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I was thinking this morning about a conversation I had with a friend last night about personal responsibility for the choices you make, how they affect your destiny and how your ability to use perspective to…well…to put things into a perspective that can get you a view to help you make sense out of the pitfalls, the missteps and that feeling that someone or something has done you an injustice along the way. Of course, sometimes injustices happen, but it’s how you deal with them that makes the difference in all aspects of a person’s life.

The last couple of books I read were “Pale Fire” by Vladimir Nabokov and then “Hunger” by Knut Hamsun. Both had themes of paranoia, the wanting so badly of something the characters couldn’t define and of self-sabotage. When added together with the conversation of last night, it became apparent that I needed to pay attention, to at least reflect on the why of it all. So that’s what I’ve been doing this morning.

We are all products of our youth, of our journey. That being said, at some point the wheels of life need to move along, unchained, and it’s up to each and every one of us to recognize our inner chains and work to cast them off. In the end I think the casting off of chains is quite easy…it’s all the fumbling with knots and locks or sometimes the invisibility of the chains that becomes cumbersome. Just like old Jacob Marley in “A Christmas Carol”, we craft a chain of choices and actions and the weight of those links can build our inner strength or destroy us.

The other day I was in a grocery store lineup and had just started to unload my large cart of supplies onto the conveyor belt when this woman came up behind me, with a few items in a basket. There were several “Express” lanes open, so why she decided to stand behind my big load of groceries was perplexing, until she started talking to me. I think she was lonely, clad in a sorry old coat, a hopeful but unsure smile on her wrinkled face as she said to me, “Well you must have a very nice kitchen!” I looked at her and smiled, not quite knowing what to say. “Yes…yes it is! Thank you…” Looking me up and down, appraising, “And you’re so strong! It must be wonderful to be so strong…” Nodding at my cart, “You have a lot of groceries…I don’t buy many groceries any more, at my age…” I smiled again, feeling a little guilty, “Well, I still have a family to feed…I guess it’s about the stages in a person’s life…” At this point I had her pegged to be about 85 years old. “Well,” she said morosely, “at my age I don’t eat that much…now that I’m 63, my appetite isn’t much…” 63!!! Sixty-freaking-three?!!! She was 10 years older than me!! The same age as a few of my friends who certainly don’t carry their age the way she was. And the sadness!! As I paid for my groceries I said “goodbye, have a great day”to her (and the clerk), she looked at me like I was on acid, as if such a thing as a good day could ever be possible!

Now I know there are many people who suffer from depression, who just can’t get it together, because of a chemical imbalance, although many of them, if you go back through their lives, have been hurt or neglected or abused in some way, which I think maybe leads the body to defend itself by putting up a shell, literal or figurative, to keep it from happening again. But I can’t help but wonder about the difference between someone like the woman in the store, and someone who might have gone through very similar experiences in their life time, but because of attitude, of the ability to put it into a perspective that they can find harmony with, to “always look on the bright side of life” in the wise words on Monty Python, they take strength from their chains instead of letting the chains drag them down. 

I haven’t always been able to look at these things in a positive way, and I’m still working at batting 100. There have been many times when I have blamed just about everything but myself for the situations I got myself into, for lost opportunities, the times when I got so close to my “dreams” I could taste them, and then something always happened to put a speed bump or a “do not enter” sign on my path. But one of the consolations of getting older is, hopefully, figuring this stuff out. 

The opportunity “buses” have routes that keep going around and around, in eternal loops, and we are all in control of whether we get on or off. Sometimes we’re looking at our cell phones and a bus passes us by, sometimes we’re at the wrong bus stop…and there’s times we party too hard and get there too late and miss the darn thing! But they keep going around. There are love buses, career buses, friendship and dream buses, all kinds of buses out there. What that ride can do for you is directly linked to how prepared you are to climb those stairs, pay your fee and get on with the journey. 

The way I look at it, my perspective, is that, for instance, if you have a crush on someone, you really have to look at yourself honestly and say, would that person look at me and feel the same way? And if you can’t get the answer you want, you have to ask yourself why. Then you have at least two choices: get on the bus where the other passengers like you just as you are, even if they aren’t your ideal choices, or look at the person you have a crush on as an opportunity to embrace change and take that route. Same thing with career opportunities. I recently gained perspective on my own talents and abilities this way: If someone called me later today and said, “Kirsten! You’re never going to believe it! “So and so big star” was booked to play tomorrow at Carnegie Hall, and they have to cancel!(I know this is a crazy storyline but just play along:)) We would like you to take their place…the hall is sold out, and the audience has all of your dream musicians and industry types…the band is a magic band, and they already know your music…so! Can you do it?”

Well, when I asked myself that a few years, even months ago, I was a little sad, because I knew the answer wasn’t what I’d hoped it could be. I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready like when Spencer Davis asked me to sit in on his set 25 years ago. I wasn’t ready like when I was asked at the last minute to sing the American and Canadian anthems at the Grizzlies/ Chicago Bulls game. I wasn’t ready, and if I wasn’t ready, there would be no bus ride for me, that much I knew. But with accepting that law of individual responsibility and seeing it with a perspective that let me practise my butt off and not look at missteps as failures; with my eyes and ears on the art and not the outcome, I can safely say that I’m still not quite ready…but almost. I am almost there. Although, just like mountain climbing, the closer you get to your destination, the farther away it starts to look…seems I will never get there, because every time I get close, someone moves the goal posts:))

There’s a kind of freedom that comes with a healthy perspective. When you stop looking at others or circumstances as chains that hold you back, things get light pretty quickly. When it’s all about you, your choices, the negatives start to melt away, the excuses become dead weight, easier cast off than carried. If I’m not ready for the bus when it comes, there’s only my own reflection I should  be looking at…maybe it was the wrong bus, maybe I mistimed things; the bus was full, moving fast and maybe I didn’t have the courage and strength to jam myself in with the other passengers, to make my right to access undeniable, not to anyone else, but to myself. 

The good thing is that I have control over that. Yup. It’s all about perspective:)

Many years ago, when I was in my very early twenties, I left Vancouver Island to tour the backwoods of Western Canada with Elektraglyde, a group that invented itself out of the then Malaspina College Jazz program we were enrolled in at the end of 1983, which then morphed into “DV8” as members came and went. We were going to be rock stars, that much we were sure of, and although the incredible energy I was carrying around loved the release that “rocking” gave it every night, my heart was never really in it…which I guess is part of why we didn’t get to that goalpost. 

