Monday, November 29, 2004

uncooperative weather

Why is it so dry and mild today, when yesterday, when I might have had more time, it was pouring rain, windy and miserable? There are still things to do in the garden, mostly cleaning up, but I haven't had a moment when my inclination, time and weather coincide.

I have concluded that I need to find new lodgings, somewhere smaller and cheaper, but where I can still garden. So the search begins again.

I did get to the One of A Kind show in Toronto with two of my dearest friends, Kim and Connie. We saw all sorts of wonderful designs and creations-- too many to count.

One of the artist's work I had seen before in Warkworth. His name is Blake Richardson. I much preferred his "sculpture" to the prints. The sculptures were rocks found in nature with just the barest possible hints of lines of paint added to bring out an image in the rock. Looking at his art work, I got such a wonderful feeling of mystery and peace.

Our collective favorite was the cranberry Christmas pudding at Cranberry Creek. With their buttery sauce on top, it was melt in your mouth delicious. We were tempted to go back again and again for more "samples", like the silly french fry add on tv.

It was interesting to see so many food related booths at a One of a Kind craft and artisan type show. It just goes to show that good food is something of an art to make well, and is to be savoured and enjoyed as much as any art form, another sensual experience.

I have finished four of the beaded stars I plan to take to our spinning group meeting Dec. 8. I had better get busy!

I'm looking for sources of inspiration and pictures/directions so that I can make some Finnish Christmas decorations--as per my roots. I will have to do some investigation. Some of the artisans at the OOAK show did make figures of Christmas 'santas' that look like my memory of the traditional Finnish 'joulupukki'.

A site I found inspirational this week came to me via an eclectic garden. Candlegrove is full of many ways to create a celebration of the season, with some historical background to the many symbols of the season.

I am looking forward to a week off at Christmas from my paying job. So, celebrations are in order. We haven't had time to discuss this yet among me and my children, you know, the decisions, whose house, when, etc.

My mother left a message on my answering machine, where are you, you are never home...I really don't know why I don't want to call her back. Is it because I feel I should be reporting some sort of successes to her? I know she wants me to go out to Vancouver to visit, but I don't have the money for that at all, right now. They have offered to pay my way, but that makes me feel even more uncomfortable. Sigh. In some ways, I have figured out some aspects of the difficult relationship I have with my parents, but at times, (even at my age!!) I don't have a clue where my feelings are coming from.

When I do go to Vancouver to visit, I think what I enjoy the most is going for walks down along the Frazer river with my Dad. I enjoy going for walks with him anywhere, actually. My mom is the city gal, who loves shopping, whereas with my Dad, it's a love of nature that I share.

I do worry, I know they are getting older and each time I see them they seem a bit more fragile.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

technology, ice crystals and lemon-ginger tea

Woke up this morning, feverish, head congested, every muscle aching. I have decided, logical or not, to blame it on standing outside with the dogs in the rain and wind when I take them outside to do their business.

We walk across the drive sometimes and up along the west stretch of the yard beside the row of spruce and the old maple. There are volumes in the trails of scents the dogs can detect. I wonder what the stories are. Sometimes they just stand, heads up into the wind, sniffing.

Yesterday morning, a large flock of Canada geese rose from the quarry to the south of me, honking a disorderly double line across the sky towards the west, then south. I watched them for several minutes until they were out of sight. There is a mystery to the flight of such large birds, a wildness that calls to some deep, melancholy place in the heart.

This morning, there are ice crystals on every branch and blade of grass, like someone carelessly threw millions of clear beads or shards of glass about everywhere!

This morning, I enjoyed reading some quotes on The Bookish Gardener's blog from Henry Mitchell on gardening.

Had some trouble with my old kitchen phone. I have replaced the cord to the handset several times, but I think at this point, that will no longer work. I think it's time to buy a new phone for the kitchen. I can't remember how long I've had this phone, that's how old it is!! Well, maybe that is not the best indication, since I often can't remember things I bought yesterday...

I am looking forward to going to Toronto for One Of a Kind show on Saturday with some of my friends. I hope I'm feeling better by then!

