Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Everything At Once

When we went to bed last night, the lake ice in front (back?) of the house was still there--increasingly rotten on the surface, but intact. 


This morning, it's not. Ice breakup is a huge sign that the earth really is invested in this new season. Spring is willing to crack the ice for us. Or perhaps for herself, with us as grateful beneficiaries.





A while later, it started to snow. 


Everything is happening at once. The fight against the pandemic is not going well in Canada and especially in Ontario. 


Yet age eligibility for vaccinations is dropping all the time, and we have made what appointments we can. 


I've long proclaimed a fondness for nuance, for "both/and," for "life is complicated." For one thing, life IS complicated, and in nuance lies the richness. 


And it's also true, because both/and, that (as I have said before here, recently): spring is exhausting





Much as I'd like to finish out this pandemic (at all) with the illusion that I'm self-sufficient and "I'm fine, we're fine, it's all fine" (which I am, we are, it really is), the tension is wearing on me. Even on me, by which I DON'T mean that I'm some superhuman pandemic-weatherer so much as I mean that our "pandemic time" has been relatively easy, and my heart goes out to those whose time has been so very different. 


That's it. Some things change; some never do. (Politicians will forever throw blame around like candy while ducking responsibility.) But March is over. Daylight is returning, and the ice is leaving. I'm grateful for those things. 


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

This, Too

 This, too, is what Spring looks like. 






Wednesday, March 17, 2021

You Have YOUR Signs

Signs of Spring, that is. 


Here's one of our favourites. 



Our deck. Look at all that exposed surface area! Look at all the snow that isn't there anymore!


A year ago yesterday, in the shutdown's early days, I fell on sneaky spring ice and broke both wrists. I am expert in denial, so I acknowledged two months later that maybe something had happened. But! They're much better today, and I'm grateful and fortunate.


And also: But! They will never be the same. 


We will never be the same. The world, metaphoric and the literal planet, will never be the same. 


The ravens, though, have found grasses and are repairing their nests. The eagles hunt, as does the fox. The deer come by to feed on whatever they find.


I'm going to sit in the sun, plan our next grocery pickup, and ignore the house upkeep we should be doing. Yep, Spring is on its way. 


Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Spring "Curation"

I find spring kind of exhausting. 


Maybe it's all that spring energy, the energy for growing, gathering itself as the snow melts off. 


Maybe I'm just that introverted. (Ha, no maybe there.)


Maybe the exhaustion feels more concentrated this year because people are excited about the possibilities of vaccinations and seeing other people in real life. (I'm not immune, haha, to this myself.)


Maybe it's something else. Or nothing.


Regardless, I feel (yet again) as if people are talking a lot, producing lots of "content," as we are meant to say of artistic work, "content" that I must "curate." I'm not necessarily arguing with those terms but they're part of my fatigue, I suspect. 


Earlier this week: the fox listens before pouncing. 


More! More recognition! More lists! More podcasts, and more podcast episodes with more guests! More discussions and debates! More writing around my own writing to get recognition from readers and writers for my writing. More posts in many places to talk about me and my work!


So I'm curating. Fewer "hot takes" (which I suspect is no longer what they're called) and more considered opinions. Considered opinions often lend themselves to the form of books, whether electronic or printed. Which I'm enjoying even more, as I turn away from noise of people and toward noise of chickadees and dripping water as the snow melts from the deck. 


So when I say "here are two things worth looking into," know HOW I mean it. These two things have been worth looking into FOR ME. You may curate differently. 


For analysis of a show about book discussion and analysis, you can't beat Jael Richardson's post-Canada Reads chats. Find her on Instagram, where she's @jaelrichardson. Even if you're not much into Canada Reads (sorry; I'm not), I enjoy her enthusiasm for the event and find her comments wise. They add needed perspective. 


And at LitHub, this essay about one of my favourite writers, Marilynne Robinson. (LitHub is an excellent pre-curator, by the way.) I love the interrelated sections of this essay. I love the awe with which an established writer views one of his teachers and mentors. 


Meanwhile, I just heard a gull--an early one--and want to go see it for myself. I hope you are the same. 


Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Plans, and the Planning Planners who Plan Them

Note, by "planners" I am not discussing printed/written systems for tracking your days, although I certainly could because I love me some notebooks and systems and checkboxes, oh my. 

Nope. I'm talking about thinking ahead with confidence. Enough confidence to imagine doing something in the future. 

That's pretty small. But it's significant. As small things often are. 

Last year at this time, I was planning to participate in an event that eventually got cancelled. We get a mulligan (*sports term: "do-over" for us non-athletes) this year. 

The event: The Creative Nonfiction Collective's annual conference, mid-May. (You can look at a schedule at the link.) This year, it'll be online. Previous years' experiences have been well worth the conference fees, and that was back when I had to pay for travel and share a washroom with strangers. 

I'll be presenting about mentorship with Susan Olding, whose guidance is largely responsible for the existence of my essay collection. I'm sure I'll have more to say about the presentation and discussion in the future. 

For now, probably because we are approaching the anniversaries of everyone's "here's how I knew it was serious" stories about the pandemic, I'm just taking it easy. (Side note: Although I'm aware that "How was the pandemic for you?" will be an easy small-talk fallback, I am not looking forward to using it.) 

It's nice to be able to plan something that will happen in about ten weeks' time.

Planning feels hopeful, rather like sending out an essay or poem or short story or grant application--the act of sending it out is an act of hope: "I made this." Like that clip at the end of episodes of The X-Files

It's a way to say, "I am investing in myself, in the future, in the value of creativity." It shows my confidence that I will continue to be healthy between now and then. That people may still wrangle over politics, but I don't have to actively participate (though I will always keep an eye on actions I can take). And who knows, governments may still topple, but only according to the rules. 

Hopeful as crocus shoots poking up through snow. Which won't happen here for some time, but I remember them, and daffodils and hyacinth, fondly from my earlier life further south. 

All the (welcomed and appropriate) grey-zone lockdowns in the world can't destroy my confidence that spring will return, eventually.

I've missed that confidence. I'm glad it's back.