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All We Have Here Is Sky 1 comment

“is it lasting?”
and in asking
the sphere becomes a line
a dotted line
and to follow it
you must make a jump each time

I’ve been quite effusive on Facebook of late about feeling “blessed”, almost to the point of absurdity. Sometimes I stumble through my day-to-day life, taking everything from my own footfalls to the air in my lungs to the structure of my life for granted. Then, I will be overcome by the enormity of the privilege I’ve been granted, through whatever miracles of DNA or circumstance or training or sheer shit luck, to live this life.

Here are some things that have struck me recently:

A Normal Day: I wake up.  All my limbs, organs and muscles work. My brain gets active. My emotional life stirs. I am hungry. I am thirsty. There is food and there is water. See? I open a tap, and clean – if somewhat bleachy – water appears in endless amounts.

Doesn’t that just knock you out when that happens? If it doesn’t, it should because there are more places than I’d care to mention – including right here in Canada – where access to clean, potable water is not taken for granted, at all. No, I’m not on LSD and no I’m not going to wax poetic about the beauty of water. But, seriously, consider that the majority of the population of the world cannot do this simple thing we take for granted, many times a day. It is a humbling and precious thing, our access to water.

My normal day includes coffee and most of the time it tastes exactly as I want it to.

There is always music in my normal day, sometimes background. Sometimes foreground. Always present.

There are people to talk with, laugh with and work with. I have things to do, things to be accountable for. I’m connected in that karmic web of offering of myself and receiving, integrating and synthesizing what others offer.

There are students to learn from.

I have my own home to return to at the end of the day, providing that I left it at all. Sometimes I don’t. Both circumstances, either leaving or staying, are precious. They suggest I have purpose out in the world, and purpose within my own world.

Health, food, water, shelter, people, connection, purpose. How lucky am I?

a dotted page
a dotted hillside
a blast of dots
a blind reader
a flock of sheep
a blast of trumpet shots

here – all we have here is sky
all the sky is is blue
all that blue is is one
more colour now

My Jobs: I have many jobs, it seems. A main one and a bunch of smaller projects on the go at any one time. All stretch me creatively, organizationally. Sometimes they stretch me emotionally.

It is true, I admit it, that I have not always been grateful for my main job. I take it back. 😉 It can be stimulating, allows huge amounts of latitude and freedom, and stretches me in often unexpected ways. It offers an unusual amount of security, which is a rare thing these days.

I’m grateful for my ever-growing network that seems to answer most needs, even quite unusual ones, with the flick of a few e-mails. Some days, I feel like I only need ask and whatever it is I’m trying to generate appears. Amazing.

Each day represents new opportunity in so many ways. How lucky am I?

a basket of apples
by the back door
beneath the sweater pegs
the autumn leaves
lift along the street
a pair of dancing legs

same as the vendor
who likes to sing
as loudly as he can
and all he says is
it suits me fine
that’s the way I am

Full Weekends: I flash back to a time when I was newly single in the Big City. Tough times. The break-up caused a schism in my normally dynamic social fabric. Many of the friends I had remaining were coupled themselves – weekends were their “couple” time. I could place activity in the weekday evenings, but the weekends often yawned before me, cavernous and terrifying in the depths of loneliness they could foster.

Now, my weekends need to be managed. So much to do that is self-care (groceries, errands, meal prep for the week, domestic chores), social (hockey, market, special occasions, casual get-togethers, home-cooked meals with friends, parties) and the occasional out-of-town guest. Sometimes, I need a weekend to recover from my weekend! How lucky am I?

here – all we have here is sky
all the sky is is blue
all that blue is is one
more colour now

I’ve seen this THING
you won’t believe
why it’s big – bigger
than the biggest trees
high as the mountains
wide as the widest skies
(and that’s both sides)
well – at least as big as me

Creativity & Communication: When I was in Grade 12, I was literally forced – by my best friend and my drama teacher simultaneously – to audition for the school play. I had taken a couple years of drama classes yet really didn’t feel very confident that I had anything to offer as a performer. Being hornswoggled into this role in a production of Shaw’s Arms and the Man was a turning point.

