Magnolia trees in bloom. That fleeting glorious splendour marks the surety of the seasons, the bursting out of spring, warmer days ahead and then the luxuries of summer. In a day or two the wind or rain will tear away the stunning beauty of those magnificent blossoms. Like the rest of life, beauty is a fleeting thing. There are flowers and buds all around, very intense after the reluctant retreat of winter. They mean nothing. It is Easter, the celebration of hope and rebirth. This year, it means nothing. All is a hollow, echoing nightmare. I see but do not grasp, there is no reaching sound, no smell, no taste. All is surreal. All is a void. A few days ago her mother found her body in her apartment. Her frantic little dog was guarding. Apparently, we learned, Rachel our daughter had been dead a few days.
No mother should ever have to find her daughter’s corpse. How I wish I could erase that horror for her. I cannot imagination how she deals with this end of her motherhood. She will be a mother forever. What a slam! No manipulation of words can begin to describe the depths of anguish and darkness we find ourselves plunged into. We function like automatons, mechanically going about all the ordeals and logistics we must at such a time. There may be a short pause in my blogging. There is too much pain to be able to write coherently.
It is absolutely no consolation but I think of people in an identical circumstance in a place like the Ukraine. Their loved ones are gone, there may be no family left to share the grief, no home or any familiarity for shelter, no food. Shattered bodies lay in the rubble-strewn streets. There is a smell of decay and soot and torn earth.
I try to find solace in the love received from my family and friends, it truly is a comfort. Yet for the time being I travel in a place I do not know, nor want to. I find myself in a dark labyrinth of caves. I do not know which way to crawl, I can see nothing. This will pass. Life will go on, with or without me, all I need is to grasp a single thread to follow back toward where I can see well enough to find the path ahead. I try to imagine that Rachel and Jack, who loved each other dearly, have found each other in some beautiful place and have each again found the bliss they used to share. Meanwhile, Rachel’s own little dog is utterly confused and I cannot image the wee beast being alone with her for days after she had died. Little Ayre is a living extension of our daughter’s existence and we will cherish her.
We had no chance to say goodbye to our daughter. And my message to you is to understand that every time you say farewell to anyone, it may be the last time. Life is like that, it is fragile. Don’t leave anything unfinished, leave no regrettable words, tell them you love them, hug your children every chance you get. Happy Easter.
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”Winnie The Pooh
I went to the grocery store yesterday (now a gauntlet indeed) and bought a pre-bagged sack of bulk mixed nuts. You can’t dip into the bulk bins yourself, you might cough. That leads to some obvious questions about bulk bins at the best of times and then there are the restaurants with buffets. And of course there the open markets in much of the world, where nothing is pre-packaged as it never has been since markets ever were. There are public washrooms, and water fountains and the Wailing Wall and the Blarney Stone and all those religious shrines which millions of strangers love to kiss…How the hell have we ever survived this long? Anyway this morning I took a handful of nuts and noted how the brazil nuts, cashews and almonds were on top of the peanuts.
So then: “Is life like a bag of nuts, the biggest ones rise to the top?”
I am truly not in support of any political group or perspective, frankly my dear I think they’re all nuts. Some of the incredible stupidities we’ve seen in the past weeks bear that out and confirm the low datum of mass human intellect. If only, at the earliest rumour of this disaster, we had firmly stopped all international travel, perhaps things would be much different. Commerce remained more important than safety and here we are. I know I’m just a bog peanut backwoods boy but it is not space science to understand that if you close the barn door, chances are much better of keeping your piggies in and the wolves out. It seems simple enough. I am really weary of cynicism, even my own, but there has to be voices asking obvious questions. Frankly there is just too much baaing going on. But it’s Easter, so peace on earth and watch your blood sugar level. And beware the giant rabbit!
The day outside is pristine. The sky cloudless, the air warming. There is just enough breeze to gently stir the bushes and let us know that indeed the planet still lives. All else is quiet. I had a horrid dream last night about some authority’s decision that all dogs had to be destroyed. Our pandemic was their fault. I firmly decided that I did not want to live in a world without dogs and…I leave the rest to your imagination. I awoke suddenly and had a hard time sleeping after. It seems wildly dark and irrational but I’ve come to expect the ludicrous and the biblically incredible. Jack is slumbering peacefully by the back door, so it’s time to try and return my brain to a default setting. Faulty is my usual mode so “Hi ho off to the woods we go.”
