the rock

when she said I’m going to Memorial we said
great, we’ll drive you

we landed in Port aux Basques
and already were thrilled
I thought it looks like Ireland and we kept on driving

The car was packed to capacity
there was all she needed for her first year in residence
there was her brother with his needs as he was to fly from St-John’s to Vancouver
there was us two parents and everything we could think of to keep us content
for a 10 day camping trip

Those old Volvo wagon can carry a lot

We started exploring the west coast
Tablelands, West Brook pond with it’s magnificent fjord
water fall from high above, dissolving into mist
up there they climb said the guide talking about moose
up on those plateau they feed, have their young
up there I thought

Another day we climb
Gros Morne; second highest mountain on the rock, 800 meters
through the woods first, up, up, up
my knees, heart beat going
out of breath, I’ll never make it
blueberries everywhere, take your time
each of them take a turn
you can do it mama, I’m right behind you my love
We’re at the foot of the Morne
desolated, rugged, raw
climbing rocks now; steep, arduous
it doesn’t seem like much more to go
I look back, breathtaking
I can do it, made it this far
three steps, take a break, look back, oooooh
three more steps
I reach the top and find my son and daughter laying among rocks and lichen
we’ve only been here a few minutes, you’re doing good mama

I pretend I’m a hobbit, walking a top this rugged land of lakes, mountains and waterfall
one is humbled in front of such beauty
we fill our eyes, we fill our lungs
no moose, we do see a bear

It takes a few more hours to trek our way down
no rush, we take it all in

A new campsite sits by a long white sandy beach
acrescent with no one in sight
water appeals, my love goes in

What is this place?
feelings of new countries around the bend
still the same rock

The journey takes us to the eastern side
gentler, with it’s own gems
bays upon bays
hidden villages
a feed of fresh cod and new potatoes makes our best meal
more blueberries
a lighthouse on the tip of the eastern shore makes me dream of other days

Eventually we have to drive our young man to the airport
an early flight that gave me no sleep
Mama’s heart ready to shatter

A couple more days of wonder
on a suspended bridge my daughter and I can not take our eyes off a seal down below
laying on a rock, by a water fall, it looks like he’s hunting, looking for fish
every move, yawn, stretch, makes us coo
ooooh, so cute
eventually we move on
we’re not to see the great fish attack today

The main goal of this trip has arrived
we deliver our daughter to St-John’s
the university campus is busy with parents, students, check in, find your res, settle
we stick around to see her transform her room into her home
she has a talent for that
in no time she makes the space hers
postcards on the wall, reminiscence of various trips in the form of rocks, shells and sand
she knows where every item came from
it feels good to wait and see it take shape

The last embrace is impossible
I can’t let go
locked arms around my beautiful girl
mama, give papa a turn
right

There is one more day before we leave the rock
it’s me and you babe
we’ve been there before, we can do it
we buy three fine brew from a local micro brewery and set off to find a place to park for the night
serendipity is found on a quiet road at the bottom of a hill
a river meets a bay, hosting a group of Canada geese and sandpipers for their night’s feast
at a picnic table sits a man enjoying the view
is it ok to park here for the night we ask
sure thing, no one minds
he’s finished his drink, he lives up the road, enjoy he says

We savor the beers as we watch the sun set one more time over the rock
more geese are landing
soothing sight for the soul
this journey has come to an end
we’re ready to go home

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riding a fine line

it’s nothing new, it’s always been
if it’s not one thing it’s another
yet somehow it takes me by surprise
why

two years ago I lost my sister
to cancer that is
might as well name the disease
since it seems to be everywhere
around the same time my neighbour was fighting a variation of it
then it was my aunt, and a distant cousin, a coworker, now it’s a friend
every time I shake my head
how can that be

something will take us one day or another
no one knows their expiry date
but it’s easy to forget
go about our business
as we should
I guess

