Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Now That I Am Dead

Now that I am dead will you recall me with more than I am? Will you talk of our last hug? Will you remember our last talk? Will you think of the glisten in my eye, the tone of my voice, the pressure of my hand? Will you remember all our hello's and goodbyes? Or will your memory of me, like our memory of others, become a smudge of generalities?
Remember the last time we played tennis? Or was it horseback riding we did? Recall when I grimaced at the lemon? Remember when I offered you unwanted advice? Do you remember when I tripped too? And what about the time I broke your dish, your faith, your trust, your belief that I was really listening? Am I to be remembered for all those other little and large foibles, or is it even necessary that you recall the whole of me?

There is a last time for everything. I turned the corner. I stopped. I climbed those stairs and I came down them too. I pushed the chair in for the very last time. I thanked you for the meal. I even said grace. And I brushed my teeth, combed my hair and looked in the mirror at my face. Were you watching? Did I impact you? When I wrote your name, when I spoke of you, looked at you, smiled for you, was it necessary that you be there?

Now that I am dead you will somewhat remember me. Naturally. Others will amplify or detract from my memory. There will or may be retained a general sense of my physicality, but that will slip away with time and what I said or stood for will perhaps remain for awhile. And with your death, and with the others who knew me too, I shall disappear altogether into the ether. Are our graveyards not full of such ghosts? Who amongst us recalls things about our great-great and even not so great grand-ancestors?

Now that I am dead my story, inasmuch as we each have individual stories, will become a series of sentences boiled down in the retelling from some paragraphs to some mere phrases, and eventually to a date or two. Here lies Nobody We Know, born '52, died '11; so it goes. He or she must not have been important somebody might dare to submit, for there is no record of her, nobody knows him, and the offspring are no longer able to be traced. Huh? Is it necessary that one leaves a by-product, a legacy? Yet so it goes too.

Still, we leave traces, each of us, in every breath. We take in and let out atoms that are as aged as the universe, and incrementally we affect all with our thoughts, our deeds, our emotions, our beings. A beach is less for a single grain of sand not being there; a sea is less for a single drop not being a part of it; a universe is less for a single molecule not being included. Were you or I such a grain or molecule, would we denounce the existence of another? And now that I am dead I am but transformed into some other energy that remains within the totality. After all, which or what part of Everything is not?

So now that I am dead do not concern yourself with missing me as much as you might miss yourself; your part in this universe is as important as any other's part. Shall that grain of sand feel less than an atom of whale? Shall the indigenous native feel less than the sophisticated usurper? Shall the uneducated feel less than the professor? Shall you feel more or less than I? We each play our part. We each go on. Even if I'm now dead.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ninety-Five and Still a Model

Hilda Doherty is a life force. About to turn 95, she still is a grand-dowager in the true sense of the word ‘grand’. Tall, elegant, beautiful, and with an interest in others that glistens with care from her eyes, Hilda always glows within a room-full of people, takes on the interests  of all those around her, and holds court as though each and every one of us is her special consort. Hilda Doherty has the gift of giving.

Glorious and Free was the play. Glorious and free was the way Hilda entered the audition hall. I’d never seen her before, but instantly knew i’d found the lead character. At that time Hilda was already a young 80. I thought she was a young 60! Written by me for Calgary’s centenary, back in 1996, and spanning the development of theatre in Canada up to the turn of the 19th century, my play needed a brilliant mind, a powerful stage presence, and a miracle. Hilda represented all three. She was to perform in the role of a 90 year old man. As the disguised female twin of her famous thespian brother, long dead, she had to be completely convincing to an unknowing modern-day audience. She had to disguise her body, her voice, and her female mannerisms and instincts in order to portray not only a male, but a leading man. And at play’s close she was  to reveal herself as wonderfully woman, feminine, and not only fed up with the limitations of roles for women in theatre, but with life in general upon the history of women.  When near the end her voice tone abruptly changed, the beard and then the wig was taken off, the bandage around her chest began to be unwrapped, and her explanations came as to why she had taken on the guise of pretending that she was her deceased brother in order to secure better roles, to be a respected role player in society, and to participate in life as a fully fledged human being, the audience gasped. They had had no idea. Hilda was a tour de force!

