"Someday's gonna be a busy day..."

Thursday, 14 June 2012

A spoonful of dusk helps the medicine go down

For various reasons, my heart and soul have been pretty weary lately. Last night I was listlessly doing dishes, my hands busy while my head was mired in melancholy. A breeze blew in the kitchen window and ruffled my hair, a gentle hand telling me to stop what I was doing and go outside. So I did.

I snatched one of the kids' blankets off the floor, wrapped it around myself and plunked down in my favourite green lawn chair. It was dusk. The sun had barely set, and the sky painted itself in purple and navy above the treeline. Stars winked at me. Bats swooped down like burnt falling stars, crickets sang, leaves whispered. Somewhere below the hill, a dog barked as a motobike buzzed down the road. Somewhere beyond the cornfield, near the river, coyotes began to yip and whine their night song; somewhere in the falling darkness, every bitter thought floated out of my head.

Dusk had the power to do what exercise, wine, talking, writing, crying and sulking could not: it made me remember that I was part of a greater world, a small cog in a vast universe. My disappointment and hurt wouldn't break me, just as they wouldn't make more than a tiny ripple in the overall stream of my life. That's all this was: a ripple, a few circles made by a stone that would soon drift away. I would survive, and I would smile, and I would be happy again.

A spoonful of dusk helped me swallow a bitter pill.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Girly Grrrrrl Weekend

Although I am not rabid about it, I enjoy the occasional foray into the cut-and-paste, anal-retentive world of scrapbooking. My friends whisked me away a few weekends ago on a scrapbooking retreat outside of Guelph, and frankly, it rocked.

There's something immensely satisfying about indulging in creative, tactile work. I think cutting colourful paper, tracing designs and squishing paste and stickers and sparkles on stuff triggers my body's cellular memory of similar kindergarten activities. And any road that leads back to memories of cookies and floor-naps is a good one.

Even better, the B&B where we had our scrapbooking fiesta offers delicious meals, snacks, an all-hours coffee machine and all the coca-cola I could possibly drink. When my eyes started to get buggy from staring at photos and paper patterns, I poured a glass of wine, sought out my frilly bedroom and read my book until I felt like having a nap. I stayed up late, slept in, gossiped and chatted, met new women and listened to their stories, met their families through photos and shared my own.

Pepole don't often take time to sit and look through the photos they've collected over the years. Not so the Lowry clan; my Mother in Law has collected an awe-inspiring number of photos, wedding invitations, birth and death notices, locks of hair, etc. They're all stuck inside old fashioned photo books, the kind with the plastic peels on them, and D and I look at them fairly often. Early in our marriage, D told me "You're in charge of keeping our photos." And I've taken that role seriously ever since, snapping tons of photos over the years, printing them off en masse and making sure family and friends get copies of special moments.

Scrapping is my way of allowing myself the time to peruse through our gianormous collection of photos and give myself over to memories: Jade's first bath and the way she turned purple with rage; her wee newborn diaper; my Dad holding her like she was going to break in his arms; my sister's look of serene joy with Jade in her arms; my mother-in-law combing Jade's hair into a tiny coxcomb; Dwain passed out facedown on the kitchen table with baby Jade fast asleep beside him. I admit, this was a Jade-centric weekend. Dylan will have his own book eventually, but I'm still working on Jady's first year. It was sweet to look through all her baby moments and think back to the sheer joy and the sheer terror of being the mother of a newborn.

All of us at the retreat take the time to look at other people's pages and admire them, although no one hangs over your shoulder. I find that being stuck in a room with several women can either be a profoundly refreshing experience, or a soul-draining one. Put the right mix of ladies together, and you have the potential for bonding and support. Put too much estrogen and a bunch of chafing personalities in close confines, and things can get catty reeeeeaal quick. Thankfully, our group was of the non-feline variety. I learned about a woman's travels to Africa, and her heart-warming adoption story; I listened to my friends tell funny stories about work, kids and clothes. And of course I added my own two cents worth of gossip and tales, which is half the fun.

I look forward to that day when I can plunk Jade's scrapbook into her lap and say, "Here. I made this for you." I'm thinking it will go in her memory box, to be openend on her 16th birthday. But we'll probably sneak a lot of peeks into it before then.

I came back to Someday farm feeling refreshed and happy.