As it turns out, I’m less than adequate as a stage actor. But something about this experience started me on an increasingly conscious journey. Becoming more and more conscious of creativity and communication as powerful forces in my life, within me and around me. Both textual and subtextual. Dermis, not epidermis.

Here is what I’m really getting at: I could dig ditches for a living, or work as a short-order cook, or drive a bus. I could do those things and they are all useful and honourable ways to earn one’s keep. But, by some miracle, at some point, my creative output-generating brain kicked into gear and I can use it instead. How lucky am I?

speak a little softer
work a little louder
shoot less with more care
sing a little sweeter
and love a little longer
and soon you will be there

here – all we have here is sky
all the sky is is blue
all that blue is is one
more colour now

Today: It is January 20, 2009 and, along with millions and millions of others, I am so grateful a new steward is in place in the United States. Someone of integrity, vision, and with the ability to inspire and mobilize a willing public. His very existence breaks countless barriers. I am alive and conscious on this day, able to have at least a glimmer of understanding of how momenteous this shift is in America. How lucky am I?

these are some reasons
and same as the seasons
they hold and then they fly
the goatless ledge
‘neath the honkless geese
in the speckless sky
the speckless sky
I hear you
I hear you
I hear you

For The Record … 1 comment

I wish to state, categorically and emphatically, that Katja’s Auntie is not now, nor has she ever been, responsible for sending my diet off the rails. Her endless supply of dark, Lindt, 70% cocoa chocolate, the kind that melts sweetly and soothingly on the tongue while one is struggling through mind-numbing grading or class prep, delivered to my desk, for free, has NOTHING whatsoever to do with my decision to consume said morsels.

I’m a grown-up. I make my own decisions.

(… Geben Sie mir Schokolade und niemand sind verletzt …)

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Andy Borowitz’s discussion of Obama’s annoying habit of speaking in complete sentences made me laugh out loud. I APPLAUD HEARTILY the return of the English language to the colonies.

OK … back to work … If I had my camera here, I’d take a picture of the chocolate … alas … no camera …

Oops – My Feminist Slip Is Showing 1 comment

Here is Robin Morgan's recent take on HR Clinton Vs. B Obama. I don't always agree with Morgan, but on this she has struck a chord with me.

Speaking personally, and from an arm's length perspective up north here, there is something vaguely unsettling about the rush to Obama and the dismissal of HRC. Obama is brilliant, engaging, and very Kennedy-esque – what is not to like in that? Until reading this, I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

It is the double standard, the mantle of legitimacy that a male merely assumes and that a woman has to stridently re-draw and re-draw for the electorate. The constant reminders of her qualifications start to sound defensive … what a hard road she has in front of her to stay away from any territory that can allow the subconsciously biased media to dismiss her in the favour of the more camera and microphone ready opponent.

The US, and the World, would not suffer from an Obama presidency. He would be an excellent choice. But the US, and the World, will have lost an opportunity to re-align our gender and sex-role perceptions dramatically, and to finally challenge the patriarchy that has caused so much damage worldwide. And this can't help but benefit everyone, regardless of race. 

Unfortunately, I have no insight into rogue's excellent question about putting HRC up against John McCain. I'm just not close enough to the US political machine to respond. Lots can happen between now and November, and HRC is a clever and talented politician. Isn't it interesting that political skills get praised in men, yet seem somehow unappealing and unattractive in women? Men have "spirited comebacks" and women "claw their way into contention". Interesting. I'll end with a quote from Robin Morgan's piece …

I’d rather say a joyful Hello to all the glorious young women who do identify with Hillary, and all the brave, smart men—of all ethnicities and any age—who get that it’s in their self-interest, too. She’s better qualified. (D’uh.) She’s a high-profile candidate with an enormous grasp of foreign- and domestic-policy nuance, dedication to detail, ability to absorb staggering insult and personal pain while retaining dignity, resolve, even humor, and keep on keeping on. (Also, yes, dammit, let’s hear it for her connections and funding and party-building background, too. Obama was awfully glad about those when she raised dough and campaigned for him to get to the Senate in the first place.)

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