And we became friends. I would visit her and her always supportive daughter, Mary-Anne, on occasions, and we’d have dinner and scotch and talk of life. In fact, Hilda would drive herself through some dark Calgary winter nights up from her city apartment to my northerly neighbourhood and join our Askers Group at various times. A gathering of young men and women, fresh out of high school, they came monthly to discourse about the questions of life. Hilda, in her 80’s, they in their 20’s, me in my 40’s, and all of us asking questions; what a mentor she was to us all. Hilda set the example of having an interest in everything, of caring about everyone, and of doing so with dignity, grace, good humour, and love. Her favourite word for any and all of us was, darling. Her other word for any and all of us was, sweetheart.

And could she be funny! In Same Old Moon, which I directed for Liffey Players, Hilda again played a lead role, but this time as an ornery aged biddy who, in front of the audience, prepares for bed, removes her teeth, and unceremoniously dumps them into the glass of water on her night table. Ha! Dumping the dentures was Hilda’s idea, as she sought to make the character real in rehearsal, and we immediately incorporated her improvisation into performance. The audience giggled, guffawed, and hooted! Hilda made life come alive!

Making life real, that’s Hilda for you. At about to be 95, and as I write this in preparation for yet another visit to her, I know that Hilda will still be interested in me and mine, and ask questions. Still my mentor.

X Marks the Spot

That X still haunts me. Painted so slyly in dripping dark green on the brand new fender of the light grey sports car of a backyard garage in Northern Rhodesia, I can only own up to having done it now, some 55 years after the fact. I can speculate why as a very little boy I so erroneously, so spitefully made the mark. I can speculate why I lied about it. I can speculate why I still speculate. Yet in doing so will I be able to let the ghost go?

Four year olds are quite willful. Uncle Neville, as he was called, used our big backyard garage with its two barn-like doors to build himself a sports car. He arrived with the vehicle's chassis and engine and steering wheel intact on a flat-bed truck, and once off-loaded, in my mind's eye the fiberglass body of the thing seemed to spring up under the reek of epoxy glue and spray-on paint. It was all quite interesting. It was all out of bounds. Except that by the window in there I had my two guinea-pigs in their cage. I think I wanted sunlight and shade for them but I don't think I thought about fresh air.

Neville was a kind enough fellow. He was wiry and handsome, I suppose, and he seemed to like my young aunt very much. She was about thirteen or maybe even twelve years older than me. She took him sandwiches and cool-drinks while he worked, but I was not allowed to be in there with them, counting teeth. Still, I got a good enough gander at the progress of the car whenever I went to feed my pets, and I looked forward to one day going along for a ride. My mother, however, was indignant at the idea of me in a sports car, especially one made of glass, no matter how many fibres it had in it.   

Trouble is, the guinea pigs died. I came in one morning and they were very dead. I recall being most distraught. I recall thinking that someone had poisoned them and I recall feeling that it was because I was not wanted in the garage. So I cannot recall whether it was that day, or another, but I took up the paintbrush that happened to be there and dipped it in the nearby can, which I think was left open, and I made the X, quite big as I recall it, possibly as big as my head. And no one saw me. And then I knew that as long as I never told anyone they could not prove it was me. For certain I was very much afraid of the consequence; at that age I'd already been beaten enough to know that owning up to a misdeed was downright foolish. In Africa, children did not own up to things. Trouble is, I recall most of my escaped incidents a lot. Better to be beat?

