View From The Glen

Friday, November 16, 2012

My dearest Creature...and other things

Love 'em, I do.

But they are camping tonight, and I am home alone.

By the fire. With wine.

And music.

A stack of papers to mark (but a short stack...)

And a literature course to update - I found some really great resources that will hopefully spark some deeper thought and analysis for my students this winter.

Later, I have a book to read. An old classic, falling to bits, that I pulled off my shelf around Hallowe'en to re-read.

And oh, I had forgotten how funny it is. How subtle and ironic and hilarious the writing is. Forgotten how this book, for a period of time, had a friend and I treading the hallowed halls of Kennebecasis Valley High School in gales of laughter at the ridiculousness of the language, the relationship, the wit. For a short time, all the notes we exchanged were addressed thusly: My Dearest Creature....

My dearest creature....I would write. I don't know why it took you so long at your locker. Do you want to walk to the store and have lunch?

My dearest creature.....she would write back. Physics is taking such an age. Do you think Mr X will ever stop talking?

Etcetera. It all came back to me in chapter 6. The foolishness of being 16.

Anyway. That's my plan tonight. Mark. Plan. Read.

(Wait a second - it does sound remarkably like many other nights. What a gripping life I do lead!)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remembrance Day 2012: I Remember Still

Some years are warmer than others and many years have bone-chillingly horrendous. Sometimes the November sky is steel grey and frigid and other years, the sun has shone down warmly. I've heard the moment of silence interrupted by crying babies, laughing children, birdsong, beeping watches, foghorns and train whistles

Having participated in Remembrance Day ceremonies from coast to coast for well over twenty years now, there is one thing however that always seems to be true. Perhaps I imagine it, but at some point in the ceremony there is a moment of unorchestrated beauty that eclipses everything.

Possibly it is because in that silence, in the lament of the pipes or in the bugle's mournful call, there is time to pay attention. But it's there, that moment.

In the cold high street of Saint John, New Brunswick, my bare knuckles frozen to my black wool naval greatcoat and my toes numb from the frost and from standing at attention for so long with the navy, I saw a white flock of birds rise into a shaft of light as the last notes were played. I've seen the sky brighten, the snow start to fall, the clouds clear, the wind sweep a golden shower of leaves into the air. This year, at the college, on a dreary day, the St. Lawrence River turned silver suddenly from a sunbeam that broke through just after the silence ended. Little things all, but they raise my spirits and make me think that in some small way, there is a collective awareness and appreciation from somewhere of this continuous act of remembrance.

I've written stories from our family's personal histories and a shared memories, and posted my own thoughts and comments on past parades. For the last few years, the torch of remembrance has been passed to my children who participate with the Scouts. Those who feel this generation does not remember would be proud to see our kids aged 5-13 out in uniform, laying wreaths and honouring the day.

I was going to give you a poem that Grace wrote yesterday about Remembrance Day. She wants to enter it in a competition, so I can't post it in its entirety, but the way she ended was with this:

Poppies grew
And I remember...
       I remember...
       I remember....
Poppies grew on Flanders Field
And I remember still.

Erik and his fellow Scout, Brianna, laying the wreath on behalf of 1st Lancaster Beavers, Cubs and Scouts and the congregation of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church
March Past

Grace, Erik and Anna, Remembrance Day 2012

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November is....concert month

 There have been a handful of concerts I have seen in my life, and I have enjoyed them all, however, I don't usually go to concerts. Sometimes I hear about them and want to go, or think about going, but rarely actually bother. I wanted to see Springsteen in Ottawa last month...but not enough to fight for tickets when the box office opened.

But the concert stars have aligned this month, and there are a bunch of concerts I am planning to see right here at the Aultsville Theatre.

Tonight was this stand up comedian....a last minute idea when I heard him on CBC radio the other day. He was very funny.

Coming up soon are these guys.

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings

I saw them at the United Church in Creemore, Ontario once at a benefit concert (the same church and benefit series at which I saw Garnett Rogers (brother to Stan Rogers), the Barra Macneils, and Murray Mclauchlin....quite possibly my biggest three year stretch of concert going ever until this month.

Oddly enough, the next concert I want to see is Stan Rogers' son, Nathan, singing a tribute to his late father.

And in early December, I am taking the kids to see our favourite East Coast Christmas singers...the Barra Macneils again.

So it just happens to have all come full circle since my years in Creemore over a decade ago.

In the name of full disclosure, the only other concerts I have seen are: The Spoons (remember them? I barely do) during high school; a Michael Jackson tribute when I was in Junior High; Sarah Maclachlin (twice), Bare Naked Ladies, and Rita Macneil when I lived in Halifax (at the marvellous Cohn, the Flamingo Nightclub, and the Civic Centre, respectively), and a Chris de Burgh concert that my two navy buddies took me to when I was 19. That's it, really.