Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Move to the front of the line

We are all approaching the edge of the Grand Canyon - just imagine it if you will. You know - the lovely edge that you look down into and see the crazy colours of the rocks all dripping with pastel frosting - a deranged inside out layer cake of a place. In the front row are the oldest generation - the grandfathers, grandmothers, great-aunts and uncles and so on. Each row that comes behind is a slightly younger generation? Where do you think you are? Really! Think about it.

Last night we had a gathering for the relatives of Ron's Uncle Dick - he had died on Wednesday and there isn't to be a service until summer when all can get here. We had chowder and home-made buns and squares and sat around talking and drinking wine or Scotch or beer. It was truly lovely. The weird thing was, all day I had been imagining that there would be old people there. You know - the elders.

Guess what? That would've been us. We were the elders. I mean sure, there are some older people in both our families but there weren't any at this gathering and I actually knew there wouldn't be. There is only one sibling alive from Uncle Dick's family and he lives in Halifax. Uncle Dick's wife and Ron's mother are in the home and neither can really hold it in their minds that he has died. There is one other sister-in-law in town but again - not physically able to manage snowy walkways and steps. We were it.

At the front of the line - in front of us - the deep dark abyss - or the new adventure or however you might think of it. I like how tricksy my brain is, don't you?

Today we're walking up to Uncle Dick's in a snow storm to see his daughter before she heads home.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Patience! Where can I buy some!

Lack of patience is my bête noire as any old friend of mine would tell you. Ir doesn't always arise - this irritable streak - I have endless patience with my therapy clients for instance and not through struggling - it is easy. But with my lovers, children, dogs, - not so much. I am very impatient with the black beast today. That was a word play as bête noire means black beast in French! Yes, I'm afraid I am dreadfully put out by Bella. Today's adventure went thusly:

It is cold out - only -17 but blustery, snowy and grey. Bella still needs her walk and so do I. I decide I will try the snowshoes (the modern ones not my glorious traditional ones but ones that have bindings. Bindings! Arggh. I did them up in the house - well, in the front porch and on carpet strips so they wouldn't hurt anything. I got them on and the dog on her lead (more bindings) and out we went - out through the yard to the beach, which is so snow swept it is impassable without snowshoes. All fine. I still have to stop every few feet when Bella surges (that's the technique that I'm trying to stick to - just stopping dead until she realizes she ain't moving and comes back to my side). We are heading down the bay with the land to our left - I know that it is too cold for me to get all the way to the spot where I can let her go - just isn't going to happen. Then my foot falls out of the binding and I have to hold the leash and fasten it up without my mitts on - brrr and grrr.  Get it back and go a little further but it does it again and I can't quite get it done up. I feel this fury sweep through me that I recall from trying to get toddlers dressed when it is freezing out only to have to do it in reverse moments later - buckles, bindings, latches - all stupid frustrating pieces of shite!

Bella is being fairly good - still surging but then remembering and I know she'll be unhappy when we turn back but I'm getting too cold - no photo possibilities (more straps and things to fumble with) - I take a couple just to say I was there - and we start walking back. She is digging and trying to have fun - poor thing - and I'm grimly moving through the landscape. For those of you who might meditate you'll recognize the feeling - you are sitting and appear to be doing it, but inside - struggling and losing it.

I don't know what caused Bella to run side-wise through the thick snow but she did, and at such an angle and at such a jolt that I tipped over. At which point she ran to me and jumped on my head.

Any tiny lick of patience? Gone.

Here's a photo of Bella seen through my haze of fury - actually - of course - that is a blatant lie. I took this photo before being jerked off my feet - after she did that it was not very long before we were in the house - I can really move when motivated.

Now she is pretending nothing happened, sleeping not too far from where I am sitting, wondering no doubt what the frig is the matter with that woman?!

