Winter is a job. It’s taking days: switching clothes, including seeing which sweaters now have moth holes, which can be fixed; shutting windows, getting the furnace checked, hours in the garden pruning, composting, washing potted plants to come indoors. Today, digging out the dahlias, washing off the tubers to dry for a week before storing them in the basement for the winter. Sam came to visit with Bandit to carry in my biggest plants. I put away tables, umbrellas, chairs, tablecloths. Putting away warmth.
It feels colder than usual for mid-October, but maybe that’s just me. The bite always surprises.
Monique is hosting in her spare room her Ukrainian cleaning lady’s daughter and grandson who fled their country and are trying to learn English and figure out their future. The problem is that the cleaning lady, unbelievably, supports Russia and Putin 100%. Another victim of propaganda and misinformation, another vaccine divide. What’s happening in Ukraine is so vile, so appallingly heartless and destructive, it defies belief. What’s the point of taking over a country you’ve smashed into oblivion? But that’s the way of war, at least, of this war.
At the same time, we’re watching the rise of far-right female leaders – in Italy, Alberta, England. Echoes of Margaret Thatcher. More tragedies, more stupidity, more waste. Danielle Smith – ye gods!
However, on Saturday I went to see 36 dancers from a cross-section of African countries performing Pina Bausch’s choreography to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. It was especially powerful because the first half of the program was such a dud, I’m sorry to say so but it was — two older women, one white, one black, apparently beloved dancers and choreographers themselves, floating about dreamily, meaninglessly. We could hardly see them in moody lighting and at one point they spoke to each other and we couldn’t hear; then they got out buckets and put their feet in them. It was the kind of pretentious, arrogant art I dislike, with the implication — if you don’t understand our sensitivity and brilliance, you’re just not smart enough.
And then after a long intermission, during which the the stage was covered with peat, whammo! True brilliance, incredible energy and passion and commitment, overwhelming – that music still shocking and modern more a hundred years later, and the power and strength of the bodies, incredible. Wept for joy at the end. As I do.
Sunday morning I joined Nicky’s dance party, women on the Zoom screen dancing with each other, and wished I could move like the bodies I’d just seen. But we do what we can.
Writer Rachel Laverdiere included my recent essay in her own blog. Much appreciated, Rachel, thanks.
- Most of us experience imposter syndrome. In her Brevity blog post “Learning to Speak,” Beth Kaplan shares her thoughts on owning what we have to offer. She writes, “I’m offering them something of value, I think, giving the gift of my thoughts and words and work. And standing in the hotel room, I open my arms, palms up. Here it is, my gift to you.” I think everyone should read her words of wisdom. All of us could benefit from reading her post.
My U of T class started on Zoom yesterday, students from all over Canada and one from Phoenix. The basement suite is rented as of Dec. 15, a huge relief. Somehow the days are very full but I go to bed unsure of what I’ve accomplished. Except have kept up with email, read the newspaper, and just got the next two books of the blog printed and winterized my life.