How I miss her nudging me...those sporadic visits. Going for a walk, I would feel the hints of a verse, a word...a perfect moment whispering to me. My mind always wanders...so hard to be mindful because my eyes see one thing for a moment and then she takes over with an interesting narrative. A bike missing a wheel thrown carelessly beneath a balcony. What if it was a kidnapping and the bike was thrown here from another town? What if it was an accident and the biker had no ID, police still looking for John Doe? What if...indeed!!
I miss holding an image in my heart f then allowing it to simmer for a day or two and turning it into a watercolour of words, three brief lines that take your imagination on to a lovely journey. Other times it can be philosophical or spiritual but definitely, with a tasteful metaphor.
Since the pandemic, rather than benefit from time during those moments if isolation... inspiration changed to a very scattered mind. Words were mixed with fear but this morning there was a slight shift ...
Moment in time
wades in my soul
Holding my breath
Listening to her voice
(c) Tournesol 2023-03-05 Daily Moments
Valentine’s is supposed to be about love and couples but since I had my children 4 decades ago, it was more about LOVE for anyone who is very special to you, especially my immediate family.
I remember cutting out Valentine cards to share at school to those “special people” …if it was someone, we had a little crush on, we did not sign it. I also helped my children cut theirs out as well and in this generation, they seem to include more people. I am hoping that is indicative of the world we now live in…to be kind to one another…to show support and caring.
The media shows us the opposite because unfortunately “tragedy sells.” Yet, with all that has been going on in the world in the past two years, I am sick of giving attention to sadness, cruelty, and hardships. I am not saying I want to live in a bubble, but I/we DO need balance…knowing about kindness and how wonderful many people have come forward to help one another warms my heart and that too should be in the media…not just an addendum at the end of the news.
One thing I have loved doing in the past few years is writing my own greeting cards and sending them out to some friends far and near…mostly friends who live alone like me.
I do not know about you but when I get something in the mail, I get so excited…I run upstairs and put the envelope on the dining room table and make myself a cuppa tea and then I sit down and savour it. Sometimes it is one line and other times it is a bit longer but the fact that someone cared enough to write something on paper, put it in an envelope, sealed it with love, addressed it with care and attention, put a stamp and walked or drove to drop it off in a mailbox means so much!
I had another selfish reason to do this as well. It inspires me to write a poem and talk in writing to a friend, and forcing me to walk to the nearest mailbox which is 1 km away…so it is also beneficial to my physical and mental health to walk which is something I have not done much this winter especially since my fall early in January. It made me wary of walking on icy sidewalks.
I often try to spread out the cards so I have to go out more often.
This is a troiku (new form of haiku created by Chevrefeuille, at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai I wrote a few days ago, that made me think of my friends this valentine week.
greyness lingers lockdowns hold us prisoners when will winter leave?
greyness lingers looking for a bit of light shining in my heart
lockdowns hold us prisoners soon the days shall pass Oh, see the light shine
when will winter leave? thankful for a caring friend brightens every day
On the 2nd day of summer, a baby girl was born. I wonder why they did not call her Summer but of course it did not translate well in French. And so, Colombe (Dove in English) was born. She was planned, so I hear from stories from my GrandMaman, on one Sunday afternoon. How did they manage to have the house to themselves and what on earth was on their minds, coming from Sunday mass?
My grandparents had a flat on the 2nd floor of City Hall at the time, because my grandfather was Chief of Police.
My grandmother often said that out of all the children there was always one that was chosen to take care of their parents in their old age. My grandmother used to call Colombe, “Mon baton de veillesse’’ (old aged stick…which really means ‘old age crutch’.)
But you must remember in those days in 1925, good Catholic families prohibited from family planning…this baby was planned. GrandMaman used to say a baby planned on a Sunday was ‘’un bébé d’amour’’ …I am not sure love child means the same thing.
And so June 22, 1926, Colombe was born…the fourth child, the middle child of seven. Of course this was a small family compared to other good Catholic families back then. My grandmother was fortunate to have learned young, as a midwife, when a woman ovulated…and so she found her way to plan her family despite the sin she may have committed.
I wonder how they spoke about this plan coming home from Sunday mass.
