Bleasdell Boulder

This past summer, I learned just how genuinely accommodating my father can be.  I tend to have many over-riding passions; reading, writing, history, art and family history.  Once I connect with a story, some one else’s story, I tend to want to explore it for its details and for its nuances.  This is what happened when I read Francis Itani’s Deafening.  Because the book was so regional and because summer brought me smack dab in the middle of her setting, I had to explore that.

Similarly, after Dad and I attended the County Festival Player’s rendition of  A Splinter in the Heart, an adapted screenplay based on Al Purdy’s novel…I just had to look deeper.  The following summary, borrowed from and linked to Goodreads.

 Al Purdy’s only novel, A Splinter in the Heart, is an unforgettable coming-of-age story that unfolds against the real-life tragedy of what came to be known as the Trenton Disaster. Set in 1918, it tells the story of sixteen-year-old Patrick Cameron and the events that will change him – and the Ontario town in which he lives – forever. Over the course of one summer and fall, Patrick finds love with a girl whose betrayal he cannot foresee, confronts the death of his beloved grandfather, and comes to terms with a neighbourhood rival. All the while, his hometown of Trenton lives precariously in the shadow of a dynamite factory, a sinister reminder of the Great War, which brought such prosperity to the town. Vivid with character and event, and evocative of time and place, A Splinter in the Heart is a moving portrait of a young man’s journey into adulthood in an era of change.

My father generously agreed to take me to see the location of the old munitions factory and also to visit Bleasdell Boulder in one of the region’s conservation areas.  The erratic is mentioned as a place for romantic meetings between young people in the early 1900s and likely, even today.  Well researched, Al Purdy’s writing, especially his poetry, is linked to specific places right across Canada.  I had a very enjoyable time, visiting many of these places, structures and houses most times demolished or changed, but natural geography, remaining as he might have experienced in his own lifetime.

So, on a beautiful late summer day, Dad and I headed out for a short hike to the erratic, Bleasdell Boulder.  I discovered that my Dad takes strides, much like my paternal grandfather…long and fast.  I had quite a time staying up to him.  Thanks, Dad, for going exploring with me!

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Taking Life, Humanely OR “Should You Bonk ’em On the Head?”

I warned my readers that my posts would be somewhat disconnected, dependent on what comes to mind.  When a person travels OR enjoys a vacation where time is left for reflection, a lot of things can cross the mind.

I was interested in my brother’s response when I turned my head away while my beautiful 15 pound Chinook salmon received three firm and committed bonks on its head.  He asked, “Will you sit down at dinner and eat this fish?  If you will eat this fish, you should be prepared to take its life.”

Hmmmm…

I know my brothers…I know my father…and I knew my Grandfather John Moors before them; all of the men in my family have been fishermen.

Out by a pond on a summer’s day, many years ago, accompanying my Grandfather and my brother, John, I learned a lesson.  John had a grasshopper and was taking its legs off…curiosity? wonder? mystery?…something like that, anyway.  My Grandfather’s response was quick and abrupt and I’ll never forget it.  He taught both my brother and me, in that moment, that it does not matter how small an insect or life form, life is to be respected.  Suffering is to be avoided.  The life of that grasshopper was to be respected above everything in that moment.  At that very instant, my Grandfather took matters into his own hands and in front of us, ended the insect’s life.  And that was the end of the subject.  Nothing was ever said about it again.  But, as children, we were left with a forever-impression that we would never forget.

And this is how my father taught us to regard life also.  After my experience of going out to Kitty Coleman with my brother…and returning home to Calgary, I thought that I would research the matter of how to humanely treat and kill a catch.  It became obvious, based on my reading, that it is a very common practice for squeamish and inexperienced outdoors folk to leave their catch to suffocate in the ice cooler for sometimes as many as six hours and I’ve decided that, for me,  this is ridiculous and unacceptable. An article posted, in part, below, was written for the Spokesman Review April 24, 2013 and summarizes a number of methods;  I feel that my brother is correct in his method and in the manner that he accomplishes it.  I think that if we, as beneficiaries of the planet, have food to enjoy, we need to explore these practices and decide if we can accept them.

Clubbing FishI learned, while out on the water with my brother, that we need to be more conscious about the foods that we eat…how they are produced/processed and try to align our morals, values and sense of our planet before we consume them.  I need to be more aware of the practices and industries that end with my purchase of foods at the grocery store.  Like most contemporaries, I consume foods based on convenience and economics.  This is going to change.

