Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Wind Shifting Change

Last night as I tiredly treaded my usual round checking the locked doors I was hit by a sudden unnanounced gust of wind and a sudden realization; A change. The wind was coming the wrong way. Since I arrived a little over a month ago the wind's come from the east. A cold, blustery, steady east wind. But last night a change noticed by some; noticed by me. The vanguard heralding the coming day.

This morning the flag flickers and dances upon it's pole, upon it's perch, precariously positioned upon the top of Old Main.

The west wind has brought the sunshine.
The west wind has brought spring.

And the birds are singing! So loudly in the warm air above the rapidly retreating snow does their melodic chorus pierce the silence. I wonder if there is any correlation between the brightness of the shine and the sweetness of the song? For today they both seem stronger than the day passed.

Spring has sprung
the time has come
'neath shorts bright legs revealed.

The snow retreats
beneath bare feet
drowned out midst shouts and squeals.

Bird song fills,
with twists and trills,
the warm and golden air.

And in plain sight,
beneath the light,
we once more leave our lair.

The west wind brings more that spring though. It brings thoughts unbidden of the land that awaits me, the land I love, beyond the curvature of all I can see, towards the descending drift of the dancing dome, the star we call Sun, that is Sol. I miss the green rainsoaked forests of my homeland, the raven's quork, the squirrel's chatter, and the strong, silent presence of the massive sentinel trees. I do not mean or intend to diminish this land when I say I love that land. Perhaps it's just that I have a longer relationship there. Your first love always has a special place in your heart. I can say now that I want to be there. I want to live in that land that I love. More than friends and family, house or home, it has been as it is and always will be, the land that I love. I feel blessed and honoured with the privilege of walking those sacred places, more so than any church or man-made structure. More than anything else I know, I know I feel inside drawn back to the forest; the dark foreboding forest, the dripping fertile forest, the delight filled forest,a place of life which is a place of death. I mystical, magical reality. It is how I feel.

The west wind blows,
and with it spring.
While on the horizon the sun's rising.

In pinks and yellows
it paints the sky
as swiftly swooping birds spin by.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Potential April Roadtrip Plans

Greetings one and all,
Earlier this year an associate of mine made an invitation to me. He said I should come to Winnipeg and stay at his house. So.. I may! Apparently this fandagolicious place I work at (I don't know what fandangolicious means) (I made it up) has a long break in mid April. Hmmm... some sort of "spring break"? So anyhoo.. I'll be on this aforementioned break from the 14th to the 22nd of April and am thinking perchance of a roadtrip (or bus trip). Maybe I can even find someone else in Saskatchewan to come on a trip to Winnipeg with me? Don't know. But that's the possible tentative plan. Let me know what y'all think.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Evil Leopard Seal, Bane of Penguin

So if you've seen March of the Penguins you'll most likely remember when our heroic peguins after overcoming many challenges in egg swapping, multi-mile trekking, and epic fasting, return to the sea to stock up on food before heading back to their egg/chicks once more. And lurking, waiting, stalking in the water is... the evil leopard seal. They show a clip where the bitey teeth are given lots of attention. And these leopard seals are portrayed as the villian. I find this amusing; very amusing. The bias and manipulation of media. Yes it furthers their story. Just like the "evil" birds that come and eat the young penguins. Of course if the movie were made from the perspective of the birds who were trying to get food for their young would the cute fluffy penguins be represented as just food? Who laments the plight of the many fish just trying to make a go of it in the ocean where they are relentlessly pursued by penguins, other birdies, and the leopard seal? Are they not the true victim!! Of course not. These are all animals; wonderful, amazing animals surviving in difficult circumstances.. well at least the animals who have to spend time above the water. In the water, other than the predators, it's actually not so bad, seeing as it supports a range of species. March of the Penguins is a beautiful movie that sheds light on another of this worlds amazing stories and I think it's great that this story was spread all around the world. But I still don't feel great with the one-sided representation of the leopard seal and other birdy to forward the cause of penguin empathy. Is it too narrow to focus on one species and forward it as more important than the others? Yeah I like penguins. But the other animals need to eat. They need to feed their young too. That's kinda the way it goes isn't it? What are the ramifications of this message? Does it further an understanding of a complex inter-related universe and the mulitplicitous ways of interaction in it? Does it encourage a narrowing of view point and reinforce an "us and them mentality"? What else does it do?

