I have been back in the city this week, preparing my kids for the school year to come, formulating future projects,
and working through the loads of paperwork piled high on my dining room table.
As I write this, it is also pouring rain outside and inspiration, to be honest, is eluding me.
So I sit here, not quite knowing what to say next,
which can feel harder as the weeks pass and this blog builds and I know that more of you are reading my words. Thank you, by the way, to everyone who has reached out to me with heartfelt expressions of support and encouragement. You do make my days.
Suddenly, though, I feel a self-imposed pressure to inspire and move, even on a day when I am not feeling particularly inspired or moved myself.
And so here I sit today, writing about, writing through, the greyer times,
because they are very real too.
When the rain is falling, when I am not at all sure of my next move, and when I have heard too many personal stories of loss and heartache in a week to maintain a steady grip,
there is still so much to say.
Peace, I know, is not a holiday destination. It does not solely live on a gorgeous white sandy beach as the ocean waves crash and lull,
or in Waterton,
amidst the wildflowers and the mountains or under a spectacular sky –
though it can certainly feel so much more accessible in those kinds of places.
It is here, too, within my steaming cup of black tea as I tap away on my computer, planning and paying bills, and writing emails.
For if it does not live here, it can’t be found there either, no matter how beautiful the surroundings.
Wherever you go, there you are. (Jon Kabat-Zinn)
The trees are beginning to change in this land where our summers are so short,
and our back lawn is already speckled with fallen leaves.
Friends are asking me what I have registered my kids in this fall and my September calendar is almost filled up.
Fall. Beautiful fall. You are almost here. You are here.
As a wise mentor once reassured me,
‘As long as you are living and experiencing, there will always be new things to say, new material,
and so this ever-changing peace project will continue into another season because, for me, it still feels like the worthiest of journeys,
and so I welcome fall with open and waiting arms,
ready for her gifts.
Here it is ~ My favourite photo from our block party this past weekend,
from a night when I took very few photos.
It was the loveliest of evenings on our street. The afternoon began with heavy rain and we were late to begin, but then a calm happiness gently descended on us all.
For the past nine years on the night of the block party, I have filled my house and steps and front yard with outside friends and family, food and much hoopla,
but this year I did not.
If you felt left out, please accept my apologies and know that I love you but also understand that I desperately needed to just keep it quieter this year and re-acquaint myself with my neighbours, new and old, and re-discover, quite simply, why we are here,
why I am here.
This photo is why.
It is the snapshot that I wanted to freeze and store forever because in the very witnessing of it my heart was full…
A line-up of girls from our street, performing ‘the cup song’.
All different ages,
girls that I have known and watched from their childhoods now becoming such strong and interesting young women – peaceful rising forces of good and beauty in our world,
singing and playing with their younger neighbours who so look up to them,
and caring and looking out for them in turn ~
modeling strength of character and individuality
when powerful and inevitable peer pressures impose on them from everywhere else.
On this street they/we are all safe and loved and understood, young and old,
as we take care of one another, affirming our interconnectedness.
This is why we are here,
this is why we are ALL here.
And the other best part….
being able to trick scooter down a closed down street with a friendly and captive audience.
George, too, is transitioning into a new grade with a new teacher and, this week,
he suddenly decided that he wanted his hair cut short.
For almost all of his life, his hair has been longer.
I even used to call him my Little Lord Fauntleroy, because he reminded me of that main character in one of my favourite childhood books,
with his long blonde locks and blue eyes.
My beautiful baby boy ~
I read once, though, that we must be careful to convey to our kids that we enjoy watching them grow up and change,
rather than constantly telling them that we wish that we could keep them little and bottle that cuteness,
and oh my goodness, he was cute.
So when George asked me if I thought it was a good idea if he cut off his hair, I replied, ‘Go for it!’
My smart, kind, wonderful nine year old boy is blossoming into the wondrousness of all that he will decide to become,
and I am a firm supporter of the idea that a little re-invention
is always good for anybody’s soul.