Lest We Forget? War and the Cost.


November 11, 2018

Wars have, in many ways, shaped our world and defined the borders we’ve put up.

Wars have dictated how we live our lives based on the rules of combat and dependent upon who our leader was and who won the battle.  Here in Canada, we’ve been fortunate.

It is the strategy of becoming the most effective killing machine on a collective basis with your troops sent out to take out the enemy.

Our enemy, which does and will likely always exist, wants to silence us.  Our enemy doesn’t want us to think freely or prosper.  Nor do they want us to be educated.

Our enemy wants to suppress our existence into what they dictate we should or shouldn’t think or feel, and to serve their wants and needs and not our own.

Humans are something of a malleable lot indeed.

A persuasive leader and/or dictator can and has convinced the masses under his charge that they are better than those that he opposes or that oppose him.

After all, why should the world not be led by one egocentric ideology?

The thing is, no one race of humans is superior over another.

Yet sadly this line of thinking continues on.  Could it be a factor in our genome?  Were we ‘programmed’ to believe we must conquer those we deem a threat or that we view as being beneath us?

All I know is now and what precipitated our recent history and what we seek to protect.

And there is much to protect.

We are not perfect, nor will we ever be.  Perfection is, after all, an illusion.

Still if we are willing to change for the common good of all, if we are open to reconciling past grievances, if we accept that we’ve made poor judgments…that is a start, isn’t it?

The last few years the term white privilege has been used substantially.

And I will confess, when I first heard this term, I took offense.

My life has not been filled with privilege per sae.  I’ve not had an easy life.

Then I got to thinking.  This isn’t about me.  And perhaps that’s part of the problem.  A comment is made and bam…we go on the defensive.

It is a fact that people with white skin have advantages in society that  people of colour do not have.

 

Being a woman I identify with the ‘me too’ movement on a personal level having suffered far too many abuses.

Did I go to the authorities and demand justice for these offenses?  No.

Why?  Shame and the guilt that I had somehow ‘invited and deserved’ such mistreatment.  I now know I did not deserve such abuse and no one does.

I work daily to emerge wholly from the pains of the past and rise to be a better person.

Understanding, reckoning, and forgiving those who’ve done the hurting and forgiving myself as well.

Could we possibly forget the sacrifices made by those who’ve gone to war and paid the ultimate price for the prosperity and comforts we now enjoy?

I hope not.

Still, let’s look at where we are.

We live in world of excess.  Technology has become the driving force in our world today.  South of the Canadian border Americans are being sold once again on the ‘American Dream’.

Don’t we all want to have a place to call home, a good job and children that will have a better life ahead of them than their parents did?  Don’t we all want that security?

Of course we do, but at who’s expense?

In my youth the ‘dream’ of having a little house with a picket fence, modern appliances and husband with a good job along with a couple of children is what I was encouraged to become.  A house wife.  Didn’t happen.

Doing well in school wasn’t really necessary for a girl at that time.  Knowing how to cook, clean, and mend clothing, better yet if you could sew, were taught in schools.  If a woman was going to go out into the workforce, she should type or take dictation.  Administrative jobs with low pay and long hours were the offerings of the day.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s though, the women’s liberation movement began to demand equality on every level with their counterparts.

Sexuality, economics, and wage parity have been at the forefront for quite some time now.

Back in the day bras were burned, protests held and marches were made in abundance.

And for every step forward women have met resistance.

Is it any wonder that we didn’t come forward with the wrongs that we’d experienced?

We watched women such Anita Hill be persecuted in her attempt to have congress really think about appointing Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court.  And considering what just took place with Brett Kavanagh, not much has changed in that particular institution, now has it?

One of the most confounding things for me is this love affair American’s have with their guns.

They don’t see that the availability to guns is perhaps an issue.  Why?

And when a man walks into a synagogue and cuts down twelve people.  Call it what it is.  A hate crime.

This is not about mental health issues.

This is about hate.  This is about a current president who, with the continuous diarrhea of rhetorical crap falling from his mouth, has encouraged this type of behavior.