Mother: I think it’s time to plan for a child that will take care of us in our old age.
Father: Okay [with a twinkle in his eye and skip in his step.]
Mother: Yes, this afternoon would be a good time while the children are at the cottage.
Father: I aim to please, my love.
I don’t know if she carried her to term of 40 weeks, so I imagine this discourse took place sometime in September or early October…oh my! I wonder if it was on my Grandmother’s birthday, October 13th….[rushing to check 1925 calendar…okay, so let’s add a bit of imagination to this story]
On October 11, 1925, GrandPapa asked his spouse what she wanted for her birthday October 13th. And that was her present! I bet GrandPapa wished he could gift her like that more often…[chuckles]
Colombe certainly became a special “baton”…when her little brother was only one, he had TB and she had to quit school having completed Grade 9 to take care of him for two years while he had a body cast.
From there she later went to Montreal at Hairdressing school at Morgan’s (The Bay). She stayed at her sister’s who had a baby and a toddler and became a live in Nanny when she was not in school because her sister like to wine and dine with the rich and famous and her husband.
She never really got to live life on her own freely…and when she met my father, who was auditing a company in her small town, they married six months later.
I’m glad she did because I wouldn’t be here today .There is a story to tell on that day forward but suffice to say the best part was having moi and my sister, right? [smiles]
She was an amazing daughter, friend, spouse, sister, mother and the most loving and fun Nanny as well. I am so glad my children have fond memories of her.
Happy Birthday, Mom. Even in heaven, I bet there is some heavenly celebration you so deserve.
August always makes me feel like summer is over. Remember that feeling way back in the 1960’s when this time of month was much cooler than what we are experiencing now? Do you remember aro
und mid-August there seemed to have lots of winds and cloudy skies?
Sitting quietly, I allow my mind to drift to a time camping at Isle la Motte, Vermont. There were hardly any campers during the week and the people living in the area who had children my age were few. But there was this girl who was already a genuine teenager who hung around with me!. She was thirteen and she would bring me to the centre of the campground where there was a rotunda. Many youths hung out there when it rained and parents wanted some peace and quiet for a few hours.
The small campground was a bit like a huge family. All the children of all ages sort of got along like siblings and cousins; the parents sort of got along with each other until a few drank too much around the campfire around mid-summer but that never affected the children. No, we steered away from grown-ups as much as possible except for chores like lugging a five gallon container of water and doing the dishes. Boy that red plastic container was heavy! And I was only 11! We would take turns. Thankfully my sister would lug it most of the way…she was so strong!
I remember Tina trying to teach me the rock ‘n roll. She seemed to have two extra steps but, for some reason, it made it easier for me to do it “her” way. I now had something I could practice back home with my sister. She was already an amazing dancer. She must have it in her genes just like Mom and Dad.
Saturday nights the rotunda was lit up and if it was a clear night a wooden platform was set up next to it for people to dance. They played a lot of old fogies’ music like stuff that Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers would dance to. Haha! So teens and children either watched the adult, went to the beach with their friends or listened to Beatles records at their tent. Yes, we did have electricity.
I used to love hiding behind a tree and admire my parents dance. They actually DID look like those romantic musicals. My mom was not tall and she would just float on her tip toes never missing a step. That was probably the only time they both looked happy. Maybe that’s why I like to always remember those moments.
By mid-August we used to get the “back to school” blues. Don’t get me wrong now. I actually liked school and learning. Yeah, I was a bit of a geek…just a bit. But getting up early in the morning was the tough part. Actually, I dreaded going back to school that year because my sister was going into high school and I did not know if I would have many friends. There were some mean girls in the grade between my sister and me (she was two years older ) who were pretty jealous of her. My sister was kind to everyone and well, that make her very popular, I guess. I think some classmates were only nice to me because of my sister…now I dreaded going back to school and being alone to fend for myself. I did not like fighting. Well, with my sister I did now and then but that’s what sisters ARE supposed to do, right?
Yes, August always brings back those memories of grief and loss… transitioning. I certainly don’t feel that way these days. My goodness we still have wonderful weather and it’s warm until the end of September now. I actually look forward to autumn with all the colours. Although, my Mother’s Day flowery arrangement is getting thinner now…
fewer bursts of colours
Since January 1st, she had been working remotely more and more. First there was the move and later, the struggles on her body traveling and walking on icy sidewalks and flu season worried her a lot. In three months she may have gone to the office five days at best. It was already her new normal. However shopping for odds and ends she needed to fix up her new home and doing her own groceries were outtings she looked forward to until March. What she misses the most is seeing friends and family…oh my, miss those hugs!
Last night she slept thirteen hours losing part of the day. After months of sleeping four to six hours a night, she gave into her body’s screaming request. Was it the exertion from cleaning and scrubbing? Was it giving in to her chronic pain? Or was it hiding from another day? Perhaps a bit of both but her body thanks her? A much needed vacation after months of packing and unpacking. Oh! There are still many things to do but at least she had the opportunity to make her new home look decent enough and not “quite” climbing the walls (or have to wash them down too!)
What really worries her most was the unknown future. She is saddened her children and grandchildren …people who are younger than her have to be faced with a very very different world. She knew the world was changing but never thought she would be alive to see how it would impact on so many younger people…how her heart breaks thinking of this.
It’s also a time of year when she usually does a bit of cooking…home baked beans, split pea soup à la Jeanne Benoit (she’s tried a few including Ricardo’s and no one can beat Jeanne plus her added touch of course) along with ham, pâtés and tête de fromage and a variety of sweet pies. Her Grandpères are not as good as those from la Cabane à sucre but lots and lots of chocolate.
When she was younger, during la semaine sainte (holy week) her grandmaman would cook eggs in syrup for breakfast along with beans baked in molasses or maple syrup. Of course beans were a regular Sunday breakfast even outside Easter week. After Sunday mass many churchgoers would pick up home baked beans at a grocer.
She takes comfort thinking of those days, just like food giving one comfort. It is enjoyable to cook and bake for others but to do it alone is a challenge lacking so much joy, missing the smiling faces and comments of “Mmmm” and “More please”.
It’s 18:30 and as much as she has avoided hearing her prime minister or premier speak…she turns on the screen awakening her to reality.
Under grey skies
A leader talks about peace
Under grey skies
With new angels
A leader talks about peace
Birds chirp softly
Maples running gold liquid
humans may not taste
No alarms this morning…it is her day off. A sleep disturbed by dread and worry forces her to dive under her duvet giving her a sense of false security. It’s time to get up. No sounds in the stairwell like in the old “normal”. All in their own time now…a slower pace, a screaming silence in the halls.
Such a restless night worrying about her work yesterday. No matter how much she kept repeating, “Let it go, ride the wave and let it go”, it still stuck to her. And so she decides to look over her notes from yesterday and emails. Such a relief to humbly realize she had misinterpreted one message and a smile starts forming on her face.
She begins to write a letter of thanks to her managers for the support they have given her and her colleagues in the past ten days. It has been challenging to work from home for so many especially those with children. How to keep them busy…how to keep the teens at home without going stark raving mad?!
Looking at her street, she notices the odd cyclist braving the cold at 3C but the forecast is supposed to go up to 11 mid-day. Yes, she might go out for a walk later and wear only her Sketchers rather then winter boots…such a treat to walk in lighter footwear!
A yellow van with flashing lights parks in front of her building…her heart flip flops wondering who and what is happening? Is there a person who is sick? Is it Covid19 or something else? She dares not open her door to see in the hallway but peaks through the peephole and sees masked paramedics on her floor! Later she sees them wheeling out a woman from her floor…
She just may not go out today…
passing a cyclist
life goes on
passing a cyclist
leaning on a walking stick
a man shuffles slowly
Watching people walking to the park, she knew she must get out. Shut-in all day yesterday was just to nurse a cold and making excuses that she must not venture out into the public; but what about just going out for fresh air? But of course, that would be good for her both physically and emotionally.
She opened the windows of her condo for half an hour or so every day but that was not enough. She knew her mental state was stuck in mud that had dried up…sort of. A must to go out and see people! Tomorrow she would be hearing people and their trials and tribulations; trying to instill hope to continue on one more day or two. Indeed, she must go out.
