.

 

I pray and I praise,

I know others do too.

These are desperate times

What more can we do?

 

We must come together,

Perhaps when we’re one.

Our path will be clear,

And this evil be done.

 

Forgive me dear Lord,

For questioning your way.

In panic I drifted,

But I knew you would stay.

 

Your word will be done,

Our lesson was learned.

Our future is forward,

Our sanity returned.

You Want to Do What???

I had a dream once that I was held prisoner in a car racing down the highway at extremely high speeds and there was no one behind the wheel. Ok, it was a nightmare. Good morning world, it may be true.

Put on your thinking cap for a moment and try to imagine how you would feel in this scenario:  you are driving down the highway at 100 kilometers (60 miles) an hour.  You casually glance to the truck on your right (or left) and realize there is no one behind the wheel. To those of you old enough to remember, this would feel like a Twilight Zone episode. It is not.

Some intrepid souls have decided that it would be cool for an 80,000-pound 18-wheel truck to barrel down the highway, or through your town, with nobody but electronics guiding its path. Not cool!

What started this mind meandering? I recently watched a news article about the future of long-haul trucking. There is a group of people that believe it would be beneficial to have those very large, very powerful trucks controlled by a microchip. A chip. Those of you who have followed my blog for a while will know my feelings on the concept of Artificial Intelligence. Not a fan. Let’s face it, we’re still trying to figure out our own intelligence, what gives us the hubris to think that we could mechanically create an artificial one? Does anyone remember Frankenstein?

We as human beings are fallible. Wonderful but fallible.  There is an idiot component to our psychological makeup that some people seem to embrace far too much. But we forgive their stupidity. We don’t try to eradicate this stupid gene, perhaps because we all have a small part of it within us. Let’s be honest, in our lives we’ve all done a few stupid things. Of course, I’m not going to admit to it and in my day there were no camera phones to document it. Thank goodness!

The concept of AI is appealing.  Think Star Trek.  As a tool, a resource, yes. Benevolent and under our control.  But running the whole show? It is a catch 22: People are corruptible and fallible; computers are hackable and emotionless. Neither is a perfect solution. A combination? Think Borg. Again, not a solution.  Here is a wild thought:  Let’s work on improving us, our minds, our skills, our cooperation.  Getting our products to market a little earlier is not worth the risk of becoming extinct. Or worse, redundant.

 

Religion for Seniors

 

Lord I have a problem,

I pray you’ll lend a hand!

It seems I’ve lost my way again.

I don’t know where I stand!

 

I can’t remember where I am,

Or what I need to do.

I am sitting in a church,

As I was drawn to you.

 

I’m afraid I have to say dear Lord,

That book we use each day?

The print is now so very small,

I don’t know what to say.

 

My memory is getting fuzzy,

I forget some things, you know.

Perhaps a little help is needed,

Before it’s time to go.

 

As a child I knelt with glee,

And said your prayers each day.

But now my knees are aching,

For relief is what I pray!

 

I live by your commandments,

I learned when I was young.

I sing your songs of praise,

But it sounds like devil’s tongue!

 

Soon will be my time to rest.

I pray it’s at your feet,

There is one more tiny thing,

Let’s not be quick to meet!

In the Year Two Thousand

 

We are shifting into a new culture

Different customs and arts

Embryos raised outside the womb

Buying a fetus in a supermarket

Perhaps carbon copies of ourselves

Breeding races of polka-dot people

With red eyes and green tongues

Producing choice babies

That harbour superior brains

Prime hearing and vision

Becoming unrivalled athletes

At a tender age.

We want science to rid us of

Human defects

We don’t want freaks in our new society

We eliminate diseases or hide them

From the public

While scientific advancement produces

More difficulties

Whether social or psychological

We want science to unburden the public

The gift of better physical health

Could be accompanied by emotional agony

And these are not science fiction fantasies anymore

But real dilemmas

We may be trapped in our future nightmare.

We are going to have to invent new politics

With new ideas and quests

We are playing with explosives

New technologies are so powerful

That they alone could abolish society

We can’t suffer governments to reign free anymore

For they own society

We crave a movement for authenticity

Not actors as politicians

For technology is a shock

To our nervous systems and our politics

It slowly destroys our roots.

People are beginning a search for a leader

A saviour to piece our world back together

A saviour like the one named Hitler

Society will never be as it once was

Because society is in error.

Future shock hits the old harder and sooner

For they breathe familiarity

They could once give good advice

Because in the past the future

Resembled what came before

Now we face a future that is similar

To neither the past nor the present

Both young and old will have to brave

The pressures of the future

As we walk blinded into darkness…..