We went to our favourite spot but the local dog and gun club had taken over for the day. What better way to celebrate Easter? Plastic geese decoys, duck blinds, camouflage clothing, popping shotguns and bewildered dogs. They know what to do, in fact, they could probably teach the people a thing or two, but hell, it gets everyone out of the house despite current standing orders. Yep we were there too, albeit at a safe distance. Have your field, we’ll be back when you’re gone.
Easter Monday dawns just as crystalline with warmer temperatures yet in the forecast. There is not a sound outside. Maybe everyone is….. naw c’mon! I recall a story about a man who came to believe he was the last person alive. To end his loneliness and despair he threw himself from the top of the tallest building in town. As he hurtled down past the third floor from the bottom he heard a telephone ringing. There is always hope, you’ve just got to hang on a little bit longer.
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” Albert Einstein
At the best of times, there is inevitably minor power-hungry bureaucrats trying to save us from ourselves and so empower themselves. Our current virus has apparently given some of them a sense of license to post dire signs and try to impose closures wherever possible. We are not a species with high primal instincts of self-preservation anymore but really, I do not need to be incessantly reminded to go home, hide in a closet, put my head between my knees and kiss me arse farewell. I get it! OK?
Those who don’t understand by now, never will, so we may as well let the gene pool cleanse itself a bit. I was encouraged to learn that in some places where it comes down to which victim needs a ventilator, a smoker will lose against the non-smoker. Sad, but fair.
Sorry but I’m getting a little fed up. Folks, sick and dying is sick and dying, wherever you are. Don’t give me any crap after what your local infection percentile is. I just spoke with a nurse from tiny little Tahsis, (Population about 248) a village way up on the remote west coast of Vancouver Island, next stop Japan. They’ve had a confirmed case of Covid 19. If you want to having a pissing contest about who has the worst situation, please, walk on by. We’re all in this together. Dead is dead. Got it? Every community I’ve ever lived in has, by someone’s declaimation, the worst hospital ever. So stop it already. Lighten up eh! Look for some light.
Today is a flawless spring day. The sky is cloudless, the breeze is light and warm. It’s a T-shirt day. (16° C /61°F) The air is filled with pollen. Folks will be sneezing, coughing, farting, blowing their noses and all thinking they have the big C. I swear that soon we’ll have officious little-minded people on the street corners in fluorescent space suits, with 2 meter long grabber sticks, leaping out to install a headbag on anyone so cavalier to venture out.
Our premier goes on television to tell the proletariat how to properly wash its hands, to stay indoors but also get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Yep, I’ve broken out into some good old blue collar epithets more than once.
It is Good Friday and struth, usually the weather is cloudy and stormy. My fundamentalist parents used to explain that it was God reminding us of what a terrible day it was when the evil ones executed Christ. That the bad guys were the local religious factions of the time seemed to elude them. “Hurry up, we’re late for church!” But then, which army has not had God on ITS side? I am presently wading though a novel called ‘Stones From The River’ by Ursula Hegi. It is set in Germany during the era leading up to the second world war. I can only read a few pages at a time about the darkness of spiralling self-serving values, terrible behaviour, attitudes and practices of many inspired by Mr. H and the boys. The country had doomed itself before ever marching across any border. My personal cynicism can draw parallels to the mass mindlessness of our present pandemic. The ripple effects of this panic and terror will be far-reaching and with us for a long time. As the Australian man said, “Brace yourself Sheila!”
Our governments are trying to bolster our spirits by throwing money at us. Funds they don’t have and we will pay, and pay. There will be little happiness for a long time. Historically, countries pull themselves out of a crisis by starting yet another war. Pay attention! That’s all I’ll say now that I’ve depressed everyone even lower. While we ponder the extent of our weakness it is also a time to consider our strengths and develop those to a higher level. Kindness has no substitute and even a little has far-reaching implications. Common sense is clearly not common, so it is time to take a breath and think things through before letting someone else’s knee-jerk stupidity dictate the direction of your life. Smile. It’s Easter. Eat chocolate. It’s bad for you!
I understand how I may come across as crass and insensitive. In actual fact, I am an emotional flower and I am saddened when people demean their own god-given potential by refusing to think and feel for themselves. This blog finds me in mourning. Covid-19 took one of my few heroes and human inspirations this week. John Prine, gone. Oddly, a lot of folks don’t know who this incredible singer songwriter is/ was. His music will live on and on. He was of more value to me than any politician. Here’s a link to one of my favourite Prine songs: