"The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates

- - scatterings of ideas sent to my younger self, a sensitive girl who was fooled into believing she was a boy because of anatomy - -

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Winter is here.

Winter is knocking on the door. Last week it was cold and raining. Yesterday it snowed, again, and this time it stuck and stayed; a sign of things to come. Today's post: Canadian perspectives on wintertime. 

This past week was a lovely holiday for K and I, visiting with family, chosen and otherwise. Outside, it was dreich, as my friends in Scotland would say, but K and I kept warm ~ love and a good fire have that effect.  

Among the highlights was a trip to Parry Sound with three of the chosen family mentioned above to hear two Canadian treasures, Whitney Rose then Alan Doyle and the Beautiful, Beautiful Band perform. 

Alan told the story of the genesis of the song Laying Down to Perish. In April of 1917 four men went out onto the ice off Fogo Island Newfoundland to hunt. When the wind shifted, they were stranded. One of them carved a message on his gaff, then sent it adrift, hoping it would be found and returned to the families, which it was. He carved the date, their names, and the simple message: laying down to perish.

Living isn’t easy
Dying isn’t hard
When the hungriest days of winter
Plays her wicked cards

I’ll not be called a quitter
‘Cause I chose to take a knee
For the ice won’t e’er be broken
Not by no man, not by me

Laying down to perish
God knows where I’ll go
Laying down to perish
I just wanted you to know

I’ll make my wife a widow
But I won’t have her trace the shore
With a candle in the window
And foolish hope above the door

I’ve got no time for haunting
The ones I’ve held so dear
So I’ll carve the crudest message now
Before I disappear

Laying down to perish
God knows where I’ll go
Laying down to perish
I just wanted you to know

I am not so sad to pass
To what lies beyond the snow
But to have you think I left you
Would break my heart and soul

Let there be a warm hereafter
In the sweetest by and by
Let my house be filled with laughter
Should I ever cross your mind, now I’m

Laying down to perish
God knows where I’ll go
Laying down to perish
I just wanted you to know

Another perspective on winter in Canada, from another icon of music, Gordon Lightfoot

Song For A Winter's Night
Gordon Lightfoot

The lamp is burnin' low upon my table top
The snow is softly fallin'
The air is still within the silence of my room
I hear your voice softly callin'
If I could only have you near
To breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
Upon this winter night with you.

The smoke is rising in the shadows overhead
My glass is almost empty
I read again between the lines upon the page
The words of love you sent me
If I could know within my heart
That you were lonely too
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
Upon this winter night with you.

The fire is dying now, my lamp is growing dim
The shades of night are liftin'
The mornin' light steals across my windowpane
Where webs of snow are driftin'
If I could only have you near
To breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
Upon this winter night with you, 
And to be once again with with you.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Dear Haters

I am proud to say that my grandmother on my dad's side was born in Scotland. 

I've been on visits there twice and if I had my way, I would love to live there. 

All of these connections are only strengthened by finding out that the government and police in Scotland are taking an active part in letting haters know that they are not welcome. 

Perhaps all civilized countries might adopt this approach to haters. 

Dear homophobes, racists, bigots, transphobes, and disablers. 

There are things this country doesn't welcome. 

We don't welcome you attacking people because of their religion, where they're from, or the colour of their skin.

We don't welcome you abusing and bullying disabled people.

We don't welcome threatening gay, lesbian, or transgender people, with verbal or physical abuse. 

Haters are not going to hate here. 

That's why if we see anything, we're calling the police.

We believe in acceptance and it's time you accept that.

Yours, Scotland

Thursday, 25 October 2018

It Started Out As a Good Idea ...

I remember watching Monty Python's Flying Circus way back. As a skit was going along and running out of gas (or petrol I suppose, since it was very English) an army officer, played by Graham Chapman, would interrupt saying, "Stop that! It's getting silly!" I feel that way quite often and wish some groups could have a do-over. Sadly, more often than not, things just keep getting more and more silly. 

Around the same time, a political party evolved from a discussion over dinner at our lawyer's house. We were all concerned about overspending in the Canadian government of the day. The conservative ideas we proposed were very pro-business, and yet they included ideas about making sure that the average person would make a decent wage, too. After all, how can businesses thrive when people haven't enough money to purchase their products? 

We decided it was time to expand the party membership by having an open meeting. That is where things went very wrong. A few highly vocal and persuasive extremists and bigots exercised their democratic rights and the original platform was replaced by something quite hideous. Those of us who had started the party simply walked away, depriving the group of our organizational skills. Thankfully, the party died. 

I sometimes think of that adventure into politics, and subsequent adventures in church-going, and wonder how often that sort of thing has happened; when a wonderful idea has been germinated, but gets twisted and changed into something else as it becomes organized into a religion or a political party.

Ideas and beliefs are good. Institutions with members and rules become extreme. They tend to polarize a population into we and they, good and evil.

Perhaps, we all need a do-over. I know it has done me a world of good personally!

And now, for something completely different: 

The Galaxy Song
Monty Python: John Du Prez / Eric Idle

Whenever life gets you down, Mrs. Brown,
And things seem hard or tough,
And people are stupid, obnoxious or daft,
And you feel that you've had quite eno-o-o-o-o-ough,

Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
And revolving at 900 miles an hour.
It's orbiting at 19 miles a second, so it's reckoned,
A sun that is the source of all our power.
Now the sun, and you and me, and all the stars that we can see,
Are moving at a million miles a day,
In an outer spiral arm, at 40, 000 miles an hour,
Of a galaxy we call the Milky Way.

Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars;
It's a hundred thousand light-years side to side;
It bulges in the middle sixteen thousand light-years thick,
But out by us it's just three thousand light-years wide.
We're thirty thousand light-years from Galactic Central Point,
We go 'round every two hundred million years;
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe.

The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding,
In all of the directions it can whiz;
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
Twelve million miles a minute and that's the fastest speed there is.
So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth;
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth!