Weary Friday Night

•August 22, 2008 • Leave a Comment

“I forgot my toothbrush.”

He stood there, silent and motionless for mere seconds that magnified themselves into infinite segments of eternity. Then he spoke.

“That’s not exactly what your voice message said.”

The words cut through the awkward silence that hung thickly between us like the sharpest scythe. And then he smiled a weary, Friday night smile.

“Welcome, Roxanne,” he positioned the door wide open and gestured to me enter as he spoke. He spoke with that familiar, subtle warmth in his voice. I felt the fatigue and its encasing surprise. An incredible relief fell upon me as I walked across the threshold, and into that old, familiar living room. A fury of fears and anxieties fell across and away from me, like a gentle breeze falls across and away from itself.

In these moments, it occurred to me just why the caged bird sings of freedom.*

* The Caged Bird Sings of Freedom is a poem by Maya Angelou*

Still …

•August 22, 2008 • 1 Comment

I love Him still. Dear reader, that does not always suffice. Particularly when one loves at the very fringes of madness … and perhaps, beyond. My heart insists we have not seen the end … only just an interlude … a harsh lesson love must teach its feeble pupils. His extreme dichotomous nature confounds me … saddens me … frightens me … enrages me. Jeckyl and Hyde. Eventually Hyde destroyed, devoured, dissolved Jeckyl. How can I save my dearest Jeckyl?

I have come to see that the tinest, most benign-looking flaw can prove quite noxious … can grow into the gravest of infections. The location of the flaw ~ not merely its size ~ determines the scale and intensity of destruction and devastation wreaked upon hearts and spirits. Learning ~ that’s what we call this. It leaves a bitter taste on my tongue. But … it works.

a bitter taste

•August 19, 2008 • 1 Comment

I love Him still. Dear reader, that does not always suffice. Particularly when one loves at the very fringes of madness … and perhaps, beyond. My heart insists we have not seen the end … only just an interlude … a harsh lesson love must teach its feeble pupils. His extreme dichotomous nature confounds me … saddens me … frightens me … enrages me. Jeckyl and Hyde. Eventually Hyde destroyed, devoured, dissolved Jeckyl. How can I save my dearest Jeckyl?

I have come to see that the tiniest, most benign-looking flaw can prove quite noxious … can grow into the gravest of infections. The location of the flaw ~ not merely its size ~ determines the scale and intensity of destruction and devastation wreaked upon hearts and spirits. Learning ~ that’s what we call this. It leaves a bitter taste on my tongue. But … it works.

a weary Friday night

•July 14, 2008 • Leave a Comment

“I forgot my toothbrush.”

He stood there, silent and motionless for mere seconds that magnified themselves into infinite segments of eternity. Then he spoke.

“That’s not exactly what your voice message said.”

The words cut through the awkward silence that hung thickly between us like the sharpest scythe. And then he smiled a weary, Friday night smile.

“Welcome, Roxanne,” he positioned the door wide open and gestured to me enter as he spoke. He spoke with that familiar, subtle warmth in his voice. I felt the fatigue and its encasing surprise. An incredible relief fell upon me as I walked across the threshold, and into that old, familiar living room. A fury of fears and anxieties fell across and away from me, like a gentle breeze falls across and away from itself.

In these moments, it occurred to me just why the caged bird sings of freedom.*

*The Caged Bird Sings of Freedom is a poem by Maya Angelou*

Adieu

•June 18, 2008 • 1 Comment

When I watched him walk out of view, past the checkpoint and into the secure area, I felt myself wilt. All the air ~ sucked out of my lungs. I now faced a full eight weeks without him ~ my beloved pilot. I kept his shirt, last worn next to his skin … and when I wear it, his scent embraces me. I look at his pictures … and I marvel at how very much of him the camera’s simple image failed to capture in its pixels. And I marvel at how very much of him he left with me.

In the still of the night, my heart beats a lonely beat … in search of its mate. I know why the Mona Lisa smiles, but I can never tell. Perhaps, one day, my heart will tell the tale. I smile, as tender thoughts of my Pilot trickle across my psyche, yet, a hungry ache possesses that gaping hole in my chest where my heart once sat. I study my reflection in the mirror, and say to that figure, ‘Well, on your bike, girl. You’re on your own, now.’ Hope, despair, purpose ~ these three would have to get her through the next two months. Hope, peaking behind the tears in her chocolate-coloured eyes. Despair, etched into the lines on her face and folded into her viscera like a sort of necrosis. Purpose, held in the grip of her tightly clenched jaw.

