The little things.

9 10 2017

I’ve been immersed in gratitude this weekend. Like most people I know, we have more than enough to be thankful for. And this weekend is ripe for expressing it, showing our deep thanks and recognizing the blessed lives we lead. For many, we were surrounded by family and friends and copious amounts of food. As the autumn sunlight streamed through windows, lighting up the tables set to celebrate our abundance, it made me think about the little things, the not-so-easy things to be thankful for.

I am thankful for this gentle appreciation I have for my aging. While I joke about the crinkles and eyebags and my deep fear of a neck wattle with my dearest of friends, fantasizing about Botox and mini-lifts, I truly wouldn’t have it any other way. While my skin folds in on itself, and the age that I amĀ  is reflected in the face I present to the world, I find myself discovering a beauty I wouldn’t have dreamed of admiring a mere ten years ago. I breathe my age in and exhale my thanks out. For this only means that I am still fortunate enough to be here, to live and find joy and have arguments and walk my dog along a forest path.

I give thanks for my restless mind, who prowls about at 2 am. Who fosters self-doubt and worry and strife, but who also reigns in senseless fretting and whispers gentle realities to myself. Don’t worry so much I tell myself and I agree. I listen and it says: You are loved. You are loved.

I am deeply grateful for my decades of dealing with depression and chronic pain and the dark dance I shared with thoughts of suicide so many times. It was indeed as scary as it sounds but in a lovely way, it afforded me more self-knowledge that I could have ever imagined. My cognizance of my frailty has made me stronger. And letting go of my fear of talking about it has gifted me the strength of being there for others. Raw honesty is as healing as honey drizzled in a cup of tea. One sip and you feel it cascading into your body, spreading it’s warmth and love to every cell.

I am indebted to experiencing hate and jealousy. In allowing myself to mirror the beauty of love and kindness through contempt and resentment, I think that I’ve only become more appreciative of my own bounty. And learning how these two distasteful emotions can be used to guide me towards a better understanding and a deeper compassion is seeing that light turned onto me. How bitter I was and relieved my soul was when I found I could let it go. My life certainly isn’t perfect. And by no means will I be able to stop coveting entirely. But learning to step back and trying to see the foolishness of my insecurities is akin to peeling off layers of wet and uncomfortable clothing. Discarded on the floor, I stand bare and tender, more willing to let the negative dissipate.

I am thankful for so much. Today, though, my gratitude is for the little life lessons we are gifted every day, these hidden jewels around us, offering us ways to better our own true selves and walk a sweeter path.

Many blessings to you all, this Thanksgiving weekend.

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A little ebb and a little flow

26 08 2017

It’s looking pretty fatigued out there these days. Limp and exhausted, branches support the faded echoes of spring bravado. Brilliant greens are no more than a memory of the beginning of summertime; every leaf drained of its glory, a muted effort to stay for just a bit longer. Sunlight casts a different angle through my windows, lighting up the dust motes dancing and much to my chagrin, lighting up every single dog hair on my wood floors.

There is just under a month of summer left, but it’s the somewhat melancholic summer days that eke out a sadness in my heart. A panicky flutter of my soul, eager to wring out every last delicious drop of it. Did I swim enough? Did I sit on my deck and watch the stars come out enough? Will I have feasted on summertime enough to tide me through the dark days, the cold nights that are on their way?

The answer of course is yes. I have closed my eyes while floating in the Bay, breathing in that intoxicating summer smell. I have savoured bites of huckleberry crisp, berries that we picked early in the morning, my eyes almost tearing up at the tart and sweet of it all. I’ve marveled at the gift of walking my dog at dusk in nothing but shorts and a tank top, that warm air kissing our skin. Sundays over at Sunshine Bay with friends, that hot sun searing on our shoulders, and the only way to cool down is a plunge in the lake.

I’d gladly have more summertime. I love that heat, the early sunny mornings. Those late nights, hearing music echo from a beach party across the lake. Bike rides and peonies, lawn mowers and hummingbirds. I feel more me in the summer, I can’t explain it better than that.

But our seasons, they are part of us. We morph into each one, some reluctantly, others with excitement. There is magic in every seasonal change. There is joy found with crisp fall days and leaves crunching under our feet. Hot tea instead of iced coffee in the afternoons, sweaters and boots find their way from the darkness of our closets. Soups and bread nourish us. That brilliant blue of a fall sky demands our admiration and yes, we admit its beauty. Boisterous oranges and reds and yellows are painted on our landscapes, and yes, it is no more than simply breathtaking.

