Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Fog and Fireflies

Last weekend, Ian and I went for a little stroll in the fog. It was about 3 AM (The Witching Hour) and it was mesmerizing. I could have been dead and it wouldn't have looked any more eerie or different than if I was walking through some sort of eternal portal, I swear. I was totally comfortable with that. Turns out, I am much less comfortable in broad daylight than I am in the middle of the night in the thick thick fog. Who knew? Well, likely a few of you could have guessed...

The urge to go outside and snap a few photographs has always ran through me in a very strong way. Photography is an interesting hobby. Beyond that, however, it is the immediacy of the image that gives it an appeal I can't seem to resist. Painting obviously does not (and cannot) give me that kind of satisfaction. I like and enjoy seeing something beautiful that catches my eye translate instantly and digital photography certainly does that for me. 35 mm film (or what have you) can also do that for me, but I don't have a 35mm camera nor do I have a dark room and supplies to develop film, so I stick with what is available and what is available is my Canon Rebel. As it stands now, my $1000 camera offers a lesser quality photograph in terms of pixels (I believe I am getting that right) than my iPhone, but the level of customization cannot really compare and that's where my Canon trumps my phone any day of the week in terms of truly pithy photograph making and taking. So, I took my little Canon out for a spin in the fog and I got some pretty interesting shots, if I may say so.

The element of the entire night that caught my eye initially was the spider webs. They were absolutely everywhere. On the light posts, the plants, the windows. Everywhere. This is nothing to really get up in the night over, of course, but pair the element of a spooky night with the weight of water droplets from intense fog and you've got something gorgeous and wonderful to behold. The web that captured my imagination almost immediately was the one that is rectangular in shape and covered on all sides, almost like a box. Now, I don't know if bugs think about things in terms of their coziness, but as I pondered that little box made of webs, I felt like crawling into it and curling up like a baby. Was this the spider's aim? Create a space that bugs would be drawn to take naps in? It's quite astounding to consider how incredibly adept this spider is at making webs. I mean, it lured me in. If I had been an insect, I would have been a goner. I am that easy to trick and please, I guess. Poor me. Thankfully, for once in my life, it seems my height worked in my favour and I walked away because I obviously wouldn't fit in that little box made of webs. Score one for the 5 foot, 1.5 inch woman. I avoided the literal death trap, but I am sure there was at least one little bug who was tempted, to their peril, before the night was over. We are all weak to temptation in the end, but what a way to go.

Ian and I have had an interesting month. On the same day as I won employee of the month (and can now check that particular achievement off the bucket list!) he received a promotion (again) at his job. He is (as my mother says) cooking with gasoline. He's moving forward at a faster pace than usual. This means he is enjoying his work. He is getting better and better at what he does. Of course, this is all well and good, but it also breaks the status-quo that has settled into our household this past year. He works. I work. We don't do much else besides work, but we also had our little patterns... he called at a specific time every evening. He earned a predictable pay-check that made ends meet, but not always. Adding my income to the mix has put us in a more comfortable setting than I am used to. So, this promotion shook me up a little bit, I will admit it. It has meant an increase in stress (or so I fear) and an increase in busyness. It also means an increase in financial gain. I don't say that to brag, but what I am saying is that it takes the proverbial squeeze off of us even further. I was getting pretty comfortable at the level we were already at. I am not a greedy person. I am not a flaunting or flashy person. We seemed to have just enough and that was enough for me. I didn't see where there was a need for improvement in our situation, so I wasn't pushing for one. One came along just the same I suppose because we put our heads down and took a steady and faithful approach to our jobs which leads to good things, time will usually tell. However, when someone like myself loses that sense of backwards security within the confines of the big financial squeeze, they are bound to feel like they are coming apart at the seams a little bit. And, in proper Jody-style, that's what happened to me a couple weeks ago. Instead of being really happy about all this, the pragmatic side of myself got really concerned and I crashed pretty hard in a pit of despair that makes very little sense to me right now, now that I am on the other side of it, but it took me for quite a loop just the same.

We went for a drive and we started to argue about really stupid things which usually simply means I am pissed off or scared or something and don't know how to put my feelings into words that aren't so dramatic and puffed up that I lose my audience almost immediately (by audience, I of course mean Ian). My dramatic language (which involves a lot of worse case scenarios and larger than life consequences, I will admit) only made things worse and the worse they got, the more I seethed. We were parked at a graveyard and it was dusk. Night was falling fast. As my anger got the better of me, I dropped the gears down into flight mode and I exited the car and walked away. This is how I cope. I walk away. So, I walked away in the oncoming night into a rather large graveyard. The more steps I took towards the cemetery and away from the car that held my husband inside, the calmer I felt. I cried bitter bitter tears, but they subsided and my frustrations started to abate as well. I walked among the graves and the many ghosts therein whispered to me that I had to learn to lose control a little bit in order for life to hand me a few good and unpredictable things. I heard that message and I felt that message and as I stood under a tree and just let the tears fall, I let it settle into my heart and mind. Looking around at all those headstones, I was starkly reminded that none of my fears will matter someday. Someday none of the things that upset me will matter. It will all fade with time. Again, my pragmatic side took over but in a more useful way. Okay. Change is upon us (again) but this change is a good change. This change might lead to my dream of owning a house with an ocean view someday. Someday someday someday. Then again, maybe not. But I have to open my heart to receive, that I know for sure.

My son's ceiling cracked and fell this past week. It was an old plaster ceiling that was probably put up decades and decades ago. Apparently there was a crack in it that I never noticed and one day, very recently, it simply came apart and fell. The ceilings in his bedroom are quite high and the plaster fell directly where his head would have been if he had been in his bed at the time. Luckily, thank God  thank God thank God he was not in bed at the time. If he had been, it would have seriously injured him. This experience shook me up a fair amount. I couldn't really get my mind off of it when I was at work the next day. I mean, what if what if what if? I could conceive of the idea that it would have and could have severely injured him or worse and I am not going to even think the thought of how it could have been worse. It made me realize how very precious my children are to me. All mothers think that and know that, but when you are put to the test, these feelings emerge at an animalistic level. You know nothing else besides the gratitude of knowing your child was spared from  harm. *

This experience made me wonder how my father would feel if he knew about the things that have actually hurt me in my lifetime. Would he be enraged, upset, or vengeful? Would he be protective? Would he defend me? Would he have kicked some very serious ass? Or would he have left it to me to fight my own battles, as my mother has done? I will never know, but I can dream that he would have thought and felt me to be as precious to him as my children are to me. I can exist in that dream-world for a little while every bit as easily as I can exist within that realm of fog and orange light that pervaded the neighbourhood last weekend. I can exist within that belief like I can exist in peace while surrounded by death. I don't know why it is this way, but it is. In my lifetime I have been deprived of the things that others take for granted. I have watched from the sidelines as people use each other and exploit their families in a variety of ways. I don't understand that kind of thinking. To me, my children are like fireflies... I am in awe of their beauty, their magic, their existence in this world, but I also know how fragile they are and how fleeting childhood is and how the gift of their presence in my life is richly bestowed. I know nothing beyond that. I don't know what it is like to have a father who loves me. I don't know what it is like to have financial security. I don't know anything about life except that you have to fight for the things you love. And, occasionally, you have to set a trap for food, like spiders do. That's about all I know for sure.

In between all of these musings, I continue to make art of some kind. Sometimes I paint. Sometimes I take pictures. Sometimes I write.

And so it goes...

*I must add that the folks who own our building (some of the nicest people I have ever met) are taking immediate action to repair the ceiling.*

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