Winter Wonderland 



how strange the land becomes, how curious, the sun stripped bare, blazing weak & raw 

how long the light & shadow, pulled from horizon to horizon, crawling across the curve 

even the trees have paid homage to death & loss, beauty & agony, how slowly this pain becomes 

have you felt my shadow, stretching & screaming & knowing the silent agony you’ve called Winter? 

everything has begun to hum with this great blackness, even this morning hour

I scoop tired handfuls of ache & so very quietly, I creep alongside the shadows, night spilling long across the day—

precious. that is what the light is. fragile & precious & weak & whispering, & everything’s grown cold. everything’s gone quiet. everything is hurting. 

all of me, is plucked out & exposed. I’m left—this carcass without a warm hovel in which to home. 

In comes, that screaming.

That sound has become the certainty of the long grittiness, the tender aching, piercing torture of Winter settled here in my bones. 

no one’s interested in something you didn’t do…

On a small personal note: The soul of Canada mourned today, all day, & will for many more, at news of the loss of our lovely Gord Downie. 

We all knew this was coming. We had been expecting it anytime. But, we have unitedly shed tears today, shared our favourite lyrics, radio stations played The Hip all day as tribute, the CBC shared numerous links to interviews & footage, the country paid homage to our poet. He will be missed. 

But I found most touching, the passion and drive of his last project, The Secret Path, about the horror of the residential schools. If that can’t make you understand & cry I cannot accept you are human. 

A solemn goodbye to a lovely passionate member of our crazy Canadian family. He will be missed & remembered by how such simple phrases, such simple moments in this history, imprinted on our hearts, captured by his gift for lyric & music, have shaped us as a people. He is a part of our budding Canadian culture. He will remain such. A true artist we never needed explained via critique, we just felt his artistry there in its exquisite depth & simplicity. 

It was a slow goodbye filled with tears & joys, and my heart goes out to those closest to him today.  What a sad shameful thing, this, called death that stalks us all. 

The Exhaustion With Moments that #Trend in One Ear & Out the Other

I feel for so many, I do, but recently I have felt this giant indifference to most things online, even posting on here. I find most things in life cannot be summed up & dealt with via internet awareness. Life & living are outside the screen. The screen was meant to capture a moment in life, to reflect it, but certainly not to be it. 

People are to somehow feel overwhelmed by the amount of “me too” posts? Are you kidding me. Really. I would wager if you didn’t already know that ALL women ever born have been sexually harassed you’ve been living under a rock. If you didn’t know that statistically 1 in 4 ( tho I think this may be significantly higher) women have been assaulted you’re a moron. If you think boys are not also highly victimized you’re an idiot. If you think it can’t happen to men, you are just stupid. What do I think this topic’s fifteen minutes of hashtag fame will do—nothing. Absolutely nothing. 

I do not think women and children are suddenly going to no longer be the most vulnerable & victimized. I don’t believe hashtags can change the world. In fact, in recent history it seems violence is just ramping up. Violence of all kinds. Pornography is living large more than ever, and I believe this is a major fuel to the fire. Celebrities who wear sex appeal like a badge of honour are more numerous than ever. Really, you think a hashtag will tame the beasts that walk among us? Ha. Laughable, in the most sad way. 

To me, raising children in the modern world, it is about trying to keep them educated, aware, modest, blameless. That’s not an easy combination. Have my daughters been sexually harassed? Um. Of course. They go to school. They work. That’s like asking if they’ve caught a cold before. I’m fairly certain every girl has been sexually harassed in some form by age twelve. All women, either you’re so appealing or unappealing, based off your looks. I see women who are spoken to rudely for being ‘unattractive’ as also having been, ‘sexually harassed,’ because someone tried to place a value on them based on their sexual appeal. 

