17 September 2010

Les canards

Every day I get up, get a coffee and have a cigarette out side. When I first got here and the mornings were still warm, I'd go "all the way out" on the dock and watch the ducklings. (I've been here two and a half months.) I would take in the open blue sky, the towering evergreens, and the thicket of forest where all kinds of creatures hid in the safety of their refuges while standing over the water feeling like the floating dock would take me away.

It was the only thing that kept me from dwelling on the world that I left, an entire other life that felt sacked by me up-and-leaving (a life that I had grown rather accustomed to living.) I breathed in the fresh, pine-heavy air, and struggled to appreciate that I was there and incapable of turning back before I could change my mind.

Before the girls went back with their father, my youngest would come out and greet me a sleepy good morning and sit with me. And after they were gone, it was a place I would go to collect my thoughts and wake up. I've had many a day here like that. Almost every single one. This haven, this beautiful secret garden, has been the refuge I've needed to clear just about every basic (or complex) thought I've ever had.

It has also been, much to my charm, a world unto itself. The ducklings grew and more seemed to join the family. And they've gotten fat eating off the ground where the birds spill their seed. As well, I've had the privileged delight to witness not one or two, but three blue jays, which I've never seen before. Between the birds, the squirrels, the wasps, the dragonflies, the two odd otters (one day only), and the odd porcupine, it is enchantment best saved for the movies.

The funniest thing though, is how the ducks have made a path in the grass with their waddling march to the tree where the bird feeder is. It's truly a delightful little show of mother nature's humor.

12 September 2010

Mass in French

What an enriched experience Mass is in French when you have a small stash of vocabulary and the little missal in front of you!

I came here under premonition, decision, wincing in preparing for the barrage of fire, but the one thing that helps me even when I'm feeling like the scum of the earth about my decision to live here like I am is to go to this massive cathedral where I am just a peon.

In the whole sense of the word "blessing", it just doesn't matter what the whole world thinks for a moment in your life. For just one hour, you get to be a person who could be worthy of forgiveness, a person full of graces, and part of a family. For one hour, you can focus on something so much sweeter, nicer, more loving, gentle and warm, forgiving than the weight of all the raucous crap people feel entitled to give you just because you made a decision to do something with your life, and every person you ever knew, ever loved was hurt or pissed by it and had something to say on Facebook about it. (True story.)

For just a few moments, you get to shed the unraveling of the prior week (or weeks), the pain them feeling betrayed. In French, "blessure" means "to wound." In my studies of eternal matters, I have found that many of the saints refer to this "wound of love" that pierces them. It is this pain that they rejoice in because it signifies death to self and a welcoming of the eternal love that floods the soul through the light and mercy of our most Eternal Lord. (Can you imagine the light pouring in your eyes? The pressure of joy bursting from withing your gut? The sheer, overcoming relief of total welcome?) Isn't it something that we refer the the word "blessing" without really even realizing its sheer and pure, yet absolute meaning.

Funny thing is, the scenes didn't all unfold caustically until human judgment got in the way; and, like it or not, I'm finally realizing that it isn't their forgiveness I'm seeking. (Although it used to be. Weird, huh?) But I digress. I still felt like this (refer to "peon" paragraph) before I made the decision to move here and eff up everyone's perceptions of me, hurt their feelings, shock them. You know, when I was a Stepford wife.

That doesn't mean that you are reprieved of the things that you do which suck, or that your journey to be a good person and make fully conscious decisions, complete with consequences just stops there. It means that for a concrete, singular moment you get to breathe. Which is a blessing.

Of course, it seems easier when the people in the church don't know your every last sin, but when you're sitting there with the uncle of the man you're with on the other side, and he knows that you are there under some matter of dramatic sequence, you know you are going to be facing the music eventually.

But even then, it's okay. It's peaceful. Because even when they know my story (at least the people closest around me), I know they're not going to be the type of people to judge. Even if they heard all the gory details down to the final indiscretion, these people I already love already love me and this life, here, is already its own proof that I am not the same person who just lays idle about life and allows everyone else to define her boundaries.

Ici est la cathedrale de Chicoutimi: