Saturday, March 26, 2005

The Epitome of Spring

New Growth

The Baby Puzzle

About 2 months ago, my wonderful sister brought a little piece of hell into my life: a puzzle consisting of the faces of hundreds of babies! She had been on a puzzle craze, and brought the dreaded baby puzzle home from her boyfriend's house. The problem was that she hardly touched the thing more than a few minutes on the first day before she declared it horrible and impossible. So my dad and I got sucked into doing it, and it's taken up a great chunk of our time for about 2 months now! (We recommend this puzzel to NO ONE!) But today, just minutes ago, we put the last pieces in. Ahhhh, what a sigh of relief!
Now I'm left with this feeling of "Now what?" This puzzle has occupied me for so long now - I see the pieces when I close my eyes! I almost felt sad putting those last pieces in just now, only because it's been a part of my life for weeks now! How sad is that. I think perhaps I can officially label myself as THE biggest nerd ever!

275 Babies!
Now that this time sucking puzzle is done, will I have more time for more worth while things? Or will just one more foolish thing preoccupy my time? Dear gods, I can only hope for the former!

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Garden of Love

On thursday night I went out to the house that my sister is doggie-sitting at, in Caulfield. From my general understanding about how the world works, I'm really not a fan of huge ostentatious and obnoxious houses typical of West Van, but this was a house that I could have lived in -it's quite small, but with spectacular views seen out of almost all of the floor to ceiling windows. It belongs to an old couple, celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary (hense why my sister is taking care of their wee dog). They are still very much in love, and their love has permeated and saturated the whole house and garden. At first glance, both the house and the garden seemed quite modest, but on closer inspection, it was teeming with beautiful energy.

Healing Beautiful Love.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

While We Have the Sun

After mucking through a swamp, I decided that I should make the most of a sunny spring day. The last weather report I had heard predicted rain for tomorrow, so it was carpe diem sort of moment. I made my way down to beautiful Deep Cove and then made my way up the Baden Powell trail to Quarry Rock.
The air was warm, yet crisp and fresh, and the smells were intoxicating. I was humbled by the trees and enraptured by the streams, and high on the beauty of it all.


(please forgive my lack of a tripod in this shot)

So I sat down, high above it all, the wind and the sun on my skin. I sat and began to contemplate and really look into myself. And soon, for the first time in a long long time, I felt whole and sound. I felt good, right down and through.
Sitting there, I came to realise that this time in my life is a time for me. Time to look at who I have become, who I am becoming, and time to remember who I was. This is a time to care for myself, and up on that rock today, this became so clear. For the first time in a long while, I felt at peace with my life situation, because I had begun to understand what it was for, and why things had happened. I just need to be by myself right now, to take care of myself.

Swampy Destiny

While on my typical walk home today, I decide to welcome a little bit of change- i took a small detour to explore the new growth in the swam, hoping to find some skunk cabbage to photograph. My to my delight, I found a plethora of flourishing cabbages.

(This is an shotty picture, but it shows just how many there were, almost-there are more outside of the shot.)
So I unloaded my backpack and proceeded into the quagmire, camera in hand, and cell phone in sweater pocket. For one of the first times in a long long time, I had left the house without a hair tie and found my hair to be quite the irritant, (not that that is really all that relavent, however it was a part of my swap extraveganza experience.) As I carefully picked my way across the "dry" patches of moss, I soon discovered that I was going to get a little bit dirty. But it would be all worth it, somehow, for a photo or two maybe.

Smelly beauty.
So I balanced beamed my way out into the thick of the swap, across a fallen tree,

with the birds a singing me encouragement, and the dangers of ooey gooey mud on all sides. I made it all the way without a slip, but ended up getting my shoes rather muddy getting off of the log back onto "dry" land. As I left the swamp, I figured I had done rather well, as far as not falling into the mud and completely soiling my freshly washed white sweater. So I took one more photo...

then picked up my bag and resumed my walk home. Shortly after, and luckily before I had climbed either of the two long hills, I realised that I didn't have my cell phone, and I knew it must have fallen out of my sweater pocket somewhere in the swamp. With visions of my poor little phone drowning in the muck, getting ruined, and thinking of how much money it would cost to replace, I rushed back to retrace my steps. So once again, through the bushes and across the logs, contorting to make my way through, I searched for my phone. My shoes got muddier, but it didn't matter so much. Luckily I found my dear little phone on one of the few dryish spots, unharmed. Ahh, what relief. The last time I replaced a lost phone, it cost me $400, for the cheapest one! Needless to say, it was incredibly nice to find my phone in good condition. How lucky.
On my way out, for the second time, a miniature world caught my eye. The world is indeed enchanted, if you open your eyes to see it....

who me?

