The Glass is Always Full

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“Is the glass half empty or half full?” a common expression, a proverbial phrase, generally used rhetorically to indicate that a particular situation could be a cause for optimism (half full) or pessimism (half empty), or as a general litmus test to simply determine an individual’s worldview.

2017 seems to have begun with 1 of these 2 views, and based on media (both real and social), obviously more of one than the other.

What we tend to forget that Life, is much like the Tao:

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Yin and Yang, are two opposite and complimentary energies that make up a whole; that one is not ever fulfilled without the other. Yin and Yang cannot exist without the other, they are never separate.

Whether we perceive them as freezing and boiling, dark and bright, good and evil, they are but parts that become a sum.

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Exactly how we view a glass in a”simpler” fashion/expression/time.

A Worldview in the making.

The Mind, like an opinion, is a terrible thing to waste, and recent tidings have encouraged me to be much less reliant on the media machine, for what is fed to us through and media “feeds” preys upon our sensitivities and sensibilities to foster what I deem a lot of air in the glass. Substance without weight that doesn’t really feed or nurture us.

Not to say that all is such, that would bring us back to the Yin and Yang, bits of each in all.

Strong wills create strong views and stronger opinions, but a tempered view can cut a swath through the falsehoods, biases, and untruths. Unless (a) we don’t want to, or (b) we trust too much.

This is where faith and intelligence play into the picture, and we once again return to our yin and yang situation.

Thank you 2017.

We are supposed to be entering the year with an air of rebirth and refreshed ideals. Not of dread, not of ill-will, not of contempt, and certainly not of prejudice.

I am Canadian, and regardless of what I would let all Media believe, I live a Good life.

I am happy to drink from a glass that is half-full, I am even more glad with that the love and respect of my family and friends that my cup doth runneth over.

I will also never let one’s glass ever be empty, it is always filled and refilled at my table, regardless of choice of drink. I judge not.

Judging is one thing, and Respect-ing is however another, and when that Yin Yang becoomes Love/Hate, Respect/Disrespect, I am determined to replace the negative with positive, and the perception of “entitlement” with Gratitude.This year has been painted with more of the former of this (than the latter) til now, and is already due for a fresher coat, or some better primer.

I urge anyone reading this to Believe in Good, have Faith in the Just, but moreso, have faith in you and yours 1st. Think before reacting, and respect the views and opinions that others exude, and file them appropriately.

What separataes from the animals, is that we don’t have to react to instinct, we have the ability to ponder our decisions becfore reacting.

Let 2017 be the year of Action, and not a year of re-Action.

I wish you all the best. Fill your cup, drink until satiated.

Your cup will Always be Full.

One Love.

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The “Bear” necessities (1998-2015)

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In August, our eldest 4-legged family member, Bear the Siberian Husky, reached a milestone age of 17.

Hardheartedly, our “Old-Man” decided it was his time last night, and sang himself out of our lives, and moved onto the next stage.

It’s hard to explain the feeling of loss of a “dog”, man/woman’s best friend, to a person that can’t relate: but in illustration…Bear was raised within our walls from a pup, handpicked from a breeder’s litter, and weaned on the love and experience of Fiona. Hours spent nurturing the well-being of the sprite of the time that came to be the old soul that left us last night.

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Almost respectfully, he ensured/insured that he  endured to Fiona’s birthday last week, and even showed that telltale exuberance that convinced you he was going to live forever. Whether it was the love of His family, his new found friend Rex that entertained and cajoled him, the monkey-paw rubs from Erik, the cuddling from Iain, or the downright home-cooking of Fiona that had him standing on the chair over your shoulder trying to mooch a sniff and bite, our old friend was Family.

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For over 17 years, this Husky (ie. troublemaker to me) was sometimes as frustrating as he was entertaining. He became systematic, set in his ways and almost always you could anticipate what he was going to do. It was those “sneaky” surprises that got you every time, that made you think, and appreciate not only as a dog, but as a being.

17 years.

A Milestone.

Most of us can barely relate to having friends for that long a period (even at my age), and more and above, faithful friends, that have an unbiased love and loyalty to you. 17 years of welcoming us when we enter our house, greeting us undeservedly or unerringly with a “Welcome-Home” attitude that is always on key. Unbiased tail wagging that would end a workday that gave you pause, wondering how and why do I deserve this, until you see he gleam in your friend’s eye, let alone the wag of their tail, and just maybe even the occasional hoot.

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I’ve always contended that my Family is between my four-walls here at home.

Always has, always will be.

It’s now just a little smaller, a little quieter, but it is that much Rich-er for the time spent.

Bear, my son, your paw-print is left on our hearts.

We hope you are now running with your brothers and sisters in “Angel Woods” the same way you loved your Angell Woods here.

