Under the Impression of Maple

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A poplar leaf –
proceeding in its verity well beyond the autumnal transitions of its peers,
and bearing the sign of a maple leaf with which it obviously lay [resting on the forest floor undisturbed by wind, the passing of foot, paw, and rake] by gravity and/or some other mysterious attraction, bound.

Like a living heart, carrying the influence of a lover gone for some reason or by some circumstance.  This graphic narrative of happenstance; a stain of a tattoo; the imprint of this natural photography; the visible history of togatherness and then, separation.  And in the face of that, continuation.

Light beyond light: A story surrounding a story, downstream from its own past.

“Gether” means what? An argument for changing the spelling of a word to “togather”.

For some time now, I’ve really, deeply, sincerely believed that we should change the spelling of the word “together” to “togather”.

The shape, form, and roots of a word evoke their meaning.  The implication of the word currently spelled “together” is to collect, and to form a collective, to gather.  Why not spell it like it is and go with “togather”, instead?

little mango-coloured moleskin

A Perfect Pause, In Spandex

Early in the business day,

late in the summer,

downtown,

the bike couriers are perched atop big heavy glossy marble blocks.

They’re quietly waiting to be called upon.

They’re in great shape.

They’re still clean and fresh from their showers.

They’re enjoying the shade.

 

Notes on the footpath from Cox Lake to Cold.

Rocky landing on the Cox Lake side.

20 or 30 meter incline, roots and rocks.

Otherwise, fairly flat trail.  Not many tight turns, some little ups and downs.

Old still forest for the first half into grassy, mossy, rocky stuff.  Downhill to a muddy start onto Cold.  Autumn visits: be expecting so much mud!  Not an issue, I’m sure, in the spring & early summer, though.

 

September 2nd 2000 and eleven.

 

Woke up at 9am.  It’s Friday of Labour Day weekend and do I have things to do.  Like shower. And cut tonnes of glass for Ang and Matt’s candle holders.  And arrange something with Cait so Chris and I can have all that meat.  And clean the house up nice for honeyskins.  And pack and leave for Esprit.  The rest of this weekend is going to be no messing around.  3 days of diving into rapids is what I’m expecting, terrified of, and ready for.

 

This bar, at the rafting company, is made to look and feel like a country bar.  Red and white gingham tablecloths.  Pool table.  Wood everywhere.  New country on the stereo.  Old country from the band that’s taking a nice long break.

 

“Kokamo Mambo, Kokamo Jumbo”

I drove 6.5 hours and waited my whole life for this particular moment, this pint, and to hear this particular white haired man play his guitar and sing his song in his Hawaiian shirt, “Kokamo Mambo …”  His French accent is making it all possible.  The next tune is called “Reefer”.  He wrote that, too.  The songs aren’t that great, but I’m beginning to wonder if this is Leonard Cohen in disguise.  White pants.  Now we’re on to “A Man and A Woman” and I just don’t know what’s up anymore.  This guy has hijacked the bar.  With music.  His music.  Now he’s taking a break and he drinks tequila.  There are so few of us, we’re all in the moment.  I just found out it’s actually called “Kokamo Mambo Jumbo” and NOBODY else plays it.  It’s his song, okay?  The album, which is pending, will be called Kokamo Mambo Jumbo, Back To the Jungle.  Keep your eyes peeled.

 

Paying attention

Just look right at it,

head on.

There’s no use in pretending it’s not there.

Look at it,

watch it,

don’t let it make you turn away.

 

Here to arrive

continually

in golden light.

 

And the shadiness you deal in –

I can’t shine in that kind of darkness.

 

Fish sandwich store, waiting on a fish sandwich

Waiting on a shift in the weather

Waiting on the passing of time

Waiting on the passing of a feeling

Waiting on your next love shower coming my way

Imagining what you’re up to, where, and who with

Wondering what you’re eating, what you’re saying, whether you’re smoking

Whether you told me everything you have to say

Whether there are thoughts in your mind that you won’t say, even if prodded

Waiting on the future.

 

How sustainable is this?

When does it stop?  Where will it stop?  How will it stop?  I haven’t made plans for this and, consequently, am obsessed with death.  Not that I’m not enjoying this part.  I am very much.  Do I feel unprepared?  Do I feel ill-equipped?  Are there things I’m forgetting to do?  To think about?

