Friday, December 17, 2010

Night winds.

Last night after a whirlwind wild pack, I walked to JJ's, cutting through the night winds, thinking about the bush. Night winds rushing through space between covered ears and headphones, unveiled throat, open neck. Montreal wet on my skin. She welcomed me in with a gift, and gingerbread snowflakes prettier than anything Martha could imagine.

Today has already been such a gift. There is sorrow here, plenty of it, we are wading through it together and separately. But there is a lot of good. Part one and two of this operation (and just now Part three) have come and gone with such an incredible smoothness, blessed be. I am incredibly sad today, but also hopeful for a time in life that I do not yet know. Dicotemy town, these days. Lila has a home until the wake of transition is ripple free, also blessed be.

Three friends, Maya, Kim and Dylan (bless them) are helping me today. They are no strangers to hefting million pound boxes and it will be so funny to pile into Dylan's wee car that is home to a billion summer planting memories. These people are such good people. Dylan is forever there, driving this way and that, lazy zags on a gravel road, happy in his hat, rolling in the crease of his jeans like Bram used to in the quiet light of his home looking into the Mansion's back alley (James's face is so clear to me now in thought, studying Mandarin by lamplight across the way from Bram's table with such diligence. Miss you my friends. Can't wait to see you both at Christmas. Bram, if you read this, I would like another piece done by you. We will talk. Miss you and your family).

I am filled with thanks today. Never in one million years would I have guessed this path I am about to alight upon. Always grateful for the moments in between, past love, adventure and excitement that comes with the summer season, the slips of paper that make their way letting us know we are loved and not forgotten. No one is forgotten in my life. Nor is this time something as flippant as a passing gull-like phase. This is life, such is life. We are living, we are alive, together in our togetherness of loss and love and sorrow and joy, all of it.

I carry you with me.

Thanks for the outpouring of love and patience these weeks. I cannot count how many times JJ and Lo especially have sat through countless dinners and wine swallows punctuated by my A. Marj wailings, ruminations, salutations. How many phone calls and deposits my mother has made on my behalf, I am alive because of her half of the time. How many times Grandma has dipped cookies into hot tea in my name, how many prayers at the dinner table from Grandpa and my Dad. How many bathtub bawls A. Daryl has taken in and then somehow managed to send me back on my dripping way with feelings of strength, pride and affirmation. How many hours Mitch has held me, ran fingers through my hair to calm, scratched my heaving back, and been there for me. You are an incredible man. How many letters from Tiny Moms. Andrea, blessed your baby be. Every one of you and so many more, I love you. How many names I have not mentioned, you are not forgotten. You are all appreciated, a trillionfold.

It is time to go now, time to begin again.

The birth of.

I wrote to the wind one year ago around this time without a clue in the world as to what the Year of the Tiger would sail my way. Well, whoa. To say the very least. Dear Wind, okay. Ready when you are.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sheer nights.

I am hiding in the steamed bathroom post bath, encircled with head curls and body candles. Aunty Daryl and I just spoke and a sense of strength and calm lapped up and over and into partnered with the hot bath. Sickness ebbs, but it has been so long so it is okay. There is a quarter eaten bar of milk chocolate near my ankles, sweating like the mirror. I love a good bath in the winter.

This dress is the only thing I want to wear right now (or maybe get married in or give birth in someday). It is the most beautiful piece of clothing I have seen in a long while. Simple and lovely.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

No brands.

This is a drawing especially for Larry Beth Beeston. I am sorry I buggered up your face; my fingers are ink stained and crossed that this doesn't toss what has long been written in the cards.

Greater Toronto.

Here are some photos taken en route to Toronto through a train car window and then a few more in and around town with Eddy and my siblings, closed eyed et al. Great trip.

Red nails.

Pigeons, plants, back lanes, paint, two sheep, a woman with an umbrella, a trailer in a Christmas park.

I walked around this morning with hot tea in a thermos, with my trusty wigwam toque that makes me feel like me when I wear it, wild long hairs shooting out over my shoulders (I will miss this mane one day), headphones and a musical soup of Chad VanGaalen, Land of Talk, Cat Power; four old friends walking intimately through the pretty falling snow.