I have decided that the best cure would be a hot, hot Sauna, followed by a big mug of ginger-lemon tea with honey and a head to toe massage. Since I don't feel like leaving the house today, I don't suppose the critters could be taught to provide those services?? Ah well. It's a nice thought. I can do the cup of lemon-ginger tea with honey, though.

I have been doing some knitting. The pattern for the striped mittens I started is not working out (I think) so I tore it back down and started on the colourful hat instead. I might try the mittens again later. So far, the hat is going well.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

the agonies of withdrawal

Here's an interesting thought I found through Tom Coates : a quote from Kurt Vonnegut that I think is right on!
"Here’s what I think the truth is: We are all addicts of fossil fuels in a state of denial, about to face cold turkey. And like so many addicts about to face cold turkey, our leaders are now committing violent crimes to get what little is left of what we’re hooked on."
I decided I needed a treat last night, so I tried to go see the movie "Shall We Dance?" with Richard Gere, but got there too late. I decided to see the Renee Zellweger movie "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" instead. I needed the laugh, but I couldn't really get into it.

Before seeing the movie, I had a very satisfying meal of Blackened Chicken with Jambalaya and the house salad, with a jamaican pattie topped with a fresh salsa with a spicy cheese sause for dipping for an appetizer. I was starving! There is this restaurant, called Hot Belly Mama's in Peterborough with an old New Orleans jazz decor that I've enjoyed once before. It's sort of "next door" to the "Olde Stone Brewing Company" on Water Street. A lot of university types seem to be patrons.

Current Mood: cynical

Current Music: k.d. lang: Constant Craving

haunts of memory

Listening to an arts review program on the radio in the car this evening about memory, how it shapes who we are, and how we use it to alter the future, made me think. I have very little memory of any extended family beyond my parents and siblings. I lived only for a few short years in Finland, where any relatives might have visited. I arrived in Finland as a strange child, not speaking the language well, probably mixing it up with English, Amharic, and even, I'm told, the Swedish I picked up while en route with my parents back "home" to Finland.

It was only with my Great-Aunt Elli, that I can recall developing any sense of familial fondness. I have an image of her breaking off a thread between her teeth and then promptly telling me never to do the same, or I would get a dent in my tooth like the one she had on one of her front teeth. Another piece of advice I remember her telling me was to avoid coffee, because it stains your teeth. Again, the teeth?? I have no idea what that means.

I dreamt the other day that I had lost several teeth, some of the broken remnants making quite a snaggle of my mouth.

Today, I visited some places where some fond memories were created, friends gathering in the yard on a sunny day, coming and going out of a country kitchen, laughter, lots of talk. Somehow, the landscapes of memory are never accurate, never like a photograph. They are fuzzy, the lines don't meet, the view is foreshortened, out of frame somehow. Reality always seems broader, deeper, more focused and smaller. And there is a pang of regret, nostalgia, a sense of lives having moved out of my world.

During a particularly difficult time in my life, a wise friend told me it helps when finding your way again after loss, to go back to your roots. Where are the roots of a child of nomads? Are the memories of vagrant visits and brief sojourns my roots? Or can I go deeper to the cultures, the flavours, the sights, and the smells of Africa? Finland? Rural and small-town southern Ontario? Summers on rocky shores of northern lakes? Where??

One day, in a bookstore, I was browzing through a lovely coffee-table book of photographs of the south of France. Suddenly the light, so marvelously captured in some of the photographs, took me back to Europe in a sensation so keen, that my whole body was affected. It was a little disorientating for a moment! I expected to tune my attention to French conversation, find a pastry or two in the patisserie next door, buy a Paris Match magazine maybe at the librarie and walk up the mountain past walled gardens where men played at boules...

Monday, November 22, 2004


On Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac, on NPR, there was a poem called "Atavistic" that I found thought-provoking. I find some people really hate animals, especially as pets, even though they might own animals themselves. Just look at all the animal cruelty that exists! I believe, however, that since we as humans have bred certain animals over centuries to live with people, we must take care of them, as le renard said to le Petit Prince (I think the quote went something like this:

"Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoise..."

