Sunday, April 28, 2019

konmari? no

Since I don't konmari my/our living space, I live with what some would call clutter. The clutter might not bring me joy, but I'm not an overly joyful person, so that's okay. I am, however, fond of stories and I keep objects when a glance is enough to remind me of a place, a time, a person.

This hand-lettered plastic jar comes from the guide who led us on a hike in the Sierra Norte mountains of Mexico. On our walk, she explained the medicinal properties of the Alpine plants. When R grazed his hand on a rock, she dug into her crocheted bag for this jar of salve she'd made. She said it would disinfect the cut and stop the bleeding. That's not what it says on the jar but R's bleeding stopped, and she was so helpful. She even included her phone number in the event we wanted more. For two years the jar has lived in a corner of the bathroom cabinet. R uses it occasionally when he cuts himself shaving. Or on dry patches of skin. He says it helps. It has a pleasant, healthy-weedy vegetable smell.

Here's the rock where R grazed his hand. A variety of medicinal plants.

Another corner--a shelf in my office. How long have I had this roll of paper? More than ten years. As long as twenty? Inside the roll is a poem called "Through the Looking Glasses, Markly". It was written for me. Nobody else has ever written a poem for me, so I love it, quite apart from the wisdom and absurdity of the lines. Favourite lines? "Know thy animals as thyself." "Not that I trust anyone who would wear a tuxedo, either." This refers to the magpies that abound in Denmark where the poem was penned. "Some butterflies have a certain dignity in their erratic flight..." "To which I say, I believe that's organic rot, Alice." My friend knows me well enough to call me on my vanities, writerly and otherwise. It's a joke, for example, to say that any lines are favourite because the WHOLE POEM is a favourite. Nobody else has ever written a poem for me. (Have I already said that?) The roll is 26"/66.5 cm long. Paper has been folded and taped together. I don't recall how I received it. Obviously by mail because I have never met this dear friend face to face, but why is there an airmail sticker on it as if the roll arrived like that, intact? And hm, maybe Marie Kondo would argue that I get so much joy out of this poem, that I should keep it--but I AM NOT GOING TO FOLD IT the way she would. It is and will always remain a roll. 

And here, an admittedly dirty window ledge which I'll wash once I have all the windows open again. Scattered across it I have a few pieces of beach glass, as well as what I particularly like to find because they're more rare: pottery that's been washed up on shore. The patterned pink and white piece was found in the Gaspé, on the beach in front of our house. I found the blue piece in either Morocco or Tunisia. Being disorganized about what I find means that I don't always remember--but it doesn't matter because I'm happy remembering either place. (Oh, no, is that more joy?)

Technically I should not have kept the beach glass--also from the Gaspé--because it has not been worn completely smooth by the wash of the waves. But it's turquoise which is a rare colour and I liked the ribbed pattern. So...

I can make my own rules.

Friday, April 26, 2019

rainy day walk

A few pics as I warm up with ginger lemon tea and think about what to make for supper.

There is a theme here...

Sunday, April 7, 2019

the sound of farts

I was out walking yesterday, wanted to eat the sandwich I'd brought along, sat on a low wall. The stone was cold and I remembered how my mother used to warn me that I would get Blasenguitar if I sat on cold stone or concrete, which I suppose I did frequently because I heard the word often enough. My mother spoke German when she arrived in Canada. She learned English quickly--English because we lived in Ontario--though the odd German word persisted. To this day I'll bet my younger brothers, who do not speak German, know what a Kehrschaufel is because that was the only word she used for dustpan.

Although I was often warned about getting Blasenguitar and I understood from the way she said it that it was painful and I would be sorry, she never explained what it was. I knew Blasen meant to blow. A guitar wasn't an instrument you blew into but there was a hole where one could? There was no guitar in our house for me to test. Also how, without a guitar, was I going to get Blasenguitar? Since it would happen when I sat on cold stone and blowing was involved, I finally wondered if it was going to affect how I farted. To sound like a guitar? 

Note that I didn't worry about it. Blasenguitar seemed like other parental warnings to be ignored. But I wondered what the word meant. 

Decades later I was in Austria when I heard the word, Katarrh, used to refer to a cold. I remembered the old bogey monster and heard it anew as Blasenkatarrh. The verb to blow might include a thing that could be blown. Somewhere I'd read a novel where boys played with a pig's bladder filled with water. I had to be almost middle-aged to understand that sitting on cold stone might give me a bladder infection. 


Pics taken while walking from Old Montreal to the Pointe--with a view on the FARINE FIVE ROSES sign that's not visible from this angle when the trees are in leaf. 

Thursday, April 4, 2019

inbetween seasons in the city

It's an inbetween, dirty time of year in the city. Snow is melting, albeit slowly.

I don't mind the mud that at least promises growth. I do mind the thawing garbage that's been hidden by the snow.

Do people really truly believe it's hidden???? Why do they scoop dog poop into bright green plastic bags and then drop the bags on the ground? Poop would decompose more quickly.

All the junk underfoot. Or caught up in the branches of a tree where the wind blew it.

It saddens me to see the garbage and mess humans make. When the snow melts, we see what's been accumulating on the ground all winter. Yeah, no, guess what? The sidewalk plows didn't get it all.

I could take so so so many pictures of garbage.

But I look to see what else is out there--while we still have an "out there". 

I'm lucky since I live close enough to the river that I can get away from the sidewalks.

Mind you, the path by the river is littered with plastic too.