Out of My Mind

Out of My Mind

Saturday, April 29, 2017

White Birch, a story by me

This is a story that I had written decades ago.  For the most part it's true.

WHITE BIRCH by Kathryn DesRoches


Kathryn DesRoches pulled her car to the side of the red road and sat for a moment to unwind. She had come to this spot since childhood, either accompanying her father, sisters, brothers or in later years she would bring her close friends or come alone.  It never failed to rejuvenate her.  This, her favourite spot, was a little harbor nestled along the north shore of Prince Edward Island, Canada.  It was called Savage Harbor because of the fierce battles fought along its shores by the French and English when Canada was young.  The blood-red colour of the sand along the shore line seemed to bear testament to these combats.

Contrary to its name, she found it peaceful, relaxing and frequently stated it was the only place she could truly breathe.  There were seldom others along its mile or so of shore line but in recent years cottages have sprung up along its far bank and “Lots for Sale” signs dotted the opposite side of the road from where she had parked.  The realization that the days of blessed isolation walking these shores were numbered brought regret.  She heard the playful voices of children drift across the expanse of calm water to accent her point.  But she was determined to enjoy it as long as it remained a balm to her spirit and she could push this knowledge to the back of her mind.

She wound up the car windows, jammed a baseball cap on her head to shield her eyes from the bright sun, scooped up her camera from the seat beside her and emerged into the light.  She was enveloped in the almost liquid  flow over her senses.  This place had a unique feel to it.  The smell of the ocean just beyond the neck of the harbor, the dance of sunlight on the face of the water and the myriad  sounds of insects and birds seemed to enter her psyche from every angle.  It was a sheltered harbor and even on days when the main shoreline was blustery it was always shielded here from the force of the gales.

Over the years she had taken roll after roll of film trying to capture the elusive spirit of this place but eventually realized it wasn’t possible to capture the mood in one photo because it was ever-changing.  She had walked its shores in every season, every weather condition and every type of light.  In doing so, came to the conclusion that it was like a living being.  You couldn’t take a photo of someone and state, “This is John, full and complete”.  This enlightenment encouraged her to separate some of her photos, enlarge them, frame them to display on her wall and title her “gallery” as The Many Moods of Savage Harbor.

Her father’s tales of MICMAC Indians inhabiting this area since time immortal and the occasional finding of an artifact such as an arrow head along with the large, faint circles of dark earth in a nearby plowed  field were teepees once stood, gave the area a feeling of permanence.

She stood by the car to draw peace into her, then set out on the walk she had taken as a ritual as far back as she could remember.  All the cares of the day, the hustle and bustle world of finance, worry and rushing fell away within a couple of minutes and she felt as one with nature.  The sun warmed  her skin and the gentle breeze seemed to whisper secrets of the past in her ear.

Occasionally stooping to examine an interesting rock or to stretch and breathe deeply, she hadn’t gone one hundred yards when a feeling of unease overcame her.  There was something not quite right but she couldn’t pinpoint it.  She looked around her, examining inch-by-inch the scene in front of her.  She observed the bright red row boat that was pulled up and tied to an old, sand filled tire.  She took in the sweep of the shore as it curved gently to the left where the water line came to within yards of the road and saw nothing out of order.  Then she turned to the right and examined the red, sandstone dotted, beach and the delicate wild rose bushes that topped the clay bank mixed with wild grass, scrub brush and multi-coloured wild flowers.  An eagle made slow circles high above her in the clear blue sky and it’s familiar high-pitched scream, as well as the sight of an ink-black crow perched in the branches of a massive oak were not the source of her unease.  Everything seemed in place and normal.

Looking straight ahead the origin of her discomfort revealed itself to her.  It was gone! She rushed to the spot where it once stood and fell to her knees to examine what remained of a large white birch.  The long fingers of root and the very bottom portion of the trunk endured, the balance of the tree washed away by the tide.  A feeling of shock seeped into her as she stared at the stump.

This birch, as much as anything, came to mean Savage Harbor to her.  It had stood on the bank, near the shoreline, when she was a small child and she would scamper up the crumbling earth to hug its trunk in delight.  Her father would tell of birch bark canoes and how its papery bark was excellent for starting a campfire.  Then, as the bank eroded over the years, she was amazed and respectful of how it drove its roots into the earth, holding precariously onto the edge of the small cliff.  Eventually, stretching its roots to allow it to remain at an odd angle while still holding on.

A very slow process had permitted the tree, over the decades, to arch out to form a U shape, roots into the side of the embankment and the tree forming a place to sit in the curve of the trunk partway up.  Then over the years the bottom U was touching the shore while the roots reached six feet up the bank to where the earth broke away each spring.

In the last couple of years this grotesque, but somehow beautiful warrior no longer produced leaves and a crack had formed at the base of the trunk.  It was only through sheer denial that she held the notion that it would always be here.  Now that denial was torn from her.

“It’s too soon!” she wanted to cry out while the echoes of these words remained in her mind’s eye from a time long ago at her father’s bedside.  As at that time, the grief would take time and life would never be quite the same.  Although still beautiful, this spot was changed forever.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The cooking dilemma

I come from a huge family by today's standards.  There were 14 children (one died in infancy) so my mother had to cook us huge brood food each and every day.  She told me later in life that she didn't really enjoy cooking.. So I really feel for her dilemma..  I find it hard to come up with what to cook for me and my husband, who will eat anything I put in front of him, but I can't even imagine trying to cook for a whole brood of fussy kids.  I remember her telling us, when we were small, to "just try it" and would coax us to take a small taste, and if we didn't like it we could have some home-made bread or biscuits and molasses or peanut butter for supper instead.  She wasn't one to make each person something different, you either ate what was in front of you (if you didn't like it there were always others that would relieve you of your meal.. lol) or you just had a snack you made yourself.

Growing up we had a huge garden and raised a few chickens for eggs and meat when they got bigger. Mom was a stay at home mom and  when I was young in the early 1950's we didn't have electricity or an inside toilet.  My dad was a painter, both of the walls variety and painted on canvas in his spare time.  I remember watching by lamplight as he worked on one or the other of his paintings and he would put it to dry on the warming oven of the stove.

We never just went into the fridge to get something for a snack because it might be an ingredient for a meal for the whole family.  But whenever we had company mom and dad would always offer whoever was visiting a cup of tea and a meal.  We always had cookies and various deserts to eat at each meal.

As kids we always played outside no matter the time of year so we really worked up an appetite but we always seemed to have lots to eat.  I think love expanded the amount of food we had so everyone had lots.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Happy New Year!!! It's 2017

Well, Happy New Year, 2016 has been quite a year.  I'm one year older but none the wiser.  I turned quite a milestone last year.  I turned 65!  I can't believe I'm that old.  I don't feel a day over 45... really, I mean that, except of course when I feel ill, then I feel 100.   Hubby has turned 75 last year and that blows my mind.. I remember thinking that 50 was old, ancient even and now my kids are in their 40's.  Where has the time gone?  My mother-in-law turns 95 this Friday... I know that age is just a number and you are as old as you feel but wow.


Monday, May 02, 2016

Twin Steeds..

Well, here I sit, awaiting my pain meds to alternately relieve my pain and stop making me nauseous, a delicate balancing act.   I awoke yesterday morning with excruciating pain in my left shoulder.  Thinking it might just be that I slept on it wrong, I awaited the abatement of the pain to no avail.  So off to the emergency room to see a doctor.  Not a good way to spend a Sunday afternoon, rocking, holding my arm trying to ease the pain, counting down the minutes, then hours, until I got to see the doctor.  Turns out I have calcium buildup in my rotator cuff (not the first time, by the way).   So the doctor suggested I have a cortisone shot to which I replies, "Yes please, and NOW."  This brings to mind the thought I had a few years ago that I didn't want to have cortisone shots because they aren't good for you.  Also, she gave me a really strong pain killer which is something else I was strongly against in the past.   But as I was writhing in pain, I could have been told that drinking cat piss would have given me some relief and I would have said, pass me the straw.

I have a family member who is in chronic pain and is on a lot of pain meds.  I can remember sitting atop my twin steeds named High and Mighty, looking down my nose at my sibling and shaking my head at his weakness and thinking if only he could have some will power.  Well yesterday, I came crashing down to earth on my bad shoulder and got impaled with some shards of sympathy and understanding. Limping a mile in someone else's shoes is very humbling

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

hello *echo*echo*echo..... *echo

Wow, how the time has flown.  It doesn't take long for a year to go by when you're my age (and a year older tomorrow).  I don't know if I have any more followers but if I do, "Hi, long time no see". I don't blame you if you have long and ever ago moved on to greener pastures.  I hope your life is going well and that your health is fine.

We're finally getting some hot weather here on the east coast of Canada.  I don't mind the heat if the humidity wasn't so high.  There is a lot of humidity but no rain, or very little.  I think we're getting close to drought conditions.  

