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August 21, 2009

The Beauty of the North End

Dee and I wandered around the island last Saturday evening and came across this wonderful display for flowers. I love it when people go the extra mile to make such beauty. Just a little ways past the Fernwood Dock.

We also got in the hot tub first thing on Sunday Morning. That was pretty awesome as well. I`ll miss my deck, and in the winter, the hot tub, just a little.

August 20, 2009

Lessons of Grace

favor or good will.
a. the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God.
b. the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them.
c. a virtue or excellence of divine origin: the Christian graces.
d. Also called state of grace. the condition of being in God's favor or one of the elect.
9. moral strength: the grace to perform a duty.

I've been with "my lady" for two weeks now, sleeping in her house overnight, Monday- Thursday, preparing her breakfast and then leaving by 8:30 am at which point I drive 5 minutes around the corner to my own cottage, shower, check e-mail and get to work by 10:00 am.

I don't know if perhaps something about being around her reminds me of the time I spent looking after my own mother (albeit in a very superficial way) but there's something about the absoluteness of her routine that in a very inexplicable way makes me happy. I catch myself smiling in the morning.

There's something to be said for "serving" somebody especially when you are one of the rare females on the planet who hasn't had to do much of that your entire life and even now it's completely a choice.

You could set your watch by her routines. And, when I'm with her from 9:00 pm when she like clockwork gets ready for bed to the time my alarm goes off at 7:00 am, the end and the beginning of the day are a set of constants. I'm ever hopeful that when I get old I won't be quite as committed to sameness but even as I write that I wonder if as we age if we aren't just wired to become extreme creatures of habit.

Every morning I make her hot water and lemon. I knock on her door precisely at 7:30 am, greet her with a good morning, open her drapes and the golden-nes of the morning and the golden garden field that expands from her yard South shines the light in. I put her hot lemon drink beside her on the bed. I do some other bathroom duties for her. I don't talk too much because I think she really likes to be alone with her thoughts as I do in the morning.

I close the door. I go into the kitchen and make an incredibly healthy shake of blueberries, flax, hemp hearts, yogurt, bananas, sesame seed, pumpkin seed and soy milk. I get the coffee on. I put her cereal into her bowl. I get out the marmalade and the spelt bread. I arrange her chair. When she hears the shake being blendered, that's her signal to come to the table.

Sometimes I pretend to myself that in a movie something along the lines of Driving Miss Daisy or a Jane Austen novel and the whole thing still seems a bit surreal.

I asked her the other day how she managed to maintain a 30 year friendship? Her answer? You can't be judgemental.

I like the little sayings she has on her fridge. "There is no point in focusing on how things ought to be. Focus on that which is."

We both agreed this morning that it's not a coincidence, our coming together for mutually beneficial purposes. For her a safety net to have someone there at night. For me? Rent-free living. But then, those are just the surface reasons don't you think?

August 11, 2009

A $20 Experiment

I'm trying out this new experiment at work. It began about a month ago. Not intentionally mind you. A woman came in whom I'd met maybe once or twice. There was something unusual about her but I couldn't put my finger on it.

One day she comes in and she looks at me and she says, I need to take a taxi because it's raining. Can you lend me $10? I looked at her. I looked right into her eyes. I thought about how I was going to answer that. My co-worker asked her why she couldn't take a bus. I hadn't thought of that but by then it was too late. I thought, if you're so desperate that you're going to ask a stranger who happens to work in an employment center for money, then you must really, really need it. So, I got out my wallet and all I had was $20 of course.

I just felt intuitively that she would give it back to me when she could. And, if not; if I was wrong, well, it was only $20 not that I can't use $20 because ya, like I'm independently wealthy. So, I gave it to her. I just felt inside that she would give it back to me when she could.

My co-worker said She's homeless I think. I don't think she's homeless I said. I think she just carries a lot of stuff around and when I said that I laughed out loud because I realized how stupid that sounded. Like duh, that's what homeless people do. They carry all sorts of shit around - which always seemed kind of weird to me. I mean, if you're homeless, you might as well travel light. But, I guess, those that are carrying around the 20 story tower in their shopping carts are just trying to hang on, literally, just hang on to the belief that it's only a matter of time and then they'll have a place and they won't have given up all their stuff. I don't know.

Anyway, she came in a few times after she borrowed the money and I thought, that money's gone. But, one day she came in, she pulled out a $20 bill and handed it over. I thanked her and said I really appreciated her giving it back to me because I didn't actually have a lot of money (but it's all relative now isn't it?)

Today, a guy came in. Desperate story. I've met him a few times. He's completely different than I thought when I just looked at him hitchhiking. At some point, I'm alone with him today and he is telling me a version of the story I'd heard before He's a nice guy. His life seems so hard. He then says to me, you wouldn't be able to loan me $20 would you. Do you know how insignificant $20 is in comparison to some of the stories I hear from these people?

So, I pulled out my wallet and I handed over a $20. I didn't say anything. He said he'd pay me back. So, now this is my experiment. My experiment has nothing to do with these people. It's a test of my own intuition and how well I can read people. And believe me, most people I would say no to but I believe very much that, like that woman, this guy will give me back the money when he can.

As long as I keep getting the $20 back because I'm accurately judging the person, then I will continue, if it feels right, to hand over $20 to very rare individuals who are so desperate that they feel compelled to ask.

As soon as I don't get it back, the experiment stops.

August 05, 2009

Love the Questions

There's something about these old pieces of barnboard that make me think of questions. I'm not sure you'll understand. I wonder what other people think when they see these, if anything. I don't know. I'm in a bit of a hurry so I'll keep this short.

I started my new "gig". And, I knew everything was going to be okay when I saw a quote on a wall that was full of postcards. It was a quote that has a lot of meaning for me because I remember when I first got involved with Mac and I was madly in love with him and it was all new and there were so many reasons why it shouldn't proceed that I first read this quote. I remember reading it to him on the phone and because of the age difference and so many other reasons I could almost hear his eyes roll up and back out of cynicism but because he was in love with me too, he was just - well -loving and patient and careful with my youth in his response. That memory makes me smile now. It lets me recapture just a bit of the feeling as I read it again wistful and sad that such a connection I have never found again...

"Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day."-Rainer Marie Rilke

August 04, 2009

Salt Spring Centre Paradise

Parked the car on the grass, diagonally, and got out to walk towards the main house along the gravel road. It was at least 30 degrees. Chanting and drumming rang out across the fields,which would have been otherwise silent with heat.
It has been a long time since I'd been to the Salt Spring Center and it must have been around this time of year, 10 years ago.
I was in heaven wandering around the huge garden taking in the explosion of colour of the dahlias and sunflowers and snapdragons. Just wandering into the greenhouses and with my camera it was a paradise.

I then saw a water feature, a long waterfall that was directed down from a temple and I amused myself trying to capture the water in a way that was unusual.

About that time I noticed a man. He was working doing some cement work on a little temple.
So, I wandered over towards him and started asking him some questions. He was so incredibly friendly. He took a break, patted the spot beside him and asked me to sit and talk to him. It turns out that he was a professional photographer who worked inadvertising and shot for Vogue magazine and when I told him I'd started a Meet-up photography group he said, Oh, you're that person! He told me the name he uses when at the centre and it was something like Raganathu or something but his given name is Rodney.

It was a really lovely interaction. When I came home I googled him. Turns out that he's written a vegetarian cookbook related to the Centre. Once again, when you meet people on this island, you can never know what it is that they really do or have done or are capable of in one of their many transformations.