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Archive for the ‘Crystalline Moments’ Category

My 85 year old mother glances out the window
at pelting rain and storm tossed trees
“It’s a dirty day.”  she observes, content to be snug in her kitchen.

I gaze out the window beside her,
Secretly caged
Drawn by and longing to flee into the storm
to be one with the universe,
feeling the wind in my face
and the power of the storm pulsing through my soul.

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My life is composed of “crystalline moments”, snippets of memories preserved with all the clarity and precision of a finely cut gemstone, yet which pulse with color, sensation, and emotion.  Some are intricately detailed vignettes that chart the highs and lows of my progress through life.  Others are merely flavours and impressions of events.  Their facets reflect aspects of my history, none giving a total picture, but all a peep into the past.

It is the crystalline moments I press into service when my children voice that age old demand, “Tell me about the olden days”.  I share with them the hauntingly peaceful experience of sitting in my darkened bedroom with my elbows propped on the window sash looking out across the roof tops at the black velvet night sky and listening as the distant train whistle echoes gently through the prairie night.

Then there is the sharp squeak and crunch of snow during a frigid Saskatchewan winter.  I recall the dim, overheated and smoky atmosphere of the skating shack and the black lumps of coal that fed the stove used to keep it that way.  My Dad endlessly and patiently ties and reties my skates only to have me ankle painfully around the rink once or twice before coming back to the shack to warm my hands and ask him to do it again.

Because my children live in Vancouver, I know they cannot truly understand, but I tell them about the incredible rush of freedom and joyful release spring brought after a prairie winter of galoshes, swaddling layers and cabin fever.  I was free to play outside unencumbered.  I can still hear the hollow tapping of the heels of my shoes on the finally bare concrete as I skip and play hopscotch.

I tell them about Art, the milkman, and his horse drawn cart.  The older boys climb into the back of the cart to steal dripping knobs of ice that they suck on and throw at each other.  The girls just pet the horse and watch as the grain trickles out of his feed bag before he ambles on down the street, and we return to our game of the moment.

Art was the last milkman with a horse drawn cart in Regina, and I count myself lucky that I have a story to tell which I consider to be a remnant of the olden days of my parent’s time.  If not for Art, or lumps of coal or the boardwalk that ran in front of my home I would be confined to telling my children stories of how difficult life was when we had to make do with black and white TV!

Crystalline moments are the memories I fondle in private as I recall the comforts and sorrows of my life.  They give me solace and strength to soldier through the rough patches of life, knowing that there have been better times, and there will be better times again.

Crystalline moments are the anecdotes I tell my children to smooth their path with my experience.

Crystalline moments are the shared history, with friends, family and husband, which creates a comforting familiarity and sense of community, that insulates me from the harem scarum uncertainties of life.

I am much more than the sum of my crystalline moments, but they are the foundation of who I am, what I value and what I will do with my life.  They guide, not govern and accompany me on into the future, as I create new crystalline moments.

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When I was young,
I had a purple Chivas Regal bag
filled with glass marbles.

Boulders and pee wees, steelies, cat’s eyes and crystals.
Childhood treasures quickly lost in the playground dust.

When I am old,
I will carry my treasures closer to my heart.

Perfect crystalline moments
captured from the tumbling kaleidoscope of life.

The squeak and bite of a Saskatchewan winter,
the haven of a friend’s arms,
puppy love and a baby’s first cry.

Triumph’s and embarrassments,
tragedy and simple pleasures.

Crystal gems in a rich living mosaic.

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