And mass shootings are on the rise in the U.S. and sadly the mention of gun control increases the divide.

Both my grandfather and my father served in the war.

My grandfather in World War 1 and my father in World War 2.

I think of those who fought in wars and I can imagine they must have been scared.

My father never spoke of the war.  Any inquiries made were met with a stony silence.  The glare that followed indicated I should never ask about such things.  Not ever.

And I didn’t.

Still, there those moments when dad was really drunk and things slipped out that gave me a glimpse of his nightmares, his hell.

‘Al – I hate this!  I want to get the fuck out of here Al.  Come on, let’s get the fuck out of here!

Silence.

‘Al?’

Silence.

‘Al – Where your fucking head, Al?!  Al!  Where’s your fucking head!’

It was moments such as this, and they were few and far between, that later enabled me to begin to equate the true cost of war.

It’s not just surviving. He came home with nightmares and a hell that he remained in and they became ours.  He acted out his aggressions in a very violent manner toward his family.

The effects of war continue to trickle into our lives, sometimes flooding us with despair.

No, we cannot forget the cost of war.

Still I wonder if we will ever know peace.

These days one can only imagine.

 

 

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Back Story


JS & elmo

 

I had a good day.   It was a laid back one with no pressure.

Got out and about and went down to the Quay in New West to visit some friends who had set up for a flea market.

I grabbed a nibble then came home.  I watched the remainder of the hockey game and happily Montreal won.

CBC was paying homage to ‘Just for Laughs’ and celebrating 30 years on T.V.  I enjoyed it. Clips were shown from 1985 and onward.

js

A young and oh so beautiful Jon Stewart reminded me why I love his humour as did many other comedians that I don’t see much of these days.  And the political landscape from Regan to Obama…from Mulroney to Harper.  What I appreciated about how this special was put together was the categories.

The following clips are from both Jon Stewart and David Letterman after the 9-11.

They covered everything and it was being hosted by my boy George Strombopolous also known as Canada’s boyfriend.

  • Racism
  • Gay marriage
  • War
  • Politics
  • Global warming
  • Healthcare
  • Law, etc.

Several of the comics were from the U.S. and many from other parts of the globe.

Funny how it still seemed so relevant today something that was performed some 30 years ago.

There is this hysteria over global warming. Yet no one really has done anything. And while we get up in arms about this and drive our six cylinder luxury vehicle to the protest to show our support, is there any of us who will freely admit to our hypocrisy in this matter?

I’m now into week 12 without the beneft of hot water in my suite…well, that is not entirely true. I now have it in my bathroom sink only.

Today’s bath required 28 basins of water to fill it enough for a decent scrub down.

There are certain things we just expect these days. The memory of developing the technology and infrastructure to accommodate these simple pleasures has been forgotten or ignored.

Last week I watched the news and a piece was done on the desirability of purchasing waterfront properties in the Victoria, BC area by the Chinese.  A Chinese realtor stood before the camera and stated that Chinese expected the best and wanted safe communities that were quiet.

This bothered me.

house 2

One of Vancouver’s most expensive neighborhoods

Don’t we all want the best for our dollar? Don’t we all want to live in beautiful homes that are in safe and quiet communities?

The thing is that the property values are something I would never even begin to consider. Not even remotely as I could never afford them. In Vancouver the Chinese would pay $6-$8 million for such a property. In Victoria they get it at the bargain price of $3-$4 million.

house sold on 2 27 2015 for 1.9 million

This home sold in the 2700 block of King Edward for $1,900,000.00 on Feb 27, 2015

Sounds a bit elitist does it not?  And it creates a sense of animosity when foreigners are coming over and buying up our properties and forcing those who live and work here further out into the suburbs.  This fault, however, lies with the government and their ridiculous lust for tax dollars to feed their ever increasing pensions.

Vancouver_skyline4 average home price 1.27 million

The average price to purchase a detached home on the East side of Vancouver is now $1.27 million

I do know in China you can make a ridiculous amount of money. .

I do the accounting for an engineer who I’ve known for the last 15 years of so. He is Chinese and has told me on several occasions how much money could be made by moving there. He has family there. He has been offered jobs starting at a paltry $300,000 per year.

His small company that he runs here averages $500,000 per year.

I asked him once why he didn’t take the offers. He smiled thoughtfully then told me that ‘…in China you must live to work. It will consume you. Over here I can just live.”

And as the comedians weighed in on racism I could not help but smile. Yes, it is a serious subject matter, but Russell Peters explanation as to why black men have bigger penis’ than Indian people was stellar.

We have so many things that we’ve just ignore. We play these vicious war games then just change the players.

Politicians it would seem have short term memories in this regard.

War happens and the why’s and wherefores are often rather diluted these days.

Some of the comedians stepped up and offered their take on the infamous ‘weapons of mass destruction’.

War 1 war 3

I looked at my toenails then and realized that soon if I don’t get them manicured they could well cause serious damage and be classified as lethal weapons.

All kidding aside, convincing the world that Sadam was sitting on an arsenal that could blow us all to smithereens was actually quite brilliant considering George W’s quest to wipe out Sadam was a vendetta to appease the fact that Sadam had tried to kill his daddy when he was President.

Oh…the plot thickens, doesn’t it?

Look a little deeper and you’ll find out who put Sadam in power. It was a U.S. initiative to remove Khomeini as he wasn’t playing nice any longer. And the U.S. had assisted him back in the day to gain power after throwing out the Shah of Iran.

war 2

Destroying a Dictator

It’s a game of smoke and mirrors really.

Of course we here in Canada have our moments. The jokes were fast and furious.

Canada’s war offering had us giving out Tim Horton donuts and telling everyone to have a good day and then apologizing.

When the financial crisis of 2008 happened Steven Harper looked into the camera and advised Canadians to buy stocks stating how ideal the conditions were. Curious.

Wanda Sykes spoke of Viagra and how the quest to find a remedy for a limp biscuit had helped find cures for oh so many other illnesses.

One comic spoke of HIV and the search for a cure.

“We built a sheep from another sheep. We can duplicate a species. We can shoot botox into our faces and have no wrinkles….but cure AIDS?   No. Not yet.”

And as they parlayed throught their routines I was reminded once again of the duplicity of human kind.

The misunderstanding and misue of power.

The most frightening thing to me is the mind that is closed. Not open to any type of linear thinking.

Having ideas and with no allowance for failure. No compromise…nuthin!  That is frightening to me.

Life isn’t a series of headlines. While there may well be markers on this journey we call life, there is always a back story. And if you don’t feel it important to look beyond the headlines, then know you do yourself a disservice my not absorbing the full measure of the knowledge that has been offered.

And the sense of assessing what truly is important may well be lost to you.

the once and

Read ‘The Once and Future King’. It is the Arthurian tale at its finest.

I love that story and all that is stands for. The gifts we are given at birth…unique to each of us. Will we find our calling or will it find us?  Or will we waste it?

It’s all back story, baby.

Here is a link to a write up regarding the aforementioned book.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2006/jun/03/featuresreviews.guardianreview4

Peace.

 

 

In Rememberance….Postcards from the Past


I’ve taken on a labour of love as of late.  I discovered that I was in possession of several old photographs, some more than a hundred years old of various family members…many of whom sadly I don’t know.  I began scanning them into the computer and then running them through the program Adobe Lightroom to restore them to some degree and this has proved to be very successful!

I also want to be able to put together a package for family members as well.

Then came the curiosity of trying to discover who it was that was in some of these photos.  I accessed a few of the genealogy sites and had some success.  However these site are not always easy to navigate.

Yesterday I attempted to discover some information regarding my Grandfather Pilling’s time in World War l and my father’s time in World War ll.

I have documentation as to one of the regiments my father was in any yet when I entered the information then checked that I was only interested in Canadian records, the result was 97,000 possibilities, many of them from the U.S.

