Tag Archives: self

Vortex

English: A small whirlpool in a pond
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

no matter how stable
no matter how calm
somehow you manage
to turn it all wrong

one moment we’re laughing
the next moment you’re gone
leaving me to wonder
where I really belong

I don’t need the turmoil
of a daily crisis du jour
where the sad end result
is this same tired song

no matter how crazy
no matter how odd
somehow you expect
I’ll just go along

Well here’s a surprise
for you to enjoy
I’m done with the battles
I’m sounding the gong

I’m escaping your vortex
that is keeping me down.

Days: Good Friday (repost)

(Yes I am recycling. This is a copy of my Good Friday post from 3 years ago. I liked it so I am sharing all over again!)

IMG00045-20110831-1516

This day seems to be the forgotten holiday of the year. There is no lead-up to Good Friday. No frenzied fanfare of festivity. No elaborate feasts to plan and prepare. That is probably why I like this holiday the best.

Good Friday really is a day off from the bustle and hustle of the consumer world. No sales. Just time to contemplate the world. I am sitting here this morning with a second cup of coffee, watching the sun peak over the horizon. There is a slight mist on the roofs of the houses as the day slips from springtime chill to springtime warmth.

I have time to think. Let my brain play with words. Roofs. Rooves. I remember learning in school that the plural of roof was rooves. But now we use the american “roofs”. When did that change? The rule I learned was if it ends in ‘f’ or ‘fe’  then to make the plural you drop the “f” sound and writes “ves”.

dwarf to dwarves
elf to elves
hoof to hooves
knife to knives
leaf to leaves
life to lives
self to selves
wolf to wolves

Of course then there are words that ignore the rule anyway – like the plural of beef is not beeves. And the plural of proof is not prooves.

Ah English the language of rules, and long lists of exceptions to the rules! This is why English is such an exceptional language.

As you can see Good Friday is for getting diverted and contemplative. Mindless musing. The above was simply pointless stream of consciousness.  A raw slice of my brain straight up. I am full of trivia. Or full of something.

My favourite memory of Good Friday is from many many many years ago. I was in my early twenties. I was with some friends driving up to Midland, Ontario to find a very specific restaurant that served Lake Huron whitefish. Our friend and driver had heard the fish was incredibly fresh and delicious.

Now I don’t remember the restaurant name but I do think it was Henry’s Fish Restaurant. I’ve been back a few times so my memory may be muddled. And the fish is still worth the long drive!

But this memory isn’t about the destination. It is about the journey. That day was a foggy Good Friday. Dense white cotton fog slowing us down to well below the speed-limit. The trees and posts shadowy dark flickers flashing by us. The road shiny black and slick. There was no-one else on the road. Just us – some friends on a journey. Cocooned in our own reality.

In the back of the car was a book – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – and for me it was an incredible find. At that moment, in that space, that book and the message inside clicked with me. There are concepts in that book that I had no idea could actually exist! My friend – the driver of the car – saw me thumbing through the book and gave it to me.

From where I sit today I can see that same book looking at me from my shelves. It is bedraggled and stained and dog-eared. The book has survived the years – my friend the driver did not. He died later that year from leukemia. But on that Good Friday there was no leukemia darkening our thoughts. On that day we were full of life twenty-somethings on a road trip. Our driver was a big robust man full of life and zest – and by the fall of that year he was an anemic husk gasping for air in a hospital bed. He was much too young to die.

That Good Friday held no hint of the sadness waiting in our future. We laughed, we talked. The restaurant wasn’t open we arrived, so we walked the waterfront. We drank early morning beers (cans in bags – oh we were so clever!) by the lake, while we discussed philosophy and how we would change the world. By the time we had finished our exploration of Midland – the sun had burned away the morning fog.

The fish was indeed wonderful, and we promised that next year we would repeat the road-trip. We promised that this would become our Easter weekend ritual. I’ve been back since then – but the ritual never blossomed. It withered and died.

In the mid-afternoon sunshine we drove back the way we had come. No hurry to get anywhere, we stopped at used bookshops and curio stores along the way looking for old National Geographic magazines. And books on World War II history. Our own version of an Easter Egg hunt for those that no longer believed in the Easter Bunny.

Good Friday: A good day to remember how we have arrived at this moment in time. And to remember those who we loved and left behind.

Ramble: I’m not white…but sometimes I play one…

It happened again. That funny question that irks and tweaks the underbelly of self-identity. “What are you?”