I found some funny pictures of bullies, on the web, many who could be Molly's twin.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

more about dogs

I love sharing funny stories about dogs and the people who have them as pets. People seem to either hate dogs or love them. The dog haters stare at you as if you are mad, evil or dirty. Dog lovers (whether they currently have a dog or not) usually share a secret smile of understanding--they know why dogs have a special place in our hearts.

Current Mood: giggly


I was interested in the 'rants' by Tom Spencer on his site Soul of the Garden, and by Jeff Pitcher on his on-line journal. Both writers expressed great sadness in the aftermath of the just-past US elections. Here are a couple of thoughts I had.First, a discrepancy between our ideals and our dark places is a part of each of us, as well as our societies. If we could find a way to bridge the gap between ourselves (whom, we presumably approve of) and the other (whom we often fear and condemn), there might be less ignorance and fear.

I've heard Deepak Chopra be quite eloquent on this subject, how violence against the other actually weakens us. It reminded me of a poem I read recently that made me smile at our humanity. It's by the Canadian poet, Barry Dempster: Disappearing Grandmothers.

Second, how to move forward and find a way to move positive change forward? I accidentally stumbled onto this by Starhawk. Only Poetry Can Address Grief. I have loved the writing of Starhawk for many years.

Current Music: Demis Roussos: We Shall Dance

Contemplating the sorry state of "progress"

It has been raining all morning, a super-fine drizzle. The good thing, as far as I'm concerned, is that it is not cold. I'm still putting off planting those bulbs I mentioned before. WhY? I have no idea.

The granddaughter did not like the chickadees at all. When one finally landed on her hand, she was appalled! She accused of the little bird of trying to bite her. I tried to assure her the little bird was just holding on with its little feet, and did not bite her at all. Granddaughter's mind was made up: she wanted to go back home to gramma's house, she didn't like the chickadees. First times are always a little scary.

Granddaughter last summer, eating "baby peas". She informed me, "Daddy calls them begetables!"

We went to an overly popular spot by the lake in Whitby: Lynde Shores.On a weekend, the place is overrun these days by suburbanites trying to find a little closeness with nature. The birds and squirrels were quite blaze about our offerings of sunflower seed and peanuts. It was a disappointment to me, but inevitable I suppose. In the last few years since I went there regularly with my own children, new subdivisions have been built just on the other side of the marshes--far too close to my liking. They call it progress and it is advertised as homes backing onto conservation lands. Ten years ago, I was usually the only person on the paths. Now, even mid-week, the place is maggoty with people, far too many people stressing a tiny spot of "wilderness".

Molly, my English bulldog, is still such a puppy. She is entertaining herself this afternoon by chasing a wasp about on the living room carpet. She is having so much fun that Misty, the beagle, who should have more sense, is getting excited as well, and together they are taking turns, sniffing the bug, barking at it, then rolling about on the carpet.

Re my paying job: the sorry lack of working equipment (never mind equipment that is state-of-the-art) for those of us on the front lines continues to be an embarrassment and frustration. Efforts to bring management's attention to the facts results in silly blaming (you did not fill out proper requisitions for repairs--I did, but obviously you do not know what happens in your own institution with those repair-requisitions) or band-aid efforts to shut us up in the moment ( a manager proudly demanded we "don't say I never do anything for you " after running around to other departments to borrow for us a couple pieces of working equipment--so what happens when they too stop working tomorrow, and the corporate-wide systemic problems continue?) or a manager fervently thought that she was attending a meeting tomorrow, where she would hopefully bring up our equipment needs (what other priority could take precedence over functioning equipment for the front-line worker, furniture for executive offices? bills the corporations foots for professional licences to practice for administrators that we front-line workers pay for out of our own pockets? fees for golf-club memberships --networking by front-line workers is of no benefit to the corporation)???) I have read in other places that CEO and managerial paychecks have increased quite disproportionally to the paychecks of workers and these statistics are described in another way in this article in the CAW news.