The same issues with my grandfather, though I don’t know what regiment he was in, I do know he was stationed in France during 1916 and 1917.  What I wanted to do yesterday was to put together a commemoration of sorts for both my father and grandfather respectively in remembrance for November 11, 2014.

0. PILLING, Arthur, Army Uniform

Grandfather Arthur Pilling, circa 1916 stationed in France.

I came across four postcards that are now close to 100 years in age.  They were sent by my grandfather to his parents during the war.  Beautifully embroidered with intricate needlepoint with the fabric then glued to card stock that is incredibly strong.

1.

Postcard No. 1: The intricate detail is just amazing

 

2.

Back of card: CHRISTMAS 1917

 

3.

Postcard No. 2: The detail again is remarkable.

4

Back of Card: 16th September 1916 Dear Parents, Just a line to let you know I am quite well. Hope you are alright. I just got a letter this week, will reply tomorrow. I have halfday holiday today. How do you like this? Best love from your son, Arthur

5.

Postcard No. 3: This one is just gorgeous and the detail incredible.

6.

Back of card: 1917 Dear Mother and Dad, I am sending you these cards wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Years. From your loving son, Arthur

7.

Postcard No. 4: Again I am amazed at the detail of these items.

8.

Back of card: CHRISTMAS 1916 From Arthur to Ma and Pa From France

 

My father was a young man when World War II broke out.  In 1942 he would have been just 17 years of age.  He joined the Pacific Coast Militia Rangers.  From my research this was a volunteer program that was set up to have men familiar with their respective areas patrol them in the event that our shores were invaded by the enemy.

I cannot imagine the fear and paranoia that must have been rampant at this time.

My father also served eight months active duty in the army overseas.

The PCMR disbanded September 30, 1945 at the end of World War II.  Below are the discharge papers of my father who was also a Ranger Captain.

 

9.

10.

My grandfather was part of a team of men who opened up the first Royal Canadian Legion up in Gibsons Landing, BC.  These were social clubs that were established for Vetrans.  I believe that they were instrumental for the those coming back from the horrors of war to have a place where their experiences were understood.

11.

My grandfather Arthur Pilling is in the first row, second from the right.

I can’t say the exact date of this photo, though I will go out on a limb and suggest that it was in the 1920’s.  Then in the 1940’s land was donated and larger Royal Canadian Legion was built.

12.

Site of the second RCL. My father Arthur John Pilling can be seen sandwiched between the two drummers. My uncle with the rosey cheeks and winning smile is just to the right of the drummers centered in front of the boys that are kneeling down. My grandmother and grandfather are pictured in the back row to the far right.

I wonder sometimes what both men were like prior to going to war.  I wonder sometimes had they not ventured into warfare how their lives may have differed.  Below is a photo of my father at about eight years of age with my grandfather up in Gibsons, BC.

PILLING, Arthur Sr. & Jr., 1939_

In remembrance to all those who have served and paid the ultimate price for the freedoms we know today, may we never forget.

 

 

Learning to Exhale…..


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I have been a member of the Royal City Literary Arts Society for a few months now.  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting several very talented and well renowned poets and writers.

This group offers several workshops and open mic events.  This, I realized, was something I desperately needed to work on.  Public speaking is rather intimidating to me.  By the time I get up to do my piece , typically I’ve inhaled and am sweating buckets.

I remind myself to breathe and do so rather raggedly.

Seventy-four years ago an iconic photograph was taken here in New Westminster has Canada advanced into World War II.  On October 4th, 2014 a monument will be unveiled commemorating this event at the very location that the photograph was taken from.

The City of New Westminster approached the Royal City Arts Society (a.k.a. RCLAS) and asked the members to submit poems regarding the photograph titled ‘Wait for Me, Daddy.”  It was taken by Charles Detloff of the Daily Province newspaper and later that  month would make it onto page 37 of TIME magazine.