Your stay here was long, appreciated, enjoyed, relished and loved bu us.

Thank you for being a Companion for Life.

Blessed Be.

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In My Father’s Eyes

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“I always want to make my Father proud.”

Seems like a very easy and common statement, and those that go through the efforts, know it isn’t always so. As children, we are ardent in making that smile on our parent’s face, and causing that gleam in their eye.

Cause, effect, reward.

From your very 1st step, to your 1st word, the strength of all those “1st’s” always seems far superior in smile strength and parental enjoyment than the repetition of those that follow. Once you’ve made steps, then you’re walking, then you’re running; then the world opens up.

No matter the distance though, your Dad is your dad, and your Mom is your mom, and believe you me –  through a life of disparity, those things never change.

A golden reminder moment was a request that I had been asking of my dad for years.

“Let’s go fishing?!?”

I know it’s not his thing, he viewed it as something I shared with my maternal Grandfather from my youth, and always held out from joining me whether it be from that, time constraints, or from simple reservation. Maybe he finally said “Yes” because we’ve both celebrated Birthdays recently, have gotten closer again, or due to health ramifications that we each know that we’re not being honest with one another about, but Dad finally conceded/gave-in/accepted my invitation to make the Trek to where I take my sons fishing. He said “yes”. That to me is gratifying.

Dad and I are dissimilar in as many ways as we are the same. We don’t have to have the same likes or tastes, or walk the same path, but between genetics and learned aptitudes, he has guided me to become the man I have become in a lot of ways.

Besides, it’s only…going…fishing.

Starting with a good local on-the-way-breakfast, we finish our meal, last sip of coffee (at 7:30am) and head out on a new drive. With Dad behind the wheel, we’re off on a new adventure, but more so; a day spent betwixt father and son.

Driving familiar territory, was relaxing and talk drifted back and forth. Then we hit the new highway, and there was a spark in the driving pattern.

My Father had discovered something new, and a road he hadn’t traveled.

Not only because it was a newly constructed highway, but after seeing the beauty and the solitude that this highway provided, and the way it was carved through the mountains, but then once getting off it to drive the “virgin” country roads that Dad had never driven before, gave a youthful fervent intensity that I hadn’t seen from him in a while.

Coasting the country roads, reminding him of his younger days on the road driving Quebec and Ontario, he was experiencing them in a way that I have become acclimated to, having driven these same roads for a few decades on fishing excursions.

Weaving the paved roads between farms, lakes, and forest, and not knowing the way, always adds excitement in the manner that you drive, and with the amount of miles that I know my Dad has driven over the years, it was nice to see him enjoying the drive.

That driving passion was re-invigorated, and more once we hit the dirt roads, winding and sliding in ways that I don’t think my father is driven in a while. All this and we haven’t even started fishing.

This lasted for a while until we hit that last stretch of road, and turned onto our lake-front property. Years of talking, and exaggerated up-talk of the beauty and sanctity of the locale that is my/our escape from civilization, finally found light, and a home, in my father’s eyes.

He saw what I saw when I first made that same drive. My own father shared that first step that I had taken.

And I, was proud.

The view of the lake, surrounded by the gradually changing leaves of fall. The glistening of the light on the mirroresque reflection, and the slow gentle whisper of the wind of the wind. Fresh and new, but the same yet different.

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My built up illustrations of my little slice of Heaven, were found out to be…just that honest and true.

We were given a “choice and great day”, with just enough temperature to remind us that it was Fall (mandating a fresh made-at-the-Lake coffee of course), but enough solitude, tranquility, and beauty, that “Pop” now, and really now, understands the very simple distractions that this escape offers me both physically, mentally, and spiritually.

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Then it came time to put boat to water, and Dad saw that we make the most of what we have. Simply, my 1959 Gale outboard is just fine to run my boat. I don’t have need of the newest and best (never have). If it works, great, if not, my last name befits the actions to move the boat…I can “Roe” it anytime.

Fishing is an event to me, or a pastime, not necessarily one to be successfully measured by the catch. It is the action of doing; peace in the boat, rod to the water, taking everything in, and sharing it with those with us at the time (and if no one, than the fishing-dog, and if not, then simply with a cigar).

The zen of it all, is that it is my way to be one with myself. Lovingly shared with my wife and sons, my friends, my pets, and/or my humidor.

Today my Dad joined me. A fresh new experience.

Although I beg to differ with his memories, Dad says he has never been fishing with me, as a child nor as an adult. I however, remember him going both cod fishing off the coast, and lake fishing trout in Newfoundland as a child; as well as fishing with him alongside my Grandfather growing up by the water in Pincourt.

