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"Happiness always looks small when you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and at once you learn how big and precious it is."
Maxim Gorky

Friday, October 25, 2013

Song for Friday...under the covers

On CBC radio, Tom Powers has a segment called "Under the covers".
He explores the world of cover songs.
Sometimes they might be known and a lot of times they are obscure.
Yesterday he played a cover of one of my all time favorite soul songs
by the legendary Gladys Knight and the Pips.
"Midnight Train to Georgia" came out in the summer of 1973 and
8 weeks later replaced The Rolling Stones "Angie" in the #1 spot on the charts.
Loved it then and I still love it now...
...but the other day I heard this cover ...
by no other than Neil Diamond.
Much slower and maybe not so soulful but a completely great spin
on a classic done by one of the great singer songwriters of our time.
So enjoy and have a great weekend all!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Just wandering....

Autumn takes me to many places in heart and mind.
I love these days of warm glows, rich tones, the coziness but
I am also filled with melancholy.
Why is it that the fall takes us so inward?
Is it the last waning days of frolicking in the outdoors, layered but able
to fling off the outer sweater as the mid day sun filters through the fog?
Knowing how soon the cloak of frost will greet us one morning, catching our breath
as we step out the door?
The falling leaves, a reminder of the fact that with life comes death.
My yoga teacher lost her mom within a week of a sudden illness.
She was young and seemingly healthy and then gripped by cancer severely and quickly.
Today when I wandered through the woods I thought of  that quickness.
My teacher talked about wanting to run from those deep and uncomfortable emotions
but how yoga has taught her to gather them close to the bone.
To sit with them.
To breathe.
And even though she couldn't physically do a yoga session in the weeks that
followed her moms death, she was still practicing.
Still a student.
Don't forget to breathe.
So, the same for me in that yoga is not just a physical practice but something that
carries me through the day, the years, the flights and stumbles.
I thought of my sisters brief time here.
The leaves that crumbled so easily under foot.
The decaying fungi that lasts for maybe a few days or a week at best.
And in our human world how 100 years can seem so long but 
for the majestic evergreens it is but a smidgen of time spent rooting into the earth.
Watching Griffin, I thought that in only a few years my beloved companion will be gone and how
short a time his lovely spirit has graced my world.
How much joy he has given me.
How many wonderful places we've been together.
The thing to keep in the forefront again is not how short the time
but how deep and meaningful that life has been.
How lovely and cruel life can be in all it's moments.
It's fragility can seem like a gentle breath on the wind.
It's severity, the loud crack of a branch, falling to the earth.
Grasp it all, gather it, rake it up, jump in and toss it overhead.
Give your heart a soft place to land.
Just like those leaves, whirling up in the blustery days of October,
moments will fly them closely.
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
But by the moments that take our breath away".
(mom, Tracy, Danny, myself. Wilket Creek Park, Toronto 1973)


Sunday, October 20, 2013

On cue...

Like I've said before, Ontario is full of rocks and trees.
And then as if on cue, as soon as you cross the border...
 You are smack dab on the Prairies.
These photos are taken from the car directly across the Ontario - Manitoba border.
 If Christopher Columbus had landed here on his North American trek,
he would have definitely questioned his theory of a round world
because out here..."She's-a-flat"!
 Big sky, harvest time in Manitoba.
When we got into Winnipeg Tom had surprised me with two nights
at the gorgeous old CP Hotel Fort Garry...
 She is one of the grand hotels from the era of growth and optimism
when the train was the preferred method of travel and business and every large city
had a big, fancy hotel near the even grander Canadian Pacific Railway stations...
(back then it was the Grand Trunk and Grand Pacific Railway)
Our view at night looking out towards the Winnipeg station...
 The man behind these beautiful, luxurious hotels was Charles Melville Hays.
He was the President of the railway and wanted no expenses spared in the construction
of several of these hotels and railway stations.
Sadly he was one of the passengers on the Titanic and never lived to see the completion
of the Hotel Fort Garry or the Chateau Laurier.
In 1913 it cost $1,500,000 to build.
Imagine back in the day though...
Coming up to the front entrance...
 Porter behind you with your leather travelling cases.
Entering the lobby after days on the train...
Opening the door to your suite...
 Running a big tub of hot water...
There are reports of haunting throughout the hotel...
A worker who fell down the elevator shaft during construction
is said to roam the stairways...afraid to ride the elevator..
It reminded me of the hotel in the movie "The Shining".
Large, dark corridors...
 and this empty banquet room in particular...
But all spookiness aside, it really is a gorgeous old relic and Mr Hays
would have been proud of the finished product.
Many lovely art deco details are seen throughout the hotel.
There's even a beautiful old brass mailbox still in use for guests to post letters...
 Our only complaint was that there was a ballroom on the 7th floor directly below our
room with an extremely loud, disco thumping wedding going on.
The first night it was fine since we didn't get back to our room
until late and the music shut down about an hour later.
But the second night (another loud wedding happening) we requested
to switch rooms which the hotel kindly obliged.
We moved down to the 5th floor to another gorgeous room.
Luckily I didn't know at the time that there's a room
somewhere down there that is EXTREMELY haunted and
chambermaids are always trying to get out of having it
on their beat because of ghosts locking them in the room
and dark silhouettes standing by the foot of the bed at night,
not to mention bleeding walls and windows breaking for no reason...
no thanks!
The Fort Garry is a tribute to the glorious days of train travel.
My preferred way to go.
Not the super fast trains they have now but the old fashioned clickety clack
on the track, the slow rocking, meditating rumble on the rails.