All in all, I liked the movie and hoped that it, much like all in life, spurs people on to discussion and understanding.

Gotta go,

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Looking Outside

Outside my window I see.
Branches empty, bereft of their burdens,
awaiting anew once again.
Naked they stand unadorned, stark,
the passing of seasons and times of change for them.
Soon green youth, maturing, fleeting,
and then naked once more.
Beauty in each. Beauty in passing.

Outside my window I see.
Beside the naked frame exists one like and yet not.
The constantly clothed conifer.
Through season's change the steadfast needles remain.
Beauty constant and consistent. Serene simplicity.
One day too this tree will stand naked and unadorned.
It's needles shed, it's colour dropped,
it's time come to an end.

Outside my window I see.
In life: in death;
in picking up burdens: in laying them down;
in constancy: in change.
In the process of living which is the process of dying.

Outside my window I see.
Do other people see which I see?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Friday's Fiddler Adventure

This past friday I was privilged to get to go to a community theatre production of Fiddler On The Roof. A number of students and staff from the school were in the production and they did an excellent job. Community theatre rocks! and I recommend you go whenever you have a chance.

I also just finished reading Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond which is an excellent book.

Last night a couple students and I played some indoor soccer type games. Since there were only 4 of us we had to be creative in the rules but it was enjoyable.

And now I'm heading off, to greener pastures, and to do my rounds,

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Stair Luge

So we start with a new piece of art from my brother's latest show. This piece is my favorite of the plethora of new stuff to look at.

And now.. stair luge. This is an ancient art that has been around as long as stairs. The approach is very important because that's when it all starts. Mental disfocus is the key. This allows you to disregard the fact that your boots are wet as well as the top of the stairs. You non-chalantly begin your approach and at the top step your feet, or a foot, go flying forward. In the air you lay yourself out at an angle similar to the stairs. Some people may grasp for the railing in an attempt to correct form. A good landing (like mine) spreads the weight from the contact points of upper left buttock and lower right back. Then while still trying to understand that you are falling and your ass hurts, you continue the rapid, rattling slide. Slowing standing up at the bottom you look around to see if any judges were watching. In my case there were none. Watching that it. As I proceeded into the darkened TV room I heard comments of "wow that sounded cool" and "are you ok?" but this is all normal for the highly trained stair luge competitor. That and the pain discovered upon waking the next morning.

Adios and good stair luging.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Dangerous Act of Introspection

It's funny. I was thinking I've looked at my face in the mirror most every day for most of my life but I can't remember what I looked like. When I try I only see the pictures of me from when I was little. I remember the cute little boy I was. A picture of me looking up while hiding under a tree. A picture of me in my favorite black hoody or sweatshirt with soccer cleats on it. A time with it's own trials, troubles, and struggles, but still I look back with a romantic eye as if seeing an idyllic time.

And it was.

Sure Dave and I would have our arguments. Yeah I'd sulk and storm off and they'd call me Grumpy Bear or Mr.Grumpy or whatever that was. But I remember as well the tree fort; the many fun things Dave (my brother) and I'd play. The old Commodore 64, our first computer, and the games. Like Pooyan. With a pig in a lift that shot arrows at wolves floating up on balloons.

I remember walking in the forest as a family; Mom, Dad, Dave, and I. I remember Whit The Twit, who was Uncle Dave and Mel's dog. It was black. We were in an alder forest in the winter. The leaves were off the trees. I think we had hiked up Knobb Hill, aka Soames Hill.

