what gave winter her wild

& summer her dream?

what has now become these small sunken teeth

gashing where the sinew sits laced against the bones?

I watched you give whispers to the willows,

small blooms to the thyme that creeps the dry caked earth,

innocent white buds of the yarrow quivering along this parched path.

I watched as you gave wisps to the clouds & smeared the sunset serenely, with each shade of passion & blush

I watched from here, where everything is nothing. Where whisper & bud is a mere fantasy. Where the land stinks with refuse & the valley never floods with anything but thirst.

I saw the tides that came—people blackened with exhaustion & worry & grief. People. With their tongues dried out & dragging. I saw.

How they gripped onto me, swaying, weighing me down to sit with them, to weep with them. To find some solace in these touchings of a human to a human, a soul to a soul—to feel the vast vagueness of our own selves & of those who die off like flies along this way. Across the desert. Over the salted plains of waters undrinkable. Off to the chainlink homes of hopes unfounded.

I saw. I watched. I cried. I fell.

My knees bled, slow & stinging. The ache came & stayed a while, sipping the tea from my bones & rocking, back & forth.

I could quiet it all with one sweet prayer, splayed wide to my God. I could quiet my insides. He quieted my insides—this inner seething & sadness spilt out upon the ground like a blood sacrifice.

I waited. Oh how I have waited.

12 Weeks

So, 12 weeks ago today I started going to the gym; it all started with Barre class. I haven’t missed a week of Barre yet. But, beyond that, I also started weight lifting on Thursdays and now, go to the gym gym, like the part where people lift weights, use all sorts of strange contraptions & I, am one of them. I find this one of the strangest changes I’ve ever made. I have only a vague idea of where my weight was when I began this, and no current idea of how much I weigh & so certainly cannot tell you if or what I’ve lost. But my aim was never weight related. It was aging and pain related. Slowly it has become personal challenge related, where I think, I’m scared of this new thing, hm, maybe I can do it if I just try. But mostly, it still is just about basic health & the goal of having strong enough knees that I can hike real mountains & such. My left kneecap seems to still be having trouble tracking properly most days, my right hip still likes to click in & out depending on what I’m doing. I’ve started finding a happy routine despite these issues and hope that as things continue to strengthen these two issues will ease a fair bit and I’m actually really thankful I found the gym since winter really doesn’t seem to feel it is done with us. I miss the lake walks, but I also have no desire to be out in the cold anymore. I’m sick to death of winter. We all are. The general malaise of our entire city is palpable. Everyone is just barely hanging in there. Seriously. All anyone talks about is the exhaustion with this never ending winter. First snowfall last fall was September 19. That is over six months ago. We are going on seven months of winter. Seven months without green, or grass or flowers. Seven months of primarily indoor air and existence. It’s terrible. How can you feel grounded when your feet literally never touch the ground?

I notice my skin tone, and most everyone’s, is a slight grey. If ethnically we are white, we are beyond white verging onto corpsy paste white. I go work out and my face becomes bright red, that’s the kind of flush I have when I’m hot, and then, it fades back down to this most tired shade of exhausted white. I have started to pick the guitar up again, and I’m almost done my sweater for California, because, it is chilly there in April usually, I have knit several pairs of mittens, two hats, a shawl, finished a blanket, and have another shawl about half way complete. I am dying to spring clean, wash entrance ways, windows, doors, walls, open windows…it seems simple, but just to put away the coats and boots and winter paraphernalia would be so nice. To sit on the deck and sip coffee and listen to the birds, oh what heaven that would be. People who live other places don’t even realize—I seriously set the elliptical on the lake run setting, and love the virtual run through tree shadows & imagine myself there. My imagination may literally be keeping me from caving inward into a terrible giant black hole right now.

Anyways, twelve weeks and am I ever thankful I decided I needed to challenge myself and become healthier. I’m sure I’d be full blown insane by now. Instead I’m only semi insane. 🤪

My highlight of this week, a rare double date night, and I’m so looking forward to it. Going to go see A Quiet Place because nothing eases malaise like a horror movie. It looks scary without being supernatural or slasher, a rare find. The synopsis compares it to Alien & Jurassic Park for tension, two of my favourites ever, and is supposed to be one of the best horror flicks in a long while, so I’m so excited to go and get a good scare. Good scares are rare. It better be good. I hate predictable movies. Hate them. Watched The Visit for the first time the other day, as most M. Night Shyamalan movies I’ve seen are quirky scary unpredicatable but, I called it. And frankly, it threw in creepy just for creepy sake, which is not genuine. Anyways, didn’t really care for it. I love when tension is written in properly and not just lazily. So, I’m sure I’ll have an opinion of this movie and maybe I’ll have discovered a new director worth watching.