I was raised spending a great deal of time with my grandmother in the first few years, in California, listening to jazz. She loved jazz, loved the blues and I would dance around while she listened to all the greats, tapping her foot and sewing. We moved to Canada and I didn’t see her again for a very long time, but she sure left the love of jazz and blues ripe in my soul, and once you’ve been fed a diet of that at a young age, it’s hard to chew on anything else…although I love many aspects of what we would call rock and roll, especially artists like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, and I played the heck out of “Rumours” and anything Floyd, it’s never held the same tang in it’s bite as my first tastes of jazz, soul and blues have.

When I was a teenager, I knew of Aretha Franklin, of course, who didn’t!? But when I found my first copy of “Young, Gifted and Black”, second hand at a yard sale, that was a game changer. I ran back and started driving everyone around me crazy playing it over and over. “Oh Me Oh My!” How many times did I sing along with that? “Rock Steady?” Oh yeah! I sure did! Every single song I played and sang with and as I crawled into the soul of Aretha with every note, all the bullshit that was happening in my life then just melted away; her voice was balm for my soul and I basked in it like she was the sun, all warm and healing.

But then it was time to tour, to take my whack at the music biz, and I needed to store my records and personal things, so a good friend offered to put them in her basement until I came back to Nanaimo, which I never did, in any permanent kind of way. Around this time I came into ownership, if that is a word you can ever use with a living creature, of a cockatiel that I named “Joey”. It was lonely on the road, especially being the only girl, so adopting Joey gave me someone to talk to, when I had the voice left after a night of screaming top 40 hits, when the guys were all doing what guys do on the road. After a year or so, it became clear that Joey wasn’t enjoying the road life; he was looking a little mangy and sad, so the next time we were in Nanaimo, my friend offered to take him for the last couple of months left in the tour. I missed Joey, but it seemed the right decision at the time.

When I came home, I went to my friend’s to collect my records and Joey. As I walked in, she had a very sad look on her face when I asked after Joey. Wordlessly, she went to her freezer and took out a paper bag, I kid you not, with a little cross I think it was, and “Joey” written on it. This was around the time that Monty Python was going on about their parrot and it’s feet being nailed to the perch, so I was caught between feeling incredibly sad(to this day I can’t bear to see a dead bird) and trying not to laugh at life imitating art. I took the bag from her, not sure what to do with a frozen Joey, then asked about my records.

As fate would have it, they had had a flood in the basement where my were stored, and many had been destroyed, and I guess some would say that my copy of “Young, Gifted and Black” was ruined; on the edge there was quite a warp, and “The Border Song” and “A Brand New Me” were no longer playable. But I loved that record, scratches, warp and all, so I took it and Joey with me to the ferry back to Vancouver. I know my friend felt terrible…shit just happens sometimes.

Joey received a burial at sea. I still have my record and still play it on a very old portable record player and the years melt away every time. Thousands of plays later Aretha still gives me shivers and tears like no other. Just yesterday I watched, over and over and over, her performance of Adele’s “In the Deep” on the David Letterman show…stunning, just incredible!! Anyone in this music business who thinks that a woman over the age of 30 has nothing to say that the world wants to hear really needs to get their head out of their ass. Aretha is 72!!!! 72 and singing with an ageless soul, because her voice IS love and that kind of love that begs for the world to hear it doesn’t die in a soul just because it’s past the age of “twerking!” This world can be a big and scary place, and I question much of what motivates our “entertainment” industry these days. But as long as I have an Aretha to keep me warm when things just seem too cold, I’m good. And THAT my friends, is the power of music, the power of a Goddess, of THE Goddess, Aretha Franklin. Yup. Rock Steady all!:))

This morning I woke up, full of piss and vinegar as the saying goes, having just had the best sleep in months, after a particularly nasty run of insomnia, lasting a couple of weeks this time. I’ve never been a great sleeper…it takes a lot to knock this “everready bunny” out; when the world turns off, the quiet jumps to life like a massive canvas to dream on and that’s often when my best creativity gets to work, that and in the very early morning.

After getting the boy off to school at 7:15 and all the madness that that usually entails, I raced to my guitar, craving those strings  so much after a weekend away without them. I’ve been working on the new tunes that I will be recording on an EP at the end of October, as well as practising all the songs that I’ve written that will work with the direction I feel I’m going in, putting together a set or two for the live work that I feel coming up in the near future. I say “that I feel coming up” because it’s not booked yet, but I know it will be. Every time I practise guitar or sax or paint, I can feel it all going into a great big energy field that seems to be speeding up the harder I work, the more I believe in what I’ve accomplished. I’ve been working hard on fitness, mental and physical, reading, ingesting, observing…finding time and energy where I thought there was none and doing my best to defy the speed bumps, those of both external and internal origins and somewhere along the way, it seems I’ve started to believe in myself again. And with that work has come empathy, understanding, confidence.

Still, there are times when I question myself…the music business is more treacherous than ever, and I was recently speaking with someone who said a little worriedly to me when I was spouting off my passion for music these days, my ambitions, “Well, this IS a time when most people are gearing down to enjoy life a little…” But this IS how I enjoy life!! When I’m creating, honing, working towards a dream, that’s where a big part of my bliss lives. I’m aware that some people are bemused when I ask them not to put ceilings on my dreams…yes I’m a 53 year old woman, starting out again in the music/art/writing business, and I guess to many people that would qualify as a kind of madness…but I’ve not been known over the years to worry too much what most people think. Most people, not all:))

Anyway, I was thinking about what this EP is all about…there is definitely a story there…but I was trying to think about a title, a name that would act as an umbrella for what I am hoping will be a work of art. One of the joyous things about being myself in orbit of a music industry in flux is realizing that there are no rules; writing to make a hit or for any other reason, in my case, is irrelevant. Just being a 53 year old woman makes it so. That’s when you take what people would perceive as a negative and make it work for you. What some would see as chains I saw as an emancipation, the freedom to write only what I feel, what I love, what is art to me. It’s an exciting place to be in, and when you find yourself there it’s like a buzz of energy crawling under, in and on top of your skin and your soul, and you know, you just know you’re finally on the right path.

Awhile back I read “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Milan Kundera, highly recommended to all. It set me off on many introspective journeys, as great novels do, and inspired me in the writing of these new songs. Two quotes that spoke to me from the book:

“When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object.” 

“Love is the longing for the half of ourselves we have lost.” 

There was much more to think about it from that book and many others I’ve read recently, but for the needs of this essay, I’ll leave it there. 

