The Private Practice: In Writing
I infrequently see angels. Although, I have at times felt startled thinking I was about to step on my little Yorkie. A more deliberate glance showed nothing there but the remains of a shadow that lives in my mind. Lyla continues to live: in my mind.
When I access my French Canadian roots, I feel enveloped by the arms and culture of my grandmother. Memere, was her name. I still see her in my minds eye much like I see little Lyla who was always underfoot.
My morality lives a different narrative in French than does my English narrative. I have know this for many years. As many year as I have know that a souls last death is when no one else on earth is alive to remember it. I keep Memere alive.
I guess I might call myself an emotional pragmatist–someone who follows nature, like another might follow football. I like knowing the nuances. And those same nuances that I see in the tall pines and the swinging birches, I see in the magnified imaginations of both my conscious and my unconscious mind.
Autumn is nearby. This year she has not given much warning about the impending transitions about to happen–in my case from a bathing suit and bare-feet to long pants and a sweater. But, that is only the start. Transitions at this time of the year demand that we pay a conscious attention to not only today, but to the inevitable death of summer tomorrow. In this case the fleeting last hours and the fleeting last flowers of summer 2018.
We can’t ignore it–at least, we can’t ignore it for long. High winds crawling across the Atlantic Ocean from South Africa will actually rip some trees out of their roots. Imagine what it might do to you, if you were unfortunate enough to be where the tree was when the winds hit the coast. And, of course, when the rain falls it will be cold, and the bones will feel the chill; just a month ago the wind was welcomed as a soft, gossamer breeze fluttering like a yellow finch or the humming birds sucking up nectar from the brightest flowers in the gardens.
Here, in my little Canada, I am fortunate enough to anticipate fall, and eventually winter. The Canadian geese are on a flight pattern that has them stopping for a lunch break on Watchaug Pond. It probably looks not much different from Les Canton d’es Est to these migrators. Except for one nuisance: in Canada they are generally satisfied, there is no perpetual motion for the next exciting bit of success and the latest gadget that complicates life while convincing Americans that this very expensive thing will make life easier. The light bulb, internal plumbing and gardens in the Townships seem to have been joyfully arrested in the clutches of 1950 sentimentality with a touch of 2018 wisdom.
We get to a certain age and the question that sometimes get tossed around, especially among very close friends, becomes: which one of us will go first. It is not party conversation and often it is not the person you are the most intimate with that will participate in that conversation.
Life gets to a point where much of what was very important becomes less important and, in fact, at times, it seems pointless.
But the pointlessness is not a cynical position it is rather, a deeply reflective position that requires we to come to terms with ourselves. “Hummmm, I am helpless.” This is not a
defeated kind of position, it is more of a position that has become adopted from wisdom, our accumulated trials, and errors. The gateway to surrender is not crying, uncle.
It is achieved through remembering that healing takes time. And it is also facilitated by remembering we need only a glimpse of light to guide us to the way out of the ice-cold, blue darkness.
We, humans, get caught up in the conflict of moral surrender if it feels like defeat we might want to fight the injustice to the point of exacting revenge. Homicides and suicides are the consequence of following this maxim too far. But to quit too soon does nothing for one self- confidence.
Time as a factor of healing is evident when we suffer from an ugly virus or a broken leg. It seems less evident, though equally true, that emotional injuries require time to heal as do physical injuries.
Human contentment is acquired in small increments. It happens the way a leaf detaches from a tree in the wind. Suddenly after a lifetime of being the tip of a branch, one realizes they are in flight from one destination to another. You are still part of life the cosmos, just no longer attached to the tree.
You have come to a transition, a new season. Much will change but you will still be you-you in flight instead of you attached. Like a trapeze artist who has let go of one bar and swings blindly and backward releases the bar, turns mid-air and hopes and prays the other bar is there to grab onto.
In the final performance, there is no safety net.
Life is practicing to die All the courage we used to face those silly little fears, and all the courage we used to face the atrocities of war, they come in handy when we are alone with our most intense and terrifying fears.
Because only then do we see the extent of our strength. We, screaming, as loud as a fisher cat in the woods brings only silence in return. Can you tolerate the feeling? It no longer matters because the feeling you feel is you.
Al Dussault Charlestown, RI
st augustine has been a mixed blessing this year, but then again what has not been a mixed blessing as i ramble through my memories. i might be leaving this place soon and i find myself not ready. the winter has been chilly, the moon is waning and lyla died.
loss and letting-go is bearing down on me. i feel it as exaggerated gravity. a kind of electrically exaggerated gravity. something that is both weighty and profound. let me illustrate it with a few images:
as well as the pressure and the heightened sensitivity, there is a growing awareness that this 3rd phase of life will make the bumpy past seem smooth in comparison. i could be wrong and i would gladly be wrong but it does seem to me that tragedy prevails at the end. even if it was a comic ride for most of life, the end might be a relief–at best.
in any event, it has been a ghostly season.
it feels like mardi gras with no ash-wednesday. don’t take this wrong–i like dark. to paraphrase leonard, “you want it darker, turn off the light.”
to paraphrase leonard, “you want it darker, turn off the light.”
February 2nd, 2018
Each of these photo-paintings–iphotoimpressions, are of French Canada. You can see how different styles of digital brush strokes and different tonal variations change the intentional entirely. One image above is an outdoor wall mural. A painting that feels as if you could walk into that space for how perfect the perspective is.
Roof-top have been inspired by Matthew Cutter’s work. He painted a piece called “roof-tops” that is deep and tonal and uses only two colors to render a universal impression. When I see roof-tops, I see Cutter’s work in my minds eye.
Notre Dame des Victoires—at the Place Royal is a church build in the mid 17th century (1667). Walking through Quebec’s ancient city along the St Lawrence River is walk in timelessness. I chose low saturation and no saturation to convey the faded stone work of the period.
Each of these represent a subjective interpretation of where I am in time and space. I feel transported, only for the moment, but long enough to feel the air that breathes now was the air that breathed then. The river is perpetually the same while always changing and flowing with new waters….
Ouebec is a wonderland of peace and “adequate” prosperity. She is fun to capture and more fun to edit.
Wow–it has to be genetics..I think in my unconscious I long for the Quebec that my Grandmother talked about, I long for the