I believe you see celebrities parade around their sexual prowess because they’ve learned this as currency. How? It wasn’t because no one mentioned what a hottie they were, or how great their butt looked. Nope. Guaranteed. Our society as we know it was built on sexual currencies—one of which, in my opinion as a woman, is sexual harassment. Everything from being given ‘the once over,’ to being honked at, to being threatened with rape & murder. In fact, I as a woman am uncertain where the line of sexual harassment is? If a guy says, “how you doin’ ” is it sexual harassment, because, he is totally insinuating that you look hot. When a woman does this to another woman, she is insinuating you look sexy. Did you mean to dress sexy, and if so, is it welcomed for people to acknowledge you look sexy. Is intentionally looking sexy an open invite, intentional or accidental, for people to acknowledge your sexiness & in some cases, make a pass in hopes it’s taken up and a casual romp is had. Seriously. If I were a man this would be even more confusing. 

But this being said, when the women in a concert crowd throws a pair of panties on stage, is she sexually harassing the band members. When the middle aged mom in the crowd yells at JJ of Kaleo, “JJ take your shirt off!” is that sexual harassment. To me, as a woman, I say, yes it is. Even if the individual on the receiving end of these moments doesn’t feel it is, it kinda is. 

Why are skirts made so tight. Why are they so flippin short. Why do shirt logos sit across the chest the way they often do. Why are pretty girls in beer commercials. Why. Sex appeal. 

I don’t understand how society has got it so messed up that sexuality can be flaunted, but never commented on. Do I think good men who had no intention of making a woman feel threatened have ‘sexually harassed?’ Yep. I do. 

I think women have been only slightly lesser partners in this confusing game. The mixed signals & non stop sex saturated world we live in makes it very difficult for anyone to navigate 24/7 without misstep. This isn’t an excuse but it is a reason why this is so prevelant. Women are more vulnerable. They just are. Our biology makes us more vulnerable in every way. This, does not mean weak. We are not weak. This subtle difference is important tho. 

As a woman, I never have, nor ever will, see myself as weak. I have been threatened, by a co-worker, who threatened to kill me & rape me, in that order, in a weird sick joking way. I told how many people—until now, not one. Why? It scared me. I didn’t think people would believe me. It seemed too vulgar to say out loud. He was a charming guy at first impression. He was nice looking. He was a superior at my work. 

This was the most extreme sexual harassment I encountered in my life, but frankly, I can’t number how many times much less threatening occurrences happened. 

Did I dress sexy? Um. Only if Pizza Hut circa 1994 uniforms were sexy. Surely not. Did I do anything to entice him? Certainly not. I actually thought he was a pretty nice guy until slowly, at a very gradual rate, he started saying things to me that weren’t just standard co worker chit-chat. I didn’t stop it. I didn’t even know what to say to it. Frankly, that incident was so weird & creepy I was truthfully scared. I quit shortly after, never having told anyone until now. I still worry no one would believe that story because, what likeable normal seeming, walking amongst us person joke-threatens, in this sick charming way, to murder & rape another person—seriously. Until something like this happens it’s hard to believe & it’s harder yet to explain why you never defended yourself, stood up for yourself, counter threatened, took legal action, why you never got them fired, why you still worked with & talked to them like nothing had happened. What on earth is wrong with us women that we take that & live with it as if it were as ordinary as the common cold? 

I believe it’s the confusion of women being seen as valuable because they are sexy. Celebrities again, ones who sex it up, I hold personally accountable for making sex a currency. More sexy, more valuable. But not sex workers. But not strippers. No. (This is very sarcastic) Heaven forbid they should be valuable. 

Society is messed up. Even when a woman dresses modest she still is somehow seen as a target, sexually. Her perceived value lays in her being dominated & conquered. It’s weird & frankly, I’m fairly certain I’m unable to pinpoint the cause without pointing at the scriptures for the explaination & I just wanted to address the exhaustion I have a seeing the latest trend on social media. 