Problem is, that X has indeed haunted me all my life. Yet like many a dark spot on the map of my mind it has become not so much a blemish as a treasure. It has taught me a thing or two along the way. In dealing with others, particularly children, I've examined the value of fear as opposed to reason; in dealing with myself I've examined the values of regret, of honesty, of worthiness, of conscience, and consciousness, and determined that each of the mistakes I've made in my life (and there have been very many) have taught me along the way to be a re-evaluator, a thinker of my thinking. Still, knowing all this now, in my 60th year, would I as a boy change my not owning up to my misdeeds and so suffer immediate consequence? No, the hidings would decidedly not be worth it. What's more, I may have become a person who stops himself doing wrong only for fear of consequences, and I ask you now, where's the ghost of a value to our society in that?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Garage Sale Glories

Selling one's stuff is a seminal process. It involves so very much energy. There was the initial search, deliberation, and purchase; the lugging around of the thing, the relevant degree of care or upkeep, practical, emotional, sentimental. Who gave me this? Where did I get that? Why did I ever have that? Can I really dispense with this? Have you any idea about the story behind this one? And then there's the price. How does one put a price on stuff that one has had over years, that costs a lot to replace, or that might just as well be given or carted away?

We seem to collect and cherish and use and have about and around ourselves so very much. Having once lived from only what I could carry on my back I came to realize that I was very limited by comparison to others in my Canadian community. Then came there a winter of discontent. And another. And once I began to furnish my rented or purchased dwellings the practical, useful, and collectible soon became more than a car-full of things for which I demonstrated care. Our lives are indeed a gathering of moment by moment wants and impulses. Even as I sit in the outdoor shade and write there are people in my garage picking over the pricing of pieces suddenly discovered to be wanted to have. And no matter the docket value, they'll invariably negotiate for less.

It is in moving somewhere else that we most likely find no need of something any more. Certainly that's been my case. Were there a listing of all the material things I've both acquired and dispensed with over some sixty years of living it'd be longer than the list of gifts the elves supply to Santa at Christmas. It seems that people's presents are one thing, but then there is also the stuff I buy for myself. 

What is it in one such as me that feels bereft if not owning something? What hole am I hoping to fill? Is it really important to exclaim that I have that music, have read that book, have the next gadget on order, or indeed know what you're talking about? Is it an incompleteness that is driven by a need to validate the self, to make the self happy, to give a surge of excitement at the discovery of some treasure or other. Do you have any porcelain, the elderly man interrupts me to ask, only I need to find it to complete this set I have and I've gone from garage sale to garage sale for years.

Sorry, I answer compassionately, and watch him go. I wonder, is searching happiness?

But now that my semi-read books and once-or-twice heard CD's and polished mirrors and still working lamps are being packed off to other people's houses I can but reflect in the light of day on their personal value to me. And surely I can determine to curb the next impulse to fill the vacant spot I note in myself that declares a must-have feeling so strong as for me to locate in which pocket I left my wallet. Surely I can limit expenditure to the practical, the necessary, and.... But what of aesthetics? Are they not practical and necessary too?

At the end this Garage Sale day, or at the end of life's last sunset, I surmise, it is not that we own stuff that matters, as much as that we are not owned by stuff at all, ha!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Black Swans, Betwixt and Between

(with thanks to The Beatles, Taleb, Graves, and Dillinger)
We can't live in a yellow submarine. Cognitive dissonance immerses us in indecision; to submerge or to surface? To stay in harbor or to set out to sea? To plot a mechanized course or to sail seemingly free? In which element does one find oneself settled most comfortably? Is life merely a matter of choosing, or do we indeed stay concomitantly cocooned, closely ensconced, endemically encapsulated, academically certain, and ineluctably closeted by our infamous penchant for predilections, preferences, and powers that be?

Catastrophe forces change. The black swan swims into our awareness. N. N. Taleb's metaphor in which a Black Swan eventually surprises us with its major impact, which may not necessarily be 'bad', forces us into a paradigm shift. Its apparent suddenness startles, provokes, hurtles us toward some new insight, establishes some new platform from which now to make a stand, or sets in us some new sea to sail. Yet after the fact we tend to rationalize our new stances very predictably. Recall when he said this or she said that, or what about the time we did this and they did that, or how about the insight I gleaned at that age that now leads me to this door? Way leads onto way, and indeed the predictability of where I am now at could've been forecast by any Luddite, ha!