The snark rises and I stutter, “Ahh…huu..man?”

The smirk flashes annoyance, “No I mean like where are you from?”

“Oh I am Canadian – born in Ontario. Not far from here…”

Interruption arises, eyebrows raised, “No I mean your people where are they from?”

“My parents were refugees, fleeing tyranny. And…”

A spark dawns and interjects before I can finish, “Oh you are Middle-eastern. Turkish?”

Now I am annoyed, and I can feel the emotions brush across my face and furrow my brow.

“How about I finish. They came from Europe. 1956. The failed Hungarian Revolution made my father realize he couldn’t stay because he would be arrested and tortured again. And my mother had just had a baby. So when the river froze in December of 1956 they walked across the ice to what is now Croatia.”

A nod. I see they are listening.

“My mother’s brother was in Toronto, so he sponsored them to come to Canada. And in July of 1957 they arrived in Quebec on a refugee ship. And…”

I can see the question coming before it becomes sound, “So you are European – cause you don’t really look white. Kinda Asian actually. Your almost black hair, and skin with a hint of colour and your eyes are almond which is why I said Turkish…”

My turn to speak up and over, “Yeah. Hungarian-Croatian. Well actually Croatian-Hungarian is more accurate. The village was mostly Croatian, but in the Hungarian side of the border. That part of Europe is a mix of people spilling between tribes and blending. I hear there is some Gypsy – Roma – ancestry in my genetic makeup. And some of the tribes that settled in the area had Asian and Middle-eastern origins.”

The other listens, and nods. And summarized my label, “So you are white then..huh. So hard to tell.”

I sigh, and reply, “Nope I am not white, but I’ve been mistaken for one before. I am human. And while my skin has a lighter-tone, my attitude is universal. The place of my birth, and the colour of my skin has nothing to do with how I have experienced the world, or how I think. My advice to you is top labelling people based on outward appearances. You cannot judge a book by its cover; Nor can you see the human inside the body if all you see are the shape and colour that they wear. Yes indeed we are each unique individuals; but close your eyes and open your ears! And you will be surprised to learn that we are all more alike, than we are different.”

I can see my words have offended, as they turn and move away. Truly they meant no harm in asking such an innocent question. Yet it wasn’t innocent at all, merely unthinking and presumptive.  As I watch them leave, I can hear my mother’s voice in my head, “This is why you can’t have nice things – you always break them.”

Yes Mom, I do break them. Because I expect them to be better than that to begin with…

Ramble: I Miss You Mom

I haven’t posted for a while because my Mom was in and out of the hospital in the last month, and on January 16 she peacefully passed away. Free at last from the many years of struggle with her health. 

It is strange how we create a routine out of the obligations of life. A pattern is shaped from necessity and reluctantly overlaid. Eight years ago my father died, and my mom asked me to come see her more often. At first it was every other week. Somewhere in there it became a weekly visit. Usually on a Saturday, I’d be up by 6am and on my way. The 2-hour drive a quiet pleasant meditation through lovely Ontario country-side. A stop for a coffee. Sometimes a pause for walk on a trail.
I’d stop at the grocery store along the way and get what was needed, And arrive at my Mom’s usually before 9AM. We would have breakfast, discuss what was new and news, make a to-do list of what needed doing, Check the sump-pump, change the filters, light-bulbs, garden, lawn…whatever. Somewhere in there the PSW would arrive and help my mom with her personal care.
Then my mom and I would have lunch, and we’d cook something extra for the fridge and freezer. Sometimes we would bake – tea biscuits, cake, cookies – so my mom would have goodies to offer her many guests through the week. Her local church/community was simply amazing for how they took turns visiting her each evening.
Sometimes I’d stay for dinner, but usually by 4 pm I’d be heading back on the trek back the other way to my own home. Back to my own to-do list that was waiting for me.
Yes there were times I would feel trapped by the pattern of obligation. Times I just felt too tired, too overwhelmed…
And still I would go – maybe shifting the visit to a Monday…
I am not writing this to grumble and brag. I did what I did because I was available and I could. It was my choice. I am writing this because it became such a part of my life that today, this morning, In this here and now of quiet reflection, I realize and I feel the empty space that is here and now. It feels odd not planning a shopping list, gathering the tools to bring, creating a menu, finding a recipe…
I am writing not to say what I did, but to say how much it is missed.