printemps, j’adore

it’s that time of year. be prepared for many photos of sumptuous and verdant forest.

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the woods feed me. they are my church. they are my meditation. they are where i come up for air.

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the goodness of humans has really struck me lately. how when i am around someone who is so good, it feels like my heart is a flower blossoming. think of staring into the sweet flush pink of a lush camellia blossom, hurling itself into spring. the clear true joy in its bewildering beauty. that is my heart. [thank you my friends.]

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so guess what? i just got new shoes and they make me want to RUN (and what’s more, they have graphics of mountains on them!). it was time for a new pair of shoes both for work and for play, and i wanted to try out zero-rise runners. my last pair of running shoes that were strictly for running, before the current ones that i use for both work and running, were from the thrift store and were maybe wrestling shoes? or tennis shoes? i’m not sure, but whatever they were, they had very little rise, and that is what i wanted for natural running. those shoes stayed with emma in winnipeg before i moved, both to pare down, but also because they were getting so thin that it hurt to run on pavement. i then started running in my work shoes, which i don’t think had much rise either, but there was definitely a difference between them and the wrestling/tennis shoes. these ones i just got yesterday, and they are flat, but also have some cushion to them. they were great for walking around on the pavement today, but i have yet to really take them for a run yet, so i will have to keep you posted on that. the urge, however, is there. which is fun, the knowing i can take off at any moment. it’s like the anticipation for something exciting that you know will happen soon. that is always sweet.

i also treated myself to a couple of pairs of wool ankle socks. generally i just get cheapo cotton ankle socks because i go through them so fast with this job. but then i started wondering – if i had good quality socks, maybe i wouldn’t go through them as fast? when i got home after work today i was walking around on the slippery kitchen floor, and they made me feel like dancing! my dance teacher wants us to do battements everyday, which i mostly forget to do, but with the socks i thought –  yes, let’s! so i stood at the stove doing battements and then i texted her to tell her i was doing battements in the kitchen and thinking of her. i wrote to her in french, and then i put it through google translate before sending it, which is what i usually do because my french is sometimes spotty and some of the things i say are ridiculous. although i do wonder sometimes if it’s google translate that is ridiculous. this was one of those times. GT apparently thought what i wrote was, “i just made beats in the kitchen and thought of you”. i laughed so hard over this. i suggest translating things with GT if you ever need more humour in your life.

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i went home to the wee island last weekend, and then to the monthly coffeehouse saturday night. julie was doing the door. i don’t know julie well, but i believe i would like to. she is in her 50’s and i think i’d describe her as laconically droll. perhaps the kind of person whom you see sitting back placidly at the edge of a conversation, maybe with a little not-quite smirk on her face. you don’t think she is listening to what is being said, and then she delivers the perfect one-liner, knocking everyones socks off. 

she had pulled out a behemoth of a book from the pile of community library culls – Tuscany: Inside the Light, by joel meyerowitz and maggie barrett – and found this photo in it, which she prominently displayed at the door:

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jess and i were sitting on a bench, talking, when julie brought the book over and said, “wouldn’t you like to take that to bed with you?”

i cracked up.

i know, totally objectifying, but just stay with me here. what i was laughing at is the incongruity of humans. the dichotomy of them. we cannot expect people to be who we think they are, nor, if we know them, who they have always been (this is something i repeatedly forget). i asked, “are there more like that?” she brought the book back to the table and flipped through it for a bit, then came back with a photo of two elderly famers, probably in their 80’s, and said, “doesn’t quite do it, does it?”

later in the evening i had finished knitting the tuque i was working on and pulled out a skein of yarn to wind into a ball. i was sitting next to gretje and as soon as she saw the yarn, she held her two fists up, wordlessly offering to help me wind it. i go on and on about community, i know. i fear i will become a broken record, but it is because i cannot get over it. maybe because i moved to the big city and left community for such a long time, i have 12 years worth of catching up and revelling to do.

while gretje bopped along to the beat, she deftly dipped and lifted her arms, allowing me the yarn. i cannot go back now people. this is the only way i ever want to wind yarn again. it has become a community activity.