My health is not as great as it once was.  I have had to go on insulin recently and it has caused me to gain all of the weight back that I lost over the last 5 or so years and it's really depressing. I've also had the situation where 4 different kinds of drugs have caused me to have allergic reactions.  Two are anti-depressants (the irony is not lost on me), a diabetes medication and an antibiotic.  Now I'm scared to take ANYTHING new, even an anti-histamine which my doctor pointed out would be very rare and unusual for someone to be allergic to an anti-histamine considering what they are for.. but I won't put it past my body to be the one in a million.  

Is it possible that I'm a bad dog mommy.  Our little Shinese (Shih-Tzu/Pekingese mix) is a pervert.  She, and I do mean SHE, loves to hump everything from the cat to all her stuffed toys.  If the dog and cat are in the other room and I hear the cat yowling you can be sure that Tinka has her in a head lock and is going at it with her (yes, the cat is a HER as well).  Too bad they don't have doggy psychiatrists.  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Clown Car


Every time I see a Smart car I think of a clown car in the circus.. how many clowns can you jam into it?  Well, only two clowns in this one.  We got a second car, a Smart ForTwo Passion (gas powered, 5 speed automatic).  It's a 2008 but only has 60,000 kilometers in excellent condition. It took a bit of getting used to but now we both love it.  Also gotta love how fuel efficient it is.

The one constant

In this ever-changing world of ours there is one thing that I can count on that makes my day feel "normal"... I hate housework... not a mamby-pamby dislike but a passionate hate!!!  I can always count on that feeling when I pick up a broom or a dish cloth.  Now, I blame it on the fact that the cyst in my spine makes it very uncomfortable for me to sweep (for some reason that particular activity causes me the most pain) but I don't know.. I think that pain is my body saying "F*ck this shit, let's sit down and put our feet up bitch."..

And since we have decided to put our house up on the market in the next year or so I realized that we are slobs, complete and utter slobs (animals included).  The real estate agent came to give us an idea what we needed to do to get the house ready and his suggestion that we "de-clutter" sent a shaft of terror right to my heart. Mind you, I got my bedroom done lickety-split because I moved the clutter from there to the room right next to it, the computer room where junk goes to die.  It doesn't help that hubby and I are both hoarders and the dog has a huge collection of stuffed toys that she has to drag, one by one, to the door whenever she needs to go and do her business.

I keep telling hubby that all the work he did on the house over the years and we finally have it the way we want it and now we're selling.  Doesn't make sense to me or my screwed up back.  It would be nice to release some of what I have been holding on to over the years but the whole moving thing is such a pain, literally and figuratively.  And I don't know how our yappy little dog will take to being around people all day, she was raised in the country where we very very seldom have company so she is very protective of her personal space.  Molly, the cat, on the other hand, is pretty laid back as cats tend to be and she could live anywhere.

Lesson Learned

I learned a lesson today that I should always have a video camera at the ready in case something surprising, cute, amazing or,
like this morning, something that is all of the above should happen.

This morning I took our dog, Tinka, for her usual walk and neglected to take my camera (I had a feeling I might regret it but didn't
go back for it because I wanted to be on my way.). We get to our neighbour's barn where they keep their horses and low and behold the
sweetest, tiniest little kitten came toddling out of the barn and over to Tinka. I know from having a cat of our own that Tinka loves
all cats although some don't like to be approached by her. So I let Tinka go over to the kitten to greet it but I kept a tight hold on
her leash in case I had to pull her away.

What happened next melted my heart and made me curse myself for not going back to get the above stated camera. The kitten was rubbing
on Tinka and pushed her face into Tinka's and Tinka was nuzzling, licking and generally pouring love all OVER that kitten. I thought
that we would have that tiny little ball of pure awesomeness following us home but she was busy eating when we left.
*note to self** never leave home without my camera!!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Self Blocking

Why is it that I always have such an active mind?  I'm always wanting to do or learn something different than what I'm doing.  Like right now I'm working on counted cross stitching of a complicated pair of wolves.  I know that it's going to take me a long time to finish and after picking it up again after Christmas this year I was able to finish one square (there are four large squares and four half sized blocks on one side of each square) .. I know it will take me as much as a year to finish so it's an on-going project but my wandering mind is wanting to do something else.  I was into beading, that has kind of went by the wayside, I did a bunch of knitting and that is by the wayside as well, and then I started using Blender to make a digital teddy bear and all of these were, I think, to take me away from my painting.. I think that the reason that I'm not sticking with one craft or art is that if I get really good I think that I will start getting commissions from people and that will make my art a job and will squash my creativity.  Ahhh the self blocking of the troubled mind.