Current Mood: cranky

Current Music: Fisherman's Blues from soundtrack to "Waking Ned Devine"

Monday, November 15, 2004

Art and Nature

Moon Phase: Waxing Crescent 20.9% of Full
Sun 14 Nov, 2004

My father spent a lot of time walking with us as kids in nature. Wherever we went, he observed the things around us--leaves, bark, stones--and talked to us about what we saw, teaching, teaching, teaching. As a child, I loved it; as a teenager, I found him terribly boring; now, I appreciate that he, more than anyone, taught me to look at and see the natural world around me.

I found a thoughtful article in Resurgence Magazine on-line about developing children's sensibility to nature through arts-based environmental education. In a world which often seems to be so negative, particularly when one reads the newspapers, it is refreshing to read about this world from a more positive and hopeful point of view.

Morisot, Berthe: Peasant Hanging out the Washing 1881 Oil on canvas 18 x 26 1/4" (46 x 67 cm)Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen

A sunny day like today with a light breeze would be ideal for drying clothes out on the line! I remember reading somewhere about the joys of that old-fashioned pleasure. I cannot imagine the silliness of by-laws that prohibit such an environmentally friendly practice. However, as much as I'd like to take advantage of doing some laundry today, I'll be taking my granddaughter out of the house. We'll see if we can find some chickadees to feed. In many places, they become so tame, they will land right on the hand to take sunflower seeds.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Is it in the genes?

I was thinking about something my friend Fiona said. I can't remember where she heard, saw, or read this, but some research seemed to suggest that one's political leanings are genetically determined, that is, no amount of reason, facts, argument will sway someone who is predisposed genetically to be either conservative or liberal, right- or left-leaning. That may be true, but when there is no real alternative on the left to vote for as in the Americans' last election, then what?

That comment does not come from any sense of Canadian superiority, mind! Everybody is so afraid of being anything but middle-of-the-road, that even our NDP nearly turn themselves inside out trying to appeal to the "middle-of-the-road" voter. To me it seems discussions, the media, the conversations have all been co-opted by the interests of big business. I'm afraid most Canadian voters are just unwitting pawns in their game. After all, what access do we actually have to any facts? For example, the boards of most of our tax-supported hospitals hold the important parts of their meetings "in camera", because presumably, the ordinary citizen can't be expected to grasp the issues, and the ordinary citizen's opinions would just bog things down. The more secrecy there is the more suspicious I get, personally.

This article by Emily Yoffe in Slate, about sleeping with your animals gave me a great laugh! Sometimes, when I see the disgusting habits dogs have, I'm not sure why anyone would want to allow pets anywhere near them.

But then I remembered a theory about allergies, and auto-immune diseases like Crohns. The theory was that in countries where certain parasites are endemic, auto-immune diseases are rare, this having something to do with the immune system having something real to contend with, vs the neuroses of our society with its anti-bacterial fetish?? I know, I know, I'm putting it in my own words, but you get the idea.

I think we allow ourselves to be victims of another advertizing gimmick when we must buy the antiseptic, antibacterial. Somebody said to me they noticed much less glib advertising on even the packaging of ordinary things like toothpaste in England vs our Canadian packaging. There the packaging is straight-forward: "Toothpaste" with perhaps instructions on how to use the product. Here, the toothpaste is "NEW" "Improved" "Whitening" "Cavity-fighting" "Recommended by 2 out of 3 dentists..." I have no idea if that is true. But I have noticed the British and other magazines we get here look quite different, even if it is the same parent-magazine.

The vegetable garden looks terrible. I have half of it cleaned up. The tomato-poles were knocked about by the wind and the vines on them are wilted and grey, red and yellow tomatoes still hanging on some of them, and some tomatoes knocked onto the ground. They look like some alien blob-creatures.

Early each morning, before the sun gets a bit warmer, there is a delicate blanket of sparkling frost on the surface and edges of the dry leaves on the ground, on the blades of grass. The grass is just frozen, so that it crunches under the feet. It reminds me of poetry by Lampman.