Shout out to my brother of Cliff’s Chinook Charters in Comox, British Columbia…for this and many other lessons, I am grateful.  I bowed my head, in silence and in gratitude, for our catch that day and I pray for their continued bounty.  Beautiful fish of the sea!

15 lb Chinook Salmon...brought in by Kathleen Moors, with a short termed assist by Cliff Moors.  An awesome memory.

15 lb Chinook Salmon…brought in by Kathleen Moors, with a short termed assist by Cliff Moors. An awesome memory.

 

Unplugged

Over the course of our lives, there are times when we need to step back.  Grieving for my mother has caused me to step back from writing and any significant connection with technology. That’s been good.  In some ways, I feel as though I’ve been sort of floating through life these last couple of months.  If the things that really matter are imagined to be beautiful balloons, I have been holding tightly, the past couple of months, to the strings that link me to family and faith. Now it’s time to grasp for those strings that reconnect me with my art and my words.

Good-bye 2011.

Good-bye 2011.

Good-bye 2013.

Good-bye 2013.

Time After Time

I have thought of nothing but my mother and father all morning, from the time at six in the morning, when my alarm rang…through my blogging efforts to distract…into the second cup of coffee and then onto the fields of the off leash park.  The sun is shining here and the dry grass carries old smells of winter.  Listening to CKUA on the way home in the van, this duet played and there began the howling…the gut-crying and all spilled out.  After what my beautiful sister has written, “He has given all he can to care for his “Katy” at home, and is to be commended for his herculean efforts.”

 

After all of this…we, as a family, are growing more and more to accept that Mom’s Alzheimer’s disease is bit by bit, claiming her…and we are grieving and frustrated and sad.  If I was watching my best friend being sucked into an abyss of quicksand, I would feel the same.  It is an impossible thing to see parts of your mother, father, husband, wife and friend disappear over time.  It is something impossible to fully grasp unless you are standing beside that dark hole, watching.

 

Readers, you fill your lives with art and music, writing and travel, friendships and celebrations.  The world is filled up to the brim with everything that is lovely.  I only wish to say and I know I say it often…appreciate that loveliness, family, friendships, faith to the limits.  Today is ours.  This moment is ours.  It is all we have.  As I listened to this song…I thought of my mother.

 

“After my picture fades and darkness has
Turned to gray
Watching through windows you’re wondering
If I’m OK
Secrets stolen from deep inside
The drum beats out of time.”

Gorilla House LIVE ART: March 27, 2013

I went to paint with my community last night…not for the sake of an auction at the end of the evening, but as a way of working out my frustration at being here in the west while out east my Mom is sick and my Dad is worried.  I’m grateful to my sister and my daughter who are there as supports…grateful to my uncle who drove from Montreal to love and support…but still my heart aches to be there…so I painted.

I have captured a likeness of my mother at a young age, but recognize easily the bits that need to be perfected to give a truly accurate depiction.  S’ok though, because in two hours, the place I arrived at was a peaceful place.  In attendance, and greatly appreciated, were Clayton, Margy, Wendy and Jen….and with open arms and big hugs; Bassano, Jeff, boy-Morgan, Karen, Jess, Harold, Tamara, Andy, Bruce, Jeff, girl-Morgan and of course, Rich.  Oh yes, and there was one wee girl who observed from behind for much of the evening and finally approached.  Her hair was in a thick mass of curl.  She said sweetly, “If that lady had brown eyes, we would be twins.  I think I look like her and she’s beautiful.”   Great conversations were shared while painting and I thank the people who attended for the first time and the people who stopped to give me their thoughts on my process.  It was wonderful.

So, no, I did not paint the inspirations of the night…and I began upside down and then shifted to right side up during the last half hour.

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Love Your Boys

I’m thinking that sometimes we are pretty hard on boys.  You know, the old nursery rhyme and such…

Lawn Mowing

From Wikipedia, the original version…

In the earliest known versions, the first ingredient for boys is either “snips” or “snigs”,[7] the latter being a Cumbrian dialect word for a small eel.

The rhyme sometimes appears as part of a larger work called “What Folks Are Made Of” or “What All the World Is Made Of”. Other stanzas describe what babies, young men, young women, sailors, soldiers, nurses, fathers, mothers, old men, old women, and all folks are made of. According to Iona and Peter Opie, this first appears in a manuscript by the English poet Robert Southey (1774–1843), who added the stanzas other than the two below.[1] Though it is not mentioned elsewhere in his works or papers, it is generally agreed to be by him.[8]

The relevant section in the version attributed to Southey was:

What are little boys made of made of
What are little boys made of
Snips & snails & puppy dogs tails
And such are little boys made of.

What are young women made of
Sugar & spice & all things nice[1]

Later…

What are little boys made of?
What are little boys made of?
Slugs and snails
And puppy-dogs’ tails,
That’s what little boys are made of.

What are little girls made of?
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice
And everything nice,
That’s what little girls are made of.[1]

Today, I am just so grateful for my son and know that the world would be so different without him.  I pray that all parents…and teachers…and women…will do their best to let their boys know that they are not all about snails and slugs.

Unofficial music video for the song “To Just Grow Away” off of the new album “There’s No Leaving Now,” by The Tallest Man on Earth (out now via Dead Oceans). Footage is from the 1969 short film, “A Day with the Boys,” by Clu Gulager.

To Just Grow Away

We’re melting ruby hearts
a confusing trade
to burn the ore
to shape a blade
then to swing it low
beginners fate
to lose a skin
to just grow away
Like a rain, to help a river
but a river so hard to please
but I’ve grown to see the diamonds
you’ve thrown in just for me
We spent so many nights
just gathering stones
the silver tears
old sapphire bones
all the copper leaves
then dreamt, now true
look how they find their path
to cut right through
Like a rain, to help a river
but a river so hard to please
but I’ve grown to see the diamonds
you’ve thrown in just for me
Look when your hopeless child will figure
there are moments when hope’s not
only real when flagging far down a road
with an armful broken arrows
and no hand free for the bow
your kid will lose a battle
but your ways
will let him go
I lose my wish to drown
and aimless flee
what you’ve thrown to lose
is still right here with me.

More from The Tallest Man On Earth:

http://www.thetallestmanonearth.com/
https://www.facebook.com/thetallestma…
http://www.deadoceans.com/artist.php?…

edited by:
https://www.facebook.com/daviddeanburkhart

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Justin Townes Earle: Rooted

We took in a workshop and a Main Stage performance with Justin Townes Earle.  His work smacks of memory as I recall times spent listening to Guthrie.  After some time with his lyrics and with his melodies, one becomes deeply connected with his story.  It creeps into everything.  He doesn’t have to narrate anything.  The music is raw.  I think he’s a brave musician.

When he did say something, it evoked a huge response inside of me, particularly when he introduced the song, Mama’s Eyes.  To paraphrase,  he said that it was his Mama who raised him as a young boy.  It was his Mama who raised him as a young man.  He explained that she didn’t do such a great job.  And then he said, “But, you see, it wasn’t her job.”

I am my father’s son
I’ve never known when to shut up
I ain’t fooling no one
I am my father’s son

We don’t see eye to eye
And I’ll be the first to admit
I’ve never tried It sure hurts me,
it should hurt sometime

We don’t see eye to eye
I was a young man when
I first found my pleasure in the [Incomprehensible]
And I went down the same road as my old man

Yeah, I was younger then
Now it’s 3 a.m. and I’m standing in the kitchen
Holding my last cigarette
Strike a match and I see my reflection in the mirror in the hall

And I say to myself
I’ve got my mama’s eyes
Her long thin frame and her smile
And I still see wrong from right

‘Cause I’ve got my mama’s eyes
Yeah, I’ve got my mama’s eyes

 

Happy Father’s Day!

My Dad: Moose Jaw Tech

My Dad was the man with the Plan B.  He was the person, in my life, who had backbone when backbone was required and helped me with the BIG decisions along the way.

I remember a time when my Dad  placed his hand on my shoulder in a situation where he was unable to speak.  And, through that gesture, he gave me strength to go forward in acceptance and confidence.

Dad was the one who taught me about being directive in my life…so, I knew I wanted to stay the course and keep my head up.  He taught me to be able to flex for the inevitable surprise and to do so, without fear.

Dad taught me to have opinions and ideas and never was a dull man around a dinner table.  We learned about politics and economics and sports.  We talked about EVERYTHING.  I guess, in part, I owe this blog to him. ;0) 

I love my Dad, for the life he built for his family.  This year, my Dad turned 80 and he writes me E Mail.  I look forward to his little notes.   I couldn’t be prouder of the person he is!  My Father is a wonderful man.