Thursday, May 30, 2013

Not-so-Inner Skeleton

Posing for the camera.
I met a skeleton today. Literally.

Ever really think about that? Inside each of us is a skeleton. Just walking around. Getting the mail. Squeezing oranges. Holding the remote. Doodling. Pressing on the gas. Chewing its non-existent nails. Dancing.

Don’t be afraid but I’m 81% sure what I’m talking about here is pretty deep science. Let me explain. To begin, I should introduce my Jr. High Science teacher. One day, she stood in front of a group of typical young teens obsessed with themselves and each other and said the word “hypothesis.” And I actually heard her. She said something like, “Make a statement and prove it right or prove it wrong.” Most likely she outlined the entire scientific method but I remained hooked on that word. Hypothesis? Soon I was testing things, not scientific things necessarily but “life” things. Like interacting with girls and the speed limit for example. That concept challenged my comfort zone.

And that’s brings me closer to my point. I forgot about my skeleton for a while. I forgot. Seeing an actually skeleton again, talking with a physiotherapist about how bone and muscle work together, I felt my skeleton again and I began to feel different and I began to wonder. My hypothesis? I’ve been taking my skeleton for granted. And I think my skeleton is peeved.

Our skeletons are the reason we’re not blobs. Think about that. Imagine us without skeletons, flapping around morphing into fluidish shapes as we mow our lawns, like big amoebas with tattoos. Gravity would watch us on YouTube and snicker. So what am I saying? If I don’t prove I have a skeleton, I’m disproving it; therefore, I’m a blob. If I don’t prove I’m alive, I’m disproving it; therefore, I’m wasting time.

Three Steps:
1.      [State hypothesis.] What do I want to do now?
2.      [Prove it.] Take a step in that direction because it’s not too late.
3.      [Or disprove it.] Until it is. (Do you really want to be that guy?)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Things one should never outgrow:

art projects (goofy, Ukrainian art projects from goofy Ukrainian-Scottish friends on their way home from a funeral, in the rain.)

"Anyone who says you can't see a thought simply doesn't know art." ~W.A. Reynolds


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Wordfuse (Little Nut Version)

Why so much energy spent on trying to outdo others? One-upping might be overrated. If you're into competition, why not compete with yourself? As the saying goes, "The greatest oak was once a nut who held his ground." And likely, to begin with, no one even noticed.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

cryptic vanity plates.

A cry for help? If so, from what...rush-hour? Or from where...the trunk?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Things one should never outgrow:

There are frogs in this pond. Somewhere.

My son and I are probably both a little old now for frog-catching. But we've been doing this since he was a toddler.

And that's the point, this is common ground for us. It's an activity that represents a place that represents a time that represents our relationship. It means wonder to us. Watching. Looking. Seeing. Thinking. Discussing. Contemplating. Action. Laughing. Repeat. Curiosity doesn't kill cats; it catches frogs and it binds some fathers and some sons. Like us. Don't forget it son.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

It is.

One foot in the Mediterranean,
the other somewhere else. 
When I was little one of the first road-trips my parents took me on was to Flin Flon, Manitoba. If you’re not familiar, this town is located about six hours northeast of Saskatoon. And from my current location in Northern Alberta it’s about eighteen hours away.

If you love nature, you’d love this place. It’s classic Canadian Shield. And it’s not in the middle of nowhere, it’s in the middle of amazing nowhere. (I happen to love nowhere.) A mining town I guess, everything is built on rock. The way I remember it, the town weaves around rocks that look like they were kicked around by giants and abandoned. Rocks and precarious houses and deep lakes and sudden islands and spruce trees and more rocks. Before I was born, my Dad worked there. He seemed excited to share this place with me. And I totally got it.

Ever go someplace new and it doesn’t feel strange at all? That’s what it felt like for me. About a three hour trip from where I grew up in Saskatchewan, we arrived early enough to be seated in a restaurant around 9 a.m. Manitoba time. We had gained an hour. Despite the time, I ordered a cheeseburger. My nine-year-old self thought that was the best breakfast ever. 

Decades later, I was in a medical doctor’s office in Alberta talking about feeling tired and stressed and confused and the doctor looked at me and said, “Ever been to Flin Flon?” Surprised, I shared my Flin Flon story. Then he added, “You need to go back to Flin Flon. It’s the best fishing ever.” Basically, he prescribed a vacation. 

What are the chances I would meet up with another Flin Flon fan? Here’s my point: the world is a small town. It is.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

Are those...crop circles (but like in peanut butter)?
Mulder? Scully?
when someone messes with the peanut butter.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Things one should outgrow:

the way you thought it would turn out.

There's this overwhelming desire in me today to rent a bobcat and tear up my backyard. Start over. Maybe the front yard too.

I really need a bobcat. Who doesn't? Scrape it all away. See the surface again and see what sort of inspiration comes up with the earthworms. And yes, this is a metaphor, mostly.

I have to figure this out. I have to figure out why I'm so angry one minute and so apathetic the next? And why I can barely write anymore. I know who I am so why do I have to explain it to myself again?

But I'm tired. I'm tired of the earth beneath my feet. It's not solid is it? And that's what I'm really feeling I think: fear.

But I know about insolidity. It's like opening pop that's dropped from the counter-top to the floor. This should not be a big deal. Yet I need to close my eyes before I do everything. I mean, come on, I thought I was generally done with being pathetic. I thought all my experiences and challenges and this resilient skin I've grown would get me from point A to point G since B&C&D&E&F punched me in the throat (maybe once or twice in the balls too). And yet I don't even know why I say it's pathetic. I wouldn't tell any of my friends that this sort of conflict is pathetic. It's human. It is. Isn't it?

It's mental health. I'll just say it. Grief? Is that what it is? Still? But hasn't enough time passed to feel normal again? Haven't there been enough laughs and enough TV shows and milk chocolate and a mountain top in Sicily with my son and enough distractions and enough concentration on work and enough enoughness to get me back to where I was last August before....


My big brother would not be impressed with this. At all. He was a do-er. All my thinker-type behaviour doesn't get things done. As I said in my brother's eulogy, "All my life I've been trying to match his courage." And that's exactly what I need, I think. I need to muster more courage today. I need to reacquaint myself with this shaky earth beneath my feet again and to get some shit done (as my brother would have said too). Even when I'm scared and angry and tired and aching and grieving.

And that's why, that's why, over the last few days, I keep hearing the words of one of my favourite poems in my head (from Truth by James Hearst): "How the devil do I know if there are rocks in your field? Plow it and find out."

And that, I guess, is what I just did.
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