hells_half_acre: (cape spear)
Colourful St. John's

I've really enjoyed my visit to St. John's. I don't want to leave actually. I've hung out with new friends, I've visited old ones. I've had more of a social life in a week than I have for months on end.

I didn't realise until I arrived that I hadn't expected to come back. It was odd. To see the airport, the road out of the airport, the university, downtown... A friend picked me up at the airport and said, "I didn't think you'd ever come back" and I could only respond, "well, neither did I." Though it seemed stupid, because I really do love it here. I love the city, the row houses, the water. Not in that condescending way that I'm sure some people I know from back home would love St. John's, I love St. John's because it makes me feel free. It makes me want to keep going, like there really isn't a destination just a fantastic never-ending journey.

I feel more at home here than in Ottawa, which is odd. Maybe I've always felt more at home in the unfamiliar, or maybe I just like the wind, the colourful houses, the way the hills roll around the city, and the feeling like I'm at the edge of something wonderful.

I was here for three days before I actually walked downtown. Three days and suddenly standing on Military Road I saw the Narrows and the water beyond over the rooftops of downtown, and I thought "Let's just keep walking...let's never stop." I get that way when I'm driving sometimes. If I were to die in a car crash, I hope I'd be on my way to somewhere for that very reason. When I'm going somewhere, I'm really going anywhere, because it always takes a fair amount of will power to stop where people expect me to.

On that note, I don't know how I'm going to will myself home. The empty wallet will help a little, but not a lot. I don't think I'm closer to any life epiphanies, but at least I've been reminded how absolutely beautiful the world is, how fantastic my friends are, and, most importantly, the kind of happiness that is possible.

* * *
scottie, there comes a day, where we begin again,
we begin again, we begin again,
and you'll recognize it then, you'll recognize it then,
you can feel it in your face, you can feel it in your step,
you can feel it in your veins, you'll recognize the end
and then begin again.
-Lions for Scottie, Hey Rosetta!


(Title of the entry comes from a Hey Rosetta! song called "The Simplest Thing")
hells_half_acre: (Thoughtful)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html

Articles like that make me happy I'm me. There's more to a happy life than people realise. I may not have a job, a boyfriend, a goal, I may never be made happy by the things society tells me are supposed to make me happy, but I breath beauty like oxygen.

For all this article says though, it doesn't mention the possibility of enjoying things in passing. I have passed musicians before, here in Montreal all the time, and enjoyed the song until the metro arrived. There's something to be said for fleeting beauty. You don't stop every pretty girl or boy in the street so you can stare at them for hours. Sometimes you just throw them a quick glance and then smile to yourself once they've passed, happy enough with the slight tease of reminder that you've only experienced the tip of the iceberg when it comes to beautiful things in the universe.

That said, I agree that people live their lives out of balance...that a world where you don't feel like you have time to stop for a few minutes and enjoy some songs, is a world that needs to relocate it's priorities. If I was a boss and someone came in a little late for work, and I asked them why and they said, "There was this amazing violinist in the metro," I'd say "cool man, I'm sorry I missed that." But then, I don't have a job now do I.
hells_half_acre: (lilypads)
If Gabe has a sense stronger than the rest, it's his hearing. He has perfect pitch. He can pick up language without having to see it written down. He can mimic accents and speech patterns after only brief encounters with them. He can pick up instruments easily, pick out harmonies, and create beautifully haunting melodies. He can hear very high pitches or people calling from very long distances.

For all his hearing though, his mind wanders and he misses what people say. My mumbling still confuses him, as I don't stress whether something is important or not. He has to try to remember the sounds he heard from me and try to reconstruct them in something that makes sense, often times, he fails, but I love the attempts. There was one time I asked him what he wanted for dinner, and he looked at me in disbelief and declared "You're not fat!" and I thanked him, and asked him what he wanted for dinner again. I should have asked him what he thought I had said, but compliments are so rare from him that I hadn't wanted to spoil the moment.

Gabe declared to me the other day that although my hearing was not as strong as his, my sense of smell seems to be amazing. I can smell the faint traces of pot circulating through the heating ducts a whole twenty minutes before it becomes strong enough for Gabe to smell it. When something goes rotten I'm always the first to track it down.

I love smells. There are smells that have taken me back in time to wildflowers and insects on sunny summer days, running around our house in the country looking for garden snakes. I can recreate feelings and memories by combining the right ingredients. Cardamon always reminds me of christmas. I only had to bake Kermakakku for Gabe once, and the next time he smelt cardamon he looked at me and said "It smells like Christmas!"

There are some scents I want to drown in. Scent that make me feel comfortable, loved, at home. Scents that make me want to protect everything I have in life, to hold fast to it and never let go. These are the precious scents, the delicate ones. I can't drown in them, because these are the scents that are fleeting, that vanish if they are consumed too greedily, if they are handled too roughly.

When I was a kid I always remember the scratch and sniff books and stickers. I remember showing them to friends and then getting paranoid that they would smell all the smell away. That they would sniff it so hard as to rip all the scent out of it and leave none for me. I can honestly say it was somewhat foolish of me to think that way, but not so with the precious scents, the delicate ones. You can smell those all away.

They don't disappear down your nasal passage, instead they are too easily taken over. You find them and stand there and slowly against your will, your own chemistry is already changing the air, changing the fabric, changing the consistency of everything. You don't have to be filthy to be overwhelming. Just being there affects everything. The scientist can never have a completely flawless experiment, the zoologist can never observe animals in their natural habitat, because they've already changed it by being there.

I was once told by someone that my family was the only one they knew where each sibling had their own unique smell. It's true. If I lost my eyes and ears I would still know my siblings by their body chemistry, if not by the way their personalities change the pressure in the room.

There are some things in life that are delicate, and these things usually always end up becoming what is most important to us. These wonderfully small intricate things - subtle, grand, amazing, or simple things - become everything to us. It's easy to get carried away, to consume them too quickly, to overwhelm them simply by our very presence and desire for them.

It's hard sometimes to know what to do. Do you hold tightly and risk ruining them, or do you stand back and risk losing them? Do you enjoy them while you have them and accept when they are gone, or do you continue to seek them out, or deny yourself altogether?

Of course it's not just scents I'm talking about anymore, but I do wonder sometimes whether it's healthy to drown myself in my pleasures, as I so want to do, even if by doing I consume everything too quickly and hold everything too tight. Unfortunately our society is founded on the western religions, which most often seem to believe that all pleasure is sinful, that all these wonderfully delicate things are wastes of time. Rasputin believed that sin was finite, and it was up to the pious to use it all up and save others from hell. Religions can be funny things. I'd like to start a religion of wonderfully delicate intricate things that we all fall in love with. We'll all meet on sundays or thursdays and think about wildflowers and chasing snakes on hot summer days, or that certain smile that sometimes crosses your loved ones' face, or the smell of a shirt, or the feel of rough stubble, or the way hair falls on shoulders and spills down the back, or the way the water crashes against the shore while the birds disappear into the fog, or the way sometimes you want to drown yourself in your pleasures, because, well, what a way to go.

It's not that we're scared
It's just that it's delicate
*
The universe is sacred, you cannot control it
If you try to change it, you will ruin it
If you try to hold it, you will lose it

Toronto

Nov. 29th, 2006 01:38 am
hells_half_acre: (night)
Tonight was a perfect night for taking pictures in the city. A little chilly, and just misty enough to make everything look a like an apparition. We're all ghosts in the city at night. Lit by artificial light. I always feel like I can do anything. The laws of physics no longer apply. I can walk through walls.

No one talks to strangers in big cities. I'm the only one. It's not like I chat. I just say sorry, or explain that I need to lean over them to hold on to the pole on the subway or else I'll fall over. No one ever responds, or makes eye contact. Sometimes there is a nervous smile, but if I blink I miss it. I don't think I come across as crazy. I think people have just gotten used to never speaking to strangers or having strangers speak to them. It throws them off. On beautiful nights though, it makes me a little sad. Perhaps I'm the only one who sees people as more than just bodies around me. I know there are people inside those bodies, people who perhaps don't like tomatoes and have a favorite television program. I could be wrong though, maybe they are all just robots, and technology hasn't progressed far enough to allow them to speak when spoken to.

The Holt Renfrew has three giant red flags over its entry. They have HR printed on them in fancy letters enclosed in a circle. When they blow in the wind though, on a slightly misty night, the HR looks like the hammer and sickle. I wish I had a camera, because tonight was the perfect night for pictures.
hells_half_acre: (Mount Carleton)
('tis a little sappy, I know...but that's what happens when you write something at 3am.)

The world today is not made for wanderers. It’s a world of stability, and rules to keep it that way, where one doesn’t think anything abnormal about the routine of school, permanent job, steady lover that becomes a fiancé, that becomes a spouse - you live in an apartment and save for a house. You have children and save for retirement. You live out your days and you say, “Look at this tree. 40 years ago I fell out of it and broke my arm and yours when you tried to catch me.” You are as permanent as that tree, though you have legs un-rooted to the ground.

Citizenship became a loaded word somewhere along the way; though if asked I would say Canadian, english-Canadian, while my traveling companion replied with the same but french. We both have stood on a mountain top and looked over vast forest, lakes and rivers, and wondered if there was a spot where nobody had yet stepped, though in our intellect we knew the land was never empty. We have told others of the beauty of our homeland, the place we were born, and yet we wander - not unsatisfied, but driven for more.

When we were in Ireland we stood on soil that was soaked with the blood of centuries of violence. We stood in a land where lines blurred between enemies and friends, between right and wrong, where you began to wonder where the line fell between honourable and pointless death. We stood and looked out on the country that was neither our birthplace nor our home and we knew we had found a part of paradise. We felt peace in our souls and if someone had struck us down right there we would have died happy.

We walked through the forest and lane ways of Germany. We looked at buildings that attempted to look like old parents they had never known. The sun shone down on a land where people had been uprooted, shipped off and never returned. We learned to cherish friends, strangers, and enemies, in a peculiar way that comes from being unsettled by the deep horrible meaning of the past.

We drank wine in Prague. We got lost and walked by monuments to heroes of many nations. The souvenir salesmen spoke to us in every language of the continent and oddly held truth in the simple act of selling their wares.

I watched the Scottish Highlands move around me from a train window and believed myself in a dream of love, life, and loneliness, that comforted the soul. I was on the edge of the world with the irrepressible desire to fall off. I laughed and was content.

He promised to marry China and laughed. I gave my blessings and saw him off. He smiled at children who stared at him in bafflement. He danced and became lonely in a sea of people. He stood on the garden wall and knew the meaning of friendship.

We will meet up again, and laugh and speak the languages of our hearts. Our stability in our own and each others minds, hearts, and hands. Our citizenship to the country of ourselves.
hells_half_acre: (Newfoundland)
I look at photos and I can't help but wonder, where are the secret smiles and laughing looks? Here, here there was laughter echoing off the sea and the cliffs, but the picture holds none of it. There were hands helping me over muddy patches in the trail. There were waves from the top of mountains, "I'm here. Would you stop worrying?!" There were the calls of birds drowning out our sarcastic conversations and sly remarks. There was the salt sea spray on your face and the desire to just set out on a journey with no specific goal. There was the quiet silence of the car and the never-ending road.

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