Other instances of our ineluctable and intuitive shifting of consciousness, in due course, are indeed gradually wrought by the mindfulness of moment by moment accretion, but at some point that which 'was' is absorbed into that which now is, and the predominant reality changes from a stance, a belief, an ideology, to a larger whole. Our cognitive dissonance, betwixt and between, is the issue. We are fearful when feeling ungrounded.

Vacillation has its value. Many a premature decision would better have been made had I personally waded deeper into the dissonance that assailed me, but my instant want to be gratified greatly predestined me to pay for my mistakes. Perhaps. On the other hand, it is having made those same mistakes that propelled me toward making many other decisions, and each brought me to this point in time, which is as unfixed in the metaphor as it is in the mind. We would rather be sure of ourselves. We would rather know what is meant. We would rather have a value, have values, have certainty, have stability, have habits, have each other than be alone out there on a proverbial sea of anxiety. And only if what lies betwixt and between, port to port, destination to destination, platform to platform, and even thought to thought made sense, makes meaning and purpose and import and reason clear and worthwhile, are we at ease. Who likes to be out of control? (Dillinger’s psych-geometrics constantly shows how seldom we choose to be uncertain.)

Paradigm shifts are as cities in a journey; they are not necessarily hierarchically ranked though indeed one may encompass more than another, and knowing two or three gives one more awareness of yet more than only being limited to just one's own. Hierarchies in consciousness, however, are about becoming more integrative. Yet what lies betwixt and between is the real voyage, for in it are all the variables that may occur, that might be chosen, that may be engaged. Still, some will sleep on the way. Are we there yet, they say. Yet when awake to the shift in consciousness, to the shuffling off of What Was while gaining what is Anew, there is much lightness of being, like dissonance dissolving. Or do we just take ourselves with us, irrespective of what lies betwixt and between?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Seven Sages in Seven Ages, ha! (with yet more apologies to William and Clare)

We are Everything; Good and Bad. Yet in the writing of my “Three Ha’s for Seven Ages” it struck me that each of the first six acts appeared as though bereft of goodness. Silly of me. Not one of them is entirely negative. Not one of them ought to be declared insufficient, inadequate, insupportable, inescapable or even irreducible. In fact, the inherent value or goodness of each role or part or Meme that we play is the very reason we sometimes are reluctant to give up that role as a predominant part of our repertoire. It is for reasons of their great value to us that we find ourselves caught up in the habit of so perpetually playing our perseverant part, given our penchant for specific predilections, and proclivities. No wonder, as we head to an eventual grave, we thereby may happily cling to one or the other of our favored roles that best suits us in any of Seven Stages.

First, in utter self-centricity we are self-sufficient. This is not self-actualization but rather a non-need of any others’ approval, an ability to find shelter and food and entertainment independent of the company we keep. It is that skillful and crafty state of depending on no one, of sensing how to survive, of learning the tricks of the trade and deploying the arts of self-hood such that there is no need to impress, no need for an audience, no need for an ‘other’. In the seeming selfishness of the very young we readily see it; a veteran like me oft stumbles too. See how subtly it may build yet again on any of us playing with the possibilities in Role Seven? In letting all ‘just Be’ (which is the very essence of Total Integration) are we not perhaps unwittingly beginning again with an ultimate reactionary focus on ‘just Me’? Where else then, do we have yet or not to be?

Our Second role, having not yet enough of the self to exercise it as Selfishness, happily succumbs to the needs of immediate others and give our loyalty and dependability and trust and servitude and humility. What fortunate people our family members may indeed thereby be!

Most invigorated of all, the Third Role drives us to succeed, never gives up, overcomes all difficulties, can be counted on to lead, to achieve, to attain, to gain. It is that which will not be traduced, abused, calumniated against. It is that which will not be left by another in the dirt.

Our Fourth stage makes us loyal community members, staunch supporters, gives us national pride, gives us a sense of compassion beyond ourselves and in our congregations gathers us into prayer and political groups and foster-care groups and charity organizations that do great good.

The Fifth act contributes inclusively. It employs and deploys the other, the different, the unique, the colour, creed, and clan. It provides opportunity and mobility and plans for growth, and it drives an economy toward stability and discipline and order. Bravo the Boss! Your loss, his loss.

