End of Season

weathered frayedI’d been eyeing them at the checkout at No Frills for some days, the leftovers, the overstock for Valentine’s Day, the ones unchosen.
fading fraying paleDays turned into a week and they were only fading further – aging beauties on their way out, their season past.
soft linen soft pinkI brought them home to play with – to see what marvels they might yet contain…
soft light pink

busy corner pinkness

close folds

folds lay down

deep folds

jolie laide

very pink petals

leathery petals

green glow

orangey glow

super abstract roses

golden glow

deep red glowWeekly Photo Challenge – Seasons

On the trail

Dusk.
A brisk pace.
Down the hill to the stores, but more than that to move, to stretch the legs, to shake out the electromagnetic buildup of days in front of the computer, head inside six different baffling software programs.
bullrushes ice sun setting
The long slope past the ravine.
To my right a flicker of movement on the trail in the ravine running parallel to my sidewalk.
An animal. Black in the fading light. Feline.
Keeping pace with me exactly, trotting on little legs – he on his path, me on mine.
For a moment, spooked, I wonder if he is my shadow.
I scope out his tail, his size – just a regular house cat. What is he doing out here in the cold of a blustery evening? So purposeful heading into the ravine.
I remember the “journey” I did the other night – in an online course with shaman Sandra Ingerman, where she drums us through journeys into the upper and lower worlds from her home in Santa Fe, sound travelling to us through the interwebs.
stripey tree
My new entry point into the lower worlds is this ravine – sometimes down the roots of a tree by the big pond, but recently just slipping into the stream will take me down down down to underground caverns and caves and walks with animal spirits.
stream
The other night I had slipped into the stream and almost immediately underneath found myself in a kind of feline tunnel – a long cavern in the lower world filled with the spirits of all manner and colour and size and sundry of cat.
Terrifying, beautiful, exhilarating.
And familiar.
black panther collage green
black panther collage orange
At the stairs leading down into the ravine I stand and look, breathing in.
The black cat pauses with one paw in the air, sits, and looks up at me.
Is this a moment? I wonder.
Is this a sign? Is there an insight I should have at this moment?
It calls out to me in all its strangeness, its obviousness.
But I am caught up in my busy-ness, in the demands of my outside life.
And I walk on.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Time

50 happy things (almost)

In fact, this is more like 25 happily grateful thoughts, but apparently I’m very slow, as I spent a lovely hour making my list and was still at only 25 or so, and the exercise was supposed to take 10 minutes… please see below for the full explanation of the challenge, and I recommend the list-making, whether or not you are a blogger. It is a wonderful meditation on all that is good and even glorious in your life.

* * *

I am grateful for gentle rain on this quiet Monday of a solstice
I am grateful for the delicate chirps and warbles of birds in December
I am grateful for yoga in the mornings, the long deep stretching like a cat
I am grateful for flowers, endlessly fascinating colours and shapes

sunflower center askew

I am grateful for my smart sweet boy, snug as a bug sleeping upstairs

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I am grateful for our tiny home tucked away in a courtyard in a neighbourhood tucked away from the rest of the city – a small hamlet of a home
I am grateful for kind and friendly neighbours around us
I am grateful for the cheap thrill of glittery gold candles from Dollarama, adding light and sparkle to this dark restful day

glitter gold
I am grateful for new friends who have come so quickly to feel like family, like we are all right in the soup together, there for each other
I am grateful for old friends who after so many years and cities apart, show up as such wonderful human beings still and again, as interesting and supportive as ever
I am grateful for blogging friends who pull me into the fray, who make the big wide world of the internet feel like a sweet friendly village (including the wonderful and indefatigable Dawn, who invited me to do this)

pencil crayons
I am grateful for pens and paper, for pencil crayons and cameras, for paints and computers, all the delightful toys I have at my disposal to be creative almost all day every day

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I am grateful for the new studio, amazing precious fun-filled space that waits patiently when work overflows
I am grateful for the amazing job offers coming out of my ears right now, and for finding myself in love with my metier all over again
I am grateful for our new Prime Minister, the Paris Climate Change agreement, and for all the hints of optimism out in the political sphere
I am grateful to live in a country with universal health care

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I am grateful for 3 nephews and 1 niece full of sweetness and silliness and laughter
I am grateful for a family as interesting as it is kind, as unique as it is supportive
I am grateful for the bus along our street that comes almost every 5 minutes
I am grateful for the library just 2 blocks away, source of all kinds of amazing worlds inside of books
I am grateful for the park down the hill where I can spend hours lost in a world of turtles and ducks and geese and hawks and even the occasional muskrat

single turtle on log
duck in light
I am grateful for travel, each and every time
I am grateful for Netflix, and the huge amount of excellent TV shows that have sprung up, making a cozy evening at home a stimulating option
I am grateful for water – element that I sheepishly love the most – to swim, to soak, to drink, to dabble toes in
I am grateful for sage and sweetgrass smudge to clear the air, heart, and mind

smudge w abalone
I am grateful for coffee
I am grateful for spinach
I am grateful for fish
I am grateful for all the teachers I’ve had, for what feels like a huge resource base of knowledge so close, so accessible, so generous
I am grateful for this moment of quiet on a Monday morning to think about all these wonderful things in my life

* * *

Here’s how it works: set a timer for 10 minutes. Once you start the timer, start your list – the goal is to write 50 things that made you happy in 2015, or 50 thing that you feel grateful for. The idea is to not think too hard; write what comes to mind in the time allotted. When the timer’s done, stop writing. If you haven’t written 50 things, that’s ok. If you have more than 50 things and still have time, keep writing; you can’t feel too happy or too grateful! When I finished my list, I took a few extra minutes to add links and photos.