British_Columbia_Regiment_1940

RCLAS posted the poetry challenge to its members.   I opted to give it a shot and my submission was one of the poems selected.

Tonight we had the poetry reading at the newly opened Anvil Centre here in New Westminster.  This was apparently the first cultural event there.  Personally this would be the first ‘formal’ reading I would be participating in.

I got home from work then paced my living room reading the poem aloud repeatedly.

I have watched many of the seasoned poets in this group get up and perform their pieces.  And I thought perhaps I should try this approach.  This was only my fourth time reading and if my furniture was any indication they were captivated by my reading.  I rendered the inanimate things speechless!

Now it was time for the real deal.

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I walked over to the centre. It’s only about four and half blocks away from my home.  We’ve had several days of much needed rain, quite heavy at times, but the skies had softened and the clouds had broken as I stepped out into the evening.

As the poets were called forth with a brief bio to introduce each, I felt the nerves set in.  When my name was called I rose in my liquid state and performed the piece kinda sorta the way I wanted to.  I was a little emotional and when the paper I was holding began to tremble I just tried not to think about it and pushed through.

I was humbled by the response to my reading and very grateful for the opportunity to be part of this event.

Below is my submission.

If you would like to check out the other submissions I have provided the link at the end of this post.

Thanks for stopping by.

Phone Pics July 2014 070

Nancy Pilling

A native of Vancouver, Nancy Pilling moved to New Westminster in 2010. She is currently employed as an accountant in North Vancouver. She has had a lifelong love of writing and is dedicated to this passion of hers. It is Nancy’s desire to continue exploring the many avenues of the written word and to publish her work.

A Single Moment
by Nancy Pilling

It is a single moment captured and frozen in a frame,
A photographer’s dream,
A small piece of history now has a face, a single image and its power,
Still felt to this day,
It spoke to the agony of a people, to a nation, to the world.

The world back then was tough and gritty,
The Great Depression had weathered us all,
War now held us in its grip,
We were a young country then, just finding our feet,
Collectively we stood together.
Canada would fight for the liberties we were coming to know,
We’d fight for the vision of a country imagined in a world gone mad,
And we’d fight for the freedom that was ours to defend,
And we would do so with innocent bravado.

An outstretched hand son to father,
The line of troops in perfect symmetry,
Expressions, the angst and determination,
Emotions, the love and fear,
Immortalized as time stood still.
He lived and I wonder who walked back into his son’s life?
Was it a familiar stranger, or was it Dad?
Did he bear the confidence once shown?
Or was the gift of his time in hell
Memories of a bloody field that would haunt the rest of his days?

My father too fought in this war,
A young man, he was eighteen and so brave,
Dad’s stories were never told, he held tight to those terrors,
That hell of his remained a mystery and died with him,
But we lived his horror every day,
At least that’s the reason I’d like think as to why he turned out that way,
Maligned and damaged, so dark his soul barring the shadow of a boy who was no more.

The innocence of youth saw young men march to war who sacrificed a promised life,
What was that boy losing the day his father marched away?

http://rclas.com/waitforme#

A Game of Polictical Chess Anyone?


And here we go again.  Talks of military strikes being used against Syria now fill newspapers and the nightly news.  I am, as the majority of people are, horrified by what may be taking place in Syria.  I can’t help but wonder what the hell is going on in our world.

We’ve heard testimony as to the atrocities that are allegedly occurring in that nation.  And yes, I agree whole heartedly that something needs to be done if this is the case. It is an ugly thing.

The chess board is being set up as Russia voices its stance on all of this warning the U.S. to not do anything without United Nations approval.  Russia is allied with Syria and the U.S. has Israel’s back.

Then you have the pawns that are shuffled about the board as alliances are made a broken.  Political persuasion and innuendo reign supreme as the powers that be move and contort about the board.

I was told once that I don’t want to know the true goings on of governments and I am in agreement of this.  I don’t want to know the ugly deceit and decay that exists.  I’ll keep my head in the clouds and continue to believe that we can all come together as rational beings and work through our problems peaceably.