For my penance I will vacuum the downstairs - which I was going to do anyway but now I will do it in penance with a castdown look on my face.While my bête noire  looks on.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Out to the tent

It has been a rather frustrating week with Bella on a lead, neither of us getting what we want but nothing to be done about it. Today I decided I would walk out the ski-do trail by the shore past all the houses. Then I could let her go - she'd stay with me. And I wanted to see if I could meet my friends Robin and Liz coming back from spending the night in a Labrador-style tent that has been set up just off the trail in the wood.
Yes! I saw them miles away - slogging along. Robin with a heavy back-pack and Liz pushing a sled. By the time I saw them I had let Bella off and she charged to them - but couldn't quite decide if she knew them so would run back and forth between us. Finally she realized it was her good buddies and excitedly greeted them.

In this photo, Robin and Liz are two tiny dots  at the forest line about half and a bit across.

Here they are a bit closer - as you can see - a gorgeous day, cold -25 or colder but still and everything frosted with snow.

I met up with another gal named Flo and her two dogs - Mona and Mojo and we decided to find the tent as neither of us had ever been. The dogs were a snarling pack of ninnys but we decided they could work it out and wear themselves out at the same time. And so they did.

 Look at what I saw!

we could tell which way to go in the woods by the snow-shoe and sled tracks.

Here is the tent - see the pipe coming out? we unzipped and went in, dogs and all, still warm from Robin and Liz's fire and the smell of the spruce boughs on the ground was intoxicating. How I long to spend a night there. Will I be able to convince the fella? Who knows.

this is a pretty crappy picture but it is of the firebox and you can see a bit of a low shelf with tea fixings on it and the boughs that make up the floor.

here is the light coming through the canvas...oh I want to be there!
 the frying pan hanging outside which the dogs all gave a good lick to! Bacon?

the tent nestled into the trees

the dogs run ahead of us coming out of the woods to the shoreline.

Flo and bits of dogs snurfing through the snow...

 and home I go ...

Friday, 17 January 2014

trying to penetrate why seeing the same landscape over and over is important

Each day unfolds pretty much like the other - the part that is my practice - my daily forays out onto the beach - don't vary much except the weather dependent part of them. Can I go out onto the bay? Not before the ice is built up and not without snowshoes when the snow is drifted -unless the skidoos have packed it down enough. Or I walk to the end of the beach as far as I can go. I tend to go later than I used to although the sun rises earlier - I am in my winter slow-down, wanting to nestle under the feather-tick with a good book and the cup of coffee the fella brings me. Bella knows the drill - she sleeps on the rug near the bed until I rise and dress. Then it is to the kitchen table where I drink a half-cup of coffee and write the letter for the day. Gear up and out we go.

This week has been somewhat an exercise in frustration. Bella ran off on Monday and was gone for hours so now I'm only taking her on a lead. That means I am spending time with a spoiled kid twirling around and I swear, though this can't be true, she knows if can just irritate me enough I might let her go with a 'damn it - go then, stupid dog'. But I haven't. I don't want her slowly becoming more and more disobedient and me a bad dog person. So this week that is the discipline and I pine for simple reflection on what I'm seeing.

I felt it yesterday too. The pining. I went at 9AM  on the Seniors' Van to Goose Bay. I had a lawyer apt. I couldn't miss and it seemed a sensible idea - going in with the fella means a ten hour day in town and what to do with the gal - also it isn't a cozy easy to get around town - it is a long long strip so - the seniors' van. Perfect really and I did grocery shopping and the three of us on it, another woman and the volunteer driver, went for lunch. All good. But I LONGED to be here idly taking photos of trees and the shore and the snow and writing to you all about it. Yes, I did. The trees on the trip home (45 minutes or so) were heavenly, all laden with snow and miles and miles of them, until I fell asleep in the heat of the van and the rhythm and the gorgeousness in my eyes like a little kid at the fair.

Familiarity does not breed contempt! It breeds affection, love, longing and more longing. I can't bear to miss what will happen to the ballycatter with the temperature surge and drop - or how the afternoon sun is getting stronger and making exquisite shapes on the snow - or how yesterday there was this strip of diffused light across the mountains across the bay, as if there was a blue shield of glass just across them. I don't want to miss a thing.

And it makes me think of my fella and how the longer I know him the more I watch his every move - not in a possessive way but because he has become more and more interesting - not less with knowing him.