Mulling through all this input, one of the songs I wrote that will be on the new EP is called “A Feather and a Scale”. I was toying with the idea that all we are, all we do, the love gained and lost, the traumas and worries, laughter and tears, at the end of a life, in the scheme of things, doesn’t really amount to much. There are millions, billions of people before us and after us that will live and die and this notion that in some way we might be immortal, that the weight of our life’s experience might translate into something that makes it “mean something” is rather…silly. Even the relative importance of Napoleon, Churchill,  Picasso and Beethoven will be lost in time. Many people now have little time for books, music; anything longer than a text is taxing to their ability to focus. 

But again, instead of saying to myself, “What’s the point of all this practise, writing, painting, exercising if not to share it with people, to share a vision, a soul?”, I have recently become content with understanding that all I can really take responsibility for in this world is what I do within it. If I am bitter, I will add bitterness. If I am happy, I will make people smile. I choose option number two. I choose to make beauty where I can as my offering to the universe to try to counterbalance what I perceive as the ugliness, the hate and antipathy so dominant in our media, our world. I choose to live this life like there is only today, with the weightlessness that comes with that acceptance. I choose to give love without worrying about it’s return. I reserve the right to choose the people and actions that will reflect light to my world, so that in return I can mirror that light back to them, maybe between us enough light to shine on others. If someone doesn’t understand how that works, I choose to respect myself enough to let them go, to leave room for someone who understands the path I am on, who will share it with me, not try to drag me off of it.

This morning I was thinking of all that while I practised my new songs, when suddenly it became very clear that my new EP will be called, “A Feather and a Scale”. I was as sure of that as anything I’ve ever been. 

Then I was racing to a workout, realizing that time had not paused for my latest epiphany. I ran downstairs to take Lucy for a quick pee in the side yard, and as she was looking for a spot, I looked down on the flagstone path I had put in a few months ago to see a soft grey feather with a white tip, still dry, freshly fallen in the pouring rain.

Picking it up, I smiled. It was the first feather I had found since we moved here two years ago. Some things can be so obvious if you let them. I kept the feather with me on my way to the gym, afraid that someone would throw it out, promising myself to look up the “meaning of a feather on a path” when I got home. I have always been attracted to nature(especially birds:)), to the oneness of the universe. I’m not a believer in “organized religion”, or of every new wave spirituality fad but I enjoy the stories of Native spirituality, have always felt a closeness, a kinship with the earth. So I looked up online, “the Meaning of Feathers”. These are some of the ideas on the subject I found.

"The Native American people had a great spiritual understanding about feathers, their colours and their meaning. They would take the utmost care of any feathers that came their way as they saw it as a sacred gift, or a powerful talisman in battle."

My feather is soft grey with a white tip:” GREY - peace and neutrality (as it is in the middle of black and white), authenticness, flexibility.

WHITE - purification, spirituality, hope, trust, faith, protection, peace, Heaven, angels, and also act as blessings and wisdom connected with moon. Grey and white symbolise hope.”

"It is commonly thought in most cultures that feathers are symbols of higher thought, spiritual progression.  The line of thought here is that birds were considered divine creatures in primitive/ancient cultures because they are creatures of the sky (heaven) and therefore closer to God.

When you find feathers upon your path it could be taken to mean that you are on a higher spiritual path (whether you accept it or not), and it may be a sign of encouragement as you philosophically travel on this path.

Finding feathers on your path is also symbolic of having a lighter outlook on life or a particular situation.  When we see feathers in our midst it is considered a message that we need to lighten up, not take things too seriously, and try to find the joy in our situation.”

Yup. Makes sense to me:)image

 

Just got on the train from Bath to London, Paddington Station, once again watching the patchwork of green and golden hills flying by, interspersed with brick walled train stations, each with their own unique character, industrial lots and a hodgepodge of hedge and grass walled hills thrown in. Dotted along the countryside are centuries old farmhouses, power poles and in the distance a church steeple or castle rook draws my gaze when I break from typing to muse on the past couple of weeks in Somerset. We stayed in a lovely converted barn just off of Dark Lane, near Witham Friary, names that can’t help but send my writer’s imagination off on creative tangents every time they pass through my mind.

Why two weeks in the middle of the English countryside? Well to start with, I spent some time as a young adult tending bar in an English pub called the Queen Victoria, in a little town called Rottingdean, just outside of Brighton. My stepfather (I don’t like using that word…he was my Dad and that’s all there is to it, but somehow I have to differentiate between him and my birth-father) was a Brit through and through, and most of the time he spent as an ex-pat on Vancouver Island trying to recreate a little piece of Britain there, building a pub called the Crow and Gate, the first English Pub in Canada, and a few houses along the same theme. He always wanted to come back to England to retire, but wanting to be close to his sons and their families kept him on the Island, although he visited England often. I miss him so much and every time I come here, especially when sitting in a “Proper English Pub”, lifting a glass or two, I feel him with me, so that’s one of the reasons for sure. Like him I dream of spending more time here someday, as he would say, it just suits me.

Then there’s the fact that our son Austin has moved to London, and shows no signs of returning to Canada, so we’ve started coming here more often. But London is a crazy place to stay for long when you aren’t as young as he is, so a few days there is just fine by me, then I need a little quiet to hear the things that make stories and songs find their way through my heart. But he was close enough to be able to visit us in the country for a couple of days when he wasn’t working, so that was nice too.

Then there’s my friend, Mandy.

I met Mandy almost thirteen years ago, at the preschool our sons, Jesse and Arran went to. They both seemed to hit it off one day, out of the blue, and as we watched them playing on the little field outside the school one day, we started chatting. I started having kids late in the scheme of things, and Jesse was my second, so there’s ten years between us, me on the older end, but right away I liked her. She was well traveled, had street smarts, and a great sense of humour, having grown up just outside London…yes, another Brit had found her way into my life. She laughed at my jokes, loved dark chocolate, good food and red wine…what more could a gal ask for in a friend?

We arranged play dates for the boys, but of course we found excuses to have a glass of wine, then the play dates went a little longer.  There were lunches, then dinners with our husbands, and the friendship grew as we added each other’s friends to the circle and the years went by.

Sometimes, very rarely, we took each other a little for granted, said the wrong thing…feelings got hurt and then healed, but always we made our way back to the circle, and continued where we had left off. Our boys seemed to be following the same path with their friendship. We used to marvel at the fact that years would go by without an argument between them, they would just run up to one another’s rooms or outside and play, invent and we could hear them laughing hysterically, or sometimes hours would go by where we would hear nothing. We’d get worried and go to check on them, but they would be playing with Lego or doing something creative in absolute silence, they were so comfortable in each other’s company.