When my kids were little all I wanted was to be around until they grew up
please life, give me that much
let me raise them
life was generous
from now on everyday is a bonus
and I am grateful

today there is someone in my mind with two young boys
and I think
please life give her time

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down memory lane

I am visiting my mom this week and next
I’m lucky enough to be able to manage my work time, and work space
editing short videos enables me to work anywhere

yesterday we visited my aunt, cousin, and uncle
as a teen I use to spend time with them
my cousin and I are close in age
I rarely see them anymore especially my cousin who doesn’t live in this town
yesterday she made the trip so we could share a meal and hang out
spending time and hanging out is a lovely thing

when I was a teen I use to envy my cousin a little
because of her father’s work she had lived in various country
spoke English fluently (I didn’t at the time)
lived a life that seemed more exciting then mine
her mother, of German decent, has been one of many who inspired me to cook

yesterday we went down their memory lane
I love old photographs
we opened an album with pictures of my aunt
beautiful little blond girl
ready to start school
all dressed for communion
young women going to Barcelona with a group of friends
where she was to meet the man with whom she would share the rest of her life
my uncle
handsome one too

my uncle was full of stories
while my mother, aunt and cousin had heard most of them
he had in front of him a brand new pair of ears
I love travel stories
tell me more
“here, I’ll tell you this episode in one minute”
and there he’d go
and so went the meal
filled with several minutes that went from Barcelona, to Haiti, to Cambodia, to Madagascar, to London
we didn’t touch New-York or Vienna
but talked about the “boîte à chansons” he use to host way back when in the sixties
where all the up and coming singer songwriters of the time would perform
cool

we, the girls, had lots of girl talk while my uncle, being an uncle of a certain generation, left us to the kitchen duty
(I have to say my aunt took care of most of it)
it was so good to catch up, share stories, laugh and reminisce about the ones we loved that passed away
it was so good to spend time with them

the photo this week is one that I hadn’t seen for years
my grand father pretending to be boxing
he’s the one who means it on the left

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visit

my mama’s gone to church
I’m visiting for the week end
alone in her house I wander
I look around

it’s a quiet house
the sound of the humidifier fills the rooms with a constant hum

my mama is in her late 70
she lives alone
her days are regulated by a routine that keeps her going
prayers, exercise, a good diet
any break in those may set her off
she needs routine

I wander in her house while she is gone
presence of her children
presence of her faith
are everywhere
it is a peaceful atmosphere

I live far away
I have never lived in the town she was born
I can appreciate her environment and her mine
but even though we share the same blood
our constitution, our needs, are not the same
to be well we need different conditions

tomorrow I will leave
it is always difficult to part
without saying we both know
that soon routine settles again
and we keep in touch
with the regular punctuation of phone calls

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homecoming

it’s been one week today
one week actually yesterday, we arrived on a Saturday
the first two nights I’d wake up in the middle of the night wondering where I was
trying to figure out how our windows fitted in what I thought was my Moroccan room

then I slept better and slept a lot
jet lag I guess and recovering from the journey itself
as if I didn’t realize my batteries were low and needed a full charge

the weather has been wonderful and tons of snow have melted in the past week
I started cleaning up the greenhouse
pruned around an apple tree
got a piece of ground ready to plant garlic

the ice on the pond is still holding but there is an opening near the beavers house
I saw the beavers come out looking for grubs
I should bring them my apple clippings

I saw a couple deers in the orchard and in the garden
I was happy about that
I heard form my neighbor that there are three dead ones in our woods
winter’s been hard

I visited a friend and she has some work for me
I went to a community talk on wild edibles and met a few acquaintances
we’ve shared a meal with family members, made tagine and drank some wine

slowly, bit by bit, as familiar motions take place
I am getting home
it’s been a long journey after all

ps. people are asking about highlights from the trip, there are so many, here are a some visual highlights

pps. I am planing on doing a blog series about women and age. I want to keep that conversation going.

 

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