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i started reading a book by amanda palmer called ‘the art of asking’. in it she describes the artistic process, she talks about how creative humans collect, connect and share. how we go out and collect moments, experiences, feelings, etc, then gather them in and connect them to ourselves in the ways that they fit. then the last part of the process – the sharing with others, and how for all of us, depending on what we prefer to focus on, we devote more time to the part of the process that we take the most pleasure from. one thing she wrote really struck me, as it is something i have struggled with through the years. when i make art, it just comes, and i can’t necessarily explain it afterwards, i can’t tell you what it means. i believed i had to be able to, because other people wanted me to, but it always felt wrong to contain it within a name, a title, a description… amanda writes, “artists connect the dots – we don’t need to interpret the lines between them. we just draw them and present our connections to the world as a gift, to be taken or left.” here are some connections for you, my latest short film.

“when artists work well, they connect people to themselves, and they stitch people to one another, through this shared experience of discovering a connection that wasn’t visible before.”

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still storing well into april. my favourite apples ever, belle de boskoop.

this weekend i came home again (i meant to finish this post last week so that i wouldn’t once again drag you through a medley of past and present tenses and unclear timelines. but alas…). i intended to get on the last ferry friday night, after a much needed chiropractor appointment in town. the day went great, i did a new route at work, which is generally fun (if there isn’t too much mail) because the first time is always like a scavenger hunt. then i got off early and had plenty of time before i had to leave. i was sooo looking forward to my chiro appt because i tweaked something in my back the day before, my hip is constantly tight right now from working, my neck is out again, and the muscles in my feet are tight from all of the walking, thus pulling the bones out of place. this drive is normally a breeze, half an hour and i am there. but that day, there was an accident on the highway. the ONLY road between me and my destination. i think i was pretty near to the front of the jam, because once we finally got past it, THREE HOURS, one missed chiro appointment and one missed ferry later, the line-up on the OTHER side of the highway stretched for another 10 kilometers. it of course could’ve been worse, i could have been IN the accident. (and look at what denise feeds me when i show up at her house unexpectedly on friday night, begging for a place to stay… YUM!!!)

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but i am probably not going to be home for another three weeks, and it really feels like not long enough when you don’t have at least one full day at home. i was even wondering if it was worth coming, but then the sun was out and the green buds are all bursting and i stepped off the boat into a sea of smiling faces and driving down the road felt like home and the big trees at the bottom of the driveway felt like home and walking up to my bus in the sunshine felt like home and the riotous grin it all brought forth felt like home and then i set up the hammock and got in it with my pancakes and my knitting and realized: even one hour here in the stillness and the sunshine and the birds and the wind swishing through the conifer needles  i s  w o r t h  i t.

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after hammock time, i hauled the chainsaw up to the garden and fell my first two solo trees. significant trees i mean, over a foot and a half in diameter. prior to this there had always been someone else around when trees were coming down, but after that last session with doug, i am starting to feel fairly confident in terms of the straightforward trees. and i’m getting good! they fell pretty much where i wanted them (where they were already leaning), and my notch cuts lined up. sweet. so these trees i fell for garden bed edging. i was standing there looking out over the garden (ie. moss covered bluff), envisioning what i eventually want, and laughing at just h o w much work it’s going to be, but if i can pull it off, it will be amazing. so i begin. a little bit at a time will get me there. even just seeing the shape of this bed delineate was SO exciting, now i just need to get some soil in it! i decided on rounds for edging because i saw someone doing this in nanaimo and it ties in with dads great hugelkultur idea. they provide a really easy way to make a raised bed, and will eventually break down, turning into rich soil. 

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later on i went on a short wander down to the ocean with my neighbour. i have this, ahem, bad habit of wandering in the woods and staying out too late because oh it is just so beautyfull, and it’s still light on the water, so lets just forget about the fact that it’s probably dark on the forest trail. perhaps we can label this being present, rather than foolish? so, ha ha ha, we did this tonight. because why not? you can’t really get tooooo lost in these parts, and it was only about a 20 minute wander from his place to the ocean. there is grace there. in all of it. in the putting of one foot in front of the other over the dusky duff and roots of the forest floor. in being with the darkness as it settles around you, no switch to flick, no way out but through. in trusting that you will find your way, eventually.

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j’adore habité ici. avec tout mon coeur.

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