In Part, Why We Do It

It wasn’t five minutes ago that I stood in the middle of a wide open field.  The air was cold.  Crystals of snow tickled my cheeks.  The sky was dark…the trees, etched in fine detail against the street lamps.  Snow crunched under foot.  My border collie, Max, charged wildly in circles.  When his face looked up at me, it was white apart from his dark eyes, sparkling like coal and like everything around me.  The sensory experience brought back two memories.

For one, I remembered walking home from the airplane hangar that doubled in winter, as a skating rink for military children.  My friends and I would laugh and talk all the way home, one at a time, veering off in the direction of a PMQ…home…warmly lit up on a winter’s night, the collective shrinking in size, the longer we walked. Boots, stiff from the frigid air.  That same crunch under foot.  Leaping into banks, harder and more lumpy than they appeared and piled high on the sides of the road.  Snow packed in swaths shone under street lamps like sheets of cellophane.  A recent plough must have just passed by.  We walked down the center of the road.  No cars. No traffic.  Voices echoing.

Secondly, I thought about my own father throwing a ball for his treasured pet, Gus.  I could look out from my window at 42 Market Street, to the huge field across the street and plainly see my father throwing the ball over and over again, repetitiously and Gus, speeding back like black lightening as many times..  As I threw the whizzo for Max Man in MY field tonight, the repeated action brought up a memory of my father and another dog that, at the time and even now, means the world to me.

Childhood.

So, tonight, similar feelings bubbled up inside me.  I heard myself saying out loud in the field, “I want to remember this moment.”

When my first born was in my arms, I held her close and touched the downy fuzz on the top of her head.  Tears slipping warm down my cheek, I said, “I don’t want to forget this.  Let this moment stay with me. Let me remember.”  Tonight that wee child is a beautiful woman with a husband and the ability to cook amazing meals, nestled in her own home, discovering all of this, apart.

This has been happening a lot lately.  On the day when I had to let go of our family pet, I spent the entire day alone with him…observing…touching the small imperfections of his ears…looking at the patterns on his tail and his tummy, wanting to remember…the joys of the 15 year relationship by some how remembering the details of his physical body, his warm breath, his purring, his gestures.

These and many more experiences (too many to relate here) have come up for me recently, but these do not, the revelation make! (Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury).  The revelation is that these experiences, in part, are why we write…why we paint…why we play music.  I think that we do these things as a way of recollection or floating, as in resin, our experiences, our memories, and our treasured sensory discoveries.

Tonight…Remembrance Day 2014 slips away.  We have remembered through music, poetry, verse, stories and the simple beauty of a red poppy.  Through these rituals, our lives as a creative, struggling, discovering, failing, flopping, getting-up-again people are rehearsed and remembered.

I have written about a crystalline winter’s night, so I will remember.

Poppy3

 

I Am the One Who Will Remember Everything

Oh what have we here, he must be three or four,
Shaken out of a boot on its way back to war
And hes not looking for a father or a mother,
Just a seven year old brother,
On this smudged line border camp of refugees,
I am the one who will remember everything.
I am the one who will remember everything.
So where are we now, he must be five or six,
Just running around, hungry kids, sharpened sticks.
And he will grow with pain and fear and jealousy,
Taken in by schools of zealotry,
Who train orphans to make orphans evermore.

I am the one who will remember everything.
I am the one who will remember everything.
I am the one who will remember everything.
I am the one who will remember everything.

You drink the smoke, you ride the noise
You drink the smoke, you ride the noise,
And you say its necessary,
And you forget the ordinary
But I say, on the wheel of time,
Scour the Earth and find the
Orphans of forgetting, all the orphans of forgetting,
Give them stars for math and praise for good play,
Heres a Band-Aid, happy birthday,
Yes of course I did remember,
I remember everything.
Oh come over here, kid weve got all these books to read,
With the turtles and frogs, cats and dogs who civilize the centuries,
And in a world thats angry, cruel and furious,
Theres this monkey whos just curious,
Floating high above a park with bright balloons.

I am the one who will remember everything.
I am the one who will remember everything.
I am the one who will remember everything.
I am the one who will remember everything.
Everything

Songwriters
DAR WILLIAMS

Art and Connection

The day was a chilly and wet one, but filled to the brim with connecting, whether that was with people or art.

I got Max out in the early morning.  He was in his typically joyful place, leaping through the air in order to retrieve his Chuckit! Paraflight Fetch Toy Frisbee Disc.  He loves it!  It’s durable and I concur with all of the points made in the following review.  I try to alternate his types of work outs each day, taking him out onto trails on his own or doing work outs such as this toy provides.  I call this toy a whizzo…and I pick them up, two at a time, when they are on sale and keep them in stock in my front hall closet.  Max seems to go through about two a year.

While you play this sort of game with your energetic dog, you need to remember to temper the height of your throw in order that your dog does not experience long term wear on his hips and joints.  Border collies are so active, agile and obsessed that they have no limits on what they choose to endure, so you, as an owner, must set the limits.  It is a difficult thing to watch your very active dog succumb to arthritis at some point because you chose to be an ‘over achiever’ with him.  A side note here is that I have developed very beefy arms in my years of training and owning this breed. Certain dogs require hard work every day.  My boy would be one of those.  This work needs to be varied so to remain interesting and so sometimes making your dog sit and stay for 45 minutes is another alternative, particularly on bad weather days.

