touching base

I caught up with my brother this week
it had been a while
I’m always excited when using skype to see a familiar face live in front of me
it remains magic
I don’t skype face to face that often

we had a nice long chat
for several years there were barriers between us
in a field that seemed to expand, the grass grew tall and wild
it was thick and the idea of reaching one another was tedious
could we find a path
make a path
get to that fence and tear it down
find the opening

I don’t know if its time
if life’s many storms had something to do with it
but eventually the field got clear and the fence got easier to get by
you know those old field fences
it doesn’t hold anyone with a good will

we’re both aging too
maybe we have collected a few grains of wisdom

my brother is an artist
it is both a gift and a curse
a gift as one can find a mean to express and give
a curse as there isn’t always someone to receive and appreciate
it is a lonesome road

caught between the need to create and a longing for community one has to find balance
between expectations and wants one must remain true

there is much about self these days
for long it bothered me
self like selfish
like me, me, me
look up for a minute, leave your navel alone

I have to review this notion
and to admit
that one must take care of oneself first
if I am weak, if I am sick, if I am unhappy
there isn’t much I can do for others
there isn’t much I can offer except for a reflection of my misery

I have to agree that one has to nurture oneself in order to nurture others
to nurture oneself is to find balance
between wants and needs

my bother has gone through many storms in the past years
he’s been battered
lost his footing
landing on a new shore he’s had to start from scratch
the options are broad
it doesn’t make it easy

along the way he’s found a companion
a ray of sunshine he’d forgotten about
yet, he still wonders, what his next step should be
where to put that corner stone

take care of yourself brother
forget about the expectations and wants of others
be selfish for a moment
bask in that sun and feel those seeds grow
forget about an abundant harvest
as long as it is enough to fulfill your needs
you will always find enough to break bread and feed others


one week ago

one week ago I was thinking
surrounded by our kids
like if it was christmas
that I would look back at this week end one week from now
that I would be there already
would have filled my eyes
would be settled in a new space
would sit back and reflect

there was a dose of anxiety
some excitement, some last minute check in
the list, adding to it, scratching items as I went
the piles of clothes, and gear, and little object to pack, unpack, repack
what will I need
what to bring
what am I forgetting
insurance, money, reservations
why isn’t Pedro getting back to me
yes Alessandro will pick us up
should I reserve train tickets online or at the station
online, now
Pedro won’t be there but Giulio will meet us with keys
90 days in Italy
first stop Firenze

two of our kids accompany us to the airport
wait in line
figure out the tickets
walk us to the gate
we wave
a funny feeling that we are on the wrong side
as if they were the ones that should be boarding

you two look younger, you should travel more often

I take my shoes off before passing the security check
bins for the laptop and phone
bins for the handbag, coat
I walk through, it beeps
the belt: metal on the belt
take the belt off and walk through
don’t stop

I mimic others
ones that seem to do this all the time
I feel like a kid
I often do
lift off
this feeling of being pushed back in the seat
the ground far below in no time
this is it

overnight flight, three planes, not enough sleep, Blade Runner on a tiny screen
in Munich we must go through custom in order to get to our boarding gate
the officer must be my kids age, he is friendly
how long is your stay? this way for the gate

was that it
at the very small airport in Firenze no one will check us

I have been studying italian for weeks on duolingo
time to practice
dov’e … dov’e… ?
how do we say bus to downtown
why didn’t duolingo teach me that
I know how to say that the horse does not eat sugar
it won’t get me downtown though

it’s a grey rainy day
the streets are busy
no one pays attention to us
the streets meander, change names, it takes a while but we find our apartment and Giulio is there with the keys

over the next two days we will explore the city
get lost in it’s outskirts
eat at a famous trattoria
have the most delicious paninis
drink wine and some more wine
get struck by the unreal beauty of the Duomo
be one of so many tourists
walk the streets again and again
visit the Uffizi gallery
admire the talent of medieval artists

the journey begins
we must put our shoes on
today we are going to Assisi


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

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

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



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

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