Random Musing: Spring

The first hint of spring often came at the tail end of winter. As a child growing up in Ontario my mother wrapped me in a snowsuit so thick I could only manage a waddle at best. Off I would go behind my sisters or brothers out into the snow. And then suddenly, that tiny sliver of spring would come sailing in on a breeze so sweet it still takes my breath away.Unknown.jpeg

Years later I remember driving and suddenly I saw my mom walking down Lakeshore Road in Port Credit. It was summer and the sun was out bright and hard. I could see her long legs from far away and that short curly hair. Although a grown woman with four children she walked like a kid. Her head was tilted back to the sun and if I didn’t know better I could see she was taking in the sweetness of the smell of summer grasses and the cool air as it came off the lake.

Like my mother I am a walker. Even as a kid I skipped the school bus and would walk miles to school on my own both there and back. Each section of the walk brought my senses alive in different ways.

images.jpegAs I crossed the bridge over the Credit river, I could catch the breeze that came from Lake Ontario and the river that winds its way up Mississauga, the name of a tribe whose home this once was. I would walk past the Library where I worked as a teen.

Even now I feel the walls of that library through the smells of books I shelved, ordered by the magical dewey decimal system.

images-1.jpegThen off to the GO Station and under the tunnel often wet and smelling of swamp although a swamp was nowhere near. Then past the old houses to the orchard sweet with apples. The orchard is gone now but I can still smell the fruit.  Today I’m still a big walker.

Every day at lunch I wander for an hour so I can catch those fragrant breezes, watch the trees and the houses age as years pass by. It’s my own personal calendar of the passing of time.

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Random Musing: Chance Encounters

One night after work this week I was going to meet my husband and mother-in-law for dinner. I was early and I decided to wander around my old neighbourhood to see how things had changed. I was happy to see that the old Cedar Cottage pub that Dave and I used to meet at when we first started dating was still there so I decided to pop in, say “hello” to the old girl and have a glass of wine by the fireplace. I was happy that the pub hadn’t changed much so I settled in by the fireplace thrilled to be listening to Lynerd Skynerd’s Free Bird  playing in the background.

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I was sitting next to the table where over 14 years before Dave and I sat exchanging stories about who we were, our lives, our old loves and heartbreaks. I loved how easy our conversation flowed and how he made me laugh. I remember being shocked at how he asked me questions and actually listened for the answer.

I sipped my wine and was happy to see a community of  pub travellers either sitting alone or with friends at tables, sipping beer, watching the game, chatting, and settling into the groove of  pub life, a place where people gather to feel at home away from their own four walls.

I paid my bill and left thinking how much I would love to come back to this place of almost feeling like home. I put on my woolly mittens and hat, and pulled my jacket close around me as I wandered back outside into the cold winter night to meet my family.

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I stopped at the crosswalk and waited for the light to change to green. When it changed I stepped into the intersection. Lost in thought I didn’t notice the speeding SUV as he careened down the road, his rear fishtailing against the icy the road. He managed to stop just before hitting me and the woman who had been standing right behind me.  My heart raced. My adrenalin started to run. This is how it all happens I thought. One second your life is one thing and the next it’s this and you never see it coming.

“He almost killed us.” she said crossing the road beside me.

“Ya I know. I guess it’s our lucky night.” I said. We walked together for a minute in communion, happy that fate was allowing us to continue on as planned and not have our  lives inextricably linked by tragedy.

“Have a good night.” I said.

” You too.” and off she wandered into the chilly night.

In my head I heard Free Bird…humming it as I walked along to the restaurant.  I was off to meet my family, and Dave the same guy from the pub all those years ago, who still makes me laugh, who still listens.

 

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Poem of the Week: Poem to My Child, If Ever You Shall Be, by Ross Gay via Alison McGhee

The way the universe sat waiting to become,
quietly, in the nether of space and time,

you too remain some cellular snuggle
dangling between my legs, curled in the warm

swim of my mostly quietest self. If you come to be—
And who knows?—I wonder, little bubble

of unbudded capillaries, little one ever aswirl
in my vascular galaxies, what would you think

of this world which turns itself steadily
into an oblivion that hurts, and hurts bad?