 

 

 

I wrote this when I was in high school in the mid 70’s after reading Alvin Toffler’s ‘Future Shock’.

Lesson Learned

But is it?  As a species we have only been aware for a short time.  Archeology and anthropology are disciplines that delve into the scientific study of human activity.  I am sure some would say we have progressed amazingly fast but perhaps too fast.  We barely have time to understand our innovations before they are replaced by something better, faster, stronger . . .

In the seventies I wrote a poem called “In The Year Two Thousand”.  It was probably written for an English Class.  I don’t remember how it was received but it stayed with me.  Just a few lines:

We are playing with explosives

New technologies are so powerful

That they alone could abolish society

We are so excited by the next ‘new’ thing we don’t stop to question what we are doing.  That may be a mistake.  If your boat springs a leak, fix that before you invent a new propulsion system.

We have survived World Wars, pandemics, and terrorists’ attacks and we are still here. Why have we not fixed the issues that led to these problems?  Hatred, poverty, diseases are rampant and yet we are excited by a new phone.   A phone.  Yes, it does allow us to keep in touch with each other and it is a great tool.  I am afraid it has become a tether.

It really is only one section of society that is connected to the cell phone. A great deal of our world has neither the technology or the resources to support that technology. A great deal of our world is only concerned with living. They are concerned with finding enough food and shelter and safety. We have become complacent in far too much of our world. With complacency comes arrogance.

But we live in a world that is rich with resources. We live in a world that is wealthy beyond belief with raw talent. There is such an incredible beauty here right in front of us and yet too many focus solely on a 4 x 6” screen with pretty lights. Have we gotten our priorities skewed?

More than any other era, we are living in a time when almost anything is possible. Almost. There is one thing that seems to be lacking, the one thing that could change our world immeasurably, one thing.  And it is not something brand-new. It is not something exotic and rare. Will. One little word. The problem is it is more than just a word. It is action, it is a force and it is an idea. And we all know there is no greater weapon then an idea. Once it is entrenched it cannot be stopped.

But our will has been subverted by pretty shining things that distract us from the problems we need to fix.

Both young and old will have to brave

The pressures of the future

As we walk blinded into darkness…..

 

A Missed Day

 

Tomorrow is the day,

Start running I will!

Salads for lunch,

Lose weight with no pill!

 

The next thing you know,

Days have gone by,

You missed it again,

You think with a sigh.

 

Tomorrow anew,

My routine begins!

I dedicate my life,

To stop all my sins!

 

But there’s a party tonight,

And a luncheon to do,

Next week I’ll begin,

On making me new.

 

Perhaps the next month,

Would be better to start,

A new way of living,

Ooh I love this new tart!

 

Never forget,

That day that you missed,

Is now gone forever,

Forever dismissed.

Continuity

 

“Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

Things always sound better in French. It is a beautiful, lyrical language. Unfortunately, my ability to speak it is stuck at the high school level. But there are some phrases that most people know.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

We see it again, and again, and again. There were wars when people had only just learned to walk. Then the Middle Ages, the industrial revolution, the modern age, the nuclear age. We can’t seem to stop fighting. Why? If you have something I want, I can just make another. And then we would both have what we want. We live in an age when almost everything is available. I don’t like the way you do things. So, I won’t watch. There’s always a solution to a problem if you’re willing to look for it. But it seems to be easier to hate.

Too many people live in the ‘now’ and are only capable of satisfying the needs they have in this second. They are not capable of seeing a future for us all. And that leads to shortsighted and selfish decisions that hurt other people.

I enjoy living in the ‘now’ and relishing each moment but I am also able to see a future and those working to ensure that the future is tenable. It is the ‘now’ that will dictate the ‘then’. Have I confused you yet?

We want our species to continue. We want all the other species on the planet to continue. We want the planet to continue. But we also want to maintain our lifestyle, to maintain a relationship, to keep getting the coffee we love. (Okay I don’t love coffee but it is the drink of the masses so it works in this context) We like continuity. But to maintain that continuity we must allow change.

I know it seems like I’ve going off my meds or I’m smoking something funny but this does make sense. In order to maintain the lives we have, we cannot sustain the practices we are doing which will ultimately cause a cessation of everything. Does that make sense?

I’m pretty sure I’m going to make it through my life without too much hardship but it is coming. Our children and our children’s children we’ll be paying the price for our arrogance. Will they have an air to breathe, clean water to drink? Will they have jobs, partnerships, ideals, hope?

By fixing up the present we can guarantee the future. Is that too much to ask?