Just as the sun rises and sets, I'm going to begin as I always do... where in the world has time gotten to???? It's nearly the middle of August people! AUGUST! Geeze Louise. July was busy with family visiting for three weeks, finished school (did I mention I FINISHED SCHOOL???? Well, one exam left, but they emailed me to see what name I wanted on my diploma!) Funny, seems like life's been on hold for years (five to be exact), and I've dreamt and thought about this day for what seems like ever, and whamo, here it is. And I'm just sitting here looking rather stunned.
Reality says that I'm exhausted, which I am, and I am writing so with a sort of holy shit it's really finished kind of feeling. Shock and awe we shall say. For now to be able to step back and take a breath... wow... what a ... change. To having nothing to procrastinate over... it's hard to wrap my head around. My final course was an Intro to the Novel where I had to read a bunch of stuff (80% of which I will never read again unless I am paid copious amounts of money) and write technical papers on... you know, papers that suck the life out of you with proper prepositional phrases and no comma splices. I was once invited to a writer's symposium with the author David Adams Richards.. a maritimer and good writer (I would read more of his). We had to write a story that would fit on the back of a postcard about the picture on the front of it - begin it, work it through, end it, all on a 5x7 piece of cardboard. Mine was of a woman in a hat/material shop, circa 1800s and grainy... no distinct lines. I don't remember what I wrote, but I do remember that he said that it was my job as the writer to create that picture in the reader's head, to leave nothing to doubt about what I was explaining or expressing to them. I still don't know if I agree with that because to me, writing is about putting it out there and letting the reader sort it out for themselves. If there's something to be had, they'll get it. Perhaps that's why I've never been published. But perhaps that's the same reason I've never tried.
Over time a lot of things get put into perspective - what you like, don't like, couldn't be bothered with, or what you'd decide to lay down your life for. I remember a girlfriend of mine said that she had loved turning 3o, that it was like someone gave her a card and said there you go, you've got your shit together, your decisions are worthy of listening to, you have sound advice. And I've never forgotten it. In fact, I think about it all the time. I think about how the years of my life have sorted me out, defined and challenged me, comforted and consoled. Which brings me to what I've been working through this week.
This past long weekend we were at Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose, Alberta. If you're not familiar with it, it's a huge country/bluegrass/rock kind of weekend that's run for the past 17 years with big names, lotsa booze and decisions that will later (assuredly) be regretted at some point in many concert goers lives down the line. It's a good time, but a wild one for many. What happened this particular weekend was a huge wind storm that toppled the main stage, killing one and injuring several others.
To start was the simple fact that never in my life had I had so little time to react other than in a basic get the hell out of here way. To even think back on it it's an eery feeling to understand what could have happened to us. Thankfully we were all safe and sound. A strange hand of grace was over us.
The woman that died was Donna Moore. She was in her mid 30's and the single mother to two boys, aged 10 and 16 years. She was gone with friends for the weekend. According to reports by Donna's friends, she had received a text message earlier in the day from her oldest son who informed her that he had decided on a career path, and that he wanted to be a youth pastor/worker. Apparently it had been very important to her that her children attend post secondary of some sort. She was said to have been quiet proud and pleased of her oldest boy's choice.
Here's where I struggle. My heart breaks, literally aches for these two kids. Because really, they're kids and far to young to be without a mama. I can't even begin to wrap my head around the devastation and pain that they're going through. Or if' it's even sunken in yet. But the clincher was that it was listed as an "act of God", unexpected and with a devastation never planned for, this act of God took the mother of a child who wanted to be a pastor. So when I think about how time and age has defined me, how life and struggles with good and evil and woohoo and prayer have turned me around upside down and inside out, I wonder how this "act" will define these boys and where they will go and how they will deal with it. And the reality says that only time can tell.
Peter and I had been fighting before we left... slamming doors and being snots kind of fighting where nothing the other did was right. We slept in separate beds that first night, but on Saturday night when the wind had settled and the rain stopped, we were all crammed into this one little one, he, ava, our baby to be and me and all unwilling to let cramped corners pull us apart. We were all safe but needed the safety of each other. The next day we all packed up quietly, used please and thank you, had patience for the other, held hands as we drove home. There was the unspoken "what could have been" and suddenly our perspectives had turned around. And through it all I wonder why is it human nature that dictates disaster to focus on what's important? And then why I haven't known better to do so?
Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.Anais Nin