Would you curse me my careless caressing you
into this world or would you rise up

and, mustering all your strength into that tiny throat
which one day, no doubt, would grow big and strong,

scream and scream and scream until you break the back of one injustice,
or at least get to your knees to kiss back to life

some roadkill? I have so many questions for you,
for you are closer to me than anyone

has ever been, tumbling, as you are, this second,
through my heart’s every chamber, your teeny mouth

singing along with the half-broke workhorse’s steady boom and gasp.
And since we’re talking today I should tell you,

though I know you sneak a peek sometimes
through your father’s eyes, it’s a glorious day,

and there are millions of leaves collecting against the curbs,
and they’re the most delicate shade of gold

we’ve ever seen and must favor the transparent
wings of the angels you’re swimming with, little angel.

And as to your mother—well, I don’t know—
but my guess is that lilac bursts from her throat

and she is both honeybee and wasp and some kind of moan to boot
and probably she dances in the morning—

but who knows? You’ll swim beneath that bridge if it comes.
For now let me tell you about the bush called honeysuckle

that the sad call a weed, and how you could push your little
sun-licked face into the throngs and breathe and breathe.

Sweetness would be your name, and you would wonder why
four of your teeth are so sharp, and the tiny mountain range

of your knuckles so hard. And you would throw back your head
and open your mouth at the cows lowing their human songs

in the field, and the pigs swimming in shit and clover,
and everything on this earth, little dreamer, little dreamer

of the new world, holy, every rain drop and sand grain and blade
of grass worthy of gasp and joy and love, tiny shaman,

tiny blood thrust, tiny trillion cells trilling and trilling,
little dreamer, little hard hat, little heartbeat,

little best of me.

 

For more information on Ross Gay, please click here.

Thanks Alison for sharing this poem.

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Tree Stump o’ Deep Thought You’re Not Usually Capable Of, by Stephan Pastis via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

Tree Stump o’ Deep Thought You’re Not Usually Capable Of, by Stephan Pastis

No one knows what we’re doing here.
Some have faith that they do, but no one knows.

So we are scared.
We are alone.
We end.
And we don’t know where we go.

So we cling to money for comfort.
And we chase awards for immortality.
And we hide in the routine of our days.

But then the night.
Always the night.

Which, when it has you alone, whispers that
maybe none of this has any significance.

So love everyone you’re with.
Because comforting each other
on this journey we neither asked for
nor understand
is the best we can do.

And laugh as much as you can.

 

Thank you Alison for these beautiful poems.
​For more information on Stephan Pastis, please click here.​

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Poem of the Week: homage to my hips, by Lucille Clifton via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

homage to my hips, by Lucille Clifton
these hips are big hips.
they need space to
move around in.
they don’t fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don’t like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top
For more information about Lucille Clifton, please click here.
 Thanks to Alison McGhee for curating these beautiful poems.

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Textiles and Landfills | How to Change the Equation

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The holidays are around the corner and this is the time when families gear up for the big Christmas spend. A large part of our budget will go towards buying new on-trend clothes for our loved ones.

Before rushing off to the mall to do that there are a few things to consider for the eco-conscious consumer.

  • 85 per cent of our apparel ends up in landfill.
  • In one single year, Canada produces enough textile waste – clothing and upholstery to create a mountain three times the size of Rogers Stadium.
  • Consumers are buying five times as much clothing as they did 25 years ago and keeping them half as long.

So what happens to clothing once we’re done with it?

Most of it ends up in landfill where it is the second largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions right behind oil and gas industry emissions.

Increasingly people are donating their used clothing to charity which helps fund important community and social development work.

But be careful where you send your donations. Many clothing boxes found in front of stores support for-profit enterprises which sells and sends its clothing overseas which often impacts local retailers and producers.

The easiest solution… wear your old clothes proudly, donate to charity, and if your clothes are just to darn old to upcycle there are numerous organizations who are now creating new fabrics from old materials and are willing to take  your well worn clothing.

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Tessa’s GoFundMe Polar Elephant Swim

Hey everyone,

On New Year’s Day at 2:30 pm I’m taking a dive into the freezing cold waters of English Bay, (Vancouver, BC) lemon drop martini in hand, and wearing a crazy elephant costume to raise money for the rescue of a working elephant in Thailand. I’m going to get cold, (oh yes I am), apparently I might float away, body parts might separate themselves from me and most likely I will be hungover because the night before is New Years Eve, so ya there’s that. It’s going to be messy and I’m going to freeze my bum off but we’re going to have some fun. My friend Leanne will be joining me.

If you’re in Vancouver, please come down and maybe we’ll sing a song and have a sip of the lemon drop and then you can scream and yell in anticipation as I run toward the gentle ocean waves!

If you love elephants as I do and want to be a part of this rescue effort, please consider donating to a great cause.  Small amounts welcome. Larger amounts welcome too!

Thanks so much!

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