Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Week 19: It was Christmas and it felt so cheerless...

I looked inside my fridge tonight and I was hit by the bounty of full shelves of fresh fruits and vegetables. I always feel a little guilty when I have so much food in there. I know all too well what it's like to do without food. With my artsy bohemian lifestyle and its on again off again income, keeping anything in the cupboards or the fridge some days is a real challenge. And there have been such days that particularly stand out in mind. I remember one Christmas nearly 35 years ago when I had nowhere to go that holiday and no money and no food - there wasn't so much as mustard in the fridge or even a cracker. I spent the day working in a neighbourhood convenience store which sold all sorts of speciality cheeses and deli meats and good coffees. They needed a little extra help and all that day long customers came in to buy little things they had forgotten and then leave to be on their way for Christmas dinner with family and friends. Some left little gifts of wine and other things for Gus, the owner, so there was much holiday spirit in the store. But at the end of the day I had to leave without food. My pay wouldn't be ready for a time; I couldn't buy even bread to take home that Christmas.

It seared an impression into my heart and soul. Strangely, I am not really sure why or what bothered me most that day. I was hungry, that's for sure. I did feel badly that it was Christmas and it felt so cheerless without family or friends or presents or treats. Yet it was nice to greet the happy people coming into the shop. I don't think I envied people their families to go to or the food they could afford to buy - I don't think that deep inside I really do covet what other people have and maybe I don't have in this life. But the experience left me with a very strong sense of kindred connection with people who are alone, who are hungry, who are afraid or without whatever it is that might be important to them.

People can be alone in so many ways - through loss, jobs, confinement, poor health, political oppression, cultural pressures, mental illness, imprisonment or just the quirks of individual personalty - life circumstances we choose or have foisted upon us or just may plain happen without warning. Single parents can be so alone, the elderly and the very young as well. Even in marriage, one can feel very alone at times. And in just as much variety people can be without - food, shelter, love, freedom, work, safety, medical care and drugs.

And now when I see that full fridge I think about all this and then just feel frustrated because still my life is challenging and there isn't much energy or any financial resources left over at the end of each day to help anyone else - to help them feel not alone, to help them get what they need to live. Even though I feel greatly sensitized through my own life to other people's need for help, there is, most days, so little I can do. So, I guess one thing over the oncoming years is to keep improving my own situation so I can reach out to others. For now it all leaves me feeling a little mad at God. You wouldn't believe some of the conversations we've had about this.

I guess the 'unblogged blog' had it's stopper popped open temporarily tonight. I can't promise a regular weekly blog right now. I need to write privately some days. However, this year "before-turning-60" is a very strange and changing one and there are so many things going round and round and ROUND in my head. And some of them might just end up here - occasionally - if they seem fit to share. I'll let you decide that.

Thank you for walking with me on my footpath this week. Gillian

WEEK 19 :: 12 PHOTOS: The images aren't terribly inspired this week - It was very hot and humid and I seemed to be going out in the blazing sun or too late at night - both conditions producing less than desirable results...But, though they may not be food for the eyes this week, hopefully food for thought at least. CLICK HERE.

BBPP Weekly Health Check:
Going a little crazy with cracker work for Thanksgiving/Hanukka/Christmas etc. Every year it gets more involved and detailed and a bigger operation. I love my customers - especially the repeat ones. They all write lovely notes and updates every year. It takes days to answer them all but it is a wonderful annual tradition to work through the first days of the holiday season here at the studio. It is so important to balance this with exercising and taking the time to cook properly. I'm almost 60 and these life changes are for life.

Body: My legs are itching to get out onto the trails. The humidity and the huge annual August workload have made time precious. Hoping to find a few hours real soon to go back to South Monck. Weight is holding steady. BP is also holding - doing quite well actually.

The Artist Soul: Well, this has to be the duck connection again. They are pretty much grown up now. I can only find 4 out of the 7 the past week. I'm wondering if some have gone off on their own or if they have come into harm's way. They continue to race across the river whenever I am there. It's such a thrill. They clamber right up on shore. I don't feed them as I understand this is not good for them and I am even a little worried about cultivating a friendship and this may take the edge off of their necessary wariness. Hunting season is, after all, not far off. I can't bear the thought of that.

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