Mandy and I were becoming the same way. If we didn’t see each other for a while, it wasn’t a big deal; we would pick up where we left off when we did get together. We were busy with our families, both of us had other friends and I had my hobbies. In those days I didn’t tell many people I was a musician, I had let that part of my life rest while I focused on the needs of my family, hoping that one day there would be a chance to find my way back to my music and art.  When I did, I found out how much Mandy loved music, that her father was a musician. I knew she loved art, as she had lovely paintings all throughout her house, and when I started painting again, and writing, I couldn’t have had a better sounding board than her. She has been there to cheer me on, to listen to every new song, read every story and praise my art, being one of those rare souls that exists, it seems, to see other people happy.

Our trust grew and we started sharing the important things; stories, both happy and sad, sometimes just silly. Our boys were growing up and as is inevitable, in some ways after all those years of being so close, they grew apart a little. We talked about it, but we didn’t force it. No friendship should ever be forced, we understood that very well. But we did talk to them both about how rare and precious it is in this world to ever have a friendship like they had, and that they shouldn’t count it out just yet. Like two strong rivers, they would be sure to meet and then flow away from each other, but in the meeting there was a strength they would miss if they let it go.

During that time Mandy and I also were giving each other a little more space. I was moving towards my art again, which meant less time for friends, more time alone with instruments and paintbrushes; she was expanding her circle, had new friends, became an expert skier, while I prided myself on my après ski abilities and tennis. When we did get together we always picked up where we had left off, as if we had seen each other just the day before.

Then Austin grew up and moved away. We started thinking about crossing the bridge to live, which for people on either side of the bridge is akin to moving continents…lost a few people I thought were friends in that move. Live and learn. But Mandy kept coming over, glad for a change of scene and once again we resumed the closeness we’d known before, realizing that maybe we’d been taking our friendship a little for granted, we worked a little harder to find time for each other again.

Then came a spring break bombshell over a dinner at our new place. “We’re moving back to England…” she said nervously. I caught my breath, took a long drink of my wine, my mind racing, a thousand thoughts running back and forth. She told us why, and although I was shocked, I knew that a real friend understands that no one ever makes a decision like that flippantly. It was the right thing for her family, at the right time…for them. And although my heart was saying, “Nooooooo!!!!” out of my mouth came, “I totally understand…hey! I can come visit you!” I’m sure my eyes weren’t as convincing as I was trying to make my words, but after all the years of laughter, of her listening to my music and supporting me and me doing my best to support whatever she needed support in, of sharing our thoughts, our children, our love…surely a country the size of Canada and an ocean the size of the Atlantic wasn’t going to get in the way of that!! She needed my support then more than ever, and I knew there was no choice, so I said, “I think it’s going to be awesome! Good for you!!”

It’s been over a year since that night, they moved a few months later. She came back for a couple of crazy weeks to pack up her home, see all the friends she was going to miss, and she stopped at my place on the way to the airport. I didn’t get to see as much of her as I had hoped, but I was glad to be the last stop. Then when I came to London for Austin’s 21st birthday, we got together for a couple of wonderful days. And now we’ve just said goodbye after a wonderful couple of weeks in the English countryside that they’ve made their new home, going to “proper English pubs” and country houses, cooking together again and as far apart as we will be until the next time, I feel like we are closer than ever, and am so grateful we were able to have this time together.

It never gets easier saying goodbye though…so my dear Mandy, how about we call this farewell, until the next time? Thank you so much for your hospitality, your friendship. I wish you all the best on this new adventure, I know it will turn out great, no matter what:) Love you so much my friend, miss you already, but I know it won’t be long until we meet again. Cheers!

Kirsten

 

 A couple of nights ago, while leaving the bathroom in our vacation rental house in the lovely English countryside, my eyebrow came into a rather unfortunate contact with an “invisible” glass shower wall edge, resulting the following morning in a palette of angry purples and reds showing up on my swollen left eyelid, it’s pots of colour slowly blending and edging under my eye throughout the next day.  I had spent about half an hour icing it after the initial bump and frequently for the next couple of days, hoping that would be enough to avoid said discolourations. However when I showed my friends back home a picture of my eye, I knew by their shocked reactions that there was nothing much to do but wait this one out. I’m famous for my ability to continually forget that invariably when I come into contact with walls, chair and table legs, and seemingly benign objects to others more graceful than I, the laws of physics dictate that I will lose the battle of impact, but obviously that knowledge still has not taken effect upon my consciousness and it’s piloting of my finer motor skills, and so it seems I am to continue my journey in this life, now and then interrupted by reminders.

 As it has been my lifelong habit, this accident caused me to reflect, albeit through one eye slightly swollen: What was I thinking just before I literally hit the wall? Was this a reminder of something besides my own lack of coordination? Of course reflections like these led me to make a few jokes about myself, to which a friend replied, well, if you can laugh about this, you must be okay. Yes. I am okay and recalled immediately after impact I had thought to myself, well THAT could have been a lot worse! There was no cut, no concussion, no stitches, my eyesight was good and if all I had to do was avoid external mirrors for a week or two, then I got off lightly. But the internal mirrors, well there had been a few signs over the past week that I needed to refresh my soul with those, check inside my conscience, listen to “the bird” that my holidaying had recently left on the back perch, just out of earshot. 

 On social media lately I have noticed people making efforts to recognize their own states of grace, being grateful for at least one thing a day in their life. Reading them I have often smiled to myself, albeit a little smugly sometimes. Since I can remember, being happy where I was, being grateful has been a bit of a struggle that I often attributed to being an artist; never being content with anything I had created, always looking to the next, better song, painting, essay and so on. Many people have said things like Kirsten, get off the hamster wheel, what are you trying to prove to people? Can’t you just relax for a while? In fact, relaxing is the very worst thing I do. I am a workaholic. Sitting and doing “nothing” is agony for me. But it’s not about impressing others…mostly:) It’s about my own inner demons, pushing, always demanding more. After a great deal of introspection over the years I discovered that because of my own rather wacky family situation, I was catapulted into the world, on my own at a very young age without having been given the tools to cope. It was never a given than I was loved, I certainly never took love for granted and at a very young age I was conscious of thinking that maybe if I worked harder, if I was more talented, more beautiful…more quiet, more clever, more…loveable, then someone would be able to find love in their hearts for me. It seemed quite obvious, in my young mind that the problems in the hearts of the people around me rested with me, not with them.

 What I was blessed with was my creativity, born of a need to escape in those early years. I would run through the fields and forests of Cedar and Yellow Point, mostly alone, pretending, imagining to be anyone but who I was. The stories I would invent, the songs I would sing, from as early an age as I can remember, would take me all sorts of places…anywhere but where I was. That imagination got me through some very tough times, and I am very grateful for it. I am also grateful for learning at a very young age that when “bad” things happen, there is an opportunity to learn from them, about yourself, about others, providing you are willing to listen. In fact the more you listen, everywhere you go, the more lessons there are to learn.

My husband and two sons started our vacation almost three weeks ago in London. Our oldest son is a wonderful musician, making his way in that grand city. He’s been working very hard, and we are proud of what he has accomplished in so short a time. We also miss him a great deal, so we picked him up on the way to Budapest, where we spent a week, then to Istanbul for a few weeks before dropping him back in London and continuing to the English countryside. I wasn’t sure why I had picked these destinations, just felt a calling there.

In Budapest we visited “the Terror Museum”, a must see for anyone in the area and indeed a must learn for the children of the world. It is a lesson in inhumanity, following the occupation of Hungary through the regimes of first Nazism then Stalinism, then the terror of Hungary’s own secret police. The last Soviet troops left Hungary in 1991. My experience in that museum will haunt me forever…I can only imagine what horrors the people of Hungary have gone through, and I am grateful that, so far my family and I will live through it in our imaginations alone, although one can never be too sure with the way the world seems to be going sometimes.

One day we hired a driver, Adam, to take us to Lake Balaton, far off in the Hungarian countryside. He was a lovely young man, 28 years old, full of dreams for himself and his girlfriend who he hoped to marry as soon as they had saved enough for her to “stop working” and become a mother. Of course I chided him a little and reminded him that motherhood is one of the toughest jobs there is, he laughed, agreeing, then proceeded to tell us how the government worked in Hungary, what life was for the people. Over all he was optimistic about his future. He owned his own car, bought a new one every three years, then sold it to a cab driver. He had been the only one of 13 driving associates who had passed his “transporter” license, qualifying him to drive movie stars, politicians from the airport to their hotels. His shirt was freshly pressed, even in the intense heat. In a country of bruised and broken souls, he was one of the believers in a great future for Hungary, and I believed him. He will do well. 

On the way to the airport to fly to Istanbul, we had another driver. He did not give us his name when we introduced ourselves. He was guarded, about forty years old. His smile had a sadness; he was jaded. One thing he said when we asked him how he felt about the future of Hungary will stay with me forever: Left hand, right hand…both are from the same corrupted body. 

As I got onto the plane I couldn’t help but think about how people create their destiny, often without even being aware of it. Of course every time I think about that idea, my inner debater says, well what about sick children? Did I create the sadness in my early life? Over the years of this internal argument I’ve come to the conclusion that we are all linked, and that sometimes these things we go through are not about our karma, our lesson, but more about the lesson that someone near us needs to hear or learn, that we are all here as a mirror to someone else, to help them see a part of themselves. I can think of many people in my life who have taught me that, family members, acquaintances and complete strangers on the way to the airport. Some people are positive. They make the best of everything, find something to smile about or even laugh about in the worst of times and some people are just plain negative and bitter. Does the negativity come from experience or lead to experience? Recently during similar debates with two friends, both who I’ve known a very long time, all of us starting out in the music business at the same time, I noticed that the “successful” friend put forward his arguments in a respectful, reasoned and caring way, leaving us both aware of our similarities more so than our differences, but I think it was obvious that we both learned from each other’s arguments a great deal. The other wasn’t that way at all, was bitter, resentful and I would feel no loss if our paths never crossed again. I couldn’t help be struck by their differences, and the differences in the paths our lives have taken. As painful as the latter argument was, I am grateful for it reminding me of one of the truths of the universe; What you give, you shall receive.

In Istanbul I was faced with so many lessons about being grateful, it would be too great a task to list them here, but seeing the poverty held up to the wealth in such an obvious fashion, feeling the tinderbox of emotion ready to light all around me made me very grateful for the geographical lottery I won by being born where I was. Istanbul is fascinating, would take at least six months to lift just a few of it’s veils, and I highly recommend a visit to anyone, but I was happy to get back to London again, that I will not deny.

We dropped off Austin at his place in Notting Hill then proceeded to the train to Bath, then to our holiday rental about half an hour away. Of course at this point of the holiday, the workaholic in me can’t wait to get back to work. I had stored my guitar at Austin’s place and our first morning here I ran outside to practise in the sunshine. It was wonderful!! I found myself thinking about an upcoming gig that I was preparing for, about the things I needed to get done when I got home, about practising my saxophone, about just about everything except my family, this vacation, this long sought love…this NOW!! I was reading a book called “the Red and the Black” by Stendhal, if ever there was a treatise on being grateful for where you are, that book is it.

Until a couple of nights ago, when in the middle of the night, after lying awake, fretting about this and that, things people had said, things I needed to do, and so on, I got up to go to the bathroom and WHAM!!! It took a shower stall to literally knock some sense into me! And you know what? I’m grateful for that too! I’m grateful for every lesson, every hardship, every dumb ass in my life that does and says silly things, every blessing, my family, my world, music and art, my dog Lucy, my friends, for all the love around me, I am so grateful! Many years ago I cut out a cartoon from a series called “The Artist”, and pasted it into a photo album, it was so important then. The first frame was a guy staring to the heavens, saying, “I need a sign, I’m lost!” The next frame showed a sign being placed in front of him that said, “You are here.” The guys looks up and says, “Can you be a little more specific?” and a big fist with the index finger extended points to the sign. The guy looks at the audience and says, “He’s hard to stop when he’s on a roll…”  Still learning. Sometimes it takes a whack on the eye to make you see clearer. Guess that’s why they call them “shiners”:)))

It was morning, late morning.  At least I think it was morning.  The sun was shining in through slat-blinded windows, radiating down from midpoint in the sky.  Bright, but not too warm, so late morning it would have been. Yes.

When I was a little girl, I liked to spirit the scissors from the ledge of my grandmother’s sewing machine table.  Withdrawing into myself and the wall beyond Granny’s pulsing feet in the space under that grinding machine, I would open and close those scissors, one little hand on each steely grip, marveling at the sound they made in transition.  Open.  Close.  Open.  Close.  And I would smile to myself, a small smile at this weight of power in my hands, this wanton act of defiance.  

