Gratitude, Joy and Land Sickness

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Last weekend I swam naked in the inky sea at midnight under a billion stars. The sea was filled with the magic that makes phosphorescence… I became a glow stick. A giggling, swirling, giddy glow stick. If I raised my hand out of the water, a thousand stars trickled down my fingers and arm back into the glittery sparkly sea. It was magic. Pure magic.

I spent three days with friends who exist entirely outside of my normal life. They have never been to my home, never met my family, my husband. They’ve never seen me in my space, my comfort zone. They don’t know my work, my reputation, my art, nothing outside what I have told them. They know only the me that exists when I am away from my responsibilities and the weight of expectation.  They like me, and I like them. Interestingly, I have never seen them in their day to day either. They live in another city and we met through mutual friends. Every time we’ve visited it’s been an event outside of the ordinary, and that’s amazing and freeing.

I am not one to swim naked at midnight under any kind of sky, as a rule. I’m also not one to sit for three days on the bow of a sailboat imagining a life quite different from the one I have. I am rarely still…I am rarely aware enough to notice things like the wonder of phosphorescence… like the frequent passage of satellites overhead.

I want to be someone who swims naked. I want to be someone who lays back on the deck of a boat and gazes upward. I want more time to gaze…

As with anything else, if you want change, you’ve gotta step up and make change. It’s in the wind… change.

If you find phosphorescence in your life… anywhere, I recommend jumping in. Naked. And if you feel a bit land sick when you come ashore, well that’s a small price to pay, don’t you agree?

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Impossible Loss

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The community I live in and love has been struck hard by tragedy in the last month. Two young families have lost their Dads…quickly, shockingly, unfairly. The two families have 5 children between them, all 11 and younger.

The two men, both dedicated outdoors men were friends. They worked together, shared similar passions and lived their lives with enormous intensity and capacity for joy. They died 3 weeks apart, separately, in two completely unrelated tragedies.

Last night on my flight home from a visit to the big city I brushed up close to that pain. I sat with the sister in law of the most recently lost husband, father, friend, Daddy. Her heart was in pieces, visibly. She was lovely. She was so sad, so worried for her sister, her little niece and the shell shocked boys. Their father died trying to save them from a river; them and the son of the woman sitting next to me for 3 hours. I felt…still feel, gutted. I am grateful that I was there, able to help her with her own young daughter, be a new face, a new ear, a new mirror to look in to see who she is now.  As she told me the story, my heart broke again and again.  At one point, she said, there were six people in the river, all drowning. Half were there to save, half were being saved. All were at risk of being lost. Too few safety measures afforded by the resort they were visiting, so many people, so much crying and fear and screaming, so little anyone could do. And so, one Daddy died. One husband is gone. So many lives are forever changed.

I wasn’t there. I don’t know the family personally, though I feel so connected to them. I felt that connection even before meeting this woman who has so much to try and block from her memory, so much to move forward from. I felt that connection because I am a wife, I am a mother.   I feel that connection so much more now, having had the little girl with the saddest face I’ve ever seen sit on me, play with my phone and take sad photos of herself. This little girl has just lost her Daddy; she is 3.

The two families, linked by friendship and interest and passion and love of the outdoors are now linked by sorrow, loss and tragedy.  I am now, forever, linked to their story. I will never erase from my  heart the sight of this woman, this heartbroken sister, the aunt of these children in shock. She almost lost her own son and father to the river, lost instead her brother in law, her sister’s joy and her own sense of security in the world.

She said it was so awful. So horrible. So unbelievable. She has touched my life forever.

Yukon, we have two families who need us terribly right now. 5 children who will need all the support we can provide. Two mothers whose worlds have just been turned upside down, and who haven’t even begun to measure what lies ahead. I want to do something. I wish I could do something.

Why Matches are a Perfect Gift

ImageA while back I blogged about a box of beautiful matches, their use and misuse, and my sadness when they were all gone. A smallish thing, but Moms understood the value of beautiful objects and rituals. My friends understood… more than I knew, apparently. 

My blogger friend Donna (The Redneck Princess) emailed me the other day asking for my mailing address. She is talented, beautiful & crafty.  She often has contests and so on on her fab blog, so I didn’t think too long about what I might have won, just gave her the address and carried on. 