The Sixth age is our check-point of reality over nonsense, our insurance that standards of education and housing and health and even religion are as fair and equal as possible, and it is very vocal in the face of unfair practice, ethical disputation, and argumentative bias.

And the Seventh, most heavenly of all, is that age where everything is important and nothing really matters; a moment by moment mindfulness no longer here nor there. Still, beware the selfishness of selflessness, ha!, lest there be little good in mere belly gazing at the bye and bye.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Three Ha's for Seven Ages! (with apologies to Shakespeare and Graves, ha!)

When old and ready to go, shall we have played all the potentiality of our parts? In our integration, is there release in the surcease of the seas of troubles? Predominantly, do we clutch with our penchants, predilections, and proclivities? Can we not so much end them as absorb them with deep joy into the light that is our time before the brief candle is put out? Do our petty yesterdays all go to dust? Do we indeed rage, rage against the dying of the light? Or do we cling to one or the other of our acts, one of Seven Stages?

Our First venture is self-centricity. Wound up in the immediate need of this or that being right, our emotion, intellect, spirit, and physicality is interdependent; a stew of passions and wants and the dismissal of an other's proximity, however conventionally espoused. In the suffering of the very young we readily see it; a veteran like me oft stumbles too.

Our Second role is that of concentricity. We have not yet enough of the self to exercise it as Self and must needs have immediate others, like forever dependent children, in the family of our cognizance before we can feel validated in our individuality, attendant as it is upon the approbations, inclinations, perturbations, and manipulations of our brothers and sisters. Even in old age, we may too easily recline into dependency on familiars, ha!

The Third play is most invigorated of all; it is Iago asserting himself. Very strong, we will want to prove domination over and above all others, control others, negate others, use others to bolster our own upward mobility. Though expected of the aggressive, it's seen in the progressive pandering to the audience for centre-stage, for proving others inferior, for putting others down. It gathers clans and clubs and political structures and poses at the head; in the light it boldly leads the charge against an other, in the dark it schemes from behind and then can pridefully accept the laurel despite those betrayed in its wake.

Our Fourth stage gathers and groups and quantifies and solidifies gullible communities into organized structures that, pitted against each other, will fight unto death for a cause, for a belief, for a way of life. Perhaps longest and largest of our roles, we find ourselves caught up in the habituated constructs of our forefathers, in the conditionings of our societies, our cultures, our values systems, our sensibilities; we hardly dare break free to reach across the boundary dividing a group of You from a group who I believe is Me.

The Fifth act appears most inclusive. We strut our stuff, accept the other, the different, the unique, the colour, creed, and clan, until what any one doer-does does not suite; then we dismiss, vilify, negate, and judge. So too does each judger also play a juror.

The Sixth age is epistemological, solipsistic, synthesizing, and overtly ontological. It thrives on knowledge rather than religious, spiritual, or mystical meanings, and contrives equal opportunity for all. It promulgates a potentiality within each yet to be realized, if only others were not so tardy, stupid, dumb, ridiculous, self-centered and such idiots! Ha!

And the Seventh, most heavenly of all, is that age where everything is important and nothing really matters; a moment by moment mindfulness no longer here nor there. Ha!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Three Wise Saws of Modern Instances


3) Entelechy and Enlightenment: Clear?

At what age may one declare oneself? Experience would seem to bring wisdom, but many a child has made an adult think twice. Metacognition, though muddled at times, mounts in clarity to aspire toward yet more, or what's enlightenment for? It is the degree of our perception, our awareness, our entelechy, our habituation that is at issue. And, as some would have it, ability to comprehend big words, hierarchy of education, fluency of language, ease of synthesizing ideas, cognitive comprehension skills, and care to progress are among the arguably amassing factors in the articulated ability of the declarant at any given moment. Yet what of childlike clarity? What of you and me?

Entelechy innately inspires the aspirant. Yet habituation can encapture the rapture of a special moment and merely relegate a proponent to practicing its limited precepts within yet another paradigm in the whole; a Ken Wilberian holon. We but tread on a pathway, footstep for footstep, yet a full apprehension of that which is on our journey, as we may readily concur, is limited by our proclivity for habituated perception. Still, what makes a human look beyond the metaphorical horizon, and so invigorates the inner juices as to overcome the inertia of an itinerary that otherwise would have one but be on the mental treadmill? Entelechy engages enervation; enlightenment engages endlessly. Clear?

Dabrowski's five Stages, Grave's nine Memes; models for mankind. Our advantage in being aware of the particulars allows for reference checks in our thinking, adjustments in our behaviours, consciousness of our correlations. We can fake it 'til we make it. We can adopt the new paradigm and predominantly practice its percepts and precepts until we walk the talk, strut our stuff, feel no longer fake. But within, when we look through the glass darkly, we often fear the dross and dregs of that which went before; we often eschew the inclination to progress into that which lies ahead. Who do you think you are, resonates; where do you think you're going, stagnates. We lose sight of integration, and we batten down the hatches, for as Topol's Tevye would have it, if we bend too far we'll break. Why else do we not easily, naturally, happily, readily, climb the Gravesian rungs toward our graves, or drive ourselves with ease and delight through Dabrowskian dioramas? Models for mankind do not necessarily inculcate in us a natural curriculum; we need nurturers, we are in wont of worldly wise wizards, we are often tenuous without teachers. We would rather follow, congregate, conglomerate, coagulate, than be utterly responsible for ourselves.

Understanding takes effort. Looking things up, having things explained, allowing things to be convoluted, accepting things as they are, being in the now, breaking old habits, instinctually being integrative; these are the challenges of life. We prefer, mostly, to keep it simple. We react. Proactive, inactive, we react. The paradox is that it all really is simple; it is ourselves who bifurcate, complicate, hate. It is ourselves who quantify. It is ourselves who vilify, nullify, and disproportionately deify. Intellect vies with integration. Knowledge yields to ontology. As Einstein says, I only want to know gods thoughts, the rest are details. Intuition is immediate. Understanding, now that takes effort.

Entelechy is our innate drive; Enlightenment is what is. Now is only now. Ha! Clear?

2) Ducking Civil Disobedience, Consciousness and Consequences

Sitting ducks! That's what the quaint hodgepodge of forlorn looking dories and yachts and even a beat-up old houseboat are like from the viewpoint of the Selkirk trestle bridge. Once in a while, mostly male, someone clambers the craft and battens down or brings supplies, but mostly, beer in hand, occupants sit smoking and shoot at the old proverbial breeze. But the boats themselves hardly ever move. Anchored over years in the Victoria Gorge, they've become fixtures in a landscape, freeloaders upon a scene, takers of opportunity, compatriots of no consequences. They pay nothing. Without a clear jurisdiction, the confluence of three or perhaps more counties created this pocket and water, and so boaters, learning of this free camping spot, have unconditionally moved in. More come, monthly, and eventually, perforce, there'll be such a plethora of the poorly moored things that someone will have to shut it down, demand payment, set up a fee system and a regulator and a sheriff and a patrol officer and a bylaws officer and build docks and institute safety regulations and create a non-slippery slope up off the waters and onto dry land. Oh, and the council prepared to take on the liability will of course be the one to pay and thereby its constituent taxpayers will be effected too; ain't that the way? After all, ducking laws is not civil disobedience; conscionable protest is.

When any one of us wittingly or unwittingly or especially purposefully knowingly takes advantage of life's seeming freebies we conspire to accrete toward a community so effected as for it to take action against a sea of troubles, and by opposing them, end them. When one smokes in public places, takes short-cuts across a lawn, sneaks in when there should have been payment, gets away with an extra item in the grocery or restaurant bill, a parking spot that should have been paid for, an indiscretion that might have been avoided, an overstepping of one's social bounds it is the cumulative effect on society that perhaps not so gradually builds up to a point where we are so law-bound as no longer free to rely on that antiquated adage, that of having common sense. Recall no validation of identity, no demurring at a personal cheque? Recall a handshake as one's bond, a code of honour that was not observed due to fear of consequences, a time when there were no security tags, checks, pat-downs? Yes, breaking a law to prove its invalidity is indeed civil disobedience, but is done despite consequence to spite consequence!

