Life’s Silver…lining

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Life always has ways of surprising us, from the littlest of things to the grandest. In this Age of Opulence, where one is always vying for the gold, I will always be more than happy with Silver.

This year marks 25 years that Fiona has been my Wife, earning her the win (apparently) of the Silver Jubilee, and not my life insurance since (also apparently) I am still here…writing this (or am I?).

Marking a quarter century is somewhat of a milestone, not so much in bragging rights, as it is in being proud knowing that we have spent that much more of our lives together than apart.

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Today is a day of our celebration of marriage, a crowning mark of the achievements that we’ve made together thus far, and those that we’ll be making in the years to come.

The color is Silver, which I am usually reminded by the Grey in my hair, by the one who likes reminding me most, especially after 25 years.

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I’m just happy to be party to the party.

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I’ve learnt over time that less is oft more. Garner and enjoy your time, and not things. There are always more things, but never enough time. Hopefully that way you may have fewer regrets should events cause us to lose time we wish we had spent, because time is only spent once (obviously I’m still not a believer in reincarnation).

My life lesson that has been learn-ed often enough during this 1/4 century with my Bride.

I’ve gained 25 years that may or may not have been, and am richer for it.

As a Husband, as a Father, as a “silver-haired” man.

Here’s to the next 25 years…

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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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A 49th Parallel

49 Canadian. 

Not 50…yet. 

This is a welcome achievement. Hard earned and revered, and not always visible over that distant horizon.

This life journey has been a roadtrip with quite a few detours, but nothing that I would change, could or should I.

Change, growth, learning, adaptation, and most of all, love and gratitude, have made me the man, husband, and father that I am.

Happy at 49. Satisfied at 49. Still hungry at 49.

Like the years before, hopefully like the years ahead.

Parallel-ed.

Giving. Sharing. Helping. Gratitude has been a way of life.

What I’ve learnt is that every little gesture counts, every concious and subconcious action worth the positive energy in which it’s exerted. There is no expectation on the hand I extend, and nothing expected in return.

Simple philosophy, like adage.

My friends are family, and family are those between my four walls. 

Life really is that simple.

This being a few days, and a few random thoughts, after my 49th birthaversary, i am relieved to still be here walkin and talkin (so to speak).

  • I have life. 
  • I have love. 
  • I have family.
  • I have friends.
  • I have gratitude.

Life has been rich thus far, paralleling 48 other years.

I am thankful for those that have joined me in the journey, happy for those that will continue to, and grateful still for those that took the time to: call, write, drop a note, email and wish me a happy birthday. 

Fills the heart with #gratitude.

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Friends In Deed. Thank You.

 

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Thank you.

For 3 years: friends, family, musicians and well-wishers have gathered to commemorate and honor the memory of Orson Clarke.

Gone too soon, our eye-glinting ever-smiling and jovial friend, left us to contribute to the thunder that we occasionally hear rolling overhead, reminding us of musicians on high, and of that rolling baritone of his that has us always look up yonder with that same eye sparkle we miss of his.

We have payed homage to Orson’s life, with a musical gathering, for 3 years now, and I am proud to have been able to count on those that came, participated, and enjoyed.

It is an evening that this year I dedicated to the sentiment of “One Love”, that is forever mantra-ed by friends, and fit the evening’s intent fully

Leslie “Snooksta” Alston, along with Ben Comeau, Daniel “DJ” Joseph, and Naveen Uttamchandani, were the musical hosts, and also great friends of Orson’s, that have continued the tradition of lyrical honor, and supplied the Heart, Funk, and Soul to the beauty of the evening that brought and brings us all together.

To Snooki, Ben, DJ & Nav, I say Thank You.

Special guest, orator, and singer, Carolyn Fe, gave an eloquent presentation and reading of “One Love”, a piece written for the evening, and brought to light with her unrehearsed and enraptured delivery. Having words put to voice, in that special way, is a gift. Thank you for giving the words I put to paper life, and expressing them with the intentions of which I had put pen to paper.

To Carolyn, I say Thank You.

