Saturday, September 7, 2019

Just an Old Suitcase

‘Expeditions can be dangerous, with much excitement and often with some strange sort of enjoyment. I had hoped for all three of these qualities. We were going into territory that none had yet to explore…….’ This was the beginning of my great uncle Bert's journal entry. Found in a side pouch of an old black leather suitcase, a hole in one corner, scratched and scuffed from travel, the suitcase was still packed with his old khaki safari clothes. What else I couldn’t tell just yet. My family were clearing out the attic in his old house in Wyoming. All that was left was this old suitcase. It felt oddly heavy when I picked it up, ready to take it downstairs. I untied the frayed brown ribbon holding the journal shut. Opening the dusty wrinkled brown leather cover, I sat up against the wall under the attic’s only window, the pale sun my only reading light. The spidery handwriting on dry yellowed pages gave off a musty smell. Those words were the only words I could read clearly. My own expedition was about to begin. I heard my father call me. 

“Come on, son. Get a move on. We’ve got to get all this into town before supper. Your mother is waiting.” I tucked the small journal into my vest pocket. 

“Coming dad. I just have one thing left.” Closing up the suitcase, I brought it downstairs. 

“Can I keep this one, dad? I want to go through it. It’s Great-Uncle Bert’s old traveling suitcase and it still has his things in it. I want to go through it later.”

“Sure thing, son.” Dad glanced at it then stopped and pushed his cap back. “ Wow! I had forgotten all about that suitcase. Can we go through it together? I remember some of Uncle Bert’s stories from those days.”

“That would be great!” My dad and I had not been talking all that much lately. We’d grown distant......and now? This could be a really interesting expedition. Going off to university in Arizona was not that far away. Getting close to dad again over an old suitcase full of Great-Uncle Bert’s travels would be perfect.

“The first rule of an expedition is that everyone should stick together.”
~ Tahir Shah, In Search of King Solomon’s Mines

Friday, September 6, 2019

Painting Lessons

Rising in the morning, I went into my studio. As I stood looking at the old painting, tears streamed down my face and memories flooded from my heart. It was not a particularly good painting because I was only ten and hadn’t been painting long. All the tools an artist needs had been given me by my grandfather. He had painted the original portrait of my mother that I had tried to paint as a child. My grandfather had taught me so very much about life and about painting. We would paint together, our easels side by side. If I wanted a certain colour, grandfather would teach me how to mix up colours to find the shade I wanted. He showed me how to create light, texture and distance. It was always a joy to be with him in his studio overlooking the water. Grandmother brought us lunch and we would sit outside on the patio. There were times that my parents wondered whose house I really lived in. The tears streaming down my face were not only tears of sadness. They were tears of sadness sparkled with the gold of these wonderful memories. Just before lunch, my twelve year old grand daughter would be here. I had her easel set up beside mine and we would be overlooking the sparkling blue water. Her grandpa told me he would have a lunch of tomato sandwiches, lemonade and watermelon for us before we started painting our own memories.

“All you need to paint is a few tools, 
a little instruction, and a vision in your mind.”
~ Bob Ross

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Stephanie's Story

Growth and development?……sounds far too clinical and boring if there's a story to be told! Especially when the story is set in an Enchanted Forest. A little girl named Stephanie told me a story that was far more interesting. 

Here is Stephanie’s Story: ‘ My little sister, Emily and I were not to go any farther than three giant steps into the forest. Then it was only if we wanted to sit in the shade of the old tree that had stories to tell us. Well, silly, the tree couldn’t talk but if we sat really still and pretended we weren’t watching but we really were watching, we could watch the story. Kind of like watching a TV story and we were in it. The story always started with squirrels. We had watched them on the same day - always Friday - when our mom was busy and she told us to go outside to play. First there would be a big fluffy squirrel with the longest fluffiest curviest tail you ever saw. She - 'cause we figured out it was the mom - would come down the tree. Then she’d stop and look at us! She did so look at us! Then she would come down a little farther and run to the other side of the tree then back up again. Then she started making her chattery squirrel noises and then guess what? There would be one and then two and then three littler squirrels! We watched and watched all summer. The babies got bigger and bigger and bigger until we couldn’t tell which was the mom and which were her babies! And then. There was this owl. When we first saw it he looked kind of scary all hunched up with feathers sticking up like funny ears. It just sat there. Even when the squirrels were running up and down and all around. Sometimes, it would fly up to another branch where there was another owl. They looked like friends ‘cause they kind of snuggled beside each other. It looked like there was a nest and my little sister Emily wanted to climb the tree and see but I wouldn’t let her in case she fell down and we had to tell our mom. Then we heard the big whistle that our mom calls us with so we went home. The End’

“No, No!! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.”
~ Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland 
& Through the Looking Glass

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

No Memos

Ongoing changes shape our world
never stopping to see if we have
   caught up to the last change
     caught our breath or
       caught the wind in our sails

Ongoing changes are like the wind
Coming from any direction when
  we least expect it
    to roar thru' well planned lives
      or vanishing, leaving us  breathless.

Ongoing changes are challenges
~ challenges that we will meet
 with aplomb or with fear
   gathering our wits and our faith
     with the will to survive and live.

“The only way to make sense out of change is to 
plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”
~ Alan Wilson Watts

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

One Sided

“Rates of speed on this highway are pathetic!! Who sets them
anyway!? And the drivers! People that always trundle along at exactly….I mean exactly…..the speed limit. Not a kilometre over or under but exactly!!! I was speeding along, with that great Billy Idol driving song Blue Highway turned up full blast… was awesome. Turned around a bend in the highway and there it was. A poky little old station wagon that must have been 50 years old and the driver!! She could barely see over the steering wheel! She had a nerve being on the road. A typical Speed Limit Nerd. I couldn’t pass because we were coming up to another turn on this amazing mountain road and I couldn’t see if I’d hit a semi or a deer or anything else! And then there’s the ghastly forest fires…..yah I know they were miles away but there was a lot of smoke! I wanted to get the hell out of there! So I had to slow waaaaay down to match this crazy woman's ridiculous speed……Road rage? What? You think even this sounds like road rage? The air was as blue as her blue hair!! I mean really….what if I had to get to a hospital? Or what if you had just texted me that my house was burning down!?……..........................................She hung up on me! What did I say?”

“Smile, breathe and go slowly”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Monday, September 2, 2019

Coffeeshop Contest

Passages through the air space of time and current events as
an all female walking group
traveled over iced lattes and tea in deep discussion of history, politics, art and Downtown Abbey ~ Almost over powered by an all male walking group in equally deep discussion of history, politics, finances and mechanics?

“Old age and the passage of time teach all things.”
~ Sophocles

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Riding the Current

Passages through…
Rates of speed…..
Ongoing changes……
Growth and development
Rising in the morning….
Expeditions can be……
Stride out with…..
Steps forward are……

“And a step backward, after making 
a wrong turn, is a step in the right direction.”
~ Kurt Vonnegut, Player Piano