Sunday, 30 December 2012

In the midst of life........

We give lip service to some things. In our head we know that, as Ecclesiastes (I think it was her) said: "In the midst of life we are in death."

In theory we know that horror can happen at any moment, but if we kept that in mind all the time we'd go stark raving mad. It is one of  life's blessings that we do not know what is just around the corner. Meanwhile we pretend that we are safe, much like a grazing gazelle on the savannah lives in the moment even though lions prowl the edges of the herd.

I just found out that the baby of a young woman who I consider my niece-in-spirit died after a brief and apparently mild illness. She was one year old on December 3. She had just started to walk and enjoyed practicing climbing the stairs in Nana and Opa's log house. In the modern world we just do not expect healthy, breast-fed babies to 'get a fever' and die all of a sudden.

Nooveya was special and I am not just saying that because she is gone. I only met her in the gorgeous flesh once, during a visit to my hospital room in July. But I followed her well documented life on Facebook. Much like her mother she had a love of life and a special sparkle. 

Nooveya's pictures lit up the screen with joy. She was loved and adored by her Mommy, her Daddy, her big brother, her  grandparents, aunties and uncles and cousins. Now there is a black hole of grief where she was.

I can do nothing at this moment except hurt with them.

Night and day

I just woke up from one of those protracted end-of-night  dreams that leave you with a feeling of unfinished business. 

The home I was living in had been invaded by several other families. The place was crammed with women and children. Somehow they were kin and had a right to be there.
I wanted to be nice to them but I really resented being so crowded. They were vaguely Asian. 

Duh, would watching a documentary on China on BBC last night have anything to with that? Has anyone seen "White Horse Village"? I was so glad to see that in the final installment the displaced peasants had won places for their children in the new school. It took serious direct action. We digress.

My status shifted to somehow being a teen or young adult. I had to go to school and catch a city bus to go there, and if I missed the bus I would not be able to find it. I was almost at the stop when I remembered I had left my homework in the attic and had to struggle back into the apartment to get it. The way in was through a door in the back of a small crowded store. It was an upstairs place of dark rooms and staircases. 

I also had to support the family or at least myself. After some morning classes I was starting work at the Lord Minto, in real life the restaurant where I worked during the tipi years. I was told I had to be there at 10.30 and work straight through till closing around 10 PM. I could not refuse because jobs were scarce and the family depended on me. But I worried about my ability to do it after being away for so long (we are back to being older now) and not being totally well yet. Real life seeping in.

My bladder came to the rescue. Ah, the joy of waking to my own sweet life! I open my eyes to trees covered with snow. My life is spacious in both time and space. Ten acres, retirement with just a few obligations and a bit of paying work (Reflexology) when I choose it. It doesn't get much better.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Black outs and libraries

Last night at 19.39 the power flickered several times, then went off and stayed off. The help line expected a return around 11 PM.

I had just started a read on the new Kobo. Alas, it is the cheapest version and not equipped with a built-in light. I was feeling too tired to sit at the kitchen table and read by candle light. Its the season to hibernate anyway, so I said "farewell, cruel world" and crawled into bed. 

The power was still off the next morning. The new day grudgingly provided barely enough light to read by. It felt as if it would rather not bother getting up either.

Chris dug out the propane back-up systems and heroically ground coffee with the mortar and pestle.  At least we can keep the worst cold at bay and provide a hot drink. 

We had plans for today: pick up  juicing carrots from the one brave farmer who keeps coming to market, attend a reading at the local library, and maybe have lunch in town in between. Well. We got our veggies, but apart from that Nakusp was dead. The latest update had power not returning till 2PM. Coffee shops, restaurants, supermarket: all closed and hardly anyone in the street.

Our intrepid library however was open, and the reading was going ahead as planned. That's our library for you, a true community hub, so much more than a place to borrow books. It was amazing how many people showed up. This institution is passionately loved and supported. We were welcomed by candle light on the counter, so sweet. I had brought a flash light in case the presenter needed it, but in that section the large windows were enough.

The reading was from Unrepentant, a book of memoirs by Gary Wright, the just-retired mayor of New Denver. New Denver is a town even smaller than Nakusp on a lake even more beautiful.  Gary Wright's career includes twenty years in a touring rock band. The first chapter, ironically titled "Landslide" describes his election in 1989 with a margin of 3 votes. After the recount the clerk said: "OK, the hippie wins. Lord have mercy."

Gary Wright had come to Canada as a draft dodger in the Vietnam era, as did popular local politician Corky Evans and many others. The early seventies* here were pure magic. Land was cheap, anyone with long hair was a friend, and everything seemed possible. In contrast the place down South was smugly referred to as Mordor. 

Corky wrote a chapter for the book and took a turn speaking. He got a bit teary at the recollection of how the Canada of that time had opened its arms to him and his kind. How times have changed! I could weep thinking of Kim Rivera, who trusted this country to give her sanctuary. She was shipped back across the border and is now in jail, separated from her children. 

During the reading, at 14.41 the light came on, and there was much rejoicing. 

We have another gathering tomorrow, for "Friends of the library", the volunteers who help out with fund raising and other matters. I have not been able to do much lately, but get to go anyway. They are a forgiving bunch.

We all worried when the former librarian retired last year. She had been part of the late sixties/early seventies influx as well. The library became her life's work and she built an amazing collection. But our young new librarian is just as good, with a youthful energy and sparkle that adds a new dimension to the place. The library and Sabina have a mutual love affair going. We hope it lasts. But if it does not, both place and person will be richer for having known each other.

And now, I should go find a recipe for a cake that can absorb a lot of raspberries. It's about time I contributed something.

*We came to the Kootenays in the same period, albeit for more mundane reasons. See