Tag Archives: understanding

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

 

 

The Gate

This image is borrowed from Dan Anton’s blog: nofacilities.com with his permission.

It had stood as a barrier for so many years that people forgot why it was there in the first place.  And then, there was no one left to remember.

It stood proudly for many years.  Shiny and strong. It was a barrier yes, for a while but it was also an acknowledgment: This is my place. You may be welcome. The gate did open.

Over the years, lovers traded stolen kisses across that gate.  Recipes were exchanged and broken hearts mended.  Friends passed through the fence a thousand times and arguments ended with a slammed gate, a thousand times more. But everything moves on, inexorably. Children become parents and grandparents become ancestors.  Generations.  Families. Years become decades.  Everything dies.

Alone. The once shiny posts turned brown with rust and there was no one left to scrape it clean. Hinges broke and the fence fell. In time it was absorbed by the forest.  A forest that once was kept at bay by the shiny new fence. All that was left was the gate.

There was a sense of pride, a sense of a job well done. You see, the gate was not inanimate.  It may have been created by the hands of people but spirits are alive in places that we do not know and cannot understand. But it was time.

The Spirit from within the gate felt the life force beginning it’s final journey and it remembered.  Laughter and tears, wild eyed curiosity and astonishment.  Life was a strange and wonderful experience.  For a time.  Now, sleep.

Subtext

 

Recently I was watching an old police drama. One character, that was being interviewed, was obfuscating and it dawned on me that it was all about the subtext. Of course, my little brain went wooooh!  My first thought was that kids today don’t understand subtext and then I realized:  that is how our youth speak to each other.  I am also not entirely sure they understand the art of communication. They can actually have complete conversations in 280 characters!  It used to be 140! And yet the average ‘text’ is usually only about 33 characters.  I can’t say ‘hello’ properly in less than 50.  And that is characters not words. When I was a youth, a text was a book, a sub was either a sandwich or a boat and characters were on the screen. Well, not really but those are the first things I think of.

Our language has evolved as our children have evolved. Today’s kids are in many ways much smarter than we ever were. But they are also dumber. Sorry that’s not fair.  But think about it:  how many have lost the ability to read cursive or tell time on an analog clock?  Good manners are no longer common place, good sense is lacking and good courtesy . . .

A proper conversation was fluid and accentuated with gestures and facial reactions, whole body movements. Dialogues today are via texts.  Heads down, eyes focused on a 4 x 6” screen.  And this is while they are sitting next to each other!  There is no sharing of emotions or reactions.  How can you experience the flavour, the intensity of a language if you are alone or unaware?  People who are blind or hearing-impaired use touch or movement to round out their talks.

Today’s conversationalists speak emoji. Teeny, tiny little figures that denote emotion. I think. I don’t really speak emoji. I know if I see a little yellow face with a smile that’s a good thing.  I have seen people use an entire string of these emoji creatures and they’re actually speaking a sentence. Impressive. But like so many languages, I can only speak a few words. But I can fake it really well!

I am afraid to look too far into the future. Will conversations become soundbites and emojis? Or will we regress to a time when people sat over a cup of tea and had long conversations with gestures and substance. I don’t want to spend an hour over lunch discussing some actor’s transcendental metamorphosis while he was grooming his dog. I like a real conversation about life, the world, the future . . .

For at least a little while we are going to have to be inventive in how we have our chats. But I truly hope we do not retreat to the little glass screen but we keep a dialogue going face-to-face even if it is at a distance. That to me is a conversation.

 

The Purpose of Life

You will notice that I didn’t say ‘Meaning of Life”.   Because, quite frankly, the meaning will be different for everyone. And that meaning will be based on what we have experienced of said life. We all want something different out of life. Some want children, to continue their bloodline. Some want success measured perhaps by money or by accolades. Some just want to be happy, the esoteric state that is, once again, different for everyone.

But the purpose of life it’s much easier. In its simplest terms:  it is to live.  That is the purpose of all life. From the lowest form of mold and bacteria to plants and animals. Even fire can be said to have a life as it appears to strive to continue its existence. But fire doesn’t think or feel or plot. Fire simply is. It isn’t vindictive or cruel or mean. But the results left behind are often described that way.

The only ones who truly are cruel and vindictive are people. We are the ones who search for meaning and yet we often pervert that meaning into something dark and evil.  Fortunately, most people look for the good and try to continue that. But as the saying goes: one bad apple can spoil the whole bushel. (I know, I know, I didn’t get that quite right. But the intent is there.)

When I was thinking about this post, I was wondering about the meaning of life. And then it dawned on me, what about the animals of the world? If life has to have a meaning then what about our pets? Do they have meaning? Ask anyone that shares a life with a pet and the answer is an unqualified yes! That is their meaning to us, what about to them?

I am not an animal psychologist or biologist or any kind of ‘gist that relates to the animal world but I have known many. (Mostly four legged, a few two.) From my perspective their concern is food, evacuation and something I call love. I think love exists in the animal world. Some people are uncomfortable using that word when talking about dogs and cats and elephants. Use whatever synonym you want, but even a casual server can see the affection that exists.

Perhaps we need to take a few lessons from our pets. They don’t care about three years from now. They probably don’t care about the next 20 minutes. They care about the now.  I know, I know, people can’t function that way. We need to be aware of our future and how to get there or to make it conform to our desires. But perhaps we also need to be aware of the now and not lose track. Perhaps now becomes the steppingstone to the future. Do it right today and tomorrow may take care of itself.

I Am So Offended!

 

What you ask has gotten me in such a state? The answer: people who take offence for a perceived insult.   A song written in 1944, that won an Oscar for best original song in 1949 and was popular in the 50s and 60s, offended someone more than 70 years later. So now it is an evil song about rape. Well that is one way to get into the spotlight.

Breaking News!! It was a different time. I am quite sure the writer did not consider it a rape song. Neither did I, I still don’t. What about the beloved Muppets being gay? First of all, who cares? These beloved characters were written to encourage children, not to coerce them to engage in sex. What is it about them that makes you want to label them? They are best friend!

Do you remember the year some Christmas Songs were re-interpreted? Some were considered homophobic, some anti-feminist and some just mean. Seriously people they are songs. Some were written many years ago. There was no evil agenda.

And then there are the children’s stories. Sleeping Beauty is about rape!!! Cinderella is a stereotype. Beauty and the Beast . . . well. Why do people insist on looking for the bad, the evil, the vile. You can twist anything if you try hard enough. I prefer to see the good, the wondrous, the hope that is in each of these stories. Am I turning a blind eye? Yes, I am. I prefer not to give the evil people of the world my time.

A woman is incensed because a 6 year old boy gave her 6 year old daughter a hug and a kiss in the school playground surrounded by 30 or 40 people. It was a innocent moment of affection between two CHILDREN. Nope, the mother said it was sexual assault and wanted the little boy removed from the school. Shame. Shame on that mother for making assumptions based on her hang-ups. What did those children learn?

People are constantly judging others negatively based on their own inadequacies. What are they trying to do? Does homophobia exist? Of course it does! Is it wrong? YES!!! Anti-feminism exists, sexual discrimination, racial prejudice exists. And so many more ways we discriminate against others and try to subjugate them. It is an evil world. But there is hope. Every year we as a people get a little smarter, a little more accepting. One day maybe we will truly be ONE people. I wonder what the perception of us will be in 70 years.

In the meantime, let the kids be kids and stop trying to pollute the playground.

Words

A particular pairing of letters, vowels and consonants working in tandem have such incredible power. Power to move mountains and cripple worlds. Wielded by a talented scribe words are indestructible.

But which words?

Subversive. I like that word. Subversive . . . Rebellious . . . Revolutionary. I realize these words can be used to describe negative traits in a person, but they are also the words that are used to describe heroes and forward thinkers. People who think outside the box, people who refuse to let convention limit their artistic and innovative personalities. If we all thought the same, life would stagnate. We need people who challenge our beliefs and our inherent mediocrity. Perfection is stagnant, imperfection is charming, and I am charming as hell!

When someone is placed in a situation that is different or difficult, one adapts themselves to the situation or vice versa. You don’t have to follow the ‘book’. I do not know of one book on ‘how to be a person with a disability’ that ever asked for my opinion. Ergo, it was not written for me. We are all different and that difference is our strength. The professionals in the medical field all seem to have a ‘book’ they refer to when dealing with a person with a disability. Unfortunately that ‘book’ only refers to the middle of the road and most of us are a little off on the shoulder. I have had more than a few discussions with Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists who seem to think I fall in the same mold as everyone else. I soon convinced them otherwise. To give them credit, when they realized I was actually capable of independent thought we got along much better. Of course I still had to watch and occasionally insist. I used to be so shy. I cannot afford to be anymore.

I hate the word can’t. Can’t, can’t, can’t. Recant, Vacant. Such negative words, harsh words. Unable, incapable or even cannot is preferable. Of course can, able, or capable are even more preferable. And if you look carefully, each positive word is inside the negative one. It is amazing how words can encourage us or even discourage us. Something as simple as a sound, vowels and consonants reverberating have the power to move us. A rousing speech made by an honest Politician, (and you thought I didn’t have a sense of humour) or music, good music. Music that we think is good. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Music, like Art, is personal even visceral. It is almost impossible to explain to another why a particular piece of music, or art, moves us. It doesn’t matter, if it touches you it can be used to benefit your situation. Anything, almost anything, that makes you feel good about who you are, is something you need in your life. As long as it doesn’t harm another and it is legal. I will not condone something that is illegal. At least not openly. Shhhhhh.