Directly proportional to a sophisticated society is its amount of laws. Which part of ‘Respect Every Thing And Every Body’ does one need subclauses and adjuncts for, like dangling prepositions up with which those in authority will not put? We create laws when we care less. Unfortunately we appear to need laws to keep us morally right, committed to contracts, honoring our debts. And unfortunately, we generally do-do things out of a fear of a bad consequence, or for our want of a good result, seldom simply because we comprehend that our actions impact another, a larger group, nation, earth, biosphere, or universe. True civil disobedience, on the other hand, like that exercised by a Ruth First, is done with clarity of purpose, on behalf of us all.

From moment to moment, however, such fullness of consciousness indeed eludes us. Would that the crafty sailors on the Gorge be ducking those odds yet still be thinking, civilly, responsibly, of the consequences for you or me.

At This Point in Time. (An Aftermath Appreciation)  Thursday, August 25, 2011 at 10:21pm

Focus in each moment allows for one to stay appreciative: then, now, and next. The surrealism of socializing on the same day in the Montreal morning, then in an Airdrie early evening, and yet again late in Calgary that same night is somewhat bee-like being in a garden, each investment its own reward. Comparisons often make the present less than what was before, or less than what is expected next, so perhaps one is indeed better off completely to be in the moment, now, however apparently sparse or marvelously mellifluous the present presence of the proverbial pollen.

Poetic license incenses some; others get lulled into soporific sensibility and ride the words willingly; a magic carpet of woven meanings that for some, thread for thread, is discounted, disregarded, disused, and deemed but a weave of wordsmithing; for others it is appreciated for the surreal sake of the multiple-meanings within the measure of a given journey. Time is like that. Perception is like that. A glance is like that. Intuition is like that. It is in our varied states of unconsciousness that we each latch onto an immediate, at best, with which we can identify. So wags the dog’s tail. So dots an i and crosses the t. Expectation is patterning. Patterning is programming. Programming is didactic. Didacticism grounds all magic-carpets, truly, indeed.

Appreciation is a warm glow of gratitude that pervades one’s mood, filters through one’s emotions, and percolates in the chambers of the inner being. And it can be fickle, short-shriven, abandoned, and even forgotten in the passage of the journey from here to there. Like postcards symbolic of an entire vacation we carry with us the pictures that re-envision for us a time-past that, ideally, was wonderful. At times the picture of the past remains willfully woeful. Ouch! Yet when the aftermath of appreciation continues way past the event; even the embarrassment and pain of some spills in life can eventually have one smiling. Eventually. It seems to depend where one is at, at this point in time.

My father once wrote about his distaste of the phrase: This point in time. He was at pains to explain the shifting essence of time and our inability to curtail thought, deed, or intention to a precise point. Yet he very much was conscious of crossing t’s and dotting i’s. My father, when I knew him, was a man deeply disappointed with a great many things, and at this point in time, though I give it no exact period, he is perhaps better off. In pace requiescat. Is that not so much the point of our time here on earth? Or must we wait? Indeed, why wait?

We find it so difficult to pronounce things as they are, recall things as they exactly were in the precise present, envision things now with the reality of feelings we expect to have when there. A pain of past or happiness of future, or vice versa, at this point in time, escapes us. We are so very conditioned not to be in the now, breath for breath, in and out, right here, right now.

“At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless; Neither from nor toward...” wrote T.S. Eliot, and herein lies the hub. Appreciation right here, right now, gives me a sense of lightness of being, of riding my magic carpet across the vicissitudes of tide and circumstances, and it propels me moment by moment in an aftermath of all that went before. Aftermath; the sum total. Aftermath; that which was, is, and is yet to be. And at this point in time, with deep appreciation, I share such abundance of gratitude for the now, at this point in time, and at this point too, with thee! Past, and Present. Or do i speak entirely of just a new way?