Regardless, climbing into the boat, it was fresh, being able to show my Dad the sites of the lake and the lay of the land, and he looked through the eyes of a wide-eyed youth, seeing what I’ve seen for these long years.

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The adventure continued once we pulled into the bay, and the I shut the motor. Fifty feet from a beaver lodge, 30 feet from a marsh, and surrounded by evergreens that grew between stone, we cast for that 1st time together, and my Dad was laughingly sheepish.

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It had been so long, he had forgotten how to cast.

Simply so, I educated/re-educated Dad in the art of casting, and in exactly the same way that he taught me things in life, I did the same. Learn-do, do-learn. Have fun, and you’ll get the hang of it. No one to impress, and absolutely nothing to regret or be ashamed of, because practice will produce what you want.

That simple.

And so, he cast, and cast, and cast. Even when he didn’t think I was looking, I was watching him have fun, and when he did happen to mis-cast, jokingly blamed on “Your left-handedness doesn’t work with a right handed rod.”

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Then he caught a fish. Then fishing caught Dad.

He told me that it was the 1st fish he had caught. True or not, I was happy for him any which way.

Then Dad saw me catch a fish, and he understood what I knew, how I felt, and some kind of mutual understanding came into place.

Blood became kindred spirit, and he understood the fishing “zen” I constantly describe: that it isn’t the words that are always said, it’s the feeling you get around them. That’s the experience I have always wanted to share with him.

Like all things in life, the day did have to come to an end, but it was a day well spent, and long overdue. My personal happiness is that at least I got to share it with a man who has meant, and always will mean so much to me, regardless of our differences and choices.

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He is my Dad, always has been, always will be. He spent a day with me and saw a piece of my world through my eyes, and I in turn, spent the day seeing the world through his.

Hopefully because of this, We understood each other a little more…and as proof:

Dad passed me the keys, and He let His Son drive Home.

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A Gathering for Orson

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It doesn’t seem that long ago, and yet, it does.

July 4th marked the passing of a friend, 2 years past, and yet it still seems like yesterday that we were sitting, laughing, and jibing and heckling each other.

That was time well spent with Mr. Orson Clarke.

Orson was a Blessed individual. He was surrounded by family, friends and musicians (that were also comprised of both of the latter) and people that admired him based on audience and reputation.

Due to this, my Family & I were proud to continue trying to give back the gift that he gave us: the Gift of Sharing, Respect, and UnConditional Love, that made him the true friend that was always reflected in his smile.

We made this gift into an evening of musical tribute, a simple gathering of those that knew Orson, and understood the simplicity of a “gathering”. In his own words, a “Gathering” could be as simple as a pair of people having a great time, to “party-central”, but it had to be “fun-filled with awesome-sauce”. Full of music, good conversation, banter, memories and recollections, and even some “good serious argument just for argument sake”.

This is what was always Orson’s Gift was, this is what he always brought to the table,

In this, we brought it, and will hopefully continue to bring to you.

Joining together at Duffy’s at Dorval, we invited all who shared memories and love of Orson Clarke, to such a “Gathering”, and from what I could surmise from the turnout, along with the smiles and tears, everyone found some fun(ky) memories and solace.

I would like to personally thank Orson’s daughters, Lexi & Jazz, for joining us & honoring their Dad’s memories. They were his most cherished loves and achievements in life, publicly disclosed or not.

Thanks also go to Orson’s best friend, Victor, for stepping up to the plate again this year, as emcee/Host to honor his “partner in Rhyme” and truly remind us all of the imperfections and perfections that make us proud for having known Mr. Clarke, and some of the thing that we didn’t know about him.

Thanks to Orson’s musical counterparts that comprised the House Band for the evening: Leslie/Snooki, Ben, DJ, and Nav. The true backbone of the evening, they supplied the groove that perpetuated the evening’s festivities, and ensured it’s success. As Orson would say “When you have the Best, you Get the Best!”.

To the many and varied musicians that joined in the Jam to celebrate, a heartfelt Thank-You. Understandably you gave of your livelihood to honor a musician-in-arms, and gave of your time, energies, and want, to show love for Orson. All very much appreciated.

To the friends and family that joined the Gathering; “One Love”. Orson was more about “friends and family” than he ever let known, most thought it was always about Music. Proof is shown and reminded in this night of respect. We hope you all had a taste.

Special thanks to the Venue and Owner, for respecting the vision I have/had in mind regarding the Gathering.

It transpired the way it should have, in the way that Orson and I shared conversations.

Simple, down-home, true, open and honest.

About the people, about the music, about the memories; ie. about the Funk.

Thank you for making it a Funktastic evening!

Rik, Fiona, Erik & Iain.

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Time Canon

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Writer’s block always strikes at some point.

