It’s the second week of a much-needed Spring Break here in BC. I recently took myself off to a sort of retreat at one of my favourite places in the world, (I hesitate to tell you where it is as you’ll probably want to go there and they’re already overrun with tourists in the summers as it is!)
My friend, Monica Lee, https://www.facebook.com/monicaleeband/ was doing a recording there with @MarcAtkinson, and while she was in the studio, I was working on my own stuff: guitar playing, a little bit of songwriting, a little bit of sight-reading practice for piano, a little bit of drawing and lots of exploring on my e-bike. (I like that with my e-bike, it’s easier to get up hills but you still have to pedal and even work hard on the steep inclines!)
There were so many favourite moments:
- heading out to the beach on a VERY blustery day and seeing if I could fly (not too much success there – something about my bones not being hollow…? But it sure was fun trying!)
- heading down to the cove to see if I could borrow a friend’s rowboat and get closer to the sea lions feasting on the last of the herring run. I have been on lots of boats of many different kinds but never tried getting into a rowboat from a dock without assistance before. You might be able to guess that I ended up falling into the water, fully-clothed (it was actually warmer than I expected) and NOT getting out on the rowboat but… it was worth a try and now I have a new story to tell!
- walking out on a rocky point on another blustery day and singing to the seals. I was disappointed that I hadn’t been able to view the seals or sea lions that I knew were there (I could definitely hear them!) but without binoculars (or a row boat), I just couldn’t get close enough to really see them. There was one curious seal following me as I walked back along the edge of the water, so I decided to sing to it, making up some sort of Italian-type aria. That definitely drew the seal’s attention! Soon, more heads popped up and then even more. In the end, I saw at least nine heads (it was hard to count them; they kept popping up and down) watching/listening while I sang to them. I wonder what they were thinking!
- exploring new paths in the forest and seeing where they led. We ended up finding a magical tree, decorated with small animal skulls and bones and rocks. It felt like a very sacred place and we were compelled to whisper and to leave something of our own hanging on the tree
- walking out on a quiet road under the full moon with the wind blowing the dancing clouds around overhead and the silvery moonlight helping me find my way
- playing drums at a jam with friends in a beautiful cabin overlooking the wild, wild ocean. All so inspiring and rejuvenating!
- Marvelling at how GREEN everything was there! (I usually go at the end of summer when everything is dried out and brown).
- just hanging out and laughing and talking with fine folks in a beautiful, quiet place where people are super friendly and open, and the air and water are SO clean! Ahhhh!
While I was in ‘retreat’, meanwhile, in the ‘other world’, lots of different kinds of things were happening. Some were very hopeful for so many who have been waiting a VERY LONG time: the gradual loosening of Covid restrictions and opening up of live music venues, for instance (dancing!!!!! Yeay!!!!) And so many clear signs of Spring: (at least here on the west coast): cherry blossoms, daffodils, crocuses, buds on trees and bushes, and being able to go outside without your winter coat and hat. Nice!
(Warning, the rest of this blog is more political than my usual posts. Feel free to stop reading now; I won’t have hurt feelings. 🙂 )
And some of the things that have been happening are horrible and scary: the invasion of Ukraine by Putin and the bombing of cities and civilians there. It’s unfathomable to me how anyone could justify actions like these. There is obviously a serious mental health issue in a man that feels the need for that kind of control and power and thinks that destroying so many lives is a viable way to get it. (Also disturbing is the fact that invasion, war and destruction have been ongoing in many places in the world, but many of the people in Europe, Canada and the US are more inclined to care about this particular humanitarian crisis. We can ask ourselves why but the answers may be very uncomfortable).
I always try to look at the horrible and scary things (and many problems that I encounter in my life) from a place of finding solutions. I confess, when I’m in the thick of things, that’s hard to do. I often need to remind myself to just stop and breathe and calm myself long enough to ‘listen’. When I do, answers and possible solutions will often come. If the world leaders who can make a difference are able to remain calm, set aside agendas and egos and ‘listen’, to their own inner wisdom and the wisdom of others, perhaps we can find real solutions and do the most good for the people of Ukraine and people suffering from the devastation of war everywhere.
One thing I know I can do is to donate to organizations that are sending aid to people in war-torn places. UNHCR, MSF and Canadian Red Cross are just a few of the wonderful organizations that do really good work to help. I also do everything I can to support organizations that are helping us transition from a fossil-fuel economy to a just/green economy. One of the reasons why Russia still has so much power is that they produce and export oil and gas to countries that are still heavily reliant on fossil fuels! It’s the underlying reason that so many wars are fought – over oil and gas! This is one of the best cases, other than the obvious one of the Climate Crisis, to move away from fossil fuels!
And, some may find this very silly and frivolous but one of my favourite things to daydream about these days is to imagine little fairy-like creatures flying around Putin’s head with tiny little arrows, tipped in ‘love/peace’ poison, shooting them constantly in his ears and skin and forehead and neck. They’re super annoying and unsquishable, they whisper all kinds of very wise messages like, “Putinitsky, you need to stop this now. You’re a better man than this. Back off and go do something good for the world instead. Go play with your war toys instead. You don’t want to be a destroyer. Be a solution-finder instead. Plant a garden. Play nice.” You know, messages like that.
Plus the ‘love poison’ gets in under his skin and travels to his brain. He can’t think properly and is often very distracted and his desire to bomb people into submission is lessening every day. He keeps getting strange urges to go play and garden instead of ordering people around and putting his many Russian dissenters in prison.
Silly yes, but it makes ME feel better anyway! It doesn’t help me (or anyone else) to be filled with hatred for the man and anyone else who supports him (although I definitely am at times). I’d rather do what I can to help, imagine a better world and think of solutions. Recently, I found this guy’s proposal for a possible solution to be very hopeful and viable. https://youtu.be/su4czYxGYxo
May you have a hopeful, rejuvenating, solution-oriented start to Spring (and may you find the wind beneath your wings)!