I remember happy times. My brother. My Mom. My Dad. Raman. My best friend from down the street. She'd been born the day before me, in Vancouver. I remember her house. It smelled different, I know now it smelt like curry, and it was always fun there, especially when it was filled with her smiling, happy relatives. She had a swing set. This was when we lived in Langdale. This was a good time. This was a happy me.

I remember going on a camping trips with Grandma and Grandpa, Mom and Dad, Dave and first Pudgie (our first dog, I barely remember. Black and white) and then Griffin Manderville Bloodletter the III, or Griffin for short. I remember canoeing with Dad. Fishing with Grandpa. Chipmunks, squirrels, muskrats, whiskey jacks. This was before I disliked myself, thought myself worthless. Before my descent into pain and wounding beyond what I was prepared for, beyond what I could handle. Oh growing up. It comes to us all.

Divorce. Such a simple word. Such a tidy concept. Such a horrible reality for an unsuspecting 8 year old child. I still can't really see what all happened there. It blurs together in a melange of chaos and motion. Difficult times. And the beginning of a self imposed exile, a withdrawl. To blame oneself, to revile oneself, to surrender. To give up excellence or success and instead seek to hide and survive. Do the minimum. Learn to please people. Be kind. Be nice. Be funny. No ones enemy. I knew myself to be ugly and fat and non-sporty so my energy went to personality, humour, diplomacy. Hide. Stay low. Survive.

Of course there were good things here as well. The ocean. Reading. Video games. Playing with gasoline. Eden and Julien. Beach forts. Rock wars. As long as I could be away from systems and judgements of an external sort. I knew based on those I didn't rate well.

The false view from our personal perspective. If we could go back now. Though I know I wouldn't have been able to hear it anyways. And the jerkstore things I did and said. The times I lashed out in pain at those that got close and remained closed off to all. Sorry Mom. I've been a jerk. I know I still can be at times. I'm sorry. I do love you. And Dad. And Dave. And everybody. Except for a long time myself. Even still I blame myself. I wonder if I always will? Was there parental anger? Yes. I've forgiven what I've seen. No doubt there is more still unseen. But it always comes back to me.

How can we really be more then self-centered?

To forgive myself is very hard. I feel a responsibility for my actions, circumstances, and choices. I feel I am to blame. I am deserving of the pain, hurt, shit, that has come my way...

But then I see that little boy hiding under the tree looking up at me. And it isn't his fault. And I don't blame him.
And he is me.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Things look unusual as normal..

So here I am once again. This past thursday was Winter Carnival out here at LCBI. Not knowing what the expectations are for Winter Carnival I decided to go the laid back conservative route. Nothing fancy. Of course leggings are very important in any winter carnival fashion show you plan to attend while wearing shorts. (They also show off the calves) And of course the Mate and the Thermos. Here I am flanked by my pink wearing super ninjas. Ready to fight the evil forces of the winter.. bad guy? Or random students that were at the cookie/hot chocolate booth as well as me.

(Good cookies. White chocolate chip with cranberries!!)

Anyways.. seems I'm doing well. Not going too insane.. still dancing with the wonderment of what the future holds for me and how I'm to navigate it. While enjoying being where I am at the moment. Oh and growing a beard.

With the different students and interests I've had the opportunity to be involved in things I normally wouldn't. Like watching 2 Fast 2 Furious last night.

Right now I'm reading Praise of Folly by Erasmus. Next I'm going to read Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond (is that his real last name? cool).

Also on friday night we had a "coffee house." So it wasn't that popular but we did have a transitory crowd. Basically I was playing some of my songs.. read a story.. some quotes.. had a student come play for a bit.. and then cover tunes for another hour. But these people isolated in a snowy expanse find most anything enjoyable for breaking up the tedium so maybe we'll do it again next month? ;)

Well it's time for food so I'm gonna take off eh.

