Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Brave New World

Today ecstatic day. Sometimes you go for months wondering where you are or if you’re making the right choices. And then a day comes along that is a thumbs-up to your very spirit, heart, soul.

I ended a 9-year, common-law marriage in January. Three days before my birthday. It took all my courage to start anew and choose a happier path than I’d been traveling. Recently, I turned down a job though I wasn’t really in a position to do so. I’ve been walking a tightrope of risk for the first time in many moons. But all the while choosing to finally listen to my gut and go with that; EMBRACE it. And today, I’ve begun to feel rewarded. That somehow this is the first of many astounding things to come for choosing this path less traveled. Life feels scary yet so alive! Baby steps. Leaps. Bounds!

I thought the day couldn’t get better when my sis e-mails me this video. It was of some shy, beautiful Welshman performing on Britain’s Got Talent. He sang opera. I felt his triumph in my tears of joy. I keep replaying it, mesmerized; thanking my lucky stars…and Paul Potts, the Welsh Wonder.

Music: Nessun Dorma, Paul Potts

Sunday, October 7, 2007


So last night I drive into Toronto. The way I go is to take the backroads as far as I can 'cause I like to avoid the major highways as much as possible. I went to catch Iron and Wine at the Music Hall on the Danforth, my old neighbourhood. Got there early so I tucked into my favourite Irish pub two or three doors down and sipped a half pint of cider. Told the bartender it had been far too long a time since I'd last cosied up to these hammered copper tables and he simply said, "welcome back" when he gave me my change. It still felt like home sitting there. When I got back to the hall, it was general admission and, as I was by my lonesome, I scored an empty seat in the fifth row centre just as the lights lowered. One of the best concerts I've seen in many moons. Sam Beam is a fucking genius and his voice is...well it's indescribable actually. Check him out yourself if you can.

After the concert, I headed back a few streets to my car, but then figured I'd take a stroll since it was such a beautiful night. A walk down memory lane to years when I was younger and still full of hope, lighter of heart maybe. Sauntered past my old house on Ingham. It was bought by a couple of Angels (literally their last name). I wandered around and couldn't help touching the older trees in the neighbourhood, guarding everything in their silent majesty. These giant witnesses of time. The old drycleaners where I'd forgotten my wallet one morning and was told to 'pay the next time'. The movie rental place where John, the Chinese owner, always teased me how my late charges kept food on the table for his family.

An electrical storm loomed in the distance and once the rain began to softly reach me, I saw two gay lovers walking slowly hand-in-hand so tenderly and I envied it. The streets were strewn with leaves of every colour and it caught my breath, as it always does, to see them swirl around in some cyclonic embrace in the middle of the road, the same way the wind can swirl your heart around visiting memories in the autumn. A drunk balanced himself as he walked along the little wall outside of an old church, like a child does when experimenting with his first fear of heights, testing himself. Made me recall this wall on the Southeast coast of England, the sole mechanism of play offered at recess, and the way we'd all gather cross-legged to hear Mrs. Read read aloud to us, our chins cupped in our five-year old palms. The soft glow of light emanating from some of the windows warmed my steps as I passed. Someone had planted a twiggy bush by one trunk and fashioned a banister up their steps with it. And yeah, I wept, okay? I remembered the taste of chocolate cake with maple icing and was craving it along with this ache surfacing in my womb, the one echoing beneath my left breast.

The equinox was Sunday and it was a wondrous way to celebrate the beginning of fall walking those streets with those old brick homes banking each crescent as I strolled. The moon is full tonight and it was coming on pretty bright as I turned each corner. It wasn't until I hit the dirt roads again that the rain really came down and, as my headlights illuminated the road ahead of me, they captured a frog leaping across. At first I thought it was another leaf, but it was bouncing too rhythmically and the underside of his belly and legs shone a bright white as he danced to the other side. And it made me think about the leaps and bounds I've been making this year for myself; the ones I've yet to make that still feel just around the corner.

