Sunday, February 11, 2007
Home thoughts--from a guy!
It is not for nothing that every writer searches for his accomplice, perhaps his guide.
For years and years, mine has been Jorge Luis Borges, who writes in flashes of lighning stemming from a profound erudition which includes the venerable Pascal, who wrote, for example, "Nature is an infinite sphere whose center is everywhere, whose circimference is nowhere." Borges hunts down this metaphor through the centuries and produces incredible stories, such as the Aleph, this infinite sphere whose centre is everywhere, whose circuference is nowhere. It is Borges' open-ended stories that charm and mystify and give us, finally, a sense of God that is almost right up against us. And we dare not speak His name. But Borges appears to actually utter all the names of God and perhaps for that, he is struck blind
He was stuck blind.
Well, I for one neither have the profundity of Borges, nor do I want to be struck blind, but it is nice every so often to get a story from an "accomplice" a friend who sometimes does reviews of my stuff on his blog.
He really seemed to dig my LIGHT OVER NEWMARKET and other times agrees to have me put up a story of his that I really like.
Home. We are all trying to get home, one way or another. The Aleph is a wondrous, spooky symbol, but all the occultness does not really bring us back home and the ones we love.
Here is what I picked up from Aaron Braaten, http://www.grandinite.com.
I had the most amazing dream.
I was in a hockey arena cafeteria, the place of Canadian community and belonging. I was raised in Alberta’s hockey rinks; this is where I come from. The air was humid and warm, and I could smell hot chocolate, coffee and grill grease from the canteen. The low rumble of conversation was muffled by all the puffy coats and toques.
You were there, eating with your parents. You knew I’d be there. You didn’t even have to look behind you to know I was present. You saw it in your father’s