Contemplating this, she saw two bicycles go by! One adult was dragging another bike with training wheels and another tiny bike was following behind. The children were dressed in snow pants and big bike helmets. [She wonders if a tuque fit under those big plastic headdresses.] Those big mittens must make it tricky to steer the bike too! Ah, bicycles with toddlers and children going for a Sunday ride…that surely is a sign that spring is around the corner!
sunny skies rule
just above point of freezing
luring shut-ins out!
sunny skies rule
painting curves on stiff muscles
bidding them to smile
just above point of freezing
daring to remove their tuques
wind blows in their hair
luring shut-ins out!
young and old find delight
spring is almost here
watching with renewed energy
from her living room window
slips on coat and boots
stepping into brisk cool air
twinkle in her eyes
Sitting in front of the t.v. screen, she flips from one video to the next and finds nothing to capture her attention. It has been a long day. Day two of busyNESS, Day two of SadNESS, Day two of various fires to try and put out and yet…the day feels unfulfilled. There is the person who hung up too soon because someone walked in on them; there’s the person whose phone died and you never had a chance to see if he’s safe and the list goes on. All in a day’s work, some say…who the hell says that anyway?
Switching to music seems more healing…starting with Satie Song by Alanna-Marie Boudreau, then Kimbra’s Cameo Lover and Sara Bareilles’s Gravity. Lastly, she listens to one of her favourites, Damien Rice’s Accidental Babies…aww, total bliss! It is amazing how music can truly transform you.
She is reminded of a youth now who is a musician playing classical and jazz. How fortunate she is to do the work she does do. How blessed she is to hear their stories and to be the ear that hears those secrets they disclose for the first time…they actually dared to say “out loud”. Such courage they have had to gather to reach out for support.
Before the end of her evening, she listens to one more song, Damien’s Rootless Tree…
thinking of those classical notes
cut at her heartstrings
recalling her soft voice
vulnerable and frayed
thinking of those classical notes
only ivory keys can articulate
cut at her heartstrings
images of doom and gloom
unearthed and naked
A disturbing nudge on her shoulder kicks her out of her sleep. Her longtime friend and foe is ever consistent. It’s November, and dawn has not yet shown its face. Her cold dark room reminds her of death. It is after all, the month of death. She hears a neighbour roll over in bed. The springs are probably as old as his grandfather but hardly a nuisance to hear. In fact, it’s comforting to hear the expected. There is life upstairs.
She pulls the duvet over her head and whispers her morning mantra, “Please help me be a better person and make this day slightly different…Amen.” Shuffling to the washroom, she peaks in the room at the end of the hall. Squinting, she sees her black feline sleeping soundly by the windowsill.
In the kitchen she starts the coffee. She grinds the coffee beans at night to ensure quiet in the morning. Pulling the curtain in the living room, she sees dark purple shades painted across the sky. What a gift to see this performance offering hope for a new day…yet, it’s all a lie, really. Nothing changes.
Tiptoeing to the washroom, she closes the door runs her morning bath while the coffee maker does its magic. Hot water oils her joints…sort of, at least to function, maybe enough to walk to the bus stop today. Lowering her body so her shoulders are covered in the hot steaming water, she lets out a soft groan exhaling the bad.
The last gasps of the coffee wizard announce the end of her bath.
Sitting in her mother’s old rocker, she sips her first taste of happiness leaning on two ice packs. The aroma fills the air. The ice slowly numbs the pain on her neck and lower back; the rising sun puts a smile on her parched lips. Who knows? Maybe today will be different.
For decades, she’s always told herself that pain is her friend. If she feels aches, it means she’s alive rather than paralysed and unfeeling. She has the energy to work, to love, the passion to care despite the lulls in the day or night, she still lives and feels.
Accepting her limits is the secret. Walking too far or housecleaning in one shot will force her into inaction for a day or two. On days she cannot function, she reads, writes, edits photos or binges on Netflix…always pleasures to take her mind off physical discomforts…the nagging, accusing poking of her stalker or long-time partner?
billowy shadows linger
cringing at intruders
billowy shadows linger
shift in autumn’s speed
brightening muddy paths
cooling giddy tongues