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Walkie talkie…

July 1, 2010

The soul of a nation is in its people,

and the spirit of Canada is sublimely diverse…

Our differences make us stronger,

but what pulls us together,

ties us into a shared destiny,

is the straining of our human hearts—

the secret wish for a common practical magic…

— in One Native Voice by Richard Wagamese…

 

On June 29th,

the last day of school,

I took Starshine, Little Gem and their two sisterfriends,

strawberry picking out on Westham Island…

Strawberries aren’t at their best this year,

but it’s still fun to sit in the dirt,

and sweat from the fruit of your labour…

We got to chatting with a couple who moved to Ladner since 1972,

and haven’t looked back…

They don’t like how Richmond is starting to spill into their wide open spaces,

and they wondered what brought me to living where I do,

and how I can grin and bear it…

I told them that I’m ready to leave my neighbourhood at any time,

but what brought me there was my love for old houses,

and diversity…

I’d be hard pressed to find any of that southwest of the George Massey tunnel…

They finished up their picking and wished us luck with ours,

complaining the whole time about the water in the berries…

When Little Gem was a baby,

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle had already sifted through the ether,

and was well on its way to becoming a bestseller at Costco…

I have to laugh when someone describes themselves as a person who lives by the principles,

of the Power of Now…

You can see this everywhere these days,

and it is very funny,

when put it in perspective,

and you see the same person claiming to live by the principles,

chasing the dragon all over town…

I never really got what Eckhart was talking about,

and why he had to go on about it for so many pages,

until my children both got the chicken pox over Christmas…

They were the last two children in their family daycare to come down with it,

and as a result had got the worst of it,

exacerbated by impetigo…

In this vaccination culture,

when your children become infected with something,

that they shouldn’t have gotten,

if you were a responsible parent and had just got their shots,

the official policy is,

your children will be excluded…

My sister is one of those people who finds her son is extra precious…

I wouldn’t want him to be exposed to your sick children,

so you can’t come for Christmas dinner was what I heard over the phone…

That was fine with me…

We had a great time at home by ourselves,

sitting in oatmeal baths,

and watching Maisy…

Sometimes it takes more than chicken pox,

and impetigo to get the principles of the Power of Now to sink in…

I obviously hadn’t received enough of a message because a couple of years later,

thirty minutes before the stroke of midnight,

on New Year’s Eve,

as we were brushing our teeth,

Starshine said,

Mama, it feels like if I don’t scratch my head I’m going to die…

Starshine has more hairs per square inch than a sea otter…

There’s nothing like a head full of nits to bring you right into the present moment…

And there’s no where you can go because nobody wants you or your vermin anywhere near them…

In our house there is more than enough hair to start up a wig-making factory…

Hand combing three heads of hair,

strand by strand,

every day for the duration of an infestation,

is heavy duty business…

And when done well,

this process develops one pointed attention,

without any need for meditation retreats,

yoga weekends,

or an ashram in India…

But not everyone is willing to drop everything,

and listen to the music…

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