Anyways, off to the excitement of fourth winter…

As of Sunday—43 Years

So. Since I had solo selfie time this morning, I’m getting this out of the way. I’ve tried to take a selfie around my birthday since I turned forty. I’ve switched phones & lost pictures along the way, but this is my year of selfies in review, which suddenly popped up as an option to make and so I did. It’s kinda cheesy & I can’t seem to edit it properly. I’m technically challenged it seems.

So now I have slightly chopped hair and I actually don’t miss my long hair. I have started to work out for the first time ever, which feels great. I am noticing more wrinkles these days but still no grey that I’ve seen. And frankly, if I can get my body to a strong & healthy place, I couldn’t care less about wrinkles or grey.

I can’t believe I’ve been on this planet 43 years. Sometimes it feels like it should be more, sometimes I forget I’m that old now. Aging will always be a strange thing. Suddenly time has become a mystery of sorts. When I was young, ‘thirty years ago,’ seemed forever ago. Like say, in 1975 when I was born, the Second World War had ended, ‘thirty years ago.’ That was before my parents had even been born! Now, thirty years ago seems like the recent past in moments of nostalgia. 1988, well heck, I remember song lyrics somewhat easily from then. Twenty five years ago is very close feeling in my memory. And yet, forever ago. Time has become a very peculiar thing indeed, where at moments I can’t believe my oldest will be TWENTY this year! TWENTY!

Oh my. My youngest will be seven! This fills me with a rather soupy combination of anxiety & relief. Anxious that life has been stripped out of my bones as I formed these other beings and they too are aging. Relief, that they need me less and less, just as I begin to know, I will need them more and more—back to anxiousness. Life is full of quizzical ironies & fascinating conundrums.

Aging is more than the physical being.

I was assigned a talk last night, the Bible Study part, an invite to the meeting was to be included, and I was working on use visual aids. It went fine, but the school instructor, after commending me, proceeded to say, “as a kid you didn’t colour in the lines did you,” more as statement than question.

Nope. I didn’t. Actually. I did try to colour in the lines. But I don’t care too much for coloring books at all. I prefer blank paper. But, this reference to me as a child self—hahahaha. I forget most days I ever was one. I don’t think much on childhood anymore. I don’t miss it anymore. I don’t crave youth anymore. I am completely fine with middle age. Not the aching body part of it, but certainly the other parts are reasonably good.

I’m tired of being forced to feel I must be what I am not. I’m tired of failure. I’m happy to learn anything and everything I can. I fixate almost never on things said to me, about me, or what I’ve said to others. I mean, I try to be nice. I try to apologize when I should. But man, I’m tired of the gritty stuff. The stuff that I can’t fix or change or make better—nope, don’t care anymore. I love people. I give them the benefit of the doubt whenever possible, but I also am razor sharp at cutting them out of my life when & where I must for my own preservation. I’m becoming a swifter judge of character. I trust less. I have learned to trust my gut above anyone’s opinion. That’s hard. But, I’ve discovered, I’m so rarely wrong that it’s best I listen to my instincts & apologize later if I’m wrong.

I’ve stopped drinking morning coffee in favour of green tea. I’ve learned, I will never be good enough at guitar to worry about it, but to just play when I feel I want to. I’ve learned I can learn most anything reasonably well enough if I had all the time in the world, but, I don’t, so I need to focus on a few favourites and thoroughly enjoy them.

I like being a little ‘out there.’ I do not fit in and I’m so happy for this. I like just being that quirky woman that only a few know well. I like singing & dancing & exercise. I like painting & writing & I don’t read nearly as much as I should and I don’t care. I like cats better than dogs but in certain moments I love my dogs more than I ever loved a cat. I love my kids. Holy moly I love my kids. I don’t just love them, I like them. They are my favourite people to spend time with even tho I often need a break from them too. I love my husband, not unselfishly, he puts up with me & takes care of me & he makes me feel needed and secure, and I need him. We are reciprocal in each our own way. I love my mom & my stepdad like crazy, and they are crazy. I don’t need my dad. I never did. He was a biological truth. That, is not my fault. My brothers and their wives and kids are literally my own. I love them unconditionally. My in-laws on my husband’s side are mine too. They are coo-coo crazy coco puffs & this is what makes life full of fun & love & amazing. You get to explore a completely different way of everything via other people’s minds and moods. I actually miss all these people when we’ve been out of touch for a while, but make no mistake, distance will always make the heart fonder.

