Monday, March 28, 2005

too cold for a picnic

It was too cold for a picnic today, but I had one anyway. After a week-end of mostly rain the sun came out so I grabbed some one-handed-food (the kind you can eat easily with a book in the other hand) and a book and headed down to the beach. In true west coast style by the time I got the beach the sun had moved on and the clouds were starting to look decidedly gray. No matter.

I made my way over to my favourite spot -- a piece of drift wood that's nearly 20' long and about 4' wide. I think it must have been part of a barge or floating deck at some point. I can't imagine how it made it's trek up the beach. It's flat enough to balance a drink on, wide enough to stretch out. For some reason I always want to take off my shoes when I get there. I keep a blanket in the trunk of my car for impromptu days like this so I had something to cut the chill a bit. The beach was worth it.

This time of year the beach is almost completely disserted, especially towards the unfashionable end. I like it best down there, away from the madding crowd. The tide was almost all the way out, carving watery crescents on the beach. There's one particular photograph of those crescents that I've seen for sale a few times. One day it will hang in my house. Today I had the real thing. I sat there for awhile, not as long as I would have liked, but there was no ignoring the fact that my hands were getting really, really cold. Nothing a good cup of tea won't fix. I folded up the blanket and put it back in my trunk. There will be other days and other picnics.

smells like beach music

There's a scene in Pat Conroy's Beach Music (one of my all time favourite books) where a father teaches his daughter to navigate around their neighbourhood piazza purely by what she can smell. I was thinking of that as I walked around my neighbourhood the other day. Most days my neighbourhood smells like cedar and salt water, especially if it has rained recently which it usually has. This time of year you can smell the daffodils by the library, fresh cut grass and turned soil. You can smell coffee from Starbucks, and then the coffee from the Candelight Grill and then a little farther down the block the coffee from the Salt Cellar (makers of most excellent deli sandwiches). Sometimes if you breathe at the wrong moment you get a lung full of exhaust, or wet dog but it doesn't happen very often. I swear some days you can actually smell the rain.

There is something incredibly peaceful about this place. Every time I'm out in it I can hear a whisper saying "slow down, breathe deep". Somewhat tragically it reminds me of what used to be on the wall at the Starbucks on the way to work: "Speak softly, people will listen, take your time the world will wait." Most of the time people won't wait, but when I walk around my neighbourhood I very often choose to walk alone. And I will wait. And I never make myself rush when I'm out there. I know that it won't always be like this. There won't always be the big tree out back hung with lanterns, or the myrtle climbing over the rocks or the branches from the holly tree trying to grab hold of my hammock. But they are here now, and I am here and I have no intention of wasting it.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

tumblers in a lock

The world felt undeniable portentious this morning. I wish I knew why. I felt poised on the edge of something wonderful, as if I had just had a conversation with someone I knew was going to change my life. But that wasn't it. I was sitting at work smiling and realized that I was really happy, almost in the way you're happy when you have a good secret and haven't told anyone yet. (But that's not it either.)

It's strange that it would happen today. All week my heart has been breaking for my brother and his wife who lost three friends to an icy road on Sunday. They are too far away for me to be able to put my arms around them and there aren't words in the world that would make it better. But there's no denying it, something was good today. Something, somewhere in the universe was waiting in the wings. It was as if a key was fitted into a lock and the tumbers have started to drop. I wish I knew which door is opening.

It would be fairly easy to say that this is just a shadow of what is going around me. Several friends have added children to their families this week, their lives are changing, maybe there's something in the air. But it doesn't feel like that. In a way that I cannot really describe (although it seems I feel compelled to try) whatever this was was so very personal. It was undeniably mine. Perhaps it is a great poem waiting to be written, maybe it is a friend I have almost met. Or maybe it is a new truth hovering almost, but not quite realized; waiting for just a little more acceptance, a touch more willingness to encourage it into consciousness.

I found myself in an art store the other day buying a new sketchbook, a good pencil and some watercolor brushes. Usually I ache for words, it's been a long time since colour and line have called to me. Maybe this thing that's waiting will find me in those rough, thick pages. But I don't think that's it either.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

randomness, Dilbert and cyber stalking

I have one of my favourite Dilbert cartoons pinned up at my desk at work (doesn't everyone?). In this one Dilbert is on his tour of accouting and one of the trolls introduces him to the random number generator. The generator is a troll sitting there saying "nine, nine, nine, nine, nine" (everytime I read this cartoon, I read the part of the troll in the same voice). Dibert looks at the troll and asks "are you sure that's random?" and the troll replies, "that's the trouble with randomness, you never know for sure." And so on to today's tale of randomness. . . .

I went to check out Help me bubby because I had heard about it somewhere and it sounded interesting. Up at the top was that little "next blog" button and I couldn't help it, I clicked. Down the rabbit hole with both feet. I came to a blog written by a pyschiatrist in Maine. The title is May Shrink or Fade which I found hilarious, so I started reading. It's a great blog, I highly recommend it. I've read several of the posts and I keep thinking, "me too" and I have to stop myself from commenting all over it, because really, who wants 15 me too's from someone they've never met? (Although the part about addressing rules to the cat as if they applied to several cats in the house and not just one, and you'd make an excpetion for him if you could. . . .might have to put a little me too on that one.)

As I was reading it today, I started to wonder, am I cyber stalking this guy? I have read quite a bit of his blog lately, I'm forming opinions, I've heard myself utter the phrase "No update. bummer." And then I have to wonder, it is possible to stalk someone who willingly puts their life out there? It's funny. Here is a totally random connection (and admittedly, I use the word connection loosely) and here I am thinking both "I think I'd enjoy this person in real life" and "there is no way I'd ever have MET this person in real life" and just now . . .if sitting in front of the computer isn't real life, where is it? But that's probably because I'm reading Brian Greene at the moment.

Who knows. Practical randomness and faceless familiar faces aside, it's time to go to Pilates.