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Battening hatches…

April 12, 2010

There’s something I love about being on the river before dawn breaks…

The world still asleep,

as I follow the frozen spine of the Moose on my snowmobile…

—in Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden

I have a friend who was going to see a hand specialist,

because she was having hand issues…

I reminded her that her hand is connected to her body…

The thing I love about going to my doctor of T.C.M. is that when I tell her that I have a pain in the ass,

she puts pins in the outside of my right foot,

half-way between my pinkie toe and my heel,

and on the top of my right wrist…

This defies Western medical reason,

and it’s about GD time…

I bet if I was a hockey player with a broken foot,

she’d put a pin screw in the middle of my forehead…

Then all hell would break loose,

and I’d be eating granola out of a Stanley Cup by the beginning of June…

But what do I know…

The other day I was chatting with a neighbour,

who is a C.U. nurse,

after Tangos por Fiesta class…

She was telling me about her continuing education courses,

and the tools she is gathering to help navigate the river of her life…

I asked her to tell me about a useful tool…

She sat down and said,

I tell myself BE,

OPEN UP and…

I interrupted her before she continued on,

and asked her what she means by,

OPEN UP…

She looked at me like I was one joker short of a full deck,

OPEN UP…

Like I’m opening up to you,

because we’re talking…

Then she added,

I’d really recommend for you to take this workshop…

It has changed my life…

We all need different paddles to get down the river,

and my canoe,

believeyoume,

does not need a tool for opening up…

Like a lot of the children I have worked with,

the ones I see coming through the door on the Tuesday after Labour Day right into Kindergarten,

the ones they label A.D.D. and H.A.D.D. and somewhere on the autism-spectrum,

I need tools to filter out,

and close down…

Yesterday Starshine and I went on a boating adventure with her friend Sunshine,

and one of Sunshine’s older sisters…

Starshine had left her soccer jacket there after a sleepover the night before,

and she didn’t know where to find it…

Sunshine said,

I already looked for at least 40 minutes,

through all of the shoes,

in the basement…

Sunshine’s sister said,

What does it look like???

Starshine gave a simple description…

I saw the look in the sister’s eye…

She walked off and in a minute,

she was back holding the jacket,

in her hand…

Sunshine said,

She always knows where everything is…

Our lost homework…

My dad’s keys…

Anything the rest of us can’t find…

I looked at Sunshine’s sister,

and said,

I’m like that too…

And then I thought but didn’t say,

I can tell you that I grew very tired of finding other people’s wallets,

and the butter in the door of the fridge…

It is an important skill to exercise,

but I’ve had to learn that I’m not responsible for settling other people down,

in the middle of their anxiety dumps…

They need to learn to do it for themselves,

and I know the message registered somewhere…

We all got in the car and buckled up for safety…

But before driving off,

I cracked open a little book that I keep in the door of my wagon,

for the purposes of random guidance,

and saw these words,

from the Mystery of the Hidden Staircase:

The best way to clear one’s mind is to commune with nature…

— in Nancy Drew’s Guide to Life by Jennifer Worick

I read it aloud…

There were giggles from the back seat,

and the standard eye rolling…

I said,

You may laugh at me now,

but you will learn to love me later…

I saw Starshine collapse into pleather,

hiding her head in her friends shoulder…

Partly dying,

and partly loving every minute of it…

Then I threw on some music,

only to hear,

Our art teacher thinks you’re a hippy,

because you hula hoop and listen to Le Vent du Nord…

I said,

Your art teacher is too young to know what a hippy is,

and I eat too many potato chips to be one…

She should try to be a bit more open minded,

and not so quick to name call…

The last person to call me a hippy was named Daisy…

She lost my business,

and all of my recommendations…

That would translate into thousands,

with today’s strong dollar…

As we drove along I asked more about the gift of finding…

I asked Sunshine’s sister questions to see how her mind operates…

She said,

Most of the time I’ve seen it somewhere and I remember…

Other times I just know…

This morning,

in between making prosciutto salami sandwiches,

and getting skewered with pins,

I found a casualty,

right under the wooden KinderKitchen,

beside the fridge…

A small surprise left by ghosts of cats past,

with eyes still as bright as onyx…

You came along and took me out of the night time...

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