Montreal is so mild lately but there is enough snow to throw the unsuspecting into unwanted loops. It is nice though. The sidewalks are cleaned up now, and no longer is it necessary to trudge anywhere. I walked this morning listening to music through my toque and being quiet. At one point at Villeneuve and St. Urbain (a really nice intersection) I stepped into a fogged bakery no larger than a big closet. The displays were steamed up from the hot doughnuts and croissants and I just whipped out my ONE fresh fifty dollar bill and bought a two dollar doughnut. I had to, there was no other option. The main baker, a kind french man with a lovely face indulged me for a few over the counter minutes and we shot the shit in broken languages, both of us embarrassed by what felt like a lack of reach the tongue has. Still, it was an exchange, a great one. That reads like we made out; we didn't, but he did give me some long baguette bags that I could sell my dolls in. Just a few, so if you get one- consider it a golden ticket bakery bag.

Baguette, hot bread. Ohhh yeah. JJ made Lo and I a Tante Mary (the whole sha-bang) spread last night. I made a deep salad and Lo brought a good selection of jazz and a bottle of vin rouge. Bicycle man. Silverman Jones. Bushchipits. Oh these women, hysterical. It was nice to lady perch around a circle table, marveling at how it took THREE years for us to all arrive in the same city once again. Nice evening, great day.

After the bakery pop in, I looped around after cruising St. Laurent and looking at all the window displays that made me miss my sister. She is so good at displays. Damn. At St. Laurent and Mont Royal (I think), I met two sheep and another nice dude. This man came out of a tiny red and white camper trailer parked in the middle of a park that is usually bare, holding a folded newspaper. It felt like the bush for a minute (cold May), maybe it was the fire burning low. He had fences up and leaning against them were Christmas trees row on row, their nets touching each other. It smelled heavenly. There were lights and ornaments hanging from tree branches heavy with pigeons (I love taking pictures of pigeons, makes me think of Europe. Oh blessed be). We shot the shit a bit and I took some pictures of his sheep. Then an eagle caught my eye.

Standing tall totem style with wings outstretched, this majestic bird towered with the trees. Morning Auntie Marj, nice to see you. So casual.

Soon Maya and I are going on a hunt for the best Sunday spoon in Montreal, as I am dying for grease meats and slippery eggs with coffee. Shittown, USA. Hey!

I found a new home on Dollard and Van Horne. It is also a long and lean apartment with jaunty angles and kind women. I will have a little sewing room with my work table and a little window looking out onto the sleepy street of Outremont. We are wading through sadness these days, but a lot of good is coming.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wet faces.

I saw Aunty Marj early this morning in a dream, just before waking. I was in Thailand or somewhere similar, somewhere HOT. I was shooting photos of Erin, Tiff and Amy standing against a colorful brick background, their faces to the wall running along the edge of a canal. I was shooting and treading water simultaneously with Aunty Marj's old Nikon F3 [my only camera] that was somehow waterproof in the dream) when all of the sudden, Aunty Marj popped out of the water behind me, her head bursting out of the water. I thought it was a beaver at first! Nope, it was Aunty Marj. She said "Hi Megsie!" and I just cut her off and YELLED into her face how much I loved her and missed her. She ignored what I was saying and said "I am so happy here, swimming in the heat FINALLY" (this is a woman who loved the heat more than anyone I know). She did a few little tight laps in the weird little canal we were sharing and I kept looking at her dripping hair and shining eyes. Then as fast as she came, she went again, dipping down so deep to the bottomless depths. In the dream I remember thinking to myself, 'I had no idea she could swim like that!' with those strong strokes fresh in my mind's eye. Damn.

I woke up, threading it over and over until I was fully awake. Good morning Aunty Marj, whoa. That was nuts. I don't really have the words, I am just grateful the dream remained clear as day throughout my morning and afternoon with Leo. What a swimmer. What a woman. She is happy, where ever she is. She is in the heat, that much I know. Oh man.

Leo and I played outside in the MOUNTAINS of snow today. It is pretty surreal knowing that yesterday and today were his first ever experiences with snow. We made snow angels (I forced his arms and legs) and he just lay there laughing his little head off, a little confused and half blinded by all the white. I can't even count how many times he got himself up to standing in that little blue starfish getup and just bellyflopped face first, tongue out into the snow. This kid LOVES eating snow. It was nice.

All day I thought about Aunty Marj swimming deep down underneath it all. I miss her. I am turning into a sad sack.

Sad sac.
Sad sac.
Sad sac.

Wet faced sad sac.

Two letters to pop in the mail. One cup of tea to finish. Two new drawings, one for an old friend (finished!), another on the go. Leo is sleeping and my day is nearly over. Below is a picture of another wet faced creature, doing his own laps with a starfish in his mouth. My friend Leonard (three days until he turns one).

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Homewards and onwards. I am at the back of the bus Gus, in car 5, seat 16 S (for single) beside Walter and Janice, the red sweater couple who are reading matching New Yorkers and popping pills every half hour for good health. We are at the back, with no escape from here due to a broken vestibule door. I have already been called the "hammer girl" as it is my job to elbow smash the plastic sheath covering the tiny hammer incase of emergency. Alriiiight. Good thing I am very comfortable with a hammer, even one that falls under the Purse category. I am also very comfortable with the idea of heading back for Montreal, my home away from home. My home, home. It was funny to be announced as "she is from Montreal" this weekend, even though I am not. But I do live there now, and am so thankful for it.

Train rides provide wonderful amounts of sitting and reflecting time, something I was in dire need of. Tonight it is dark as night outside my window, save for the occasional blast of town light, or the odd flash of racing red. It is nice. The car is dark and quiet at the end (Walter and Janice quietly discuss Prince William's upcoming nuptial bliss) and I am left to my own devices and thoughts. A cup of warm church tea, one milk two sugars that might keep me up until kingdom come (that is okay, I have a lot on my plate) and a fat stack of letters to keep my hands busy. Lisa, Liza, Rags, Ma, Grandma, Maude, Ronny Rouge. Oh! I just remembered the letter that Erin gave to me to read 'on the train going home'.

So there is that. (I just read it Fritz, thank you one million. Hanky applied to face, stat. Sisters skate already framed and hung in my mind. So perfect, so needed and so appreciated.

There was Toronto too. This trip was even more than a solitary train trip, it was a meeting of siblings as well! Milky and Frin and I walked miles stacked upon miles, ate what we felt like when we felt like it, drank pitchers of local brew and laughed in the fancy hotel beds in the downtown morning light. I walked fast because I just had to and they kept up, laughing behind me, beside me, behind me, beside me. It was so nice to be together, shmaking cloves and lady mints, trying to keep Erin's blur of color in my field of vision in H&M. I forgot how fast she shops!

Another TO highlight was actually meeting my pal Eddy from the bush upon my arrival in Toronto. I had written him a letter along with the details of my train schedule as well as a request to meet, not actually thinking it would work, but there he was. That familiar face. It was really nice. It took a few city blocks to relax into the easy relationship we shared daily this spring, just laughing and asking questions and drinking coffee and jazzing it up in colorful lanes. But it felt nice to spend time with a friend I came to know so well in such a short time period this May. My friend Eddy.

He took me to his favorite graffiti back allys off Spedina and Queen to show me some of his and his pals work. I took so many photos in that tiny window of time together. There is one shot of Eddy standing on a metal staircase making this crazy face. The moment the shutter clicked, the word portfolio just slipped in through my ears into the centre of my head and I felt so grateful for friends like him (among so many others) who make me feel totally comfortable while shooting. That photo whether it turns out or not, is one of the reasons I take photos. One of the reasons why I want to pursue a career in photography. How many people is it possible to connect with in a single life (A. Marj)? Anyway, just meeting him never in one million years would I have guessed Eddy and I would connect the way we did/have. Probably the same for him when he met me in my stripes (tights and Hi Vis) standing in the mud on Strecker Farm in Kenora. Thanks man, I had such a good time and I needed to shoot like that again, it had been awhile since I had taken any portraits (of anyone other than Leo who has zero choice in the matter).

I also shot a bunch of the downtown and my siblings looking at maps while smoking or laughing. A few train shots and subway glimpses. It was a really nice trip.

Now back to reality, back to the basics. Let's get back, back to the basics. Time to purge and rearrange, time to clean and take stock of the important things, time to get real, time to save for many moons, time to start formulating a plan on how to get to the Yukon by July first. Time to get seasonal, time to sew, time to just be.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Tales from the train.


A water tower here, a smoke stack puffing up and out of tree stands there, salt shacks in obscure places that remind me of none other than Dryden town. I am on a train, zipping through Quebec country. Little fuel towns with orange tin roofs, burn blocks and Birch stands, Red Pines (I think) and Black Spruce (I know), crops shorn short, fallen logs that remind me of Spraycation so long ago with Birdy and K. Old farmhouses perched atop hills and tucked into valleys. The car sways like a woman with hips, it is nice. Monte Carlo Motel, see yuh. Cornwall, Quebec approaches, and then goes as fast as it came up. For now it is all birch trees as far as the eye can see draped in the dull early morning light that comes with winter in a damp province.

It is really nice to be on a train again. I have been looking forward to this ride for three years. The idea of my siblings waiting at Point B is quite something. I will write more as the hours wear on, but for now I am simply happy looking out the window at the snow falling. Toronto, here I come.

Ontario here I come, how I have missed you!

We must be rolling into Ontario now, I can feel it. The land looks different and it calls out to the planter who lives inside of me. Furrows row on row outside of my window, no keifshow here. Trust me. There is water lapping at lake banks right beside the tracks under our bodies and everything is the same color as the sky: winter white. It is very serene and for the first time since November 9th, I feel wholly serene. I am not quite sure what it is about Ontario that draws me in the way it does. Maybe it is the familiarity of the little character mill towns puff puff passing my train window, or the wildness of the bush paired with the hopping creeks. Tobacco creek, my creek long dried and gone by now.

I hope there is a time in my life where I am able to really live in Ontario. Little houses tucked into their plot in the woods; driveways winding out of sight. That is the kind of place I dream of when I picture the happiness of my older self. Just a few days ago I couldn't rid myself of the idea (and didn't bother to try) of wining and dining in such a house like the ones I see flying past, my lady guests of honor laughing with necks craned to the heavens, low light, happy women full with good food and pride of our scattered broods screaming somewhere high above our position around the table in the and amongst the trees on the land. I can see a little kitchen, with one of those serious butcher blocks beaten with age and use in the middle, the anchor of the home. It is quite an idyllic daydream and it is not the first time I have been swept up in thought to that place. I have been there before and I have a feeling I know where I can find a home just like it (Casa Seargent, from the sounds of things).

Someone is peeling an orange behind me. And now we just whipped passed a bunch of four or five year old crop trees! Planters were here, plain as day. Oshawa, Ontario is up next, which always makes me think of flying with Grandpa and Milky years ago, Erin and I tucked into the small seater in the back of the plane, our tiny heads taking turns listening to Plane Talk in the giant head set. You have control.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Shauna in the sauna.

An old drawing from summer that I found today while rifling through the goods. Bless the Shauna's of this world.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A prerequisite.

A gift from a friend in a time of need. Thank you one million.

Aries (March 21- April 19) for the week of December 2, 2010.

As any mildly wise person knows, exploring the unknown is not only an aid to our mental and spiritual health -- it's a prerequisite. That'll be especially true for you Aries in the coming weeks.

Assume that your drive to experience pleasure isn't a barrier to your spiritual growth, but is in fact essential to it. Proceed on the hypothesis that cultivating joy can make you a more ethical and compassionate person. Imagine that feeling good has something important to teach you every day.

Madhavi, I have been meaning to share these found photos with you especially, and I feel this place is as good as any.