Tuesday, February 28, 2012

today's count

Sunshine.  Blue sky as far as the eye can see.  And warm enough for runners, with pink laces.  Birds calling their harsh small calls from out of sight.  The soft crunch of partially melted snow.  The quiet t-wack of runners against the asphalt where the snow has already melted.  A child speaking to 'Mommy' in the distance.  A single walker on the river path, wearing a purple coat.  The perfect image of the train bridge in the exposed river.  Ice flows.  And on the way back, nearly there, a helicopter trying to shatter the afternoon as it roars up and then back along the riverbank.  It is red and white, and only succeeds in a making a brief interruption.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mr. March gives me hope

This weekend I read The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott.  I read it while I sewed, and did dishes, the laundry and general house tidying.  The copy I borrowed from the library was audio.  And the reader was excellent.  The thing I loved best about the story, being a big fan of Jo since I first read Little Women, was that Louisa held on to herself.  She loved, but refused to give herself up just for love.  She was a writer and a determined writer.  She loves the young man in the story, Joseph - and it took me half way through to catch on to that, duh - but she will not give up her writing for him.  In that day marriage would have meant caring first for him and their family. 

Which brings me to the part of the novel which made my blood boil.  Not a fictional character, as Joseph was (though he may have some suspicion in fact), but a character who was a man, and the character was closely based on the man.  And I can only hope the real Bronson Alcott was more like Mr. March than he was presented in this book because I liked Mr. March, but Bronson Alcott needed a Gibbsion cuff up the back side of his head.  Louisa's father presented in this book, and in certain facts I have read, believed in not living off the work of others.  No eating cows, or honey, or milk, or eggs.  No working in commerce.  But he had no great trouble in accepting the money Ralph Waldo Emerson made from his work, or the money his daughters and his wife made from theirs.  Or the work his wife and daughters put in keeping the family together, fed, clothed and housed.  He even at one time, according to this novel, when his daughters were still young, decided free love was for him and called the family together to inform them he wanted to leave.  It is stated in the book that the Alcott women never recovered from this betrayal.  And yet they worship him.  What gives?  I'd have tossed him out on the street.  So, perhaps he was more like Mr. March than this story gives him credit for.  I hope so.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

me vs the ipad: round seven

I loose. You loose.  We loose.  This one is in no way Henry's fault.  He didn't make himself.  I have touched at different times on the reality of the toxic nature of our digital toys and their long term effects to our environmental health.  Today on CBC's Q I was reminded of what, really, I knew must also be so.  'Oh shiney', and 'look how fast it is', and 'I have the newest one' which, of course, makes me better than you.  I have a computer at home.  I have an ipod. I loved the ease with which I can take photos with Henry for this blog. I use a computer at work.  Some young woman or man in China, worked 10-16 mind numbing hours a day, six days a week in less than glorious conditions so that I might enjoy these toys.

When I first read The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula le Guin I was younger than I am now, by a good bit.  I couldn't understand why anyone would leave that poor child in the basement.  I was outraged.  Get the child out of there, feed it, it's crying.  How cruel.  I didn't get.  I have got it for sometime now.  I taken small walks. I know of the horrors of the children who harvest chocolate.  I buy fair trade organic chocolate about 90% of the time.  But, I have never actually left town.  I am not sure how.  I think I will continue my small walk of using my digital and electronic equipment into the ground.  And I think I will start sending emails to Apple, my general company of choice in the matter, and encourage them to be the leader they claim to be, in more ways than the current one.

Friday, February 10, 2012

February spring and winter

Five days ago, on Sunday afternoon, I stood in our parking lot with my cello ,waiting to be picked up for an afternoon concert.  For warmth against the winter cold I wore a sweater and a ball cap.  This morning I woke up into the increasing early morning twilight to find the just gibbous moon hanging above the trees in the last of the dark blue dawn.  I donned long johns, jeans, shirt, sweater, boots, jacket, scarf, overcoat and my favourite -30 degree weather hat.  I went out, walked to the river bank, sat on a bench , and saw the cold mist rising off the river making the Broadway bridge look like a romance painting. And watched the moon fade into the morning sky.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

inside books

It is amazing what people use as bookmarks.  I have been putting the cover back on Western Canada Law*, from 1921.  As I spread the pages out fell a postcard, an RSVP really, from 1921.  Yes, it has been inside that book all this time.  And I will put it back.  It was to be sent to P.E.C. Ecob, Secretary Graduates Association, Collegiate Institute, Saskatoon.  As the city was only incorporated thirteen years before the simplicity of address is understandable.  Mind you the nice white interlopers had been hanging around since 1883 on the general spot, and if my great granddad's buffalo hunting stories are anything to go by had been seen in the area a lot longer. But still, 1921, and no need for a house address, a street name, least of all, a postal code.  And next year I will have to use the provincial area code just to phone next door!  The really pleasing part was the back of the post card, the language of the response:  Dear Sir, In reply to your invitation to the University of Saskatchewan Graduates' Reunion on May 6th next, I beg to say that......, Yours faithfully, ....  What a delightful luxury of language. I think I'll go to the party.

*Full title just for fun: Western Canada law : a concise handbook of the laws of western Canada, as the same are applicable in the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, together with other information of value to business men, farmers, secretaries, justices, police magistrates, and all other persons interested in the laws of western Canada / by Arthur E. Popple

Friday, February 3, 2012

Book Launch

I've known this book since it was a little baby manuscript.  I have read it and commented on it, read the rewrites, and the title change!, and cheered when it was accepted by Kids Can (and they can you know, they'll surprise you, you think just 'cause they are teeny they can't do anything, hah!).

 It is a delightful story of Frazzle and his model 7, which he bighearts. Frazzle tells about his adventures in his Flyary. Trouble begins when the model 7 begins to make strange noises.  "Humm, piffle, humm tick tick". (I may not have that quote just right, but its been a while since I've had the manuscript in my hand.  I am looking forward to having the book in hand).

Rusty Macdonald Branch Library Auditorium, 225 Primrose Drive, Saskatoon.  Sunday March 4, 2pm

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Today's count

Two running shoes, one left, one right, on me, instead of boots.  Why wear boots when it is spring warm and the snow from the brief January cold snap is melting down and showing us the grass?  The moon, pale and luminous against an all blue sky, just past half on its way to full.  Two crows, black and sharp, flying one, then nothing, then the other, in the direction of the sun.  They are sun worshipers, crows.  I have seen them at the end of summer evenings, flying en mass to the top of the highest building in their territory to yell at the disappearing sun. When it is gone they croak away to their trees, beautiful black against the twilight sky, and roost.  Perhaps they are chasing the sun away.  I think they are wishing it well and a safe return.

It is returning well.  Even the unenlightened are noticing the days are longer.  It is Imbolc, a pagan festival falling between solstice and equinox.  It is St. Brigid's Day.  It is the 33 day of the year.  And here and there gophers are popping out to see if they can see their shadows.  As we haven't had winter much this year I wonder what they will have to say.