The Creative process is sometimes a fickle thing, and we can either experience it as the flow of the stream, the roar of the river…or as the ebb of the tide.

Lately, due to circumstance(s), creativity has been much at a standstill. Living life has been more the priority, or more in fact, ensuring that I’m able to live the life that I/We want.

Health issues have never been “issues” to me through out the time I’ve spent living thus far, but apparently life does have a way, like most things, of catching up with you.

More genetics than lifestyle, my new found eye openers, have given cause for a lot of reflection (having had a lot of “empty time” waiting in hospitals and for doctors), and I’ve decided that the legacy I choose to leave, if any, will more so be the memories that I can leave with loved ones, than not have to have made those memories.

That’s to say, easily now, that time wasted is time lost.

Money we can earn and spend. It provides us a means and an end to:

Objects,

Things,

Stuff.

Time is the Gift, that once spent, is lost.

Irreplaceable.

So, here I find myself, happy to make some hard decisions that will grant me guiltless freedom (not that I ever really felt that guilty over decisions) that will constantly remind me to put any wasted time to be WELL wasted time, that I decide to spend of my own volition, and not out of any sense of “have-to” and “need-to” as prescribed to make that better $$$ life.

Decisions and detractors have pillaged enough of the time that is now behind me, and lost to me, but that ever-fresh smell of coffee serves to lighten and direct the id to the place it needs to go.

The Spirit is better, the head is better; the heart is getting there, as are the eyes.

Life can be fickle.

Health can be fickle.

We fight for what we want.

To Be,

To achieve,

To give,

To Love,

To be Remembered.

As much as I hope to stay here as long as possible, Time is a finite essence and I want to spend it with you in the best way possible.

In terms that I control.

On terms that I can navigate.

With those I want.

I hope to all that I give a little piece of time, at some point appreciate that anything that  was spent and invested with you, was at an intrinsic cost.

I like to think I am choosing wisely.

A Father’s Day

 

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Urban Dictionary defines “Dad” as:

The guy who’s on your ass 24/7 about grades, sports, what you do with your free time, drugs, alcohol, your behavior….etc and will never give you a break, or room to breath, he can also be pretty chill when he has vented all his rage on the rest of your family, he likes classic rock, talking about politics, he is never wrong and will argue until his face turns red to prove his point no matter how ridiculous it may be, he is either the best or the worst when he drinks, he is extremely controlling with what you do and how you manage your time, he does love you (well i mean he is your father right?) and after owning you he usually says its because he loves you (which is usually bullshit) overall you still love your dad even tho he may be a total asshole, and when u move away you will love him even more.

 

I’d like to think of my Dad as the Best of those things, and that I’ve continued the Tradition set out before me. Even the more flagrant negative aspects are truth in this latter definition, but that’s what makes us “responsible” parents.

I am forever grateful that my Sons have walked their own steps, and have not emulated or perpetrated anything remotely close to the follies of my youth (or so I would think and/or hope), and quite probably, my Dad thinks the same.

“Always” being the cool Dad, would be great; but the likelihood is as much or equal to the chance of winning the lottery, getting hit by lightning, or being bitten by a shark…great odds, eh? 

That’s the “what” that proves that Tradition, trumps being Cool.

Learning and maintaining values instilled in us by those we hold dear, and then passing those values on to our children, is what constitutes parenthood. Teaching them in the way that you can is by choice, as much as the absorption of the education is by the kids we’re trying to bring up in this “new and improved” world. That to me is being a Dad.

That’s Life, and Life is a Lesson.

If I can instill a few modicums of memories, experiences, and learned values in my Sons as a Dad, I’d like to give these:

  • Respect, is a Commandment that is universal, regardless of Faith. I hope my Sons will always respect me in the way that I respect my Dad, and in the way that my Father respected His.
  • Responsibility. I would like my sons to be like me, but that’s their choice, and they are completely free to make the choices of their own (albeit with some guidance here and there). They have to abide and follow through on their choices, accepting the responsibility that supports their decisions. Their path, their destiny.
  • Honor. I said honor, not pride. Hold true to your beliefs, your heritage and your name. They do mean something, and as a Dad gets older, you do realize that they do mean more than they had when you were younger.
  • Choices. Always make your decisions wisely, and not rashly. Checks and balances, pros and cons, weigh them as rationally as possible, and treat them all with importance, even as trivial as some may seem. 

These are but 4 to cite, and as a Dad, I hold each as important as the other.

I pass these on not merely as words, but as ideals.

Please hold onto them and consider them.

Those are my Father’s Day gift, on my kind of Father’s Day, being able to share with my Sons. The Act of Giving has always been more in my Nature, than the want of receiving, having learnt earlier in life, that every day, is a gift: I choose to pass that gift on, one way or another.

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