I have learned, I love the snow, but the cold I love a little less, and the dark, is not my friend. I love the sun, and summer—but heat, a little less. I love the ocean & the mountains & lakes & trees, sunset, but sunrise I love a little less. Everything is gradient & spirals & spherical in the most beautiful of ways. Pain is always pain. Love is always love. These things don’t fade they just age. Time is so strange to me these days. It truly is.

In The Ruination of Reminiscence —2017

there, touched on the glass we slice open our hearts, not with the callous like finger tips but with the delicacy of the skin hidden, v-ed between our heart beats

how many glancing blows can we hold inside our eyes’ memories?

you’re just a syphon giving away kisses through a sieve & holding angel wings in the corners of your smile, what luxury this is, to touch such sweet heavenly murmurings with the tongue of your words — how hush this is

watching the light dance across the open cold sky, blackness that is deeper than all the blacks I’ve seen before, colour colder than I’ve felt inside my inner bones, yet, it is lovely

not lovely like the sun, or the blue sky, or the rushing sea, but lovely like a hurt can be —

snow settles exactly where the branch is thickest, where the wind can hold no more, something must be let go, something must be buried, something must be lost, something must glow, a hundred thousand sparkles cannot even begin to describe what rest on the edges of snow in the moonlight —ask me what I know of heaven on earth, tucked in those little places, silent & still

how lovely is the lonely of knowing beauty despite this blood bath of pain, hot & stoked & consuming, everything is burning

I could reminisce on this ruination, another x or more aptly, another stroke on the wall, counting off the torture that is, but what point is there anymore to this?

all I would hear is gunfire, & death, & hear the rhetoric & lies breathed with every breath —I’m a courtyard of murmurings of memories of what agony there is here, year after year

…and so, let me stop myself from recalling what is best left forgotten. Let me stop. Inside this silent night. Inside this darkness. Inside this sparkling cold. Beneath these lights. Where the snow has settled, just right. Where I watch Venus dancing, spinning in all her light —

how I hold this beauty, intense upon my throat just for its warmth, just to feel the sensation of life still zooming fast through my veins, love in all its strange horror lovely —

there is ruination beyond this place, here in this moment where I lay, clutching the future; letting go yesterday’s decay

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! 

Giving Silence a Voice

I could give this silence a voice—it’s anarchy upon the soundstage of that inner world. 

There’s a mad flailing, like tentacles, foamed in black ink & I notice death has both a particular glare & a particular smell. Both are putrid. Both are hot & cold all at once. 

There’s screaming from those to the left & to the right; I can’t tell if they scream at each other, or the sky, or the earth below their feet. I have a deafness coming over me, followed by a breathless swallow as commotion spins down this swirling drain. I can only consume so much of these silent moments—the one inside the eye of the storm, before that next hail begins; the one after the fact when silence, well, silence just won’t do. 

Silence is the shock. Silence is the doom. Silence is the stunned disbelief. 

Silence is the hungered child who finally hasn’t the strength to cry one more sob. Silence is the hope teetering upon hopelessness. 

Silence is the stench better known as death.  

I tire of silence. I tire of death. 

I tire of screaming soundless echoes where there are no walls or valleys or canyons to bounce upon. 

So there I sit—in chaotic meloncholies of agonies & deafening reverberations of sickening anguishes, howling & wailing—yet more & more, this wild wild wind storm. 

The silence falls, heavy on my heavy chest, crushing what breath remains, choking my heart, subduing my lungs, flung to the ground while running—

How long do I lay here, am I playing, or am I dead? 

Just Another Day…

So there it was, some dream-like agony with a fresh dust of snow—you screaming agony…you poor screaming agony. 

You go, severing life & echoing blood from flaring nostrils, & you cannot love. You cannot. 

You keep gripping needles & guns & knives, plunged deep, and you’re the widening of hate. You’ve got guts in your gills & sorrow strewn upon your hills. You’re anguish—full & raw & slaughtering & empty. 

You’re not even taking a step to slow. You keep coming. Your face is fueled with things I’ve never known, never understood—never have I wanted to. 

With all this death you come dripping, & I’m not listening. You spew another vast hail of hate, & I’m not listening. I won’t. 

You’re nothing but a curse that will fall away from memory. You will fade. You will die in your vast vats of  sticky tumultuous blood. I’m not watching. I’m not listening. I can’t feel you nor see you anymore. 