Bits of lace would fall from the workstation above, very small bits.  My grandmother was dutifully thrifty and prone to reminding me thus when I did not want to eat my oatmeal, even if it was the third time it had been served that day!  “Eat it or wear it!” Granny would threaten. Just a few days before the one this memory rests upon, I had discovered what Granny was talking about.  Most of the oatmeal had come out of my hair by the second wash, although some of it had dried hard due to my own darn stubbornness Granny told me as she briskly snipped away the baby blond, wispy, knotted pieces. 

Open…close….

Granny’s dear mother had died when she was a young girl, leaving Granny and her youth strangers of convenience from that point on.  She was the eldest of fourteen siblings, so in the order of the day, the task of looking after her brothers, sisters and a domestically and otherwise ignorant farmer father fell to her. Granny did the only logical thing a girl could do those days to escape her lot. In grand Catholic tradition she married the first guy she literally rolled in the hay with and went on to have five children with him. Her new husband was a dashing pilot, fresh out of the war. Grandpa was brave. He had medals and big dreams. Grandpa had been quite a catch those days, women fawning, draping all over him, hanging onto every word as he regaled them with stories of patriotic risk and daring. He brought with him the breath of lands far away and exotic, and exhaled it into the Vancouver Island backwoods town they called home. 

Granny, as a young and seductive farm girl, it would seem, was more fertile than the others, and a few months after a hasty marriage a baby girl was born.  Grandpa always believed he could of, would of and should of, but he never did, preferring instead to stew in his own bitterness because, for reasons he never cared to divulge, he preferred it there.  It was what he knew.  In that war and world-damaged soul of his there was solace in the dark. But the darkness he carried with him made it difficult to hold a job, to hold respect for himself and for others, especially his family. With each new baby his ability to cope grew more and more difficult to grasp.

In the grand scheme and desperation of things it would have been obscene if abuses hadn’t have happened.  They just weren’t spoken of except in the silent screams of a black eye or thumbprints thickening, whispering from the soft skin under a livid ear to matching, swelling fingerprints on the other side of Granny’s neck.  When one was suddenly caught aware, the voices of the town criers of purgatory were unmistakable in clarity and bareness. 

Lost dreams can be dangerous things.

Open. Close. Open…

Red velvet was a rare find. Small bits were useful for stuffing inside the porcelain mouths of the antique dolls my grandmother outfitted to sell at the local summer trade shows.  If an errant piece did manage to be lost on it’s way to the remnants pile, by the time my little fingers had happened upon it, it’s edges had frayed and it no longer presented much of a texture to rub like some exotic fur in my childlike imagination.  But the ragged weft could no doubt be well trimmed and shaped by the scissors, although the execution of such a task could prove fatal to my mission of wanting to keep said scissors to said self and not have said Granny take them away upon discovery of possession. Such a feat would require two hands for the unwieldy scissors and something to balance the tattered velvet on to allow for easy trimming.  Such options were limited under the sewing machine table, especially with granny’s nylon-clad feet always tapping and pulsing and dancing about on the treadle, one or another of her big toes poking its’ way through a fresh run.

This cherubic felon would not be deterred by circumstance and peril.  

Open…close…opening very slowly…closing very carefully, precise, almost surgically I went about notching the beleaguered velvet scrap balanced against the toe of my scuffed white shoe in a series of “vees”, letting the cuttings fall into my lap and onto the linoleum floor around me. I felt a perverse thrill as I manipulated the cold steel blades, one handle gripped in each determined little hand. 

When the door to the sewing room burst open, and a red-faced Grandpa planted himself in it’s frame, his stocky torso listing from one side to the other, I was so far down in myself that at first I did not react. When I did sense him from my shadowy vantage point, my instinct was to press my little body so hard against the wall that my spine seemed to buckle and cave into itself, as if by pressing deeply enough into the peeling wallpapered wainscoting I would cause myself to disappear.  In my short life’s experiences with my grandfather I had found that disappearance was by far the favoured option to discovery.

With a kind of frozen stealth I slowly lifted the scissors up the wall with one hand and poked them quietly and precariously back onto the ledge from which I had pilfered them only moments ago. Granny’s feet were still dancing on the treadle as her crackled voice hummed along with Sarah Vaughan on the radio.  Jazz had been a staple in the sewing room since I could remember, since my mother had gradually left me with Granny so it would be easier to find a new father for me. A new father had been found, quite quickly really, but it seemed now my mother needed more and more time without me, especially after a new baby brother was born. My mother, this new father and brother set up house together, but it must have been a very small house because there was no room for me there and I was small enough to fit under the sewing machine table! So me and granny passed the days, then weeks, months and years in and out of this room, jazz pumping in and out of time with the machine above me, flanked by dolls of all sizes and expressions, leaning on shelves against each other in various states of dress and undress.

I could see my grandfather, looming large, bloated and belligerent, saying something to Granny, but Granny was making so much noise singing and sewing that she didn’t notice him.  Three shaky steps and his hand was cupped and cuffing the back of Granny’s head hard enough to knock her off her chair.  The sewing machine stopped but the old tube radio kept playing loud until it was silenced under a vicious fist. Bending down to his sprawling wife Grandpa spat in rancid, gin-soaked breath at the hands she held protectively over her face, “Now do ya’ hear me, ya’ deaf bitch?”

Then his attention turned to me, having, for all my efforts, not been successful in disappearing. Granny pulled herself up. Ranting and raving about this bastard child and her slut mother, Grandpa reached down to drag me out from my hiding spot but then Granny hurled herself at him, using all her weight to shove him aside. The sewing scissors were knocked back down the wall to rest again on the floor in front of me and I was crying uncontrollably now as Granny grabbed them away. Holding the scissors up over her shoulder like a furious bird with a murderous beak, this wife lunged at her husband, pecking madly and violently at his shoulder.  He recoiled, slapping his hand over his fresh wounds, fearful, indignant and shrieking obscenities as Granny stood her ground. Liquid velvet seeped between Grandpa’s fingers, as he sputtered, cursed and seethed then slowly backed away back through the door. Slam! Heavy, staggering footsteps stomped through the living room. Slam! A toxic torrent of incoherence fading as the heavy car door crunched closed.  An angry engine fired and howled away and then all was silent but for me sobbing, breathless, wanting to be stronger than this.  By now I should have been stronger than this.