We ebb and flow, like tides. It’s not without a measure of dispirited energy for some. For others though, Autumn is their favourite season and they’ve trudged through the summer heat with the sweet knowledge that it is on its way.

These last few weeks of summer that are laid out before us demand us to enjoy. Have one more BBQ, a couple more days on the boat. Swim a few more times. Marvel at your tan lines. As we meander through these last of the summer days, we give in to it, we acquiesce to Nature.

And we find joy and beauty in it all.

 





Remember when…

8 02 2014

The first hints of springtime are still a few weeks away, but I already feel my spirit start to lift at the longer light during the day, the higher cast of the sunlight through my windows and the calendar being mere weeks away from the equinox.

I remember spring as a child. Growing up in a colder valley, the winter months were darker and icier and snowier than where I live now. Those first few days of thaw that brought in the scent of spring were treasures beyond measure: urging my mother to boot her kids outside after digging in the trunk for the spring jackets. We donned these light coats with glee and waiting impatiently for Dad to grab our bikes from the shed. They were dusty and creaky. We’d wipe them down, he’d oil up the gears. It was never fast enough for us, my sister and I anxiously watching all the other neighbourhood kids riding circles around the street.

Finally, he’d roll the bikes over to us and away we’d go. Usually there were still dirty snowbanks reluctantly hanging on, little overhangs of ice along the gutters as the melt rushed along underneath. We’d ride and crack the ice and crumble the snowbanks, getting our bike legs back, the melted ice spraying our backs with mud.

The one thing that I remember the most is the popping sound of the gravel under my tires as I pedaled endlessly around our street. The sand left behind from the gravel trucks puffed up behind us and the tires would shoot bits of rock away. The crisp tings and pops of the stuff ricocheting off the edges of our tires were the sounds of spring to me. The chickadee’s song came later and made my spirits soar like no other, but to this day when I hear the crunch and pop of gravel under a bike tire, I am again a 10 year old girl, hair in pigtails, cruising Mountain Ash Crescent on my banana seat bike, feeling that cool air stream over my face. I can taste the dust, I can hear the shrieks of laughter, I can feel the grips in my hands. It brings me joy to this day of unequaled strength, a mystical remembrance of days gone by that are still alive in my heart.

So keep the faith my winter friends. In just a few short weeks, that wind will change from icy to fresh. Our windows will be flung open and the birds will dance with glee. And on those days, I wish you nothing but child-like joy in welcoming Spring back to us.





The marriage of sun and cold

12 01 2013

The light was shining on the peaks of White Queen but as we rounded the corner, we see Ymir Bowl still in the shadows of a low rising winter sun. The snow was lit up from within, beaming white and golden, proudly showing off those back country ski swoops down chutes and bowls. From a distance, these tracks are effortless, lazy and undulating in their pattern, belying the efforts of the skiers who hiked up the mountainsĀ  to carve them. Offset by a winter sky, a pure blue surrounds the mountains, a blue that evokes distant memories of me as a child laying on my back looking up into the endless sky never caring how cold it was.

Oh, it was cold today. -17. That kind of cold that cuts into your lungs, frosts up your eyelashes and numbs your toes instantly. Yet we found ourselves seeking the sunshine in spite of the cold. Wiggling our toes and fingers on the lifts to bask in the winter beams. Solar therapy.

The crystals rise up and swirl and hover, sparkling in the light. Between each snow-cloaked tree, untouched powder begs to be skied upon, as our breath fogs away from us, asking the crystal snowflakes to dance. The cold sucks all moisture away, creating a dry snow that puffs away from our skis. We float on the powder, we ski on clouds.

Our toes cry for mercy, thumbs go numb. Cheeks and noses are rosy. Hot chocolate and tea are mandatory supplies these cold ski days.

Still, we see smiles, hear laughter. Off in the glades, unseen, we hear hoots and hollers of utter joy. The cold doesn’t stop any of us, here on the hill.

The sunshine makes its way down along the slopes, buttering up the snow, gently warming it in slight tones. The packed powder runs are softened up. There is no sound as we ski. Only our breath in our ears.

It is heaven on Earth, it is the never-ending quest of pure joy. It is burning thighs and happy hearts and cold, cold snow.