After the double swamp time fiasco, I wondered why it had all happened. That was the first time my phone had fallen from my pocket, so why today, why in the depths of a swamp of all places? Was there some greater importance to my delay? Or am I reading too much into this? I like to think that things happen for a reason, so now I'm left wondering, what was the importance of my timing today? And who is behind the strings that tried so hard to correct my timing?

Monday, March 21, 2005

Spring Equinox

Welcome new growth.

Sunday, March 13, 2005


The rocking chair view.

Photo courtesy of Poxin.

Heroin Memory

My heart is trapped in a white stucco box and I cry a lot for my home. The missing is overwhelming. The greenest of greens and the bluest of blues make for tough competition in this dull suburbia. There is little hope that growing up in a tight knit community, remote from the impersonal city, accessible only by boat, could leave room for any favorable feelings about cookie cutter communities where you don’t know your neighbor’s name. Especially not when you get ripped violently away, with little chance to say goodbye. So I go back inside my head and live there again, for little moments of my day.
I close my eyes and I sit in my living room. In the brown padded mahogany rocking chair, beside the fireplace, looking out of the massive window. Watching the sun sparkle on the water in summer time, the tides forever rolling, fat snowflakes falling and accumulating, endless rain pouring down. And I notice all the details. Smell the fresh air off the water on a sunny day. The sudden rush of noise from the streams outside when the windows are opened. The dust floating in the beams of sunlight from the skylights.
My memory is a photograph. Thousands, millions, trillions of them. Put them all together and play them back. My mind is the cinema, the film of my life. This scratchy second-hand computer chair becomes a folding red fake-velvet chair when I close my eyes.
The infinite space inside when you close your eyes. The boundlessness of the mind and memory.
I open up all the cupboards to make sure I don’t forget where anything goes. The big white buckets of flour and sugar. We used to stand on them as children to see over the counter top. Jam and cereal above the toaster. Plates and glasses beside the sink. I look up at the knots in the wood of the boards and beams. A foot print on a board of the ceiling. Count how many logs support the roof, the ceiling. Six big gleaming cedar beams stretch along above the living room, the dining room, the computer area. There were no level floors, nor parallel lines in that log cabin. It was easier to jump and touch the roof by the kitchen window than it was to do the same a few feet over by the stove. Truly a hippie creation. Everything was character; it oozed with it.
I was there for 18 years. Everything that makes me who I am happened there. My dad’s huge strong gentle hands holding me steady while I learned to ride my bike on the neighbor’s lawn. (It was covered with old carpet. I don’t know why, but it made riding a bike with training wheels easier. Carpet would do where there was no concrete.) Building forts. Climbing trees, to the top. As high as we could go before the branches got too small. Feeling so alive, up so high. Rock hopping up and down the creek, naming pools and racing sticks. Walking free through the forest trails. Musty loamy earth smell. Making mud pies. When pretend was real. Childhood.
I can’t bring myself to accept that it’s not my home anymore, it would bring my world to a crashing end.
I run my hands over the writing that two little girls scrawled on the wall. Closet. Bed goes here. Dresses. I can smell the soft sharp musty smell of the closet. I walk across the room to the window. Yellow shag carpet, the devourer of countless earrings. By the time I reach the window, it turns to the new lavender carpet laid down by my dad. One minor update in our hippie haven. Two impish little girls used to hide in the wide windowsill, behind the orange, yellow and green curtains, then behind the split bamboo one, waiting for the lion to come and tickle them to death. When I was bigger I used to crunch my legs up and sit in that windowsill looking out the window, staring and contemplating issues beyond my years. A wall of green trees climbing to the top of a mountain out the back door. Love. Death. Separation.
Missing that which you cannot have is the greatest torture.
I walk across the floor and hear the creaks and groans. The squeak of the back door and the rumble of the sliding glass door. There was no sneaking home after curfew with that glass door on guard. The whole house talked. Down the little hill, the noticeable slope in the hall to my parent’s bedroom, and out onto the deck. The window became a door one summer. Hot dry heat of the sun on the deck. Dusty dried pollen on the beige fiberglass, under a child’s feet, pubescent toes, teenage soles. The ocean breeze meeting me. The smell of salt water and fresh water mixing. River mouths are where destiny is constantly and continuously happening.
I walk barefoot down the front path. Mud squishing between little toes. Prickly grass itching ankles. Past the pond. One winter when it froze solid. Washing dirt off freshly picked carrots at its banks. Filling watering cans with its crisp cool water for the garden. And I can still count the number of patio stones, fighting against the quagmires in the path. Watch my feet pick nimbly, effortlessly across the roots and rocks. I could do it with my eyes closed, even still.
Our memories are what make us who we are, connecting the past with the present. Life stories. Fragmented bits that to the owner make perfect sense. My most cherished memories live there, the ones that make me me. How could I ever let them go? I can’t. Never.
The butterfly bush is so beautiful in springtime. And then it snowed too hard and its branches broke. Was it only 18 seasons I watched pass by there? The beach was a beach, sand and all. Then the creek came and swept it all away. Waking up, walking out my bedroom door and looking out of the skylight down toward the dock. Distant vague pain growing in my feet from the hard nubs of the pseudo-carpet under them as I stood, a statue, staring. November 30th 2001, the boat sunk. Seeing your only lifeline to “town” - the boat that brought you home from the hospital as a newborn, the boat that you relied on nearly every day of your life- with only the bow peeking out of the water, the rest submerged, was near sickening. The memory in hindsight is worse, knowing that it was the last straw for parents that were struggling to make ends meet, knowing that it confirmed the decision to sell the house and move. Watching strangers walk through your home, knowing they could not appreciate it for what it was. Sneering, snickering. Hearing them talk about tearing it down, rebuilding, hiding the logs with drywall. Hurt. Walking through, touching, smelling, hearing, imprinting it into my memory. Even then.
The stories I tell, people don’t believe. The lawn flooded and we canoed across to get to school. A bear was on the front lawn and a cougar was at the sliding glass door at 5am. It snowed so much one year Don came by with his tractor and made a path for us, three foot walls of white! People thought we were nuts for living there, like that. They just don’t understand. The power went out the week of Christmas and we ate pasta cooked on top of the wood stove. All the neighbors came over and shared with us.
It was a small town in a way. It was a family, a community. There was space and freedom and peace. When my parents first moved up, it was only them and one other. Mom would garden naked and Dad would mow the lawn just the same. Det, the other one, used to grow pot and steal hydro, right straight from the main tower. There were no rules of conformity back then. It was remote, but close. It was beautiful. It was everything. It is the home of my heart and soul.
Nothing yet comes close to comparing. I can feel myself drying out inside, stuck here in this dull stucco box, on a normal street with a real driveway. Where fences cut neighbors off from each other. Where my only view is the neighbor’s house, with blinds drawn at all times. Where I have to cross a busy street to get to any forest paths. It’s claustrophobia here. So I replenish my thirsty soul with juicy memories.
My friend was sharing the same grief as me; he too was torn away from that magical childhood place of ours. I told him that everything happens just as it should in some ways. As soon as it happens, whether we judge it as good or bad, it just is. And it becomes a part of our stories. The kinks in our paths. The wrinkles in our skin and chasms in our souls. So maybe the pain isn’t in vain? It makes us who we are. And then, when we learn from it and we come back into balance with ourselves, its just one more memory. It’s just one more thing that has collectively shaped us. Then I said that the most gnarled piece of driftwood is often the most beautiful one.
I think I was trying to bring peace to myself as much as I was to him. It doesn’t really help. I indulge in idealistic memories but deep down I know it’s not the same anymore. I can never go back. I’ve gone back, to visit, but it will never be my home again. Not like it was before. The people have changed. The Linton’s painted the wood of my cedar home. White. It would be very difficult to get all that paint off now. They argue more and people’s properties have grown boundaries. The dock is rotting, but no one is fixing it. It is not the same. So I relive it they way I want to remember it. They way I love it so much.
Knowing you cannot go back is having your heart ripped out and stomped on with cleated boots. And we kick ourselves for not appreciating what we had while we had it. Six thousand five hundred and seventy days, give or take a few, I looked out of those big front windows. A panoramic landscape filling my eyes. Fuchsia sunsets. White cap winter storms. Azure skies, emerald mountains and golden grass. Somehow over the years it lost its luster. That wasn’t one of my memories, the lost luster, but my friend reminded me that yes, I really did want to leave after eighteen years. Part of me asks myself “What were you thinking?” The other half knows.
Remembering is agony.
But everything is magic in hindsight.
Remembering is bliss.

