Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Swirling Leaves

A quintessential October image: coloured leaves. Lighting a tree. Swirling through the air. Chasing other leaves down a rivulet. Lying on the ground in splendid repose.

After an intense and busy season--"season of life," not specifically this summer, though that too--all my focus, attention, intensity, whatever you call it, seems to be devoted to sleeping and goofing around.

I'm trying to listen to myself, which includes listening to my body. Because who knows, really, how long this turn will last--the turn toward fallow, toward rest, toward yin from yang. Yang in the weather will re-approach in the spring, with the sun, but other outward-facing projects might appear regardless of weather.

A couple of leaves I've been chasing around:

1. The unique satisfaction of a reading wonderful library book that turns out to be every bit as wonderful as was claimed.

I feel this especially keenly because the previous library book turned out to be a dud--though that's unfair, really. It was a dud because I was reading it with a friend, and I had to reserve it in July, and it just came last week, and it was the kind of book that, had I seen it somewhere in real life, I wouldn't have read. I tried to read it. I didn't like it. And I took it back instead of slogging through it (go me).

Which makes the more recent book all the more wonderful. It's Ann Patchett's This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, which is a lot about writing and life and love in all its forms and only a little about marriage.

2. The dawning realization that it might be time to cull the fleece. We're just coming into the Season of Cold, so maybe now isn't the best time to cull all those sweatshirts/hoodies/jackets/layers-that-aren't-sweaters-but-aren't-coats.

The thing is, that clothing category in my closet comes with lots of rules for appropriate wear. For example, this one is OK only to get the mail and run into the convenience store an emergency grocery purchase. This one really can't leave the house except under a coat that will never be unzipped. This one can't leave even then. This one I could wear to coffee or for a work day in town but only with people I know well. Hey, here's one I actually work out in. Etc.

Also: that this is even a "thing" indicates that my life a. consists mostly of days working from home, b. in the north (though if you look at the whole continent, this isn't so north, but still).

Some leaves I catch on paper and toss into the bag behind my desk where I  keep random bits of things I might find interesting someday. Some leaves I allow to simply swirl away to find their repose and combine with others as they contribute to the next fertile season.

Are leaves swirling around in your head these days? It's a glorious season, inside and out.
Friday, October 5, 2018

Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving weekend in Canada.


I'm grateful for women who speak up at great personal cost. I'm grateful for the opportunity to vote, even when it is the very definition of an exercise in futility. I'm grateful for people who wield their power to make life just a little easier for those around them.

Today, for example, I read a tweet from a teacher who talked openly with his students about navigating higher education. He told them that they were welcome to ask him for help with assignments, how to schedule an appointment to talk with him or other professors, that deadlines could be altered for some situations, that it's always better to be upfront about struggling than pretend you're on top of things or know what's happening.

He's using his power and position to help level the playing field for students who are the first in their families to access higher education. He's making explicit those norms and unwritten rules that those familiar with campuses already understand.

For what he is doing to allow students to create a better future for all of us. For her courage in speaking truth to power. For the system that allows me to show my elected officials how I wish they treated people.

I'm grateful.
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Cracks

Words to describe North America: worried, tumultuous, fevered, agonized, enraged, weary. *

Some weeks are like that.

Last week. For example.

Probably this week, too.

* 0 *

Some weeks, you know you're fragile. Cracks appear.

Some weeks, you can hold it together.

Like this.



Some weeks, you can't. And that's OK, too.

* 0 *

*Are we in North America lucky? Or perhaps, "lucky"?
We're still here.
We have not yet been swept away in flash floods, mudslides, wars.
Our homes aren't flooded or crumbled.
I acknowledge our affluence.