Then I was in her grandmother’s arms as, kneeling down, Granny discovered the bits of red velvet cuttings scattered under the table, and shaking, smothering her teary cheeks in kisses Granny held me tight as she cried, “Oh, you monster!  You precious monster!  I told you not to play with my scissors!”

image

When the lights go down

there’s no one else around

she steps out in the silence

like she was dancing on a cloud

Those who love her stay

others go away

guess that’s what keeps a girl remembering

who she was

when the skies were not so undecided

when the stars bowed to the sun

when a soul, so strong, could be divided

they’d come…she’d hear those voices singing

Somewhere in the cool night breeze

the world stood still while she believed

that anything can happen

in a dream

But the truth is that miracles

are seldom what they seem

Dancing on as the floor fell from beneath her feet

she gazed down the street

at passers by

reaching out her hand

she tried

to touch them

Katie and Me                                     Fiction-by Kirsten Nash

Katie and me were sitting in the field and we were smoking.  We were smoking grass, and not the kind of grass that you could brag about behind the backstop at school, but the kind of grass that you rolled in the paper insides of cigarette package foil.  You needed a Bic lighter to run the flame under the tinfoil part until it kissed the paper goodbye.  When the paper was lifted from the glue, we curled the hay up in it, because that’s what the grass really was…shredded hay, and we licked, twisted and snapped at the edges of the paper until we had a cigarette.  We were desperate for any vestige of sophistication, and so we took long, languid drags from our “cigarettes” and pretended we were big city bohemians in bookish, jazz-laced coffee shops, arguing over the respective mojos of Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan.  I thought Leonard Cohen was the sexy one, dark and lost, but Katie thought Bob Dylan was the renegade, the cool one.  After all, he smoked pot with the Beatles!  Then we pretended we were Bob Dylan groupies, which seemed kind of lame after awhile, so we changed to Katie being Bob and I was Leonard, smoking each other up at a rock concert, in San Francisco, 1968, backstage at The Airplane and Grateful Dead concert.

“Now that would be cool!”  Katie had the joint, and was trying to get some continuity out of it.

“D’ya think maybe Jimi an’ Janis will be joinin’ us?”  I was trying to lay myself out like I was reclining on the velvet couch on the front of the Janis Joplin record my stepbrother had left behind for me when he moved out.

            “I don’t think so, man,” Katie droned in a mock stoned voice, “But we can check out Jimi at the Filmore next week, man…”

“Cool man…” 

We sounded more like Cheech and Chong than Bob and Leonard, but we didn’t care.  Whoever we were being wasn’t from anywhere near us, and that was all that we cared about as we dreamed our dreams on that late summer day.

Even through the smoke we could smell the shedding arbutus and the impatience of autumn. The week before the fields had been splendid, waving and arguing with the split beam fences, but now they sputtered and lisped with the urgency of time out of hand, ruing any wasted seconds of sunshine, heads bent, waiting for the thresher. 

We both took turns sucking at the reefer, fat and bulbous, roughshod and lacking.  Lacking in substance and conformity, it flared and stifled, and one match after another was sacrificed on the path to its’ eventual demise.

Katie’s new stepfather had false teeth that clicked.  When I sat down to dinner with their family before our sleepover the night before, it was the one thing at the table that everyone knew but nobody talked about.  Click-click…clack-slurp-click…all through the soup and the salad his dentures rubbed and crackled. Listening to him chew a steak was like hearing a drunk tap dance; no cadence you could count on, just spastic rhythms and sliding, grating tendons engaging in a kind of tribal, primal mastication.

Katie and I looked at each other across the table and she kicked my shin when I crossed and uncrossed my eyes in time with her father’s porcelain maracas, trying to crack her up.  Then later, when we were in our pyjamas, we stood in front of her dresser mirror in her bedroom and I tried to show her how to cross her eyes, but try as she did, only one eye would reach it’s corner.  Her other eye was a “lazy” eye, and stayed a few beats behind.  But she could bend her thumb right back on itself, like there was no bone there at all, which was pretty cool once I got over the way it made me feel like puking.

When Katie’s new dad finished supper, he took out his false teeth for a while and set them on the table beside his chair, then lit a homemade cigarette (a real one, not like ours) and his face collapsed.  He had a mechanical cigarette maker, cartons of hollow cigarette tubes and bags of tobacco that he set on the kitchen table with a box of red wine. When the butt was ready to be stuffed in the glass ashtray they got from Reno on their honeymoon, he popped his teeth back in then he and her mother sat down and took turns stuffing the tobacco in the metal groove and cranking the lever that filled each paper tube as they drank the wine box dry.

I tried to get the last gasps of smoke out of our hay cigarette, sucking my lips in like Katie’s stepdad, but there’s no way you can get the same depth with teeth in your gums to stop your cheeks from imploding.  The best I could do was to look like a cross-eyed grouper fish on fire, with the smoke pouring from my nose and mouth.  Katie started laughing like there might have been something more than hay in that cigarette, and I joined in, between coughs and wheezes.  We laughed the kind of laughter that only two newly teenage girls can laugh, rolling side to side, convulsing under the harvest sun until, our stomachs both aching, the last giggle had been spent.

            I can’t believe school starts tomorrow…Katie didn’t much like school.  She didn’t have the clothes for it.  All summer on the farm left the dust she wore thicker and less patchy than her t-shirts.  No one saw fit to teach her about hygiene, and as her body changed no one seemed to notice or care about the new odours coming from her pubescent pores.  Except for early last spring at school when her favourite teacher, Mr. Hines, had to take her aside and tell her that other kids were refusing to sit beside her because she was smelling so bad and went on to tell her how to properly wash herself and use deodorant.  She was even more humiliated because she had thought he was going to tell her she had the lead in the new school play.

            WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME? YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE MY FRIEND!!  Katie yelled at me on the way home that day.

I didn’t really notice…honest!  Maybe ‘cause I’m around you so much, maybe I’m used to the way you smell!                   I was getting angry.  She was always blaming me for something she should have been angry with her parents for.  I was proud that she looked up to me, but sometimes her trust fell a little heavily on my shoulders.  Besides, most mornings I got up, the first thing I did was milk the cow and feed the chickens.  I smelled more shit before seven in the morning than most people did in a lifetime. By the time I got to school, my nose was used to a funky smell.  How would I know it was coming from Katie too?

It’s not like you can tell your best friend their smell blends in with your cow shit, so when we got to my house, I gave her one of my Dad’s old deodorants to try as a peace offering, after I picked a couple of hairs off first.  I would have given her one of mine but I only had one, and it was the first one.  Dad and me got it just a couple of weeks ago, with his sister, Aunt Jo, who was visiting us all the way from Nova Scotia and said “You know…” a lot in a high, twangy rasp and then usually went on to tell you something you actually didn’t know at all!

“You know, Abe, she really needs a trainin’ bra…an’ you know, some deodorant would be useful right about now too.  You can’t just leave the girl growin’ wild like them raspberries out back, you got to prune her, clean her up now an’ then!  Jaysus!  Don’t her mother even come an’ take a look at her ev’ry so often?”  And Aunt Jo paced the kitchen with her cigarette fidgeting in her hand, ashes in feathery chaos settling on the floor around her.

Dad took her rant in stride, fidgeting with the saltshaker as he stood by the counter.  “I guess now’s just as good a time as any.”  And he started walking to the front door and out to the car, just expecting us to follow, screen door slapping shut behind him.  Aunt Jo jammed her cigarette in the sink’s hole and as it hissed a quick death she grabbed her purse and sweater off the bench she’d set it on when she first came in.  Her wedge heels were shaky on the gravel driveway as she followed her brother out of a lifetime of habit to the truck waking and coughing beside the garage. 

I stood for a minute more in the kitchen, trying to process what had just happened and what was about to happen.  A bra?  Deodorant? The awkwardness of the mission overwhelmed me.  I was only thirteen!  As yet, only one of my nipples had popped out, and the other had caved in!  What kind of bra was going to work for me?  Katie had talked a few months ago about getting a training bra, but neither of us could figure out what she should be trying to train her titties to do?

For me it went deeper than that.  I had one of the best arms in the school.  I out shot the boys in shot put, discus, javelin and I had a mean over-hand pitch.  When I struck a boy out sometimes they would snort and smack their bat on the diamond or chuck it at the backstop and get a warning.  They’d be blaming the wind, blaming the bat and the umpire for not calling my pitch a foul ball.  They’d just about do anything than admit that a girl just struck them out. But up until now I hadn’t been much of a girl. If I were to start wearing a bra, that would be the end of it, there was no way the boys would let me keep playing with them.

Katie stood up. Bits of hay stuck to her pants and she was brushing them off but I was rolling on my back, side to side in the bristled grass.

“Whatchya doin’?”  Katie cocked her head critically to one side, watching me writhing in the dust.

“My back’s itchy…” I jumped up, suddenly self-conscious and dusted myself off.

            “What do ya’ think you are?  Some kind of cow or somethin’?”  She set off impatiently, shaking her head toward the gravel road without waiting for an answer that was in no hurry to come, and I followed, distracted, our footsteps absorbed by the matted field.

The road kicked up more dust as we set off to where my bike was waiting, leaning against the fence.  My backpack, stuffed unceremoniously with my pyjamas, toothbrush and the training bra my aunt had picked out for me, was hanging off the handlebars.  I would be waiting until the last minute to put the ridiculous pink contraption on. Just before our driveway there was a large cedar and cottonwood thicket, and therein was my impromptu change room.  It would go on to serve me through most of grade eight as I did my best to fend off the inevitable changes that nature was hoisting upon me.  Every morning I would stop in the thicket on my way to school, take off the bra and stuff it in my backpack, and rain or shine, wet or dry, every day I would stop on the way home and put it back on again. Not that Dad would have noticed its’ absence.  I figured that he had made an effort in getting me the damn thing, so I ought to respect that by wearing it around the house. But the Devil’s ass would be frostbitten before I’d be shackled by it in the schoolyard.

The truth was, for a year or so nobody, even Aunt Jo, would be likely to notice if I was wearing a bra or not.  Not like Katie.  No boy had looked her in the eyes for a few months now, especially at the lake in her new two-piece swimsuit.  She said she thought the boys were creepy, but I’d known Katie long enough to know that she thought boys were anything but creepy.  Her body was just catching up to where her spirit had been all along.  Soon, I knew, not only would she have her own deodorant, scented like lilacs, but she would be taking long baths almost every night and nagging at her mom for bath salts and musk oil soap.

We said goodbye a little stiffly and as I bounced along her driveway on my bike steering clear of the potholes, Katie disappeared down the forested trail to her house. Turning out onto the pock-marked country road, I was conscious of the slapping of my backpack on my hips as I pedaled through the maze of blazing maples, fields, fences and roadside brambles that marked my way home. It always seemed that around the end of summer was when things started ending and beginning.  Some people think that the beauty of it happens in springtime, but I think it’s at the end of summer.  For something to be born, it seems like something’s eventually got to die and what could be more beautiful and selfless than that?  As I jumped off my bike in the cottonwood thicket and pulled my bra, already hooked, up my legs, under my t-shirt and slipped the straps over my shoulders, I wondered too if autumn was nature’s way of testing your faith. As the world browned all around, I reasoned, one had no choice but to believe in spring. Things are always simpler when you have no choice but not necessarily easier.

I walked my bike slowly out of the thicket and onto our driveway, wanting to hold the last few memories of summer close to me.  School started tomorrow.  It was Katie and my first day of high school.  There would be new girls, girls with curls and lipstick who dotted their “I’s” with hearts and gobbled up gossip and sugarless gum in the halls. There would be boys who would stand around them, shifting foot to foot, trying desperately to be cool.  I didn’t much care how or if I fit in, I never had.  But Katie was different. It mattered to her so much that just my not caring seemed to threaten her these days.  Of course, that idea could have been more rooted in my own insecure teenage imagination than in fact, but one thing I did know as I leaned my bike against the back porch and clomped up the stairs to open the creaky kitchen door, was that times, they were-a-changin’.

 

 

 

 

 

Morning in Whistler…no snow yet of course, but so peaceful…deciduous in full bloom, evergreens hunkering down for the weight of winter, a few birds still calling, chipmunks furtive, dashing and stashing. The sky grey with a slight mange of blue, the sun slow in waking, scant rays getting through.
Autumn and pumpkins outside the store yesterday where I saw the boy…I can see him right now, all of five years
holding with wild-eyed glee a pumpkin carving kit
And I smiled to myself just to think of it!
And in this remembering, a smile too and then the faintest of a tear
These seasons, these lessons, this never-ending thrust
the leaves, they keep falling as ever they must, in showers of lime, tangerine and rust
Seasons that leave me here remembering my own little boys, pumpkins carved, broken toys. And Christmas mornings, tooth fairies too! Mornings in panic, homework lost, sick days and monsters, then girlfriends! Oh my! And then just an echo, a life that’s gone by. The leaves they start falling, as leaves always do…it’s morning in Whistler…I’m thinking of you:)