It’s about choosing to look at and appreciate the happy, choosing positive over negative things to focus on. In taking time to reflect on things that made me happy in 2015, I feel grateful. If I express gratitude, I find myself feeling happy. Either way, it’s a win/win. I guarantee, you that you will find yourself feeling good, smiling, feeling grateful and happy if you spend 10 minutes reflecting on positivity.

To join in: 1) Write your post and publish it (please copy and paste the instructions from this post, into yours) 2) Click on the blue frog at the very bottom of Tales From the Motherland’s post. 3) That will take you to another window, where you can past the URL to your post. 4) Follow the prompts, and your post will be added to the Blog Party List. Please note: the InLinkz will expire on January 15, 2015. After that date, no blogs can be added.

Out of Time

Today a man unwound his long arm from somewhere behind his body and stretched his hand towards me, saying, “I have to warn you, I’m a transgendered person and my name is Eve”.
In his hand was an apple.
***
Yesterday a man standing beside me gently tugged my hair, calling me “cute”, “beautiful”, teasing and playing with his words, saying, “if you show me yours, I’ll show you mine”.
I shook his hand and bid him adieu.
***
A few weeks ago I met a man. He came announced, in a way – the friend of a friend and an elaborate story about how she hadn’t heard from him for 20 years, but he’d heard somehow through the grapevine about how she was going through a very very tough time.
He’d made the trip on horseback from his farm to the local town where there was a phone he could use to make the international call to her, the call to say, “I heard… and I am so very sorry”.
The way she tells the story, they were chatting away after so many years, catching up on many fronts, and there was a strange shuffling whinny sound that startled the conversation, making her ask, “What’s that?”, and he answered, “Oh, that’s the horse!”, as if he was of course still mounted on a horse there by some outdoor phone in a tiny little town in the mountains.
She’d told me the story, and we’d chuckled away together at the absurdity of such a thing in 2015.

Some weeks later at an opening at her gallery in Montreal where I am attending with a few pieces in the show – a fun, relaxed affair, with enough friends and new encounters to make it all feel just right, and at the end of the afternoon, milling around, why there is Harry – brilliant, hilarious Harry who I’ve adored since I was a wee little 20-year-old bohemian lost anglo soul in Montreal, and he’d always be an essential figure in the mix for all kinds of events and openings and dinners and all of that back in the day.

At some point he’d started dating my friend who has the gallery and this was in fact how I met her. I knew him, he met and fell in love with her, they became an item, and we began to go out to things the 3 of us, and well… I was smitten with her – a tiny, exquisitely beautiful Latina, ferocious, talented, sexy as all hell, brilliant.
In Harry’s car, coming back from a Buffy Sainte-Marie concert where the Neville Brothers had also featured, she sat backwards in the front seat, facing me – her perfect Inca-princess face raving about the amazing beauty and resilience of Buffy’s spirit. Harry drove and laughed and agreed and we all rode the wave of the moon, the music, whatever drugs we were on at the time. I was in love with her, hands down.

Oh so many decades later, and children and jobs and relationships and different cities and we all see each other less and less, except now, this moment, a tragedy has brought us all together, older, broken-hearted, perhaps more forgiving than we ever were.
We end up going out afterwards – Harry and my friend and me and the guy who rides a horse to get to a phone who has come into town on an overnight bus in a gesture of support.
Nobody has any money. We eat the bare minimum and go back to my friend’s place to drink plonk.

In the deep dark of a Montreal balcony at night things start to get intense in ways I miss, ways I long for – arguments about art and politics and love and aesthetics and priorities in life.
There’s a point where it becomes clear that my friend and Harry – ex-lovers who haven’t seen each other for many many years – are hashing out old stuff they need to work out between them alone. I head inside from the balcony – inside to a couch where it looks like I’m going to spend the night.
Guy Who Rides Horses Through Mountains comes in as well and says he’d like to show me something – photos of his life on his farm in the mountains, and the horses and dogs and whatnot.
Genius, I think, as in fact, I’m curious about this fellow who supposedly lives so far off the grid even access to a phone call takes 4 hours by horse. Yes please, let’s see what this looks like.

He has a little point and shoot camera. He apologizes that the photos may cover many years and many situations. But there are many magical moments in his photos – a series of strange fauna atop the mountains; the trusting happy bellies of his dogs, giving it up for a stroke of the belly; the work of local artists, painters and the like; the horses and also donkeys, whose step is apparently more sure through the narrow mountain paths; a strangely compelling series of metal fence grids that make me remember a dream that slips away before I can grasp it fully…
It is an awkwardly intimate moment there on the couch – two strangers sharing a moment… And we each pull away, diving into sleep.
In the morning I’m up early, packing my bags, heading north with other friends.
I give Guy Who Rides Horses my business card, as he and I will both be in Toronto by next weekend, so we could conceivably meet again there – a beer in Kensington Market, a drop-in to the show I’m doing on the weekend.
But I know already, even as I suggest it, that none of it will ever happen…

Happy Place

grassy sunset gbSurprising to me, city girl, to have found so much to love outside of the city – pinkish sunset gbI go whenever I can, and am taken aback by the enormity of the quiet, the riotous colours and life teaming so softly – big sky sunsetSunset to dusk to deepest dark of night to sunrise again, and another day begins… bird spreads wings
geese fly past clouds
queen annes orange sunriseWeekly Photo Challenge – Happy Place