Now to end with something vague, exhorative, and spiritual sounding..
Wherever you are, may you be there,

PS Not everyone wears pink winter jackets here. Despite what the picture may suggest.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Yerba Mate Question.. and then his brain is off like a wild horse..

So I received an email from a friend the other day asking me about where I get my Yerba. The following is my response.

Hi Jason!
Thanks for the encouragement.
About the Yerba question. I haven't ever purchased Yerba goods online. I usually make my purchases at a Laminate Flooring/Importer in Abbotsford. If you could find an importer near you it may be better for you to buy through her/him.
It may be however that you'll need to use the internet for you purchasing.
Most of the people at Camp drink Pajarito but I've also enjoyed Cruz de Malta. To start you'll definitely want to buy a bombillia and a guampa (or matero depending on what they call it). A themos is very helpful. I have two. One has a pump top on it, like a large coffee pump, the other I bought at Mountain Equipment as it is more secure for travelling. If you're interested in drinking it cold (terere) then you may want to think of getting a large container that can accommodate ice as well. Add a little lemon to the water and it's very good.

Anyways.. I hope you have a good day and many enjoyable yerba mate experiences. And I look forward to the when next we meet. May the Mate flow. ;)

Your buddy,

Speaking of Mate it's always interesting going into a new situation where people aren't familiar with the customs or appearance of Mate. The usual questions arise. Is that a bong? What are you smoking? (Being from BC people of course assume that I smoke pot) What are you doing? Is that some form of sex toy? (I've actually gotten that one once. I'm not really sure what they were thinking and I don't really want to know). I find many things amusing about these situations. There are the people who come out and ask you straight up, and then there are those who observe from a distance but don't ask.

But not all the people you meet are unaware of the Mate goodness. Usually there are a couple people who respond with "you're not a part of that cult too?" or something along those lines. I could respond by directing their attention to the number of people who daily offer their sacrifices and pay their tithes at the Church of Coffee. And of a sudden I suppose, in this culture, in this part of the world, that is the orthodox faith. The morning cup all prepared and presented before you. Instant gratification. Pay money. Get coffee. Throw out the cup. Repeat. Of course there are some who still grind and brew their own and take a travel mug. Perhaps they're more a "reformer," back to the basics.

I enjoy the ritual of putting the mate in the guampa, shaking, settling, soaking, preparing, inserting the bombillia while boiling the water and filling the thermos. Perhaps it's similar for the coffee brewers. I suspect it may be. Daily rituals the bring some form of comfort and continuity to the day. If only for this time everything is going as planned. The spiritual act of imbibing. Taking the time to do it right. And that's something I've discovered about my spirituality. My journey. Taking the time to do it right is difficult but rewarding. Sure people can just go buy a cup of coffee. There's instant mate and prepackaged mate tea bags as well. And I could go this route and sacrifice something else in the name of progress and expediency. But what a sacrifice that would really be. It seems to me that it isn't how many things I fit in a day that brings me peace, joy, contentment, but rather knowing that I've done the things I've done well. Like taking the time to prepare, pour, and partake.

And in the meantime and inbetween times I'll remain doing the different thing, walking a slightly skewed path, trying to live my life as best I'm able, and being thankful for the friends along the way.

Thank you all for your friendship,

Hmmm... perhaps I should look at the benefit of Mate friendships as well.

An addendum: I hope that this in no way is seen as a coffee vs mate battle. I believe that there is beauty and joy in each. My desire is that people would be introduced to the joy in process that can play a wonderfully rewarding role in our lives. What I am against is the lie of instant gratification that much like westernised Chinese food fills you momentarily but leaves you hungry in a short time. So we have instant everything and it's consuming our resourses and filling our dumps. How much is "convenience" taking from us?

Nor am I refuting the enjoyment people get from the coffee prepared for them by someone else in the store setting. I just think that perhaps their is a deeper element awaiting behind. Perhaps peeking out. OK OK. I like simplicity and being frugal. May you just enjoy what you do. At least enjoy it. Please. This is what I enjoy. ;)