When in Doubt: Wave Hands Like Clouds!

So until I can get a loaner brain I am hanging out with babies and family pets and avoiding complex questions, like, do I need to wear clothes?  The last time I felt this confounded I had recently fallen on my face metaphorically, I won’t expand on the subject, suffice to say, falling on your face can take time to get over, even when its metaphorically.

I could however ride my bike, not a metaphorical or even a stationary one like those being ridden by the spin class behind me in my heading picture, but a REAL bicycle  and so my youngest and I rode around Ottawa taking in all the great parks and canals and free stuff that our wonderful capital city provides.  After riding until we felt tired we would get off our bikes, lie on the grass and slurp on some box juices and watch the clouds.

There is a wonderful state under a big sky when you feel as if you are falling, or flying or floating.  And nothing moves in your mind faster than the clouds, in fact it almost seems you are thinking the clouds.

This is Wilf.  He is six months old.  I think he noticed the same thing.

Which brings me to the Tai Chi movement, move hands like clouds. I am still sitting zazen, but I am finding tai chi helps the most.  After doing a short set in the morning I can move my head from side to side without feeling dizzy. When I was studying Tai Chi with a group in Ottawa I met many people, including a man who had been severely brain injured by a drunk driver, who found Tai Chi good for their brains.

If you search for beauty you will find it.

While I complain about living next to a main artery for a city ill planned for the volume of traffic it now bares, nevertheless I have admiration for the neighbours who determinedly plant flowers in front of their houses. Other streets that face our traffic, thinking it is only a matter of time before all these little bungalows are torn down for strip malls, give up, park cars on the lawns and stop picking up the refuse.

Yesterday, after a long day spent mostly in waiting rooms, walking home from the bus stop I was transfixed by these. I once did a water colour of them. They are so delicate and yet resilient. The rain seemed to make their feathery leaves glow.

I used to say I had synesthesia, but I think I am just highly sensitive to colour and form. The sensation that arose could only be called happiness.closeupflowers.jpg

I liked the textures in the wet pavement in this photo.

The Maker Festival!

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Shirley made a key chain with a 3D printer from the design she made!

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I made some bling after learning some welding skills, thanks to a very patient volunteer!

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A very cool rocking chair/environment made by Oreka James, a young design student. I felt weightless in it, safe and calm, very comfortable!

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There were a few celebrities there, oh and the Mayor. pfff

We had a great time, the place was packed and there were lots of kids but no one was crying, there was too much to do! It is a free event going on at the Toronto Reference Library and it continues today!

Sometimes I feel so inadequate.

I was locking my bike at the back of the mall and I observed a big man, a woman and a little boy standing near the door maybe five meters away.

The man was smoking a cigarette, the aroma wafting towards me, I am a lover of second hand smoke. I should hate it having quit a long time ago but I don’t. Also, I like riding my bike. I can get a lot done on my bike. On this particular morning I had left G.D. with her coffee and breakfast happily settled in bed to do her crossword, doze and listen to the radio. It was sunny and cool, the perfect weather for riding a bike. I was going to the library to get her some audio books, buy some groceries and then head to Canadian Tire to get a bag of potting soil and garden utensils. I was in a pretty good mood.

And then I heard the man say, “If you do that again you’ll see how fast I can stab you with my cigarette.” and he was holding his hand in a fist. Without thinking I yelled,

HEY!

I felt the space between us shrink in my perception. I could see his face and I was afraid.

He held me in his sights for probably no longer than a few seconds but it was long enough to feel that here was a man who loved confrontation. I would like to think that it was because I realized that to engage this man would not help the boy and that it was enough that I had registered my YELP of disapproval, but in truth I am ashamed to say I was afraid.

I got my bags and continued into the mall, went to the library and dropped off my books and then unloaded tearfully the scene to the librarian. I felt safe because I don’t meet a lot of confrontational librarians. She said the sorts of comforting things I that I was trying to say to myself as I cowered, “That was a terrible thing to witness, of course you are afraid that he would come after you…” neither of us able to say anything about the boy. The poor boy.

I found out years ago that it really upset my son when I would say “I’m going to sell you to the gypsies”. I am not trying to justify saying something mean (and I thought funny) to a kid when one is totally at ones wits end, but it seems to me that this threat of violence, so graphic, and so readily available, was verbal abuse beyond the pale. And even though they all looked fairly jovial walking into the mall and past the library, (no worries the man was coming to borrow a BOOK), even though, “normal” is different for every family, that normal will only lead to so much more suffering, all for the sake of one grown-up who has never put down his own selfish needs long enough to consider ANYONE, never mind his child.

And here I am still feeling so sad. It is never a good idea to ride a bike when you are crying. At the grocery store I told the cashier about it, still shaking. I have “known” the woman for a long time, and I have been a cashier myself. You learn the difference between being friendly to a customer and being a friend. It is an unusual friendship, you rarely know each other’s name, but I feel we are friends.  I wanted her perspective. I value her perspective.

This is what she said to me: “The kid will remember it. He’ll see that others see his dad is the problem, not him.”

And that made me feel a little better.

It put things in perspective a little too when, the woman at the garden center, who was helping me attach the bag of soil to my bike carrier with bungee cords, told me, “My dad used a bike to carry everything, even us kids sometimes, my brother on the handle bars, and me on the back” and her smile was so big you could tell it was a happy memory. Not the sort of thing a “helicopter parent” would approve of, but in the broad spectrum of childhoods, a good memory.

a thread through time

An old friend, who is someone I have known for a L O N G time, heh, see, I made a funny, old, and old… never mind, well he is leaving town and so we got together for a few hours last Sunday and walked around Edward’s Gardens for a bit.  The day was warm and the place was packed with people but one could still find a quiet bench to sit on.  I took a few photos with my phone.  I know!  I still can’t get over all the things my phone can do well!

It was good to see kids poking sticks in a lazy creek.  Baseball hats or no, it’s a scene that threads through the history of human kind and it made me smile.

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We had a provincial election…

For the most part people were wonderful and happy to excercise their right to vote.  A few seem to regard it as an inconvenience but fewer than you might think.

An elderly lady told me she was so happy to live here, that where she was from she could not vote.  It was a wonderful thing that she took the time to share that with me. I thanked her. (She did go on to complain a bit about young people…oh well.)

It was a good day.