I wrote this for a creative writing class a few months back,a part of my biography. I'm posting it because so much of me is explained in these words and sentences. It will make future posts make more sense, I think.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Hair Philosophy

Continuing in a pattern of rampaging through my life, tearing up established comforts and things of long, I cut off most of my hair. Where once it tickled the small of my back, it now brushes my shoulders. Eight inches of hair fell to the ground over the course of an hour and a half as I put my treasured hair in the hands of Yuko, my new stylist at Suki's. The trust paid off as she snipped and clipped away, bring the unruliness of my mane under control. I walked out feeling about five pounds lighter, after losing the blulk of my hair, and for once feeling relatively stylish.
Being stylish was not my goal, nor was forgetting the way I used to be, nor was forging a new identity. Maybe it was a way of making myself feel better, at least on the outside. Or maybe it was just a continuation of massive changes in my life. Whatever it is, I like my new hair. But I'm sure I will miss my long locks as well.
Such is life, giving up something to get something else, closing one door to open another, enjoying the new while missing the old.
Moving from hair to life philosophy:...
One of the few things that I have concluded over my brief life is that nothing is permanent; change is the only constant. I am permanently suspended between contradictions. Life provides us with choices and options, sometimes both of which are unattractive, or both of which are very attractive, and we just can't have both. So you choose the least bad, or the best. You make the best decision you can at the time, knowing that rarely will all of your desires be satisfied. Such decisions are hard, but often they are the most important ones in life. No matter how hard you try to unravel the details in your head, it's just too complex and you need to trust your gut, your intuition, and use that to guide your decision. Hopefully your intuition serves you well. Otherwise you're fucked.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Prophet

