So, I think I last left off in a summer lovin' vacation enjoyin' mood - and it was lovely. Er, it is lovely, except that I'm not on vacation anymore, but the weather has been everything summer weather should be! My time on Bowen Island was as superb as ever - even got to witness a super moon rise up over Howe Sound and casting a brilliant silvery glaze on a beautiful clear summer night. I took care of chickens, and three ducks...found myself noticing the smaller things and moments that I don't always allow myself the time to take in. Each day felt like a shedding of another skin, another layer of harried frazzled skin...and I was enjoying the new shiny freckles and a more relaxed me skin.
In the midst of all this wonderful simplicity and long hot summer days punctuated with cannon balls off of docks into a cool ocean, my mind was fretting with my birthfather's very recent lung cancer diagnosis and mid July surgery date, and my sister's early July move with her four children to Israel. As I worked to keep my worries to a dull roar, and called upon my arsenal of self-care and basic go-to wellness practices: hikes and runs in the woods; sleeping well; eating good wholesome fresh food; smoothies; drawing; reading; watching movies; relaxation/meditation exercises; good wine on the deck in the early evening; etc...it was clear to me, that all this wasn't enough to prepare me for my sadness and despair upon reading of the three Jewish teens who were kidnapped and then found murdered, as well as the Palestinian teen who was found murdered within days of the Jewish teens' bodies being discovered. If it wasn't horrific enough that the teenaged boys were found dead, but the subsequent news of the Palestinian boy's violent murder sent me into sobs and a great deal of sadness for our world. I realize and know that there are awful things being done to children everyday in all reaches of our world. and It's a big part of why I choose to do the work that I do - wanting to help kids overcome abuses. However, on that day, upon hearing that news - I succumbed to a sadness that these things can be perpetuated by people who are so convinced that they are right, that they've become blind and shut off from their humanity. I want to be affected when I hear such a story. I want to be outraged, and yes, I want to feel whatever feelings, including sadness. Without these, where has my humanity gone?
Whew! If you're still reading, thank you...I wouldn't blame you if you had decided that this was a little too heavy...and it's summer, after all (like, no problems ever happen in the summer, right?). Well, the good news is, my birthfather's surgery went swimmingly...he's a trooper. We even managed to dance to "Footloose" together at a cousin's wedding in Calgary, just a few days beforehand. As for my sister...the ongoing news stories of the cycle of violence that pervades the region where she and her family now call "home" is still a very raw, scary, despairing situation. She and her family seem fine...they're somehow, doing what we humans do - adjusting, and trying to find their way around their new lives. It's not necessarily something that I think people are meant to get used to...and in my professional work, have seen the long reaching effects of trauma on the mind and body...yet, we're a resilient bunch. We do seem to bounce back and weather all kinds of miseries on our minds and bodies. I have faith that there are enough people who want peace and who want better for their children...I don't really have any answers. I'm not a big fan of putting my head in the sand, but I do think that a healthy limit of the 24/7 news cycle (and that includes social media), along with good laughs, being around children, friends, etc...is probably a good thing.
As a bizarre anecdote in all of this - just a day after they left for the Middle East on July 9th, I received a phone call and an email (while I was on Bowen Island) - from a reporter from the Wall Street Journal. She was trying to track my sister down for a story that my sister had contributed to, and wanted to know where she could reach her in Israel. Now, one might think "Wow" perhaps a story about their move into a country during a war? Nope. It was a story about Slurpees. Yes, Slurpees. Apparently 7/11 was having a free Slurpee day and my sister, amongst others, had contributed a story about her love of Slurpees to the WSJ story. Seriously. What a world!
It is now August, a month later - and all may not be good in the world, but I need to paint and it's still summer. Maybe it's time for a Slurpee?
Hope you're enjoying your summer and finding a way to find some peace in this/your world.
Thanks for reading.
Here's a poem for you:
BY ARTHUR O'SHAUGHNESSY
We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers
And sitting by desolate streams;
World losers and world forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.
With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world’s great cities.
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire’s glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song’s measure
Can trample an empire down.
We, in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
And Babel itself with our mirth;
And o’erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world’s worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.