Location: Newcastle, Ontario, Canada

Born in Toronto, a degree in Psychology at Carleton in Ottawa, ran a photography business for 10 years from a studio in Parkdale, Toronto, apprenticed with a stained glass artist, and, and, and...

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Shifting the focus...

Tim and Owen looking
out the dining room window

Mid-June, 2005
I've noticed the last couple of posts are unfocused. I realized that I was approaching them differently than before. Before I wrote, then looked for images that coincided with what I had written. Later I started looking at images first and got greedy and wanted to put them on and find words later. Doesn't work well for my train of thought so I'm going back to words first.

So, life is different in the country. Is this news only to me? Well, I knew that life was different but I did not know how much I would need to change. I am very visual. I have a hard time keeping in touch with people I cannot see, I liked watching the world go about its business in Toronto where we would stoop sit every morning watching the funny hesitant but rushed march to work for many.

Owen was my student of stoop sitting and a very eager pupil he was. So amazing to have someone NEVER question the validity of what you say. “Stoop sitting? What's that Mama? When do we do it? Why? How long?” Not, “....sounds kinda stupid to me, just sitting there, not even really comfortable on that step, just looking at boring people plod by. Not for me Mama, got trucks to push around instead.” So our studies began.

Finnie a hapless participant who had no say in the matter. Well, actually she has a set of lungs on her that rival Cecilia so that's just not so. More that at the age she was, say five months, she was pretty obliging and just wanted to be with us....always. At first just for a couple of minutes during the small window of time where the front steps were pre-warmed by the sun. Then when that was a good thing by Owen testing his determination by sitting when it was raining a bit, or out back where the activity levels were much diminished, where we'd just wait for something to happen, like a leaf dropping. Totally acceptable activity in the kids' minds. Nice as I liked to observe the world with company sometimes.

Finnie observing the world one way, the doll another.

But back to the change. The country was like sitting on our back stoop. Not as much happened and as much as that's ok sometimes it lacked the luster to have us do it every day like we did in Toronto. So we had to be the creators of our entertainment more, well, sometimes and mostly we needed to learn how to observe in the country. More macro, like spotting a green caterpillar on the underside of a leaf and watching him not move for a bit. Or watching an ant try to drag his dead behemoth brother down underground even though the opening was too small. We needed to focus our attention, squint the eyes a bit more. Then there was scanning. Nicer to do in the country as it was calmer. Scanning in the city was so busy that your senses got overloaded but out our back field the shades of green blending as you moved your head, the trees breaking the predominant hue with black and brown and sharp shapes, then occasionally a movement that wiped your head around. I still miss city stoop sitting though. Nice pastime.

Finnie and Owen in our chariot. This attached to the back of my bike and allowed us to be somewhat spontaneous as the destination was less important than the journey.

Another big thing which I still can't get into the mode of is planning. In the city we could act like sloths for the good part of a day and then up and head out at say, 2 in the afternoon, to see Allen's gardens, or Chinatown, or the museum and still be back in time for dinner. In the country, travelling takes up significant time and therefore you can't just up and go late in the day. Also we found that our uncharted lives did not meet the same scenario when we tried to “drop in” on friends or family. Not working was in conflict with many people who did work or had busy lives. Somehow, in the city, that didn't seem to be as much of a problem, maybe because if we were coming to visit it might only be for half an hour, an amount of time that people could often find. But if they knew we were coming from the country they wanted to give us significant time and that couldn't be found at the spur of a moment. A bit aimless, we blinked at the difference and wondered if we could change. Well, I wondered if I could change. The kids just looked at me, their entertainment director and asked what next? I still haven't got my head around this one. I really like to know how I feel on a given day before I plan things. But I see most people following the more choreographed approach so I try.

Sort of like gardening. Not much happens quickly and I would need to learn to give things time. Patience, Carrie, its growing, doesn't need a poke with that stick or more water or digging up to see if the seed is still there. And most gardeners plan their garden on paper and select their color schemes and think about all the seasons and what they want. I just gathered plants I liked and stuck them in the soil, knowing I could and would move them later if it wasn't the right spot. I was heartened when I started reading, 'Montrose, life in a garden' by Nancy Goodwin. When asked how she gardened she said, from the knees. And she's a real gardener.


Post a Comment

<< Home