Victor Cowen’s annual Opening introduction started our evening, as Orson’s daughter Jazz’s closing comments graced the evening’s honors. Everything that transpired between these two, were true and just, and deserving of the man they were meant for.

I thank you both for speaking in earnest, and in respect.

Music drove the night, initiated by the dedication, and the care, the “One Love” that all present shared for Orson Clarke. Many took to the stage, and many more were just as content to sit, watch, and listen (myself included).

Singers, guitarists, bassists, drummers. A plethora of people that love to play, are what made us remember what Orson loved doing.

Photos were taken, video was made…but more importantly the “magic” that has surrounded these memory making honors to our friend; in the gifts of your presence, and the presence of the gifts of your time and  spirit, makes having these get-togethers all the more spiritually enriching.

It was about the Music.

It was about the Kinship.

It was about the Camaraderie.

It was about the Stories.

It was about having a Good Time.

It is about One Love.

Officially, I raise my hands, and I clap them to you, for making this annual event, in My and My Family’s eyes, a great success.

I, and We, Thank You.

See you next year…

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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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“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears…”

…is a line of a speech by Mark Antony in the play Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare (taken from Act III, scene II) and is one of Shakespeare’s most famous lines from all of his works, explicitly as a famous example of the use of emotionally charged rhetoric.

In this work; Antony has been allowed by Brutus and the other conspirators to make a funeral oration for Caesar –  on condition that he not blame them for Caesar’s death. However, while Antony’s speech begins by justifying the actions of Brutus and the assassins (“I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him”), Antony uses said rhetoric to ultimately portray Caesar in such a positive light that the crowd are enraged against the conspirators.

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This in my view, is an apt and vivid portrayal of what our “instant” world has become.

Immediate portrayal of thoughts and emotions with privileged and self-serving motive, that media and individuals can use as a public voice, whether or not founded or just, that may later simply be rescinded with a retraction (most often not), or left to fade into the obscurity of the next concern.

A concise definition of “rhetoric” is language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect on its audience, but often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content.

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Narcissistic-ally; media, social media and technology have provided voice to the masses to allow common courtesy to go the way of the dodo bird. The “look-at-me” syndrome has been perpetuated to make celebrities out of pretty much anything on a whim, and taking focus away from truly important matters. Information at one’s fingertips, once a blessing in disguise, is now wikpedia-izing all of us.

A decade (maybe 2) ago, having computer lab time was a privilege, and was time well invested. Now, we can google the distance from here to there measured in marshmallows, or how much sand runs through an hourglass. Nice, but not really relevant – unless that is your vocation.

An email or a text sent, and not replied to in moments; is now regarded as offensive in our instant world. The public having become acclimated to their own particular sense of importance of obviously being “that” important that they merit immediate attention, is a resultant sum of the technology put to us.

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Whereas I do understand somewhat these scenes, I don’t prescribe to them. All in due process, and all in due measure.

Professionally, personally, or even just amicably…everything in its right time.

Communication is losing it’s art form, verbally and technologically, because everyone and everything has to be bigger, better, and faster. As an example; someone recently sent me a text; announcement of a date and time of an event. That was it. Was it an invitation? A simple notification? A bragging achievement? The lost art progresses.

Just the perception that everyone is always accessible to “internet” is something that still surprises me as I punch the keyboard. I still like writing by hand, correcting myself instead of having auto-correct make me spell properly.

We are human, and therefore prone to error, and it is by error that we learn and improve.

The time that I cherish, and look forward to most, is periodically unplugging and going to the woods.

No electricity, and very simple comforts and pleasures. To sit and practice the art of conversation, to be free of the impetus of net-life, and to not have to endure the drama that proceed the postings, texts, and hashtags that make our modern acumen. The true reality of “freedom” sans-drama, no need of “likes” or accolades to prove that what we do has to be instantaneously approved of, or disapproved of. I can eat red meat if I want, I can smoke a cigar if I want, I can admire the beauty of my family, and I can kiddingly jibe my friends to their face.

That is Real.

So, much like some music, my life is a lot better…unplugged.

Unless, I’m just reciting…rhetoric…