 

I have no idea where I got this, or if I made it up, but I like it

“Mr. Hudson, you are a thief.”

“What have I taken?”

“It’s not so much a question of what you have taken, but rather, what you have failed to give back.”

 

They’ve been waiting

and waiting

and waiting

and waiting

and waiting

and waiting

and waiting

and waiting

and waiting for the day when the people who are prisoners to their own broken hearts see that they hold the dice in their hands –

dice that have been waiting

and waiting

and waiting

and waiting

and waiting

and waiting

and waiting

and waiting

and waiting

and waiting to be rolled again.

Not that it’s a question of luck, either.

Just a willingness to participate

and open ourselves up

to the possibility

that we don’t already know everything.

And a broken heart doesn’t just come from losing love.  It comes from the feeling of losing anything precious.  Anything we relied upon.  Anything we’ve been unable to replace.  Anything that, once we’ve lost it, we can’t turn around and bestow upon someone else.  Anything we can’t give back.

 

Dying young of old age.

Such a tragedy.

 

[Song] You Wanted a Wedding, I Wanted a Marriage

Chorus: You wanted a wedding, I wanted a marriage

But this marriage was a mirage, an illusion, a delusion,

And now I can see, this is our only conclusion

Coming to the alter was just another one of your one night stands

A fleeting glance, a last dance

With a whole lot of pomp, and circumstance

 

It was going to be a great night

It was going to be a long life

It was going to be everyone we knew

Thick or thin, we’d see it through

 

Any weather would be a blessing

I’d be working for us, and by your side I’d be resting

Before all our friends we’d confide

But when you were done with your white dress you were done being my bride.

 

[Chorus]

 

I didn’t see this coming,

I thought we’d talked it through

Was this the idea, all along?

Again, I play the fool.

 

 

*

Is it really true that we won’t be here forever?

Put me to work.

Put me to love.

Put me on the edge.

Put me in touch with the part of the reality of the mystery that knows what it is.

Then spin me around,

and put me in touch with the part of the reality of the mystery that does not know what it is

and put a mirror in my hands,

a mirror facing outwards.

 

This Time Of Year

Green fields turning brown look like gold because they’re in the sun, which is also diminishing.  And how we love things that are on their way out.

 

My mother has always been beautiful,

but I see it more and more.

Her gaze seems to be growing longer. And softer.

 

People From High School, Why Do I Never See You?

Do we keep just barely missing each other?

Or are we really that spread out?

 

Keep me seeing that graffiti heart smiling, eyes wide open.  It finds my good mood.

Keep me seeing you walk in from all the afternoons I’ve waited for you here and there, knowing you’ll be here soon and remembering that you’ve waited for me on several occasions as well.  As far as I know, we’ve always shown up for each other.

 

Boring But True

I keep always forgetting that it’s two thousand and eleven.

2011.

Thank goodness it’s a short year, because it’s quite annoying to not know which year it is.

I keep thinking 2010.

Then 2012.

Both those years sound better to me.  Less of a mouthful.

I look forward to the future, and to knowing the year again.

 

Owen walks slowly at all times –

in all weathers,

on all grades of ascent and descent.

He likes it that way,

Or at least that’s what he says,

And one can only assume that he’s telling the truth.

 

There’s so much space in this world.

It’s a wonder that we make any connections at all.

 

October Night Alone

These moments, they pass through me

Time and time again.

The wind breathes, ceaselessly.

All happens all around me.

The subway:  Quiet in its eventlessness.

Mothering: Everywhere passing.

Fullness and Emptiness: Everywhere all through the city, full and quiet.

Second Black Journal with Waterproof Pages

When the morning temperatures rise above 10C in Canada’s cities, you can actually sit back and appreciate the light.

Having let go of a good portion of the struggle that every nor-folk engages/wages (but not all bear it alike) – the easiness is all the more remarkable.

It may be that, without the contrast with the harder, harsher, tooth-clenched, salt-stained winter months – metal shrieking, footsteps squeaking – it wouldn’t be remarkable at all.  After all, people get used to “easy” pretty fast.

But who knows.   That will only ever be a hypothesis and the egg-yolk light on the walls is really something.

April 29, 2015, AM

Union Station, Toronto

Train to Whit to maple syrup and Kingston/Montreal

 

 

Hung over and out

Begins with the hangover

and requires some company.

And a sense of accomplishment, or completeness.

The sense of smell has returned, but slowly

The weird pyjamas, the smeared mascara (often, but not always)

The sweaty palms, the dry boogers, the dirty finger nails

These grossities snuck in somehow, surely gradually, uninvited but not unexpected.

The slow movements, the sensitive rocketing pulse, the slosh-bucket stomach.

The desire for fresh air, the aversion to direct sunlight, the slow dawn of memories coming together like puzzle pieces to reform the night – making it real again.

A good friend is an ally, a catalyst, and a witness.  And to really see it through, it’s good (if not required) that they be there for the coffee.

 

 

From Moose Mountain, May 6th, 2015.

Vast view

Wide-swept valley

Veins of softwood tracing their way through the faint minty blush of hardwood mid-spring

Training the gaze to behold the landscape

Which, with the going of the snow, has become so much more complicated in its entirety.

It feels like it wants to be met.

It feels like it is here for the sky.

I feel like a bit of a spy.

My gaze is out of practice.

The snow was here for so long

Was so deep

For so long

And the forest supported it

Held it

Became winter, as it does

But when the snow finally left

And if finally did leave

Spring was already five paces out and racing

The deadwood: dry

The moss: sprouting, proudly

The buds: opening.

Last year’s blanket of dry fallen leaves couldn’t hold it down

New growth poking these holes, these perforated leaves.

The bugs must’ve known what they were doing when they ate the feast that six months later would let the light through to make this happen…

The forest floor: lifting.

People: Anyone who is in love this time of year is blessed like an angel in heaven on earth.

 

 

-,

It’s going to take me.  I was going to say it’s going to take me a long time – and it will

But meanwhile, it’s just going to take me.

And I give it, willingly.

Jeffert Cabin

New Algonquin Region

Closest town: South River

 

 

I can’t tell if you letting go of me was/is you shutting down and actively closing off, or if it’s you breaking open and releasing.  I can’t tell if you’re giving to yourself first, or to me first.  I can’t quite tell the nature/shape/loyalty of your generosity.  I wish I could.

 

 

It’s weird when you kindof have to stop seeing the future in something.  Like your home.

 

“Happily, but not ever after.”

Your skin will continue to smell like honey,

even without me to sense it.

Such a sweet, sweet man.

 

 

Leaving the Cottage

Mama,

I gave three good wolf howls as I peeled away from the island, in our boat, at top speed early this morning.  One for our cottage and the McClennans.  One for our other cottage and Cathy and Bill.  And one just in general, as I was crossing the channel. – Howling to the blue water, howling to the blue sky.  Howling to the serenity I knew I was cutting through.  Howling to every fish and bird.  Howling to whoever might hear and wonder why.  Howling to whoever might hear and understand.  Howling to the past, so full.

The present, so wild.

The future, so ready.

Howling to you, and with you – you taught me this.

Howling.

Just howling.

Letting it out, hearing it.  Letting it address, letting it be known:  We are here!  We are brave!  We are happy.  We are happy to feel.  We are happy to release.  We are of the water.  We zip.  We are not afraid.  We embrace this.  We love this.  We are alive.

 

 

Thin skin, thick soul.

 

 

Jumping out of the emergency exit and skydiving down the roads of Moncton would not be the right thing to do right now.  Of course it’s a bad idea, I’ve never skydiven in my entire life.   My aim would be most likely be terrible.  But it is an idea and seeing the space I know for certain you’re in right now – my living eyes building hot joyful saltwater among their backgrounds – has me toying with it.  What are the chances I could land it  like a cat on the hood of your truck?

 

 

Sunday, I arrive.  Fresh and uptight, all in white.

(Many things happened that I won’t write here.)

I can’t take it all in.  I’m trying.  I don’t know what to do other than kiss you over and over and over again.

 

 

Interesting idea:  A movie called “People Who Are In The Way” and there’s interesting stuff, even a story line, happening in the background, but there’s always someone in the foreground, in the way, blocking it.  And those people who are in the way are the ones in focus.

 

 

You are a queen and I’m-a-gonna give you something worth reigning.

 

 

I’m walking around like I’m staring.

But it’s more the feeling of being over-exposed in a full moon spotlight.

Suspended in an 8-day-long thought.

.  Paused.

It’s a beautiful lovely hot steamy thing pushing a lid.

 

 

June 3rd, 2015.

How did I love you before?

I can’t remember.

I can’t imagine.

This is the only way that makes sense.

 

 

June 10th, 2015.

 

I wrote “Time To Go” for Chris and I.

 

 

June 17, 2015.  Peculiar Heat.

I look up at the stars and of course I think of you.  It was my face in the lake.  I think of its beauty (that’s okay) and turn back onto the beach and wash my face in the lake again.  I think of your beauty and I simply stand still.., thinking of your beauty.  I am standing on a beach by a gorgeous boreal starry lake, my spirit swimming in you.  I wake along a tall grass path, through the trees, noticing my breath visible, even though it’s warm out.  My body is generating a peculiar heat.

 

 

Aug. 20 built for barefeet

When we separate, I am dominated by this manic need to remain so intensely connected.  To fuel it, to feed it.  My brain churns an electric al burn.  I feel a need to cool it.  I know it will be fed by relaxing.  But it takes me so long to relax.  To cool it.  And now that I’m feeling that hannep [weird word.  I forget exactly what I meant, but I can imagine and so can you.  Life is sometimes too crazy.], a week and a half later (after seeing you last), and feeling it good.  I want cool rich, wet earth for these seeds.  I want a pad of moss that grows and creeps and nurtures.  Built for bare feet.  I’ve been focused on trees blooming, blossoming, fruiting.  Now I’m focusing on the earth that we’re planting these seeds in.  Even before the seeds go in.  soil.  dark. rich. calm. ready.  a stillness.  content.  earth.  earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth. earth.

 

 

There is a possibility I’ve lost your love book.  I sincerely hope not, it was so full of words that I’d hoped would make you smile… help you understand how wonderful you are to me.  I hope it’s in my little sac of other books, back at my apartment.  If not, I suppose it’ll be okay… because they’re all true words

and, in a way,

they’re just signposts for the sun.

 

(Found it.)

 

 

When you’re walking  when you’re standing  when you’re talking  when you’re driving  when you’re watching  when you’re showering  when you’re drinking  when you’re waking  when you’re dreaming  when you’re scheming –

your poetry is good.

You are on the hill.

You bridge.

You show the way – glow of a beacon.

My magic works up all around you.

My shoulder drives towards a stone for you.

My sunset, my short night, my dark morning, this cotton candy sky, these Pennsylvania clouds.  Drive me through,

lay me in the beauty,

the field of which you think

and speak.

 

 

The leaves are swaying, hanging, drooping off their branches.  Throwing shadows, throwing sunlight.  Thrown by the late-afternoon breeze.  Summer was in full effect.

Like a ghost town.  39C with humidity looks like 39 below.  Everybody indoors.

Wood Collection For Fire

So serious.

Wood collection for fire is a form of the hunt and is well approached as such.

The wood is something needed and desired.  The forest – of which it is a product and a member – is fine without us.

There are risks to limb and skin, inherent in the tasks.

To enter the action hopeful of the gift and solemn for the taking seems most appropriate.

Circumstances of weather and terrain inevitably influence the quality of best possible outcomes.

Experience on the part of the hunter/gatherer is clearly observed in the efficiency of their movements in seeking, finding, separating, piling, and carrying the wood.  Experience is also clearly observed in the ease, or lack thereof, that the hunter/gatherer moves through the bush with their load.

The quality of the harvest is gauged. All is measured.

The specific requirements for that particular fire are the requirements of its attendants at that particular time.  Proper quantity and variety of wood (type and size) will depend on the dampness/dryness of the situation.

Judgement of the success of the hunt is rendered swiftly in the consequence of the caliber of the fire itself.  And by the magical mathematics that leave the wood gatherer – finally warming and/or cooking by the fire – feeling graceful, disgraceful, or somewhere inbetween.

Long Lake, Ontario

December 25, 2015

A Christmas Speech

This is a little speech I wrote out and shared with the kids (teenagers, really) that I work with in a wilderness therapy program.  They needed a pep-talk and this is what I came up with early one morning in the cookhouse.  We fried up some bannok and went down to the shore of Long Lake to get into this Christmas message.  

It seems to me, after yesterday, that there is a need to restore our perspective on this place – why we’re here, and what can happen here.

Yes, the buildings are run down in the aesthetics department, and you can smell your own poop (and others’!).  But the buildings work – the structure is sound and, well, everybody poops.  That’s just reality.  You are here for a reason.

You are here for a very good reason.

You are here to find peace.  You are here to make peace.  Make peace with yourselves.  Make peace with reality.  Make peace with your loved ones.  Some of you might even make peace with the land while you’re out here.  That is one of the greatest, most helpful relationships you might ever develop – and I’ll say that here and get back to my main point, this whole business about “missing Christmas”, or “being stuck here for Christmas”.

Okay.

What does Christmas mean to you?

Let’s really think about it.  There are probably many layers to it.

If you’re a practicing Christian, you remember and know (and it’s good to continue to remind yourself because it’s easy to loose sight of this in modern times) that Christmas isn’t just about December 25th.  We’re halfway through Advent, you know, where someone goes to the front of the church each Sunday and lights another candle.  One for peace, one for hope, one for joy…

Advent means ‘waiting’.  It’s no coincidence that it happens at the darkest time of year.  It’s no coincidence that this season of hope happens at the hardest time.

We light candles as a symbolic act to show God’s love in the world.  To show our love in the world.  In life.  To show how powerful and comforting even a little bit of warm light can be when its cold, and dark, and damp, and snowy.  And it’s not only a symbolic act, it’s also an actual thing.  Light a fire, build your spirit.  Help yourself.  Help others.  Share good things.

If you’re not a practicing Christian, and if you are, what else does Christmas mean?  Time with family?  And friends?  Parties?  No school?  Too much food?  Presents?  🙂  Fun.  Joy.  Peace.

Well guess what.

You guys are here because reality had gotten far from that in your families.

The condition of your relationships with your parents and your loved ones has been suffering.  There’s been hurt, and there needs to be healing.  That’s why you’re here, whether you chose to come or whether you were sent.  You are here to heal.  You are here to do your part, while your parents are doing their part, to bring yourselves out of that darkness.  Out of that confusion.  That anger, that lonliness, that frustration.  You’re here to light candles, to build fires, and to learn how to keep them blazing.  And if you need to move camps (which we always do in life, over and over again, that’s why Christmas happens every year, to remind us of this lesson so we can be comforted and guided by it again and again), we build fires again.  And share those fires.  We invite people into the circle.  We celebrate.

And you will.  And we will.  We’ll have a fine Christmas and make the best of it but really, you have to go deeper than that.

You know historians have believed for a long time that it took over two years for the wisemen to find that baby?  That’s a long time to be searching for something.

If this is a hard time,and I’m sure it is – and you looove Christmas – get your candles out.  Get your light shining.  If you can’t find your candle, find a friend who has one and cozy up.  Be strong.  Be bright.  Be clear about what you’re hopeful for.  Have faith in yourself.  Have faith in life.

You are in the ‘wilder’ness to heal your relations and the work you are doing and the discoveries and realizations you are having now are what needs to happen for you to be able to sit down with your family at that big Christmas … to celebrate with your friends … FOR REAL … when your next big true Christmas comes.

You are on the wiseman’s walk.

You are following a star.

King Herod wanted to kill Jesus, hey?  They were all racing to find him.

What are you trying to save in your life?  What are you trying to protect?  To nurture?  To celebrate?  This is what’s gonna get you to the manger and this is what gets people to that big warm lovely Christmas dinner table.

Listen to your dreams.  Listen to the angels.  Accept the manger when there’s no room left in the inn (that’s this place).  Keep following that star.

It might be hard to see, and it might be hard to accept, but what you’re doing here is the biggest, best Christmas present you can give.

 

– from Kim Sedore with love

Long Lake, Ontario

December 2, 2015.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!