Donna and I are friends through her younger brother… “Little Jimmy”, we called him. He’s a great guy who now lives in the same Yukon town as me.  Donna is a couple of years older than me so we only knew one another peripherally in school. Over the last little while though we’ve become online friends through a gang of awesome crabby women approaching our best years. She and the rest of that gang of foul mouthed awesome bitches have become my posse, my safe place. I am one lucky lady.

This is what Donna sent me:

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Isn’t that just about the best gift ever? A BEAUTIFUL box of matches, just for me. Just for lighting a beautiful candle  when I want to just be Deborah, instead of Mom… or wife. 

So I want to say thank you to Donna – wow… what a hugely awesome thoughtful and kind thing you did!

And now, I will try to find a way to do something as kind and thoughtful for somebody else.  What a nice challenge… I’ll be watching you, my friends. Watching and listening for a chance to make your day like my lovely friend Donna made mine. 

Happy, happy Thursday friends!

My Bliss List (first draft)

ImageI have about 27 seconds to type this before my husband takes me out for dinner; it’s Valentines Day and despite my snarking about the fraudulent nature of the festivities, a girl does like to get all shiny and prettied up and adored.

So I am drafting a list…. seriously, first draft only. I will post this and THEN think of about a million other things I wish I’d added… thus the first draft title.

My Bliss List (or things that make me stupidly happy)

-Extra hot double tall lattes, no sugar (actually sugar makes it better, so WITH sugar)

-Extra hot baths; the exact right temperature when you get in, where it burns just a bit but it’s not so hot that you pass out right away.

-Bathroom fan; it drowns out the sound of the kids yelling at each other while you soak in the blissfully perfect bath.

-Support garments. Need I say more?

-Shoes…perfect, fabulous, stunning, sexy, ohmygodwhycan’tIweartheseeveryday Fluevog shoes… (see photo, above)

-Holidays in the very near future

-Awesome plan to spend time with my lady friends, good wine, good food… bliss bliss bliss

-Going for a fantastic dinner tonight at a gorgeous restaurant where the restaurateur knows my name, hugs me upon arrival and is just so lovely it makes it all even more shimmery.

Gag. Who wrote all that smarmy crap up there? Me?! Well… who knows. Maybe Valentines Day agrees with me more than I knew.

Cheers all… hope it’s a blissful night. I’ll update the list later. What would YOU add?

Life is short, and all that.

ImageSo what’s it going to be for you? The thing you will most regret, lying on your deathbed, breathing your last? Will it be the trips you didn’t take, the book you didn’t write? Maybe the bucket list items that never got checked off?

Not me. No, I’ll have lots of trips not taken, books not written and all that, but that’s probably not what I’m going to regret. At least it’s not what I fear I’ll regret. I’m afraid I’m going to regret not living enough. Not loving enough, not laughing enough, not making the most out of the friendships and relationships that matter to me. Not having enough sex, not getting my hands and feet dirty often enough, worrying too much, staying too closed and careful.

Life is not the good china. It can’t be saved for when company comes. It’s gotta be used… used up. This is a lesson I need to teach myself every day. You’d think, by age 46 that I’d have clued in to that by now.

I’ve gotta shift the crap around, the crap that keeps me from doing the things I love, the things I want to love, the things I fear. I have to find a way to be fearless in the way I used to be, or fearless in a way I want to be. Maybe not even fearless at all, but brave enough to just take a deep breath, plug my nose and jump into the deep end of living.

So that, my friends, is my Valentines wish. I want to really live. Live big, loud, ugly, funny, beautiful and awkward. Trip, dance, fall, get dirty, embarrass myself, try again, Look foolish, say the wrong thing (at least I said something), make a new friend, mend a lost friendship, find my centre, get lost, get dizzy. Be real. And have more sex 😉

Cheers…

Aside

Very Inspiring Blogger Award. That’s right. You read that…

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Well! I want to thank Jennifer of  http://jenniferrifkinbryan.wordpress.com/ for nominating me for this lovely award. Jennifer’s blog is called Something of a Dreamer. I like that title…

She says:  “Happy New Year! I recently began reading your blog and love the voice, humor and thoughtfulness it projects. Thanks for the lovely words you share, and in turn, I nominated you for this little “award” – my way of saying that I’ll be a constant reader from now on!”

You should really check out her blog. It’s great… funny, real, and yeah… I have always been sure the treadmill is going to throw me at the back wall.