I have always liked to read certain poems over and over again. Then there was the day in grade school when little competitive me discovered that while I had been dallying about in poetry, the "List of Books They had Read During Library Period" belonging to some of the other kids in my class was onto a second page. I had not been worried about my ability to read before that, my list already reaching nearly to the bottom of a whole page! That put a crimp in my poetry reading for a while. I had Books to read, a List to add to, or die! As a pedagogical device, I have a problem with a competition to get kids reading.

Current Mood: contemplative

Current Music: Tulku: Ghost Dance

Frost-lace and Sunshine!

This morning I woke up to frost on the ground. The pattern of frost on the rosettes of leaves on the tips of the evergreen candytuft was breathtaking, like the most fragile lace imaginable.My landlord was grabbing some last minute items from the barn, heading out this morning with his sons to the Royal Winter Agricultural Fair in Toronto. The boys' calves qualified, apparently, so off they go to the Big one.

I envy them. Perhaps I'll have time to get to the fair this weekend myself. Me, I'll want to look at the sheep (re my interests in spinning) and the rare breed chickens (I'm fascinated by the wonderful colour patterns of their feathers)!

The sun has warmed up quite a bit by now and the frost is gone off the ground. I can't believe I forgot to buy coffee last night. I stopped at a 24-hr grocery in town on my way home from work, to pick up dog food. There are no such conveniences here out in the country where I live. But then, the quiet nights are one of the pluses I opted for, living in the country.

On my way home I was terribly distracted by the northern lights again, once I got north of the light pollution of the city. I found myself wandering across the lanes more than once. Apparently this is a time of a lot of explosive activity on the sun.

I've read a lot of sadness and frustration by 'lefties' online and in other media. I have felt for a long time, however, that there really isn't a viable liberal political voice to be found in either Canadian or American politics. I read an article today on the New Left Review site that puts my ideas into words better than I can. Alexander Cockburn: Surrendering Quietly It is a very interesting article.

My user name, it just occurred to me, might not make sense to anyone, unless you know a bit more of what I'm about. Not that I have "arrived" at the kind of life I want to lead, but I'm working on it. This poem, which I found at Mary Janes Farm, expresses why I believe in real mud. I started thinking about what real work feels like when, many years ago, I first read the book Finding Flow, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi .

Current Mood: energetic

Current Music: Mercedes Sosa: Gracias a la Vida

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Tea and Tears

In tears, I watched the Remembrance Day ceremonies this morning broadcast from Ottawa. I have no idea why I find the veterans so moving. And not just the veterans. Faces in the crowd, lines of living etched into them, a trembling lip, wet with tears; younger faces, smooth, enthusiastic, innocent, brave...

I spent most of the day with my spinning group in Gamebridge yesterday. I should have stopped and done a sketch of the church we meet in. Hopefully, I will get back to do a sketch of it another day soon, while the autumn light still gives me this particular feeling.

I bought some beads to start on Christmas presents. Right now, I have already completed 2 of a set of 6 beaded snowflakes I plan to make. I hope to post a pic of the result soon.

Besides my family, I want to participate in the little gift exchange we do at our spinning group. The group agreed to exchange something handmade at our potluck/meeting in December, when we will just share and gossip. We plan to do no work then. Usually, our day is filled with learning, sharing tips and our informal leader, Mary Grant, gives us assignments to work on for the next monthly meeting.

I have had trouble getting the assignments done, feeling quite bewildered at times by how much there is to learn in the world of fibre, spinning and weaving, etc. The pros in the group are very kind. They participate in every assignment as if they had never done these things before. And when I describe my lumpy, bumpy spinning efforts, they reassure me that it fetches big bucks in the shops as "novelty" yarn. They also claim, that now that their spinning has evolved into a more consistent product, when they desire "novelty yarn", they can no longer intentionally produce the very effect I'm struggling to eliminate from my spinning. Aren't they sweet?

I picked up a very helpful book on drawing buildings. I will be working on the exercises in that book for sure, because whenever I drive anywhere -- city, countryside, village-- I find the old barns, houses, churches, warehouses, mills etc beautiful. I long to capture them either in photographs, or drawings.