Have you ever wondered why all Presidents, Prime Minsters and the like end up with grey hair?  Stressful job?  Most definitely.

Still, there needs to be accountability for such actions.

Regardless of whether President Bashar al-Assad is aware of the use of chemical weapons or not (and he likely is), because of his station he needs to be held accountable.  In my opinion, it starts at the top and moves down the list.  No pointing fingers and passing the buck.  If you are the elected official running the show, you damn well better be able to explain the use of such force.

And in truth, there is no reasonable explanation to use chemical weapons or to kill your citizens.

The thing is this region seems to just be mired in civil unrest and warring factions have been playing this political chess game forever it seems.  All through my youth and adult years there has always been some type of military action and being taken against one regime or another.

Rebel forces rise up insisting on change and should it come then it seems to open yet another avenue of unrest and disillusionment.

Democracy.  The prize either being sought or defended.

Yet even though I live in a democratic country, I am not always pleased with the result of the vote.  I can, however, voice freely why I disagree with the current government without fear of reprisal.  I am on the record as not being a fan of Prime Minister Harper.  I don’t agree with how he governs and am upset at some of the policies he has brought in and the policies he has discarded. I can voice my opinion and cast my vote to change this.

Running a country is a delicate balance.  At no time can you please everyone.  The idea to me is to ensure that all citizens are provided with the fundamental rights and freedoms that should be enjoyed on a global stage.

Governments, in my mind, should not be influenced by religion.  Governments purpose should be to uphold the laws of the land and ensure that all citizens have access to the basics such as education, housing, medical care and food.

It is up to each of us all to care for the land that we inhabit.  It is our responsibility to ensure our planet’s health is adhered to.

That said, the laws of the land are at times driven by the religions that are practiced in them.  So how do you separate the two?

At the end of the day though, we are all human.  We all share that commonality.  Cut us, we will bleed.  We all cry.  We all have fears.

But we are also wonderfully creative and beautiful in our humility.  Think of all the art works that have been created dating back some 35,000 years.  The Cave Chauvet in France is an excellent example of our basic desire to leave our mark, to express ourselves, to capture a moment and pass it on. Look at the buildings we’ve erected, the cities that we’ve built throughout the spans of time.

We have embraced the written word with such a passion and of course, there is the universal love of music we all share.

And all of us want to be loved and accepted.

So while they set up the chess board once again, I’ll go stick my head back in the clouds and hope that one day we can get past playing with guns, and bombs, and chemicals and killing…

 

 

 

 

In Training (Day 96)….Solutions,please


I wonder why I am feeling so fired up these days.  I would imagine some of the health concerns that have come up recently would play into my mood as of late.  Sitting in the doctor’s office on Wednesday evening and being told that the chances of my having cancer were miniscule had me realizing that I could actually breathe again.  I was not even aware how much stress I had taken on.  That moment occurred when the burden began to lift and I felt remarkably lighter.

I still have to go for more testing.  An MRI will be in order sometime in the next month.  It would appear that getting into my uterus is akin to breaking into Fort Knox.  By the doctor’s description it would seem there is something of a labyrinth in the vicinity of  my cervix.  This created an interesting visual for me and sat smiling oddly at the doctor as he explained this.

Now that the medication has pretty much left my system I no longer feel like Sponge Bobbette.  And I have just three weeks left before I run my first 1/2 marathon.  In one week I will be doing the Sun Run which is a 10 KM event and I had hoped I would come in under the one hour mark but that is debatable at this point as my training has had several interruptions.

I have decided the 1/2 marathon will be a 10 and 1 event for me.  And by that I mean I will adhere to the rule of running for 10 minutes and walking for 1 minute throughout.  I will not required my water bottle at this event as there are several water stations set up so perhaps I should look at perhaps walking it out through them.  I downloaded the map and will determine the distance between each and see if it is in fact about 10 minutes between each one.

In any case I have three weeks to try to pull myself together.  I had wanted optimum health to be the image that I presented to the world on race day.  I think I will shoot for ‘still standing’ at this point.  And I say this in jest, truly.