So the rules of this award (rules?!) indicate I must perform several rituals which include revealing 7 facts about myself.

Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog. Done and done.
  • List seven random things about yourself.
  • Nominate other blogs.
  • Notify the nominees.
  • Put the award logo on your blog.

The rules do NOT specify the nature of these facts; salacious? true? weird? freaky? questionable? awe-inspiring? Well, there are few enough of the latter so I’ll start with weird.

1. I have lived in the capital cities of all three of Canada’s Northern Territories. Not shitting you. Each one, moving eastward, is colder than the hounds of hell (aren’t the hounds of hell supposed to be cold?… wait…WHY would the hounds of hell be cold?). Hmmm.

2. I have had BABIES in all but 1 of the three northern capitals. What.. that’s too close to the first fact? No it’s not… my HUSBAND has also lived in all three and he has not delivered children in any of them, so it’s a decent enough fact.

3. I am a Certified Yukon Master Gardener. Well, I was… I don’t know how long that certification lasts. Given the state of my perennial borders I shouldn’t broadcast that actually. REVOKE!!!!

4. Wayne Gretzky stepped on my toe. Yes, he did so. In a bar in Banff Alberta back in 1980-something. Janet was there… sitting at the back of the bar looking all pretty & girlfriend-ish. The Canadian team had just whooped Russia’s ass in Calgary so they drove on up to the Silver City Saloon in Banff to step on some Canadian feet. All true.

5. I sang as the opening act for Blue Rodeo and Colin James, two separate concerts, two separate cities, way back in the “day”. That was the day when I was young, cool, skinny, and a pseudo (northern Canadian) rocker chic. I sang in a cool band. Also true.

6. I think 7 facts is probably too many to share; I really don’t know you very well.

7. When I moved to the North, my ACTUAL goal was to move to Mexico for a year. Yeah… helluva  wrong turn. Took a cool sounding job, moved north for “a year”. When people tell you they are going north for “a year”, do NOT believe them. Never happens.

Rule #3: Nominate other  blogs.

I’d like to nominate:

http://www.theredneckprincess.net/  This is a GREAT blog, written by an awesome friend of mine named Donna. She is kind of a kick ass awesome chic, so mind your p’s & q’s. And keep your DAMN hands off her mustangs 🙂

http://motherhoodwtf.com/   The name pretty much says it all… as the mother of 3 teens I have been known to chant WTF (in its full, spelled out form) like a pissed off gregorian mother….

http://thebloggess.com/     Obviously. This one’s a no-brainer. You’re probably already following her and if you’re not, well I’m just sorry. You should be too. Get over there now; you’ll thank me.

So there you go! My nominator linked, my 7 facts,  the lovely Contest Award Logo shared with one and all… I’m DONE!!!! YAY!!!

 

Aside

On grief, loss, friendship and hearts that can’t be unbroken.

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I spent last weekend with her in the beautiful home they built together on top of a hill overlooking a river.  A home they dreamed of, worked toward and loved. It was the realization of a lifetime of hard work and planning… truly their dream home. They shared it for three years, and it made them so happy. There is so much joy everywhere in that house.. in every tile, fixture, deck chair. I’m happy I visited a year ago, with him proudly showing off every bell and every whistle.

When people have been a part of your life for, well, your whole life, it’s hard to measure their importance. This woman is not my mother, this man was not my father. They occupy a different, separate space in my heart that’s hard to define.  I have so much love for them that I don’t think I’ve ever really thought about or been fully aware of.  His death has hit me hard;  not the same as the loss of my own Dad, but still a powerful hurt.

Sitting with her last week, holding her while she cried, listening to her try and make sense of this bleak new universe,  I realized I had nothing wise to say. I have no words to make it better. I can’t fix anything. When she turned to me with a panicked and confused look on her face and asked “when will I remember? I keep thinking I can’t wait to tell him about our visit”, I felt helpless. I want so badly to mend something for her, to answer even one of her millions of unanswerable questions.

So I will do what I can… tiny, inconsequential and impotent as I feel. I will send her random texts reminding her that I love her, I will phone her, send her beautiful pictures and powerful stories. I will send her music… all her music is so deeply entwined with his memory that it hurts her to listen right now.

I know I will do so much less  than I want to for her.  What I truly want to do just can’t be done.