And I hoped to God, even though I'm not religious at all, that I hadn't run him over as he was crossing. It would have been a shitty end to a beautiful, breathtaking night. A shitty end period 'cause he looked so damn happy to have the rain hitting his back like that. And maybe I shoulda pulled over and checked on him. Maybe I shoulda fucking kissed him 'cause for all I know I could fall in love any day now. Come to think of it, the autumn may be a better time of year for that kinda thing actually. It's always been winter in the past but that hasn't fared so well for me to be honest. And the thought of me kissin' that frog made me giggle with no radio on and just the sound of the rain hitting the windshield and the slow swish of the wipers failing to do the simple task required. Instead, my wheels keep rolling along and I imagine him making it to the grass and sitting there with his sides bloating and caving with each breath. And I smiled at this thought: life can feel so damn beautiful when you reach some place you're trying to get and the getting there can be enhanced tremendously with a little rainfall on your back in the autumn.

Next year is another leap year and I can't help but wonder where I'll land as I write this. Hope to shit I won't be flattened out by some tire in the middle of the goddamn night. I just want to reach that wet grass and breathe deep and crisp and even. Take it all in and feel heartened over the simplicity life can offer, traveling down this road...

Music: The Trapeze Swinger, Iron and Wine
This blog was originally posted on Nancy's Myspace profile on September 27, 2007.

What a Little Starlight Can Do...

I always wished I had the mathematical mind required to be an astronomer. I know so little about the stars, but I love how ancient cultures were able to construct buildings into which the sun would only shine one day out of the year on the winter solstice and shit like that. The ancients seemed far more aware of what was going on up there...I envy it. I've never blogged before. But the time has come. The stars are aligning. They're falling out of the sky, actually. Literally.

Sunday evening (from 11pm until dawn in the Northern hemisphere) is the peak night for the mesmerizing Perseids. This is the meteor shower that is visible annually in August. And this year we get a bonus. 'Cause Sunday, August 12, 2007 happens to also be a new moon. Meaning the sky will be darker and thus, those stars are gonna shine oh so bright.

Basically, here's what you do: it's dark. If it isn't dark, get your arse somewhere it is. Get out of the city for a night. I'm lucky 'cause I live rurally so I simply walk out to my back yard. Now lie on a blanket on the grass, preferably with someone who makes you hot under the collar. In my case, I have to settle for my German shepherd-Husky for company (she just makes me sneeze sometimes). You grab a bottle of something like an appetizing ale or vin rouge. Or maybe it's scotch (and I'm definitely not talking Johnnie Walker Red here–no, this type of occasion calls for something especially smooth like Oban), or maybe your bottle just has a message in it...

You roll, perhaps, a little something fragrant to smoke, if that's what you're into, but you can get high without this as well. Maybe all you're rolling is in the hay (proverbially, if you're not rural like myself) with the aforementioned hot-collar person. 'Cause you'll be witnessing some magic and the stars can have that kind of effect, especially when they're flying. Guaranteed you'll see at least one shooting star per minute. So go ahead! We, none of us, likely look up at the sky often enough. And we should. We really should, 'cause it's where we aim to shoot for our dreams. So do it more often, but especially do it tomorrow night. And while you're at it, mark your calendar to wash, rinse and repeat the above for the night of September 1, 2007, when, if you're smart, you'll jump at the chance to witness a rare meteor shower: the Aurigids. We won't see that one again in our lifetime. Well, this lifetime anyhow.

And maybe if you partake, then I won't have to feel I'm alone out there lying on the grass experiencing the wonder of it. After all, we're all made of stardust, ain't we? We're each of us an integral part of this vast universe, this 'way du lait', as I like to call it. Remember to make a wish. Hell, you can make a hundred while all those stars fall around you.

Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket, save it for a rainy day...
(Ahhh, good ol' cardigan clad Perry Como! He had the ticket!)

Drink it in. You don't even need the Oban, really. Nature can be her own greatest intoxicant...

Music: Vincent, Don McLean
This blog was originally posted on Nancy's Myspace and Facebook profiles on August 11, 2007.