A Year, Remotely

•June 4, 2008 • 1 Comment

A lovely, simple A-frame cottage. A tiny one. Nothin’ fancy. No bells. No whistles. A 20 gallon hot water tank. A septic tank. A tiny patch of trees. A wood stove – not installed according to the fire code. And a deck, screened in and looking out onto Lake Winnipeg. In the spring, summer and autumn you could here the sighing of the tide from just about anywhere in the cottage. The windows remained perpetually opened, as did the sliding door that leads out to the deck. A gentle breeze sang thru my bamboo chimes. And on some days, you could here that familiar, yet enchanting, flutter and hum of the hummingbirds, slurping up my offerings of fake red nectar.

People lived here only on the weekends. During the weeks, a silent hush descended on Silver Harbour. And then the gentle, shy does would emerge from their hiding spots. And … if you were lucky, you might spot the occasional stag – tho they seemed far more elusive that their female counterparts. Teeming with life — this silent, silver prairie nugget called Silver Harbour ~ 2.5 hours north of Winnipeg. Remote as remote gets. Coyotes, owls, eagles, pelicans and a certain yearling moose all called this place home. +/- expand post

Lake Winnipeg is the size of Switzerland. And though its only a lake, from my kitchen window in Silver Harbour it seemed like a vast, expansive sea. A walk along the narrow little beach at Silver Harbour revealed the tiny hoof imprints in the sand … our wild friends … visited the beach, too. And I knew, tho I never did see them, that they lurked about our yard in the deep stalk of night. Night time up @ Silver Harbour. Ahhhhh – pure, unadulterated night. A million plus starry beacons pepper the velvet sky. And … @ those certain times of year, mother nature’s spectacular aurora borealis light show forced me to drag my foldable camping chair outside, just to watch in silent awe and wonder.

I noticed the following, by virtue of their absence to the landscape. Starbucks, Blenz, and the rest of the frou-frou coffee shops on every city block. City blocks. Concrete phallic symbols – aka skyscrapers. Construction cranes dotting the horizon. And … oh, the horizon! One which you could see for miles and miles. Open to the possibilities that one could make for oneself. A lonely, empty horizon, beckoning new life. Silence abounded. Everywhere. It seemed I’d rode into a cell of still life. Nothing. Remote. No retail enterprises existed within walking distance. And I saw none of those beautiful and plastic shiny, happy people. You know? The ones that like containment … of life. The ones that tell us to stuff our raw, delicate emotions into rubbermaid containers, where we can no longer see or feel them. Well – I could see no shiny happy people in the vicinity. wysiwyg. I had entered wysiwyg land.

I failed to notice how alone, insignificant and powerless life still left me feeling, as I marvelled at the wonders of wysiwyg – remote rural life. Did I embrace this life change as fully as I believed? Perhaps … perhaps … I only embraced it as an escape from the status quo. The one I believed I left behind in Vancouver. However … one must often learn the hard way – status quo = oneself. Status quo cannot fall away from oneself through a mere change of scenery. Status quo can only fall away with an intense bout of molting. As in … a giant snake molting its skin. Life still felt like something happening to me … as opposed to ME, happening to IT.

I marvelled. At the silent simplicity of each day, as its petals unfurled. I marvelled. At the silent, steady and constant resolve of the people who dotted the landscape. I marvelled. At the gentle wisdom of the does and the stags, the elk and the coyotes … who shared their quarters with us humans, in this place. I wondered …. what words lay on the mouth of Lake Winnipeg, whom I could hear, sighing ceasingly, from the tiny cabin we would call home for the next year?

Hummingbirds fluttered in the background, like the beating of my unsettled heart, right outside my living room window. The matrix of nature – in its purest form – weaving itself masterfully, before my wondrous, weary and sad eyes. The icy breath of old man winter brought desolation, utter paralysis – a chilling silence, as the sighs of my friend, the lake, grew silent. Silence – a flawless reflector. of oneself. It strips a soul. Leaving it naked, defenseless against the elements. and so – I stood. naked. Shivering in the wind. Shuddering at my petty insignificance. For all the world to see. Dear Reader, that’s what remote living feels like.

~ Photos ~

the cottage – a view from the lake-side @ night.

the forest – thick, lush and vibrant.
just steps from our door.

if you watch them closely,
when they grace the night skies,
you can seem them dance electrically

The Philosphy of The Cathars

•March 19, 2008 • 5 Comments

Since arriving here in the UK, I have spent a great deal of time reading. Novels remain my favourite books … novels that depict stories set in the distant past ~ i.e. historical fiction. Recent reads include The Savage Garden and Labyrinth … and currently I find myself one-third of the way through The Vault of Bones. The pile of “future reads” includes The Other Boleyn Girl and Sovereign, among others. It may sound strange, but … I’ve learned alot about medieval history as a result of my recent voracious reading behaviour. Labyrinth, particularly, got me interested in researching the Langedoc region of France, the Crusades, the Inquisition and the savage intolerance of the Catholic Church. +/- expand post

Having grown up in quite a devoutly Catholic family, I find myself intrigued, mildly repulsed, cynically amused at the failure of the Church to teach its congregation about its history ~ its true history. Of course, I suppose its only human nature to cast oneself and one’s group in a positive, flattering light. Nonetheless … this behaviour, in the context of faith and soul matters … seems tantamount to some sort of brainwashing or manipulation. In my experience, Catholic followers seem to know little about the brutal history of their faith. Like I said, intriguing … in a pathetic sort of way.

So … I became interested in the Cathars, the Crusades/Inquisition and Langedoc. Here’s an interesting tidbit ~ inquisitors required heretical sympathisers – repentant first offenders – to sew a yellow cross onto their clothes and also, to live separately from the Catholics. Hmmm …. considered in the context of 20th century history …. what does this yellow cross remind you of? Perhaps a certain yellow star? Perhaps a certain dark event known as the holocaust? D’ya think …? I do.

Aside from that interesting detail … I find it interesting how many of the basic tenets/concepts of Catharism linger in present-day spiritual thinking. The notion, for instance, of this earthly existence as the Hell, and the rejection of hell and purgatory as destinations in the afterlife. Also, the notion of physical, material matter as rooted in evil ~ constricting the spirit. This makes me think about the struggle that many of us feel between the pureness of spirit and the heavy, vileness of the physical, material world. These notions have their roots in Catharism. And … the concept of the resurrection as symbolic considered in the sense of reincarnation ~ also rooted in Catharism. Sounds sort of eastern, doesn’t it … the idea that one continues to live successive lives until s/he breaks the enslaving chains of earthly matter that hold the soul in bondage.

So … simply … what exactly does Catharism mean or entail? Essentially, Catharism centres around dualism. God, being perfect, did not create the evil, earthly, world. Rather, the Devil ~ Satan ~ created the world and all its enslaving evil materials, as a sort of prison. In each of us resides a divine spark of God ~ we call this the soul ~ that thirsts to rejoin with its maker ~ God. The purpose of life, then? As I mentioned earlier ~ to break free from, to transcend, the bondages of the material world. Many souls do not succeed in achieving this purpose in the miniscule time span of one lifetime. And, hence, they must endure successive lifetimes; the soul reincarnates itself until such time as it achieves divine freedom, and then it may rejoin its maker. Cathars did not believe in the Trinity … or Jesus as the Son of God. Rather, they viewed Jesus as the Holy Spirit … a type of divine phantom, a messenger sent to us from The Divine ~ not a human being.

The Cathars thought of the Catholic Church as corrupt and misguided. They did not believe in worshipping idols, the trinity, the eucharist, or the concept of a priesthood. And … interestingly, they did not promote procreation, believing that it propagated the slavery of the spirit to flesh. Hence, they considered informal relationships preferential to marriage. Their rejection of marriage also stemmed from their rejection of oaths and vows. And, in fact, to survive a trial of the Inquisition, a Cathar only needed to provide proof of a positive marital status to have his case dismissed.

I will refrain from completely lambasting the Catholic Church, Pope Innocent III and the like. Suffice it to say the following, which summarizes the mentality. Arnaud, the Cistercian Abbot, when asked how to tell Cathars from Catholics, replied, “Kill them all, the Lord will recognise His own.” The Church massacred hundreds upon hundreds of Cathars and their supporters, and burned as many more on giant pyres. In fact, I have read that these pyres held so many people, condemned for heresy, that some of them collapsed under the weight of all their bodies.

Funny … sadly, cynically funny … that Catholic school, and Sunday Mass failed to teach me about this shameful heritage of the Catholic Church and faith. Interestingly, this new-found knowledge has helped me shape and solidify what I believe. And, yes, I definitely do believe something, as in my heart, I always have believed (despite, at times, my refusal to admit such). Only, I have never felt quite sure exactly what I believed, when it came to the spiritual. I recall a university professor once telling me that, in order to learn about and know one’s POV and beliefs, one must also learn about opposing views and beliefs. Intuitively, this has always made sense. However, its taken me many years of living to really see and feel the practicality in this statement.

And so it is.

[the inquisition]