Sunday, 20 April 2014

Moments Before Easter


She teased us
showed us warmer days
cities mainly browns and greys
fields sparse in places
yet winter brought some regions
more snow than ever

Warming running water
promise of spring
swept away with ice
rain becoming mighty winds
days more deep heavy snow blizzard
on the cross of winter
ready for the germinating egg.

She is such a tease
so much the remedy
of hibernating souls
touch the cure, oestrus memory
every part all the wholes
pure as perfect harmony

One toe then leg step
the way our listening hearts hear
distant melody present praise,
stone rolled whose feet walked
where prayers went, having begun
with winter water standing still
about to flow again

April sings with joyful laughter
friends and lovers caught
the morning evening breeze
singing forever after songs, arising light.
Dying year teasing eyes emergent kiss
awakening bliss at the moment door of Easter.


Cali, the cat adventure

(Originally Kali, a fierce Hindu goddess now pacified somewhat as “Cali”.) Cali came to us via Erin and has abscesses on her buttocks. Erin and I were expressing pus practically daily but we were doing it together. I tried it alone and was successful one day but the next, she bit me in three places on both hands. Too late to make a prophylactic trip to the drugstore for a prescription for antibiotics that day. Fifty per cent of cat bites on the hand become infected so I am working on winning this doesn’t-get-infected lottery – heck, we’d buy a lot of tickets if we had a 50% chance of winning! (It’s fifty per cent for each bite so the overall odds are less that 50%.)

It became swollen by twelve hours but not particularly painful. I couldn’t decide whether I should be putting ice on it to prevent swelling or heat on it to prevent infection – so I did the logical thing – nothing. It was a little painful in the evening.

Now we are about 42 hours. I am going to have to make a decision. The roads are terrible – and perhaps even impassable for our lane and Elving Lane, not because of the twelve inch depth of snow but because the type of snow is heavy, sticky, difficult to plow or to walk in. The hand is still swollen, perhaps a little bit redder than the day before, it is not hot to the touch and mostly non-tender, in fact, light massage feels comforting.

So infection or no infection? I don’t want to be too optimistic. It is important to examine my fallback position – where would I go tomorrow if the swelling changed for the worse? So I spoke with the physician on call so, if it is easy to get out tomorrow, or if this does turn into an infection, I can get treatment.

Easter morning. Tomorrow is here and my hand is actually much better – too early to crow about winning this particular lottery but things are looking good. The bites on my index finger of my right hand got swollen but were never questionably infected.

And Cali?

The thought that we’d get antibiotics for her fizzled in the wake of the Good Friday storm. Plans for her care: keep her fed and watered, occasional pats on the head, let her recover on her own. I can’t wear enough protection nor can I count on luck to prevent damage to myself. I feel sorry for her - she seems to be quite agitated around Muchacha which is odd since M seems to ignore her completely except maybe to eat her food - but she is a cat and I'm not into cat psychology.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Coming Home from Elsewhere.....

The last two times that I came home from elsewhere, I was either copyediting or preparing something for the next departure. So I wasn’t really home. This time, I don’t have anything to prepare – my next departure is simply to be a doctor, I’ve had thirty years of practicing to be one, and like every other doctor I know, I would like to be the best that I can be, the challenge being that the horizon “fades forever and ever as I move”.

So home – with follow-ups from the trips to Ethiopia and to Banff to complete, to re-integrate my learnings and re-adjust the trajectory of the future.

Coming home is always a bit of a plunge.  There are huge differences between where I go and what home is – other places and experience collapse precipitously  – like feeling the cold water envelope your body as you dive into it. How do you compare city noise to nature’s silence?  The limited sky view under city lights to the depth of the stars in the heavens? Concrete and leashes to freely run dogs, cats and chickens?

Exotic foods? At the coop dinner, there were cabbage rolls and perogies with a traditional mushrooms sauce. I realized that I hadn’t had these foods for a long time and they are at least as exotic as some of the Ethiopian foods.

We’ve heard the saying: “Think Globally, Act locally”. I’ve been a bit remiss on the second half and a bit too much action in the global sphere.

When I travel, doing my yoga/physio exercises first thing in the morning anchors me. Often it becomes difficult to get that rhythm going at home – I seem to spend more time whining (not literally) and distracting myself first thing in the morning instead of just getting the job done. Perhaps I am experiencing a little rebelliousness over routine? I can do the exercises any time of the day – so I do, even they relieve pain for the rest of the day when they are done in the morning! Yup – this procrastination seems the sign of a whiner, desiring an trace of suffering, maintaining an element of masochism. I know that my days will become more settled when the routine gets back into the early morning.

In the distant past, Bill and I used to circle one another as he had to shrink to let me into the space and I had to become ready to accept his intimacy – I don’t mean physical intimacy because we’re more likely to jump onto one another like a dog onto a bone but the psychological space was often as much my difficulty in accepting the smaller circles of activity (and saying good to my recent experiences) as his ability to share. I cannot express how grateful I am for the home fires he keeps burning – the cooking and cleaning, the feeding of animals and the watering of plants. How fortunate I am to have such a home friend!

The dog. At first he is so appreciative of my return that he does everything I’ve ever taught him – as the days pass, he starts to behave more like a mischievous child than a trained six-year old dog.

The chickens. They don’t see me as anyone special – just a human that brings food and amusement. As they climb onto their roosts for the night, they purr.

When I get finished “coming home”, I’ll purr too.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

"Snowmobilers", as written in the Wynyard Advance

It was too much to hope that we would emerge this spring unscathed, untrampled and unviolated by skidoos. We have long ago struck an agreement for clear passage across the quarter-section with our neighbours and the Edgebrook crew. East to West or vice versa, no playing on the hills – the hills belong to cross-country skis.

Some rude and irresponsible people came down from the North right next our house and proceeded to break up the snow cover with giant whoops and gouges – Elizabeth’s feeble attempt at a ski trail was soon long gone – and so, for the rest of the season, is the ability to forge new trails. They announce themselves with huge roars and signal their exit with the scent of gasoline heavy in the air. The antithesis of an environmentally friendly sport.

This letter is not merely about the right to pursue their sport against the right to pursue mine – albeit I think that I should set the terms for our property. This letter is about trespassing.  A sign is not necessary for you to be told that if you don’t have permission to be on that land, you should not be there. Furthermore, if you don’t know where you are, you should not be there.

This letter could also be about property destruction because we’ve experienced it: several years ago, skidoo shenanigans ruined our alfalfa by pounding the snow into it and exposing it to brutally cold temperatures.  What about the injury to winter wheat or rye otherwise safely tucked under snow cover?

I know that most responsible riders ride where they know that they should and could - but these rotten eggs spoil it for everyone. Other riders should not make excuses for them.