Certainly this has gone in several directions but I think I needed to fall apart a bit more.  I still had some stuff to rid myself of.  This translates not only from the physical issues but the emotional, spiritual, sexual, intellectual and all other avenues of self.  This quiet war that I have waged on self over the last few years seems to be heating up a bit.

I am noticing more than ever before how I am affected by the world around me.  I have been almost hyper-sensitive to it.  My daughter commented that lately I have been on this ‘save the world’ rant.  This was an observation because lately I have been attacking certain ideologies and questioning them.  It has created a bit of tension at times as she questions my reasoning and I can be rather forceful with my opinions.

Last night I brought up UNICEF and other organizations that cater to extreme poverty.  The trigger for me was watching Alyssa Milano’s ad for UNICEF imploring us to reach into our pockets and commit to fifty cents per day while images of children living in extreme poverty were flashed upon the screen.  Now don’t get me wrong.  Yes, these children need our help.  I am not bemoaning this at all and perhaps while sharing this with my daughter last evening I was a bit too colourful in my emotional response.

Why has this ad struck a chord with me?  I don’t know.  I have watched these ads for the last 30 years or so.  I had a ‘foster child’ for a time during the 1990’s.  In truth, I really hurt for these children.  It is absolutely heartbreaking to see the conditions they find themselves living in.

My issue is why this is still going on.  Why do we still refer to these countries as ‘developing’?  Why have we not been able to impart certain knowledge regarding productivity and sustainability in their region?  Is is simply the politics involved?  This quagmire of human existence where children die needlessly everyday due to hunger and disease.  Billions are spent on weapon systems while people quietly die.

We have this North Korean fool with his finger on the button.  Nuclear war.  Does this scare me?  No.  It saddens me so deeply.

Why are we still in this state?

And I look inward.  And while I feel that I have made giant leaps forward in my personal journey,  at times it seems as though nothing much has changed.  And I look at the world around me and it seems much the same.

Thirty years ago the Cold War was coming to an end.  But you know, the fear of nuclear war fed us for a long time.  I grew up in a paranoid world.  If the bomb didn’t get us then some other disaster would.  For as long as I can remember we have been told the Big One (a.k.a. Earthquake) is coming here on the west coast of British Columbia.  And for several years when the Green River murders and the Clifford Olson’s and the disappearance of women from the downtown east-side was occurring, as women, we were paranoid about leaving the house in the evening on our own.

Every shadow held a threat.  Every leaf that rustled in the breeze potentially hid an attacker.

I don’t live in that fear any longer.  I don’t want to live feeling like a perpetual victim.

I want solutions.  Oh, I know.  The issues that plague this world are enormous but if we could collectively begin to look at real remedies.  I guess I feel like these campaigns for those of us able to reach in and provide the fifty cents a day is more of a band-aid remedy.  What concerns me as well, is that now our own children are falling into the poverty spectrum as the cost of living sky-rockets.  The division just seems to grow.  This thing we termed a ‘middle class’ seems to be disappearing.

For the first time in history (though I could be wrong about this fact, so lets say recent history), children are not expected to be as well off as their parents.  Jobs are not as readily available.  Housing is quite expensive and we are being taxed to the max with the government looking for more creative ways to extract money from our paycheques.

So yes, I am feeling the strains of the world around me.  And I want solutions, please.  They are out there.  I know they are.  We have the technology for clean energy worldwide and yet we are still ruled by an oil based economy.  And how much longer can this go on?

If I have been on a rant about the state of world perhaps it’s because we’ve been screaming about this stuff for so long and yet nothing changes.  Taxes are going up.  People are losing jobs.  Homelessness is increasing.  Children are still hungry.

How do we change this?  I know we can.  We must.  And I will start with who I am and what I bring each day.  No more patch jobs to heal the world’s ills.  Let’s find lasting solutions.  No more wars.