I had a nightmare about being in my best friend Debbie's house. It was empty. I could look around the living room and there was only the wall to wall beige carpet. Somehow I understood in the dream that my friend's parents were in Colorado and were allowing me to live there for several months. The kitchen had been renovated and a pair of deep stone sinks were where the gas stove used to be when I was a kid. I had the sensation of approving the changes that had been made to the kitchen. My youngest daughter was with me and we were trying to do something very urgently, but were delayed by my cutting a finger which started to bleed copiously, as cuts on digits are wont to do! As often happens in my nightmares, I couldn't find the words to explain to my daughter why I could not catch up with the task at hand. I tried to lick the blood off my finger and stem the flow and my mouth was then filled with blood. Anybody out there interpret dreams?

I felt a disturbing dream like that called for a cleansing tea this morning! I really enjoy the "Bija" deep cleanse tea I found at the local health food store. It is a spicy blend of cinnamon bark, dandelion root, burdock root, ginger root, licorice root, yellow dock root, fennel, nettle leaf, and oatstraw. With a dollop of honey, it is delicious. This, with a bowl of mixed berries, toasted multigrain bread with butter and thinly shaved smoked provolone cheese was breakfast.

Current Mood: determined

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Snow and laundry on the line

Saturday and Sunday were sunny and mild. I almost thought I should try to get those garlic and tulip bulbs into the ground, but because I had to go into town to work in the afternoon, I ended up deciding against any gardening efforts. I might have to pop those bulbs into pots and tuck them into the unheated "summer kitchen" part of my house.

Monday, I woke to snow on the ground. It was still fairly mild, so the a lot of the snow melted wherever the sun warmed the ground. I did a couple of drawings and spun up a lot of the wool I had here, some of it in pencil-rovings.

My spinning is still very uneven, lumpy and bumpy stuff when I'm spinning from anything other than the pencil rovings. I managed to ply most of it as well, and the results of such uneven spinning is lots of "novelty yarn." I'm thinking of dying some of that yarn blue from the copper/ammonia bath we prepared last spring at my spinning group. I had better look up the directions before I begin that adventure, however. I will probably have to leave that for the weekend, when I might have more free time.

Today dawned sunny and colder, with some frozen snow/pellets lying about. Since the house was getting quite unbearable, I spent a bit of time cleaning, sweeping, mopping, dusting, dishes... I did get one load of laundry out on the line in the afternoon, but darkness came before it was completely dry.

It is fun to take frozen stiff clothes off the line, but I was disappointed to have to finish drying them in the dryer. I much prefer the smell of clothes dried out on the line in fresh air and sunshine.

I did a couple more drawings today, including a souvenir of my trip to Toronto with Fiona to the Sarah Brightman concert. I have been colouring most of the drawings I have done with watercolours.

Molly ( my bulldog puppy) is still making mistakes and it is hard for me to be patient with her. I have to keep reminding myself, that when I got Misty,(a beagle/mutt) she was fully grown and untrained. Now Misty is quite good, so I know, eventually, Molly will be good too. In the meantime, Molly's daily mistake or two add my state of disgust when I also have to contemplate the weird dining predilections of my girls--they repeatedly sneak out to snack on used kitty-litter. Anybody else have that problem?

I have never found a workable solution to this with any of the dogs & cats I have had over the years. I have pondered whether or not a trap door of some kind, one that the cats can use but the dogs can't, would work. But I'm afraid that the beagle, who is quite agile, could probably get herself through a trap door built for cats! Anybody else have any ideas??

Well, I'm slowly finishing up that laundry.

Current Mood: productive
Current Music: Edvard Grieg: 'Morning' from Peer Gynt. Op.23

Monday, November 08, 2004

Northern Lights, Snow and Stars

Driving home from work tonight, once I got past the light polution of the city, I noticed bands of northern lights dancing across the sky, completely across the sky from east to west! By the time I got home, however, it had started to cloud over. Behind the clouds, the northern lights continued their strange dance, and at times through the cloud I could see the lights and stars!! The Pleiades and Orion were still visible, but pretty washed out by the brightness of the northern lights. Snow on the way, I'm going to bed.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Dark and dreary November

It is so dark. Here it is nearly noon and it is so dark. There were some snow flurries or freezing rain mixed in with the rain this morning when I took the dogs out for their walk. I spotted one crazy blanket flower in glorious bloom, one brilliant orange blossom turning its face smiling bravely out toward the day. It cheered me enormously.

I tried and tried to loosen the garden hose from the outside faucet, but it is stuck hard. I'll have to have help with that. I wanted to put it away for the winter. I also noticed I have left some garden markers outside. Messy, messy. I will have to get them in and stored away also.

Up until a couple of days ago, I was still picking a tomato or two from the garden, even though the vines had long ago been blighted by frost. On Monday night, Nov. 1, I went with one of my dearest and oldest friends to the Sarah Brightman concert in Toronto. This friend gets me, does not think I'm weird or crazy. She has always been ready to help when I asked, but she just listens and lets me be myself at other times. Plus, I'm flattered to think she enjoys me just as I am. We had so much fun catching up and chatting while we waited for the train that we actually missed the train! We did give ourselves lots of time, so catching the next train did not make us late for the concert, which by the way, was a fabulous show. I was near tears several times. What a voice.

I did do a couple of drawings this week. I have a policy of not tearing up any drawing in my sketch books, no matter how dumb they seem. It gives me perspective on drawings I am happier with, and helps me see my progress.

I am saddened by the election results in the US. Although I am quite cynical about the ability of even the most well-meaning politician to stay honest in a world dominated by big corporations and the over-riding interests of money, I do think Bush cannot really be described as a man of character. Policies that allow pollution of the world to continue unabated, or even increase pollution, policies that allow corporations to plunder the resources of our earth, and the economies of poor countries, and policies of war for the purposes of maintaining access to oil, all the while diverting the attention of simple folk from perhaps more pressing real social and economic issues with words like faith & family values, all seem to me to be the actions of a man devoid of conscience. What right do Bush and his cronies think they have to further their own financial positions at the expense of the natural world, the third world, their own less-privileged citizens and the generations to come?

I read a quote today on the website of Tom Spencer (Soul of the Garden), and it goes like this:

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money-power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed." -Abraham Lincoln
I am lighting candles and incense, and meditating on my hope that the disastrous path this world seems to be on will not come to pass, that positive influences will be able to hold some sway in the US and the world.

Current Mood: melancholy

Current Music: Andreas Bocelli: Macchine da Guerra,(CD: Romanza)

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Fading Autumn Crocuses

"I care not much for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it."Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

My dogs, Misty and Molly, are wrestling about through the patches of sunshine on the carpet. When they do that, I sometimes still feel the "idiot No" response rising and the back of my neck tenses. When I was a child, playing and laughing often elicited that No, and the boundaries that we crossed to arouse that response were always moving. Outright hilarity brought down unholy wrath. The contrast at my best friend's house was remarkable in hindsight. We giggled in her room or the basement of her house, undisturbed, often laughing to the point that we had to pee! Too late for my own children, I'm learning to let go and allow myself to enjoy my granddaughter's giggles and play, without constantly trying to establish control. For that, I'm thankful.

While I wrote the paragraph above, the dogs were exhausted and are now lying down for a nap. What was the fear that crawled up my tense neck and tempted me to yell the idiot no? Judgment? Destruction? Chaos?

I have a small patch of autumn crocuses that I planted two years ago. They were a little thrill of soft violet when they bloomed under the maple tree, fragile and luminous. It rained heavily yesterday, and although today dawned bright and sunny, the crocuses are starting to shrivel today. Each time I have taken the dogs out lately, I have enjoyed that little grouping of soft watercolour brush strokes of violet among the golden fallen leaves. Sometimes the colour has been more intense in the wet of rain and mist. On days like today, the colour glows weakly in the pale sun of dying autumn and the air has a sharp medicinal smell.

Current Mood: nervous
Current Music: Sergei Rachmoninov: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Var. 18