This watching, listening, close observing reminds me of when my children - my great galumphing adults - were babies. I could have spent a year examining their eyelashes. It was all I wanted to do - look at them and the changes day to day.

So - a landscape, a lover, babies. Maybe I can even go further and say 'life' - what is that quote 'the only life worth living is the examined-life'? I will look it up but not before I finish my thought. Maybe when we hear that, we think - oh the examined-life - yes, of course! But we don't think further - we don't think or penetrate what the word 'examined' means or the word 'life'. We assume we know. Or I should say, I assumed I knew and didn't think of it much except as an obvious truism. But now? Now I'm thinking that it means we need to attend to the minutiae of that we love, our life, really observe it - with gentleness and delight at whatever happens. Sing to it like the Aboriginals in Australia - sing our life awake. Pay attention to it - lovingly, daily. Yes.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

thoughts on beginning something

Today I gathered up some poems and made something new from them - taking the sketches I made a quilt of a poem - a nice long poem - just to begin this process is heaven. The other thing I began today is snowshoeing. Oh, I've snowshoed before, but it was a long time ago and a few provinces to the west! I didn't take the snowshoes that the fella got me for my birthday - no harness yet for them - he will make me one of twine like the Innu have - so I took out the slim aluminum ones with buckles and latches. Other than the struggle to put them on with Bella on her long lead (she's under close lead arrest until she remembers who to come home to) it was easy-peasy.

Off we went out to the beach - the snow drifts as high as our fence! And on out to the center of the bay. Bella not happy and making me know it by acting totally crazy on the lead but I felt great despite that. The ability to move where yesterday I couldn't go - well it is a fabulous feeling! I remember it - racing through the woods with my pal Laurel, in New Brunswick - each of us with a fully loaded water pistol (tequila sunrises as I recollect) squirting the heavenly stuff into each other's mouths while out in the crisp winter air. Or with my kids when they were small in Ontario - out in Brooke Valley, swerving along the stone walls dividing the properties one from another. Also the light this time of day is great - I didn't take the camera though - that would've been one technology too far. Of course, as soon as I got out there, I wished I had. Ah well - beautiful oblongs of light, the sun low in the west, the horizon pinking up like a freshwater pearl and stillness. Oh the beautiful sound of that particular silence!

This photo is from much earlier - probably November ...

Monday, 13 January 2014

After a storm

The sky is beginning to blue up, the wind quiet down. The storm left this area sometime with the sun yesterday. The sun came back without her pal - sort of shy earlier but now warming up to being here. The beach is gone and so is the bay - one big expanse of snow - the dog has also gone - she went out with me earlier and realized I wasn't good for as long as she needed so while I scrambled over mountains of snow she snaked off down the road to visit friends or other people's compost piles.
ah well.

Here it is - today's perceptions for you all. Including an ecstatic Bella running towards me at full gallop.

This one is the end of the road or actually where the road turns onto the beach - how we went today as our yard was impassable by me...

 here she is a dot in space!

I'm lying on the snow and she is on top of me!

our house from the driveway - the mound of snow to the right is where we usually go to the beach!

more kale for you kale lovers....

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Dreaming in Black and White

A Sunday with a blizzard is oddly comforting. I know that is because I believe in some sort of magic - like we will get so many blizzards a year so having them when no one has to be on the road is good. It is warm, power on, internet sketchy but that has nothing to do with the weather (please do not ask or you will be horrified at how your friend has become the latest to believe in a crazy conspiracy theory). The man baked bread, I'm reading a good if limited thriller - limited in its ability to surprise me that is - all good. I went as far as the fence after writing my letter. Even Bella is happy to stay inside. Last time I shooed her out she really didn't leave the porch though she seems to think she is a husky - able to curl up in the snow and stay warm. Ah well, I think I'm a cowgirl and so it goes.

I will share the few pictures I took on my short walk to the fence and the ones I took inside. I do have to go out in a few minutes - down to the post office to mail my daily letter. It doesn't matter that no one will be there until tomorrow and it will be a terrible slog. It is my practice and I will do it. Stubborn adherence to rules that I made up - as if I were the General and the Troops too.

Somehow this photo of our canoe makes me feel quite wistful. Not sure why...