Monday, 26 September 2011

Over the weekend I went to Jasper with my parents, both of my sister's and their husbands. It was a last minute family trip. We went on 3 hikes, all of which I had done as a kid with my dad. I am thankful for those father daughter camping trips I went on with my dad where we would hike, camp, and when I got older, backpack. Those are some of the times when I really bonded with my dad. We hike up the mountain Cavity, which was far more of a scramble than a walk in the park. I thought my dad was a little crazy for taking me up there when I was 6, but I still have a scar on my knee from that first trip. The hike up Cavity yesterday was dangerous. It was windy, and rainy, so the rocks were slippery. Looking from above, I watched my dad try to navigate an alternate route which only left him stranded on a rock wall. I hoped he would not fall.
My dad and I did a lot of scrambling, For a couple years we hiked into a campground called waterfall where two waterfalls met. One year we scrambled up beside the one waterfall, and the next year up climbed up the other waterfall. I think it was the first year when my dad and I had climbed different routes up a cliff. From the top I got out the camera and took a picture of him. "Good thing you took that picture" he had told me later "The rock I was holding was loose. That might have been the last picture you ever got of me." I shuddered, not liking my dad to talk like that.
The next year we climbed up the other waterfall. we came across some large rock piles let by glaciers. (I think they have a fancy name, but I don't know what it is now). We walked a couple of Kms to the far side of one, and on that end it was gently sloped. we walked up it with no problem and started heading back along the top. The problem came when we had to get off of the pile. The sides around us were a steep collection of large and small rocks. Everything was loose. My brave dad started down on his feet, but it wasn't long before he lost his balance and tumbled down the mountain. I thought he might die, but he was okay. I sat atop of the rock for a long time, terrified of going down. I thought about the song that said "your love is a mountain, firm beneath my feet", and wished that this mountain was at all firm. Eventually I made my way down.
We took a lot of pictures this weekend. And I thought about the time my dad had said that it was good I had taken the picture because it might have been the last. We found out a week before our trip to Jasper that my dad's cancer has come back, and with a vengeance. He seems healthy, but the tumors are beyond operable, and treatment can only delay the inevitable. He's made a bucket list, and on there was a trip to Jasper. Jasper is an important place for him. Take a Picture of dad on the mountain, this might be the last mountain he climbs. Take a picture of all of us together, who knows if we will all be together again. Take a picture of dad skipping rocks. Who knows if he will be out at a lake again. Take a picture of dad and his daughters because soon they won't have a father. Take a picture, it might be the last chance.

So, now I am feeling pretty hopeless and kinda depressed. I don't feel like doing anything, but I think the more I do, the better it is for me. I am feeling rather busy with school and work amongst many other things, and I can't do everything. Hopefully someday I will learn how to balance it all, but first I feel like I might crash.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

UGM - youth drop in

Solemnly they walked through the line. Some smiled, other wouldn’t make eye contact, but most said thanks. I offered them mixed peas and corn, but most rejected them, so there were many left when I went and found someone I knew with whom I could sit. The lighting was dim, and the atmosphere was mellow. Earlier they had told us that there were black lights in the bathroom so people could not find their veins and inject drugs, I could not get the image out of my mind. I found myself in a conversation with a youth I didn’t know, and as was best, she did most of the talking. She was homeless. She had been kicked out of one shelter, not allowed in another, and the rest were forbidden to her for she was only fifteen; only fifteen yet homeless. Something from deep within me burned against this injustice. I felt utterly useless, and angry that there was nothing I could do to help this girl, this child. I wanted to storm up to the gates of those agencies and beg that they let her in. She had been kicked out of the one place because her skirt was too short. Her skirt was too short; had they even thought to offer her anything else to wear. I knew I was only hearing her side of the story, but that didn’t matter. There was no reason which I could comprehend that justified having a fifteen year old sleep on the streets. On the filthy perilous streets of East Hastings. I wished I could have offered her a home, a family, and some love, but I was there only to leave again. She couldn’t escape her situation but in a few days I would get in the 15 passenger van and drive home. I offered her all I could; I listened, and in doing so I received more than I could have given. I received a passion, a passion that ten years later continues to fuel what I do. Black lights in the bathroom. Unwanted peas and corn. Dim lights where they ate their food. Rejected teen. I was only 13.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Do you know Joe?

The other day I was talking with my friend. She knows Joe, and so do I. I know about Joe’s love for animals, the hardships he faced as a child, and in losing his wife, and his distrust of people, because he has been let down. Joe lives in the inner-city, eats at the Mustard Seed Soup Kitchen and lives without a job.
When I was at the Farmers’ Market this week, the musician asked me if I knew Joe. Of course I do, and I was about to tell him so until I realised he might not be talking about the same Joe. The Joe he knows has his own story, his own definition of success and hopefully someone to trust.