I say it often to the folks who take my classes: don't ignore the things that inspire you, even if you don't know why they are making you feel inspired. Maybe, even years later, it'll be the missing puzzle piece.
South Baymouth, Manitoulin Island.
After work Ceri and I meet up at Fran’s for steak salads on the patio and chat and watch the world go by. It’s been another hot day and sun dresses float by on women everywhere. As a collection of them walks over to a table on the patio, I remark that every one of them has a pattern I wouldn’t pay money for in a million years. Ceri says that he was thinking all the dresses weren’t looking so bad.
It’s a beautiful summer evening and we’re reluctant to leave, so we linger longer than usual. As my friend Lisa said yesterday, it’s what we wait all winter for, no?
Summer has officially arrived and Canadians everywhere are doing what they love to do a lot: complaining about the weather. Not me. I'm so glad to see summer. I am glad to have my bike out; to be wearing sandals and getting pedicures. I'm glad that the city festival season is in full swing; that I am going up to the cottage soon; that my skin is turning brown and that there is colour everywhere. I’m glad to be spending entire days outside; that the harbour is filled with boats and the Harbourfront filled with tourists. I’m glad for the long days and that the summer solstice is almost here. I’m glad for the abundance of fresh foods, and especially glad for having people I love to share it with and a rooftop patio to share it on.
Saturday, Ceri and I are at a local pub having a late afternoon beer and snack, and at the table next to us are three people having a conversation about work. We know this because the voice of the guy dominating the conversation gets louder and louder as his stories progress. He’s bitter. Apparently his employers are idiots and have created a horribly unhappy environment to work in. He talks about how he would manage the sorry people he is forced to work with, and tells tales of one in particular. He talks about how he would “fire her ass” and about how good he was at firing people when he was the boss. The conversation goes on and on and the guy gets louder and more incensed with every tale of the horribleness of his workplace. And as we get up to go home, all I can think about is how glad I am that I don’t have to work with that guy.
Later, just as we get home I shout, “wow, look at that!” It was this year’s “super moon” beginning to rise over the lake. We go out onto the balcony and start photographing it. It’s a giant luminescent ball of gorgeousness drifting there in the sky, causing ribbons of light to fall across the water. I recall overhearing a gal talking about last year’s super moon and saying “I was so disappointed.” I wondered, was she expecting it to sing and dance too? Looking at it this year I can’t imagine how anyone could find it disappointing.
As we’re watching the moon float higher and higher, lighting the cruise boats sailing beneath it, we notice two young guys in the parking garage next to my building taking pictures in the opposite direction with a fancy camera with a long lens. We’re not sure what they’re shooting, but we can’t believe it could be more interesting than that moon creating such drama over that lake.
They see Ceri and I and our cameras on the balcony gazing southward, and look as if they’re wondering aloud what we’re taking pictures of. Ceri points in the direction of the moon, but they just stand there. Eventually they walk over near the south facing wall and look in the general direction where Ceri was pointing, but the wall would have blocked their view of the moon.
A few minutes later we see them walk out into the street, right under that magnificent orb, oblivious to its show.
It never disappoints me. For that reason, it's beautiful thing number ninety.
I came across this picture a couple of weeks ago. Ever since then I keep picking it up and looking at it. Of course any mother gets wistful on looking at pictures of those who were once her babies, but this one has grabbed me in a way that’s not just nostalgic.
Yeah the picture is really sweet. Carly sharing her favourite blanket (an old, worn crib sheet) with her brand new baby sister. She is just awake from a nap, still sucking her thumb, sleepy and content. Kelsey’s tiny, brand new head, still pink, is tucked near. Her eyes squeeze closed, still clutching to sleep and that warm place, unaware, uncaring of any world beyond that cocoon.
I see both my grown up women-daughters in those faces. And it moves me because what I also see in their faces are sisters already acquainted in comfort and rightness. One welcoming and one entering. I see brand new sisters already glad to know one another, already together.
Today they’re twenty-nine and twenty-seven, and all these years (decades) later I wish I could protect them from harm; wanting so much to shield them from those things that will hurt them. Still aching to know I can’t do that.
You bring a child onto the planet knowing she will have to navigate the waves of of the world; she will have to know hurt and pain, and ultimately these are among the things that grow a life. Every harm that comes to her strips a little off you, and yet every year she is more beautiful for having sailed those seas.
I can’t protect them like I could when I wrapped them up together on the sofa – but there was something I was able to do – give them a sister. I was able to give them a place to go where they’ll get all the love and support and comfort they need.
Lately I've been really grateful for that.
Having a sister – beautiful thing number 86.
My wonderful niece posted this video on Facebook yesterday. She says is very inspired by it. How wise of her.
A 13 year old wise soul: beautiful thing number eighty-five.
Last night Ceri and I were talking about how difficult it is to wake up in the mornings these days, and I agreed with him that’s it’s all January’s fault. Then, this morning I find wakefulness particularly elusive and when I finally drag myself out of bed I find it’s because it’s even darker than usual, thanks to heavily overcast skies and rain outside. My discombobulated state lingers when I find my apartment still dark as night even at 8:30 when I’m leaving for the office. As I round into Spadina Ave. the wind whips down and tries to wrestle my umbrella from me, but I win and when I get up into the street it’s not so bad.
I adore the colour of the atmosphere when it rains; I think that’s why I have this perpetual love for rainy days. The colours are mystical, and they paint the world under those clouds sinking low to enclose us protectively, and the glint of wet pavement, and lights taking on an incandescent glow sparkle against that purple-blue-grey hue in a way I find both comforting and inspiring.
Okay, generally, rainy days in January are not so charming. But it’s +4C and feeling absolutely balmy. Thinking about the forecasted big freeze coming our way this weekend, me and my rose – I mean purple-blue-grey – coloured glasses try to capture photos of the colours over the course of my journey while considering buying a new warm coat because it is, after all, January.
The colours of rain – beautiful thing number eighty-three.
There are two really great "first snow of the season" experiences. One is waking up to a layer of the stuff blanketing the world. The other is looking up into a light at night and seeing it falling all around you.
After standing under the light, trying to capture a picture and feeling the snow on my face and hair and seeing it dotting my glasses and my phone (camera), I walked home significantly lighter than I felt when I left. Happy winter.