Heaven

Heaven, I’m in Heaven,
And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak;
And I seem to find the happiness I seek
When we’re out together dancing, cheek to cheek.

If I could choose a dancing partner to dance with the rest of my life, it would be A Promise Unbroken. Tall and straight, never compromising, he would hold my hand fast in his and we would dance merrily through the days. One after the other, the hours would ripple by with hardly a notice because the minutes, the days, would be smooth and seamless. No obstacles in our way, no lies to trip us up, no smears, no scandal, no sorrow.

Most sorrow comes from Promises Broken. Never take him as your dancing partner is what I will tell my daughter. We bear our children under Society’s promise of Health & Happiness! and feel tricked when they are not altogether Healthy! Not altogether Happy! We marry our Lovers and they break their promises, one after another, like bricks through a glass window and we are left shattered. We work at our jobs with the promise of a Secure Future and are duped when we hit old age. We buy with the promise of Satisfaction and find we cannot return our purchase and must leave with the bitter taste of Promises Broken under our tongue.

What is Heaven? Heaven is a promise unbroken.

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My 30 Day Challenge

      I’ve  been interested, for awhile, in doing a 30 day challenge on my blog. But, like everyone, I couldn’t find a topic, or series of topics, that really grabbed my interest. And, also, like Hamlet, I usually talk myself out of action before I start. I get discouraged about the whole “30 days” thing. I know I can keep up for a week, maybe even two, and then the dissipation and discouragement would set in. So, I quit before I would even start.

This time, however, I am going to take a great big step, flail at my biggest dragon and commit to a 30 day challenge. I am going to post a picture to my blog for 30 days straight. I am not going to attach any written words to my pictures. I am only going to tell you now that they will be pictures that say something about my life. There might be people, or places, or things in these pictures and there will always be clues hidden in the images that say something about me and my life. How I feel, what I think, what I do, who I love, for example. I will let the photo use one of the thousand words at its disposal to tell you something about me.

I hope you come on this journey with me.

“…and the nights were cold.”

“I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills.

I have a farm in the middle Kootenays, at the foot of a mountain.

The Equator runs across these highlands, a hundred miles to the north, and the farm lay at an altitude of over six thousand feet.

The ferry runs across this very water, valiantly struggling against the pull of the current, and the farm lies tucked in a northern corner.

In the day-time you felt that you had got high up; near to the sun, but the early mornings and evenings were limpid and restful, and the nights were cold.”  (Isak Dinesen)

In the day-time, I feel the crackle in the air from the raging power-lines, and in the evening the breeze blows through my house. And the nights are cold.

I’ve always maintained that Amelia Earhart is my heroine. A spunky, attractive woman who took a prominent role in a male-dominated occupation. She was also extremely intelligent and creative. Have you ever read her poetry? And what better way to seal your persona in an enigmatic mystery for eons to come, then to disappear of the face of the earth? Who wouldn’t want to emulate this charming and delightful woman who is always pictured with a carefree breeze ruffling her hair in such an appealing way? But for sheer romantic-heroism, for shiver-inducing images that are created with beautifully picked and impeccably placed words, I seek out Karen Blixen. A woman who accepted adventure and remained refined in the face of life’s sordidness. Despite great heartbreak and devastation, she continued to be a woman who could tell a great story.

I’m off to the library. Hope they have “Winter’s Tales”, because I need to read a wonderful story told by a valiant woman who tilted at her own futile windmills.

Oh, Foggiwog!

The following is an excerpt from a conversation I had with my six-year-old son. He is the cutest little tadpole you have ever seen, and thus, his nickname is Polliwog. With his angelic curls springing up all over his head and his big eyes and his impish smile, you would think you were dealing with the softest, most delicious cuddleumkins there is. But – he has a contrary streak that makes it impossible for him to accept banal comments at face value. His ability to turn normal comments into a metaphysical debate over the time and space continuum is breathtaking. We’ve taken to calling him “Foggiwog” but I sometimes wonder who is REALLY feeling their way through grey matter.

Foggiwog: “When did we go to the swimming pool?”

Me: “Yesterday.”

Foggiwog: “The other day?”

Me: “No, yesterday.”

Foggiwog: “Is yesterday the other day?”

Me: “No! It’s yesterday!”

Foggiwog: “But I don’t know when yesterday is!”

Me: (bear in mind, I have two other children and I’m used to staying a jump ahead of childish conversational shenanigans) “OK, remember last night, when you went to bed?”

Foggiwog: “In my own bed?”

Me: “What do you mean, ‘In your own bed’? Where else did you sleep last night?” (deep breath)

Foggiwog: “Oh, yeah, my own bed.”