There is one book that has been incredibly helpful to me in difficult times, The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran. It's much more godly and officially religious than most things that I partake in, but I find it extremely powerful and beautiful. I recommend it to everyone, to read from front to back. But for now, here are some of my most beloved passages that have been most helpful to me. I can only hope that they might do the same for someone else.

On Love:
"When love beckons you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you, yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you, believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you, so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth, so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your heights and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant; [...]
All of these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.
But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seaonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears."

On Joy and Sorrow:
"Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.[...]
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, 'joy is greater than sorrow,' and others say, 'nay, sorrow is the greater.'
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at a standstill and balanced."

On Pain:
"Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seems less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seaons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief."

On Beauty:
"Beauty is not a need but an ecstacy.
It is not a mouth thirsting not an empty hand stretching forth,
But rather a heart inflamed and a soul enchanted.
It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear,
But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears.
It is not the sap within the furrowed bark, nor a wing attached to a claw,
But rather a garden forever in bloom and a flock of angels forever in flight.
[...]Beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.
But you are life and you are the veil.
Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and you are the mirror."

May you heal whole and sound, then grow and love more than ever before, my dear.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Ode to a Friend

I am so grateful to have such a friend in my life. The energy created when we spend time together never ceases to amaze me; we part fully refuelled with the most positive of feelings. Such Great Heights. Talking, laughing, healing, growing, into the wee hours of the morning. Conversations ranting about the world and woes, eternally on the same note. The understanding is deep and effortless.
What was it about that childhood we shared together? That place and those lessons? It created something so powerful that together we can overcome any obstacle that we might encounter. We vowed to always be there for eachother, no matter what, to hold out a hand to help the other one up when they fall in a mudpuddle, or to just jump in and make it a party. I know that no matter how hard things might get, for either of us, we will always have eachother. What a beautiful gift. It makes me want to cry. Everyone should have this.
This is so undescriptive and has so little cohesion. Maybe because of the few hours of sleep last night. Yet I think that even if I was at the height of my mental capacities, I still wouldn't be able to express this in a manner in which outsiders would be able to understand. This is beyond words.
Thank you Shawn.

Photo courtesty of Phong.

This smells stongly of cheese, but such is my life and I like it that way.

Friday, March 04, 2005

The Turning Point

The parallel experience never ceases to amaze me. As I sit down to write, such similar thoughts clutter my head, so similar to his a few weeks ago. What am I doing? Am I wasting my time?
I don't feel like i'm doing enough of what I really enjoy doing. That's what it all comes down to, why I feel like I'm wasting my time.
I don't take enough photos these days, or ever. Maybe that's just the thing about hobbies and passions, you can never get enough. But recently, the number of photos in my neatly organized folders is just shameful. I need to get out more and pheast on this newly sprouting springtime beauty. No exuses.
I don't write enough, clearly seen by these sporatic little blogs. There are so many thoughs swirling around that I should really be transfering into some form through which I can share them with other people. That's the point of all this, isn't it? The point of life and living, of being a social animal? To communicate and share ideas. These ideas must come out! I've even got a list going. That's it.
I can't remember the last time I did yoga. I make myself so mad sometimes. I know how much I enjoy doing it, how good it feels, how much it helps me inside and out. But I have so much trouble rolling out that little blue mat.
I don't see my friends enough, or keep in touch at least. And it's not like there are so many that I can't schedule them all in. Have I isolated myself? I certainly feel alone. The days of sitting around on a pink couch talking, laughing, drinking tea, are but a distant memory. I know I shouldn't lose myself in nostalgia, and I know that everything looks better (or in some cases, worse) in hindsight, but they were happy times. I miss them.
So what's my problem? Where did my motivation go? I used to be such an unlazy person. Well, I guess that hasn't really changed, but maybe what I'm focussing on has changed. It seems that I'm not so good at multitasking big projects. I can multitask the little stuff, but big stuff requires undivided attention. Does it have to be this way though? Cause I feel like I'm missing out on so many of the things that bring me so much joy. This is the moment in which I take charge. I'm going to try to break this habit. It's all a matter of willpower.