Monday, July 9, 2012

baptism by waterfall

If you move to Canada,
you may want to jog early each morning
(early before the sticky tourists violate the beauty and try to steal it with their fancy lenses)
and you will get to Table Rock
where you can look at the water and try to comprehend its allure:
As if you are a droplet
fumbling into the unknown
It may assuage any feelings of importance you may have
it may stroke your ego with a soothing peace
it may force you to a place of humility and smallness
it may cause you to wonder how often humans have stolen beauty in the name of safety...
Then one time you might go there
and you might peer over the edge to collect this daily reminder
and the wind will shift
and you will be shrouded by the cloud of heavy mist
and you might laugh
(and passersby may think you silly or insane)
and you will feel refreshed
after being baptized by the water that should go down but has risen up to embrace you...
and as you finally turn around to leave
to enter your life post-baptism
you will see a rainbow
and you will laugh again
and maybe cry
and wonder what change has taken over.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July to the US!

From what I've learned so far, this is marvelously magnanimous of me. Most Canadians don't seem to like the people that inhabit the US, or the Country itself. Rooted like most hatreds, I'm guessing, in jealously. The "US" is filled (so they seem to think here) with a bunch of selfish, gas-guzzling, fat, land-hogging, arrogant older brothers and sisters who disdain them.

But I am not through with my inculcation, so I am still distrusted and not considered a member of the tribes here just yet. Apparently, my probationary period involves some torture: a family reunion that promises to be hot and painful, a survival test of the humidity, a driving test (though I can't see this being too hard since apparently NO ONE here knows yet how to drive. Example: On the freeways they have large signs that say things like "Use caution and check your blindspot before changing lanes" and "Stay alert, stay alive." As if people on the road have never driven before. What? I must check lanes AND stay alert? WTF? Whoever heard of that?)

So I am once again in a liminal space. Not yet a member here, but cut off from my comfort zone. And oh how I miss it at times.

In my cultural education, I am learning:

-how to snip the corner of my milk bags, not too small, not too large--like finding the balance between a scream and a whisper...
-how to resist the temptation to chat on my phone while driving...
-how to make my vowels a bit more taut--they waste no excess in overpronouncing their vowels here. As if every jump between consonants needs to be as tight as Nik Wallenda's rope over Niagara Falls: Say that instead of thaaat, say long instead of loooong...
-how to enunciate my t's; this particular consonant gets barely any attention in the states, yet here, it is much loved and even often used in place of d's, as in good, which sounds like goot. Also in words like that, yet, a bit (common), and cute. It's so cute...
-how to lift my inflection at the end of every sentence, as if I'm always asking a question: As in, "We are looking for a home to buy?; We have two boys?; We just moved here from Denver?..." statements I've made of late ad nauseum...
-that recycling is complex: there are THREE bins we have in the kitchen that we use to sort all of our waste. Organics (anything that you might be tempted to throw down your garbage disposal), Plastics, and Paper. Oh, and you only get one black trash bag per household per week. You have more? You must purchase extra garbage tags at the city building.

Perhaps soon we'll have a ceremony where I will be let in the fold, as for now, I am existing in this trial period, waiting patiently for the unknown day when I will belong here. I suspect it may take a while.

We celebrated Canada Day on July 1 at this location above (My favorite place on earth, the reason I agreed to move to Canada, and where you'll find me every summer from here on out). This holiday is strangely familiar to your 4th: Lots of flags, general merriment, fireworks, hamburgers, bad jokes, and beer. But this country is only 145 years old. And my family watched the fireworks in the cradle of a boat in the middle of the lake. We were rocked by the waters while we peered up into the Canadian night sky, listening for echoes, watching for our favorite patterns of explosions.

For a permanent home? We discovered a lovely little peninsula called Port Dalhousie (pronounced da-lose-ie) in St. Catharines. We have a tradition that we never turn down an invitation for coffee or a drink if we have nothing better to do and the people seem mildly interesting... After our first Church experiment, we were invited for coffee to an old Dutch couple's home. Turns out they were trying to sell their home which happens to be on this lovely little peninsula... Yes, we'll be moving in early August.