Thursday, October 25, 2012

counting the uncountable

She was 20. In my imagination she was sassy, proper, and expectant. She was a recent Bible school graduate, impish yet traditional; a small-town girl with big ideas. Feminine and strong and ready. 

He was 21. Tall, lean, and skilled. Quick-witted, and responsible. Quiet, except when he wasn't. Overcoming the high school years of shyness. He'd just finished two years of trades training, had a good job and a bright future. 

They'd known each other for half of their young lives. Been Sunday School friends and high school sweethearts. They'd separated for a while, as happens when people are finding out if they are who they think they are. Inevitably, they had come back together. 
Today is my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. And this weekend 60 or so friends and family will gather to  celebrate. With all the focus on planning the party with my sisters, I have spent less time than I would prefer reflecting on their accomplishment and all that it represents. Fifty Christmases, 100 birthdays, 3 daughters, 5 grandchildren. They've lived in 7 towns and at least 14 homes. I know there's an infographic in there somewhere.

But what about the 50 years of the immeasurable, intangible moments that comprise a marriage? How many tears, or smiles, or laughs have they shared? How many times have they bitten their tongues, or wished they did? How many mistakes between them have been forgiven? How many perfect moments lived through, and then somehow forgotten? How many dishes have been washed, bags of garbage taken out, cars bought and sold? How many gallons of paint, rolls of wallpaper, hours of sanding hardwood floors have gone into all the homes they have created? 

How many times did their shared faith outweigh their personal frustrations with each other? How many times have they celebrated getting it right the first time, and making it right because that was the only choice they would allow themselves? 

I'm deeply deeply proud of my parents. They are remarkable individuals - active, giving, committed, honest. They are people I enjoy spending time with, and people I enjoy sharing with my friends and loved ones. In many ways, this milestone anniversary is a truly remarkable accomplishment. And, when you know them, in so many ways it's the obvious and inevitable result of who they are - the embodiment of love and faith and humanity. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

nothing new in ink and words

I have 4 drafts sitting waiting to be completed, but it turns out, on closer inspection, that they're all variations on what F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote for Benjamin Button, so much better than I could ever hope to: 
For what it's worth: it's never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of, and if you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.
So, since Mr. Fitzgerald beat me to the punch oh so long before I started, I will return to pondering my navel, leave you to live a life you're proud of, and come back when I have something new to say.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

slow down and smell the varietal

It was a picture perfect autumnal afternoon driving through the softly curving backroads of the Cowichan Valley, and at every sign lauding 'wine tasting' I wanted to slow and turn in. No, I am not a wino - at least not to that extent. And many if not most of these wineries I've not even heard of. And yet, the car pulled toward the driveway over and again. For today, I continued home, knowing they are there when I have more time. 

This has been a summer of wine tastings. Our extended summer road trip through the Kootenays and south Okanagan found me swirling and sniffing many a 1 oz. sample. There were hits and misses. Sometimes we ended up buying a wine we hadn't even tasted. Sometimes nothing struck our fancy and we just enjoyed the view. 

There's an air to a vineyard. Not quite a pretension, in most cases, but a quietude. Like an outdoor library or a secular cathedral. It's a quietude I seek and seldom find in every day life outside of a yoga class. And maybe not even there. 

Wine tasting, when done with calm intention and focus, is a sensory meditation. The smooth cool glass in hand. The swirl. The sniff. The lilt of the wine on the tongue. The concentration as I continue to try to develop a sensitive palate. I have started to differentiate under-tones and after-tastes. I've started to learn why I like what I like, and to be able to articulate it. 

I've become less willing to try just anything and more willing to speak up, to ask for a different version of this or to skip entirely over that. I'm slowly, oh so slowly, learning to overlook the marketing and to look at what's in the bottle instead of the label on it. 

I may never be a true wine aficionado - I haven't the patience or the budget. But I will continue to seek those quiet moments that wine tasting brings. And maybe someday to find ways to experience those moments in my every day life. 
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