Best Described as Vermilion 

The pear tree, planted three or so years ago, seems rather poor at producing pears, a typical issue this far north. What it lacks in fruit production it will certainly make up for, eventually, in autumn finery. 

Every August I marvel as this rather placid little tree turns its leaves the most beautiful shade that is best described as Vermilion. 

This scene from my front window view is rather typical of Canadian urban—cars, pavement, many homes visible. Newer areas often look different, but this area was built in the 70’s so it has typical homes of that era. Larger yards than the new homes have, but still, too close of density for me to ever feel I have my own slice of privacy. How people live in closer proximity puzzles me. I think being raised in the country left me feeling claustrophobic in the city. I see quaint shots from other parts of the world where people truly live in close quarters & it can look sweet—images of old Italian towns & picturesque French villages comes to mind, & I think, I would love that. But here, I find after a decade living in the same house, with mostly the same neighbours, we ‘know’ each other just enough to talk vaguely, but never really like or trust each other. Classic North American suburbia. 

Your proximity makes you aware of each other but not close enough to really know anyone. It’s like you know you’re never in private, but have only a vague facade of community. It’s a strange thing, one that makes no sense to me. We shelter in our homes six months of the year during winter & come summer, we catch up with everyone, then hibernate again. 

Anyway, the point is, I like privacy. I like trees, & fences. I’d like a whole countryside to myself, but that is a dream that has faded like the memory of the old rail-fences on my childhood farm. When we bought this house it had a lovely mock plum with beautiful blooms in spring & leaves that turned from purple to green then in fall to red, but, it was as old as the house & as it goes with most northern trees, the life span was short, thirty years, so it was dying & diseased so we had to cut it down. 

A Mayday, a most weedlike growing tree, had naturally seeded where the Plum tree had stood, and so we are letting it grow for now to give us some quicker privacy. But, also, a Japanese maple, a super slow species has naturally seeded & I look forward to that as well in the fall in the years to come. I noticed, an Oak has also seeded itself in the Juniper shrubs as well, it can stay too. All three of these have varying life spans & growth rates, the Oak being the slowest but longest life span. 

In the mean time, I planted both an Apple & a Pear tree, before I realized there was a Maple or an Oak, thinking they will be my official front yard trees. While they’re growing from seedling to tree, the Mayday will do, and then, when they’re big enough I’ll cut down the Mayday, which is lovely but too common & a massive allergen in the spring, seriously, I think everyone is allergic to Maydays in Alberta. 

The Pear, was my least favourite of these. The blooms are beautiful, but so delicate & fine, a strong spring storm will blow them all off before they can even be pollinated. So, last year we managed three or four really tiny pathetic pears off it, but this year, none. I have kind of regretted this pick of tree because it just doesn’t seem worth it. But, then, every August, as the nights grow darker & colder, it pushes forth the most gorgeous colour. I imagine what one day will be a full sized fruit tree, Vermilion outside my front window, blocking out the pavement view, & I think, yes, it was a good pick, to have this lovely splendor before the six months of indoor life. 

In the morning light, it is so beautiful it can literally make me stop everything & just stare. A small small fragile perfect thing. They say to stop & smell the roses, but stopping to stare is also a small joy in life. 

Wake Me

In what some would be tempted to call Summer all I saw was smoke & the heat was eaten by this intense gloom—vagueness with a sickened yellowy thinness. 

All the greens muddied & all the pinks lost their pop. All the blues murkied & the sky grew thick & slow like the North Saskatchewan. 
Smoke & parched grass & thirsting trees yearning for a last glimpse of summer rains—but they were lost, both rain & desperates, perhaps along the foothills, perhaps along the Great Divide, perhaps somewhere high & howling, where the air is even thinner than here, & where the forests & meadows & mountain flowers are burning. 

So often now, the summer is a haze & a wall of flames, with everything birthed in spring, weakened & blazing. Sputum & air condensing & spilling out in huffing gasps of breathlessness. 

What is the sun, & where does it live now? Surely not in the horror of Harvey? There is no sun found there. Not in India, Bangladesh or Nepal where it seems all the water of the earth is to fall. 

So while we weep in the dryness & burn & burn, they weep in the water & drown & drown. I fear seeing their soft, swollen bodies pillowed up—where is the escape from flood or fire or death. Death is hungrily mawing at us all. 

How far can you run & what refuge will you find?

Life takes one more step closer, & the tiredness steps into the weary foot. Wake me when the rains come. Wake me when the rain stops. But wake me. Good God, wake me.