I dropped Max home and headed to meet with my retired teacher-friends for a coffee.  I treasure these friends so much and felt absolutely blessed as I left yesterday morning.  Our conversation was varied and enthusiastic.  We had opportunity to share both joy and pain and were there for one another to celebrate and support, both.  I continue to be surprised with the human resistance to retirement.  There is so much that happens in the world beyond ‘the job’.  Thanks to my friends for sharing your interesting lives with me.  I am truly blessed by your smarts and your wit.

From there, I jumped on the C Train and got off at the City Hall stop.  After a warm chicken salad sandwich, enjoyed in our central public library, I headed over to the John Clark exhibit at C2.  I found Jeffrey Spalding in an intense conversation with a couple of people and so enjoyed my encounter with the images on my own. I love the synchronicity of the entire event….CTrain City Hall Chicken Salad, Clark, C2…it was a C sort of a morning.

The exhibit is a beautiful collection of works by John Clark.  The collection, available until August 31, is another amazing tribute to a person with a unique statement about his surroundings and experience. I was most emotional in front of a huge canvas painted in 1989, the piece that appears at the complete right of the following photograph.

??????????The following image was acquired via the University of Lethbridge Lasting Images linkArtist-Photographer, Arnaud Maggs, passed in 2012.   May 2013 edition of the Legend. For a look at the full issue in a flipbook format, follow this link.

Arnaud Maggs, John Clark in his studio, 1988. From the University of Lethbridge Art Collection. Gift of the artist, 1989.

Arnaud Maggs, John Clark in his studio, 1988. From the University of Lethbridge Art Collection. Gift of the artist, 1989.

I continue to long for a greater connection with the University of Lethbridge since attending during the years 1973 to 1977, and so I really enjoyed this piece, I believe to be titled Bird and Bridge.

DSC_0256An excellent tribute to John Clark’s life and exploration…beautifully displayed and worth our admiration.  Gratitude to C2 and also the various contributors of the pieces featured in this exhibit.

DSC_0254 ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ??????????From C2, I headed over to the Glenbow Museum to enjoy the Bee Kingdom’s:The Iconoclasts in Glass.  AWESOME!  Get out to see this one.  I have written several times about the Bees over these last several years, but, please DO enjoy this elegant display of a very comprehensive collection of works.  Such a clear vision was evidenced in this body.  A pleasure!  Congratulations and shout out to Phillip, Tim and Ryan!

DSC_0277

Phillip Murray Bandura

DSC_0268

Timothy Belliveau

Timothy Belliveau

Ryan Fairweather

Ryan Fairweather

I hung out in the museum for a little while…thinking especially about Marion Nicholl’s work for some reason.  I thought she was such a phenomenal visionary.  I don’t wish to get into the generational and gender ‘thing’ here…but…come on!

DSC_0266It just wouldn’t be right to be so close to create! at the Golden Age Club, to not walk over and see what was cooking.  I enjoyed a coffee and rice crispy square with visionary and facilitator, Wendy Lees; artists Margaret, Lorna, Jo-Anne and Les and got filled in about all of the recent goings-on including the creation of a Little Library and another zine.

I met up with my daughter after jumping on the train and rockin’ my way to the ‘burbs’ from the core.  After yet another Max-event, Cayley and I met up with a beautiful friend of ours at the Blue’s Can and I spun some circles in the dance floor to the all-so-familiar tunes of Tom Phillips and the Men of Constant Sorrow.  The day could not have been more full, rich and beautiful.

After all of this, I remembered to take the garbage out for a Friday morning pick-up.  And, after reading a few fantastic pages of Carol Shield’s Small Ceremonies (Karen, get this book!), I was off to sleep.

A Slice

Witness to My Life
 

I had to take a quick shot of my exhausted pooch once I had taken him out for his evening walk in Moncton, New Brunswick.  We landed (it was quite an undertaking to locate a bed in Moncton last evening) in a Dieppe Super 8…parked close to the airport.  Every now and then, there is a tremendous roar as a plane takes off, but generally a most wonderful sleep and rest.  This morning we head for the Confederation Bridge and a reunion with Mom’s relations in Summerside, PEI.  This is a bittersweet event, given that Mom’s decline in health has not allowed her to be with me.  I’m certain that there will also be tears!

I promised my great auntie and uncle a copy of the family research I have just recently completed, so for this opportunity, I am grateful.  I had hoped to manage five generations, but have succeeded in most branches of the family, to uncover eight to ten generations.  I will be spending the next week visiting the resting places of several of these ancestors and reconnecting with their most-often-heroic efforts to feed their children, stand for their beliefs and remain hard-working for their lifetimes.

When I load the ‘stuff’ into the van this morning, I will be grabbing the family history from the back and setting it on my front passenger seat.  I feel that there is huge closure to this process and I am so excited!