No. I did not #metoo on anything this week because I felt annoyed by it. For some reason I can’t explain, it annoyed me. To think any woman on this planet could honestly not put a #metoo on their profiles was ignorant. I honestly believe we all could. I feel it is as much a part of being a woman as being born with the parts & genetics that make you a woman, that being sexually harassed is like getting your period—really, we all do. It’s a coming of age passage. Some get it worse than others but sadly, it will come, it’s just a matter of when & where & hopefully you’re prepared when it does happen and if you aren’t, well, next time you’ll be better prepared, handle it better. Always be prepared girls. Always. 

Don’t hashtag it. Just get the guy fired. Kick him in the nads. Spit in his face. Raise better boys & girls. 

I understand. This post is oxymoronic. I wrote it because of the hashtag. But, I am o so sick of the hashtag wars on things. Just be better people. 

Live offscreen. Don’t post your every success. Don’t post every story. Listen more to the people you are sitting beside. Enjoy subtle un-hashtaggable moments. Get on with it. Don’t get swamped down in the depressing reliving of your worst moments of neglect, abuse, depression, isolation—connect via disconnect. So often, as is evident by my weak posting past, I just find so much less joy in posting, & more joy in life without it. 

Hope this wasn’t too unbearably politically incorrect. 

James Edward Hergel, Canadian Artist: A Collection

…home holds the heart as nothing else can

find me, buried in this frost & moondance rhythm of light & dark

the northern lights have held me hostage, willingly I die with them 

each summer, each dawn

this quiet haven of stilled sweetness,  thick & beloved, pining admidst the lucid shadows of winter—

there, all things are converging & tearing apart

my heart, my heart

I could pretend I know much more about Canadian artists than I do, but one thing I do know, Canadian artists seem to be some of the most illustrative & colourful. At least, my favourites are & I rarely see art from other countries that touches my heart the same way. 

Perhaps it is the bleak long winters devoid of colour, but I gravitate towards the intense images & bold colours. Often there is a fluidity to the lines that reminds me of blowing snow more than water. The shift colour gradients & deep shadows in many artist’s works is so engrossing. 

From a young age I wanted to be an artist, & for reasons I can’t quite understand, I felt very discouraged from this path. Only now do I realize you just can’t fight these things, you must let yourself be taken along for the ride with artistic journeys. For me, I could pretend only, to be anything else. My nature is artistic. 

Whether it’s been music, writing, visual art, fabric art—I am by nature an artist. This hasn’t always meant I’m good at it by nature, or that I’ve not needed to learn the craft, & practice it, it simply means, I see & dream & feel & live most thouroughly when being creative. I am not good with redundancy or conformity. I get tired, bored & definitely unproductive. Some people thrive on schedule, routine & knowing what comes next. I’ve discovered some people ‘hate surprises’ & change. That, I cannot wrap my mind around. 

I struggle to be constant. It is true, I love my own home, most certainly, my own bed; but, give me challenge & variants & an opportunity to learn new things, & I never get tired or bored. I wish I had a little more constancy to get perfected at something. I feel this might be my greatest flaw. But, if life had unlimited time, the slow gradual opportunity to form a skill as layers of sediment forms a ridge eventually, that would be perfect for my learning style. 

Anyways. Enough about me. I really just wanted to share some lovely art today. 

It’s a day when I expect the snow will start falling any moment now, things are looking browner by the day outside, the days are getting very short & dark, so this spark of colourful artwork is keeping me cheery. Enjoy! 

the gauging 

this, the gauging scream by which
you live each day, this,
the small scalples of moments
that won’t let you leave

this, the piercing of each day, lofting
against this rising & then setting,
the small droplets, run rivers down the quietness of this, the
alabaster bust, serene, of you

how white the winter that teeters
just beyond this, the fall, the
healing lies there, in the blades of it
the flocking continues, birds screeching about
this, the southern skies, the southern air, the southern drawl
but this, the north, nests against my heart, cooing & curling tight

i crave this healing, this, the winter bite