God, I look at this sky before me.  How beautiful it is.  I think about this planet that is our home and just how magnificent a place it is.  Let’s all take better care of her and in so doing let’s take care of each other as well.

Blessing to all of you.  And yes, we need to feed the children and more over love them.  Enjoy your day.

Rites of Passage


I woke this morning with these thoughts running through my head and bathed in the now familiar sweat (a.k.a. a hot flash).  Our rites of passage as we move through this life. Each moment and event culminating to build a story that will relay the living of it.  Depending on who you ask, it may be viewed differently to others than the person writing the pages of it.

I have had a fabulous weekend thus far.  It is a long weekend here in Canada as yesterday we paid homage to those who have died in war in defense of our country and to those who have served and continue to do so and survived.  I always wonder what my father was like before the war.  I wonder if the horrors that he witnessed forever changed him.  Is this the reason he was so abusive toward his family?  That died with him.

He never spoke of his time in the war.  The only time really that he did speak of it was when he was completely inebriated and so far into his cups that he couldn’t see straight.  Then sometimes the utterances, while they may have sounded non-sensical in their delivery, came out something like this.

“Fuck Dave I don’t mind telling you I’m looking forward to a home cooked meal and a warm body.”

“Yeah, I am with ya on that one Jackie boy.  I am with ya on that.”  He would then make the sound of gunfire.

“Fuck I hate this, fuck I hate this.  You okay Dave?”

Nothing.

“Dave? Holy fuck…”

“You stupid bastard!  Why the hell didn’t you get down?  Look at you?  What woman is gonna want you with your head blown off.  You stupid bastard.”

At times he would then cry.

When first I heard this drunken monologue, I was about 13 years old.  It gave me some insight into this man.  The following day he was working on the car and I was watching him.  I decided to ask him about this.

“Hey dad, last night you were talking about a guy named Dave from the war.  Did you see him get killed?” I asked this in a rather tentative and nervous manner.  He looked at me and his eyes hardened immediately.

“Shut the fuck up about it.” he instructed.

“But I just thought….”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP AND GET THE FUCK OUT!”

There would be no discussion on this.  If he was sober, it was not an area that could or should be mentioned.  I did find at times though I could have brief conversations on these matters while he was in a drunken stupor, but then you walked a fine line with that one too.  You never really wanted to awaken the beast in that state as things could get ugly.

And has life continued to unfold in its somewhat strange fashion at times, during Remembrance Day I would always ask myself the question, ‘What was he like before the war?’

In my father’s youth I believe that war was romanticized to some degree.   I think those young men and women who left to defend all that we hold dear might well have been a little idealistic at first.  I don’t know.  I am only speculating at this point.  I can’t imagine what it would have been like to kill someone for the first time.

But in war this is what happens.

Yesterday I was down at Sunset Beach with my daughter during the moment of silence.  I gazed across the water with the familiar questions now playing through my head once more.  Always the questions about this stranger who was my father.  I never really got to know the man.  That was never open to us. Just every once in a while we caught a glimpse inside.

When I had my daughter, I promised to do all the things for her that were not afforded to me in my youth.  So as the moment passed and I offered a salute to all those who have passed in wartime, my daughter and I set out on a hike.  The day was overcast and it rained in the end, but we went on a good 6 KM hike through Stanley Park then found a restaurant and had breakfast.

My daughter knows me very well, and as she has grown from child to woman, we have developed a very deep bond.  There is also a friendship that both of us hold in the highest regards.

It’s sad that my father was not able to open himself to love and that he could not find it in his heart to accept forgiveness.  But he gave me the gift of life and for that I will always be grateful.  I hope that in death he has found some measure of peace and all that haunted him during his lifetime has been laid to rest.

The legacy I want to leave when I pass from this world can be summed up simply.  I want to leave a mark of gentle kindness, hope and love.  If I can do this, then I will have lived my life to the highest expectations that I can think of.

I pray that there will come a time when wars are no longer necessary.  And on that note I will close this commentary.  Enjoy your day everyone.

Peace out.