our living bodies

I read or hear or observe how we are endangering life on this planet several times a day. So do you probably. I’ll notice I’m not breathing. I’ll realize I’m afraid.

But then I visit a gardener, a farmer or someone living on the land and am showered with their abundance. Today my fridge overflows with varieties of lettuce and kale no supermarket has heard of and I just spent two hours in the garden transplanting more gifts.

It still strikes me as possible we could wake up and celebrate our mortality; there’s enough for us all to share here on this good earth.

Thanks Amanda Tipton for sharing the photo.

Thanks Amanda Tipton for sharing the photo.

Ernest Becker, adopting a phrase from Luther, says you must

“…taste death with the lips of your living body [so] that you can know emotionally that you are a creature who will die”

Unist’ot’en Action Camp

Direct action camp led by Unist’ot’en and Grassroots Wet’suwet’en people and allies to stop pipelines through their land.

cultivating alternatives

The 4th annual Unist’ot’en Action Camp is coming up July 10-14th and will likely be the largest ever.

In their report on last year’s action camp, submedia.tv draws connections between the camp and its opposition to the PTP pipeline, the Tarsands, and industrial extraction more generally.  They discuss the Wet’suwet’en’s recovery of the free prior informed consent and other traditions and responsibilities, and the importance of direct action.

Also, check out this article about the Unist’ot’en Camp in Earth First!

In it, Crow Qu’appelle writes:

The support from allies across the country during the November 27th day of action, Raising Resistance, proved that grassroots networks working together can equal or surpass the efforts of large NGO coalitions. Having money but often lacking base support, the NGO model has shown itself capable of mobilizing, and often wasting, large amounts of resources towards sensationalist one-off actions, and incapable, or uninterested, of developing…

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Out Back, the Sun is Out

Slow down, stand in the sun: storm’s on the way.

Here's The Thing...

I’m writing this from my phone, standing outside in my backyard. The sun is out, I am barefoot and in shorts. Currently my phone is playing the new daft punk single and a thunderstorm is on its way. That storm however means nothing to me at this moment. There will be plenty of storms in my life, some worse then others. Some will be mundane, some will be quite the opposite. However right now the heat and sun are to good to be ruined by a future unknown. I don’t want to be inside, I have no interest in missing out on this. Don’t let some storm in the distance ruin a sunny day. Go outside, there’s not a whole lot on this world that can’t wait 5 minutes.

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Performing

I wrote this for a young friend who had something pretty awful happen to her. She’s a gifted artist, before trauma and after. 

I did some performing as a kid. I played piano, clarinet in school band, sang in choirs. I performed in dance recitals; gymnastics one year, jazz dance the next and then Highland dance. Every year I gave speeches at school.

In speech arts I always won at the classroom level, often the division level and a couple of times for our school. I don’t know why it had to be a competition but it was and I did my best. I wrote the speeches with a lot of help from my mom and dad.  She worked part-time as a teacher and knew what they looked for, as well as speaking to groups of kids, teachers and parents all the time.

After my dad died I didn’t want to perform. He had a motorcycle accident and died 5 days later from the injuries. It was sudden but the crisis went on for a long, long time.  Ties that bind us to the earth fray, snap, blow in the wind.

My dad was a powerful, provoking and inspiring public speaker. As a United Church minister he liked to preach sermons. As a senior public servant he liked to give speeches. He worked really hard on them and he coached and helped me practice my own on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, just us, in the dining room by the piano.

The year he died I didn’t write a speech. Instead, I memorized a poem, not too long, about a sailor. It was like a jig or a sea shanty. Anyway I won at the classroom level. I was too good at it by then, even without practicing. I found myself performing, a grade 7 girl, in front of a few hundred kids, the grade 7’s and a very tough group of grade 8’s. They were a sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll crowd.

I got started, and through the first verse. Then, on the second verse I stopped. The words were gone. My memory was white, like old bone.

I stood there for a long minute. And then another one, while the giggles started in the audience. My friend Jeanine from our street was in grade 8. I found her with my eyes and she wasn’t giggling. I heard a voice, inner or maybe from backstage, telling me to start again.

I did and got through it. And that was all. It was over.

After that I didn’t want to perform for a long time at least not as a solo artist. I played in the band in highschool, 2nd clarinet, in the back of the crowd. I loved drama class but didn’t do school plays. It’s still something I feel very unsure about, drawn to, sometimes with longing, but mostly I hear a NO, not for me.

Except. I’m noticing there’s more exceptions as I get older. Some things that felt like performing 20 years ago, like leading a workshop, just feels like sharing with friends now. Or playing at being a rock star, like at ladies rock camp. It can take a while for nerves to heal up I guess.

Dream from Turtle Island

Thomas King on not being raised within the Cherokee Nation, from The essential, inconvenient book for all Canadians, an interview by Taiaike Alfred. (An interview with Prof. Alfred from the CBC’s wonderful 8th Fire.)

I just carry myself and the culture and everything else that I have been able to pull together around with me like a turtle does.

A brief note to my myself that I want to read Thomas King’s latest and am looking forward to Taiaike Alfred’s in-progress memoir on Mohawk ironworkers.

The quote stirred up an image of my long ago turtle island dream, the one where I stood on a white sand, Caribean blue beach and watched the horizon swim toward me, a turtle the size of a continent. I wonder if I was a little turtle in the dream, ready to jump on with my culture and everything else I was able to pull together.

海龟岛 Turtle Islands
Thanks Tianyake for sharing the photo.

House for rent, Hastings-Sunrise

We’re renting our home near Nanimo and Hastings, on the bike route. Both the upstairs and downstairs suites are available for October 1, 2012. UPDATE Sept. 7. The downstairs suite is rented but the upstairs is available.

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It’s a quiet neighbourhood (no traffic noise.)
Safe for kids.
Kind, responsible neighbours all around.
Local elementary school is Garibaldi Annex with an intimate, caring K-4 program and an innovative homelearning program.
Walk the back lane’s and see how generations of families have grown food in the city.
Fabulous local food shopping and restaurants along Hastings St.

About the house:
1942
New drainage in 2006.
New roof in 2005.
Heating and insulation upgrade complete by October 1st, 2012.

Garden

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Full of perennial food (raspberries, currants, gooseberries etc) asparagus, rhubarb herbs, flowers and art/craft materials. Care of garden will be negotiated between us as landlords and residents of both suites depending on interest level. There’s lots of room for annual vegetable gardens.

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About the suites:

Upstairs: $1450 plus 60% utilities
900 ft2
2 bedrooms
Kitchen and private back deck face south over the backyard. Front yard patio.
Freshly painted this summer.
Gas Fireplace in living room
Storage closet on main floor plus overflow in downstairs laundry room.
Piano!

Downstairs $1050 plus 40% utilities
850 ft2
2 bedrooms
New floor in living room.
Note: ceilings are 8 ft in living areas but shower in bathroom is 6.5 ft.
Private patio onto the back garden
Big closets in both bedrooms plus unheated 35ft2 storage room (good for root cellar!)

Interested? Call 604-707-0337 and ask for Keira.