Me: “OK, remember when you went to bed last night?” (refusing to be drawn into the vortex)

Foggiwog: “Was I wearing my shorts?”

Me: “I don’t know. Do you mean your pj shorts?”

Foggiwog: “No, you know, the shorts with the string?”

Me: “What string?” (stupid, stupid, stupid, being sucked in against my will)

Foggiwog: “The red string. You know, the red string that goes around and when you pull it goes down your leg.”

Me: “What are you talking about?!”

Foggiwog: “My shorts!”

Me: “OK, whatever, let’s say, yeah, you were wearing the shorts with the red string. You went to bed last night wearing the shorts with the red string, right?”

Foggiwog: “Last night?”

Me: “Yes, last night. Remember? Can you remember that? Going to bed? Going to bed and then waking up this morning?!” (slight hysterical ring to my voice)

Foggiwog: “What time did I wake up this morning?”

Me: “I don’t know!! Eight? What does it matter anyway?”

Foggiwog: “If I woke up early, then it’s a school day.”

Me: (taking a deep, shuddering breath) “It’s a holiday. You didn’t go to school today. You woke up late. You were wearing the shorts with the red string. The ones you went to bed in last night. Don’t you think you would have remembered if you went to school today?!”

Foggiwog: “When is school?”

Me: (weeping) “School is tomorrow. Do you know what tomorrow is?”

Foggiwog: “Oh, yeah, I know when tomorrow is. It’s after I go to bed tonight.”

Me: (seeing a glimmer of hope) “Well, then, yesterday is just tomorrow but in reverse!” (hoping to catch him at his own game)

Foggiwog: “But are we going swimming tomorrow?”

Where do all the lost things go?

Lately, my passion has been finding out where all the lost things go. Lost things have a strong pull on our hearts. When something lost is returned to us, it’s like an unexpected package, wrapped up in paper and string. Postage paid with a hope and a prayer. Mostly though, possessions come into your life and the next thing you know, they’re gone.  Without warning, without leaving a trail of bread crumbs, those belongings up and light a shuck for parts unknown. Sometimes you think maybe it was only in your head, maybe the things never existed in the first place. No one in your home seems to have any memory of the item you’re searching high and low for. For sure, no one else is going to find it for you. And it’s one thing when The Lost is a sock or a sweater, but it’s excruciating when it’s a person.  How do you recover lost connections? Often, when you pick them up in your hands, after stumbling across an old letter or seeing a picture online, you expect the cozy warmth of shared memories, fun times, but, unfortunately, they spark and burn in your hands. Some things, apparently, you never get back.

Some things you lose are worth crying over, like your innocence or your sparkle or your heart. If only your heart could be dropped in the ubiquitous “Lost & Found” box that sits in your child’s school hallway. That unassuming box, stuffed to overflowing with mismatched mittens, pom-pom topped toques and gnarly sweaters is a pulsing beacon, beckoning the lost. Lost clothing lays there forlorn until rapturously reclaimed and borne home to be petted and loved. Too bad our heart, soul and lost loves couldn’t be returned to us with such wonderful simplicity.

A crisis without change is failure.

I like words. I sometimes wonder if my love of reading has nothing to do with the story itself but with the fact that all those words are lining up and filling in the empty spaces on the blank page. Painting a picture in my head with their little pixels of colour until the whole is realized. Using their pinpricks of emotion to create a tattoo of love, or hate or anger on my heart.

Recently, I pointed out to someone that the addition of an ‘r’ to “toque” (a lovely, Canadian word, BTW) makes “torque”. Two disparate things. Although, not getting “your toque in a torque” has a certain ring to it. And that got me thinking about the word “crisis”, for some reason. One can have A crisis or, in my case, many crises. I think women should be categorized as having mid-life crises, not just one crisis. A crisis feels like a one time thing. Something unexpected that happens and that you get over in a little while. My child is  getting ready to leave the nest, aging parents are demanding more of my time and energy and the job, or lack of it, is a dead-end street on Hell’s cul-de-sac. This is not just one problem, they are many problems. And I haven’t even mentioned the depression that comes with watching my body fall apart.

So, I think I’m experiencing my mid-life crises. I don’t know what they’re going to look like. I don’t know how long they’re going to last. But I do know that I want to meet them with a certain amount of foggy romanticism like Don Quixote. I don’t want to work out or journal or take long baths. I want to take on villains only I can see. I want my faithful friends to stand with me and support my incalculable disillusions and treat me like a hero. I don’t care if I’m laughed at, as long as it’s behind my back. I don’t care if I’m the butt of jokes, as long as they go over my head. I’m waiting for something I can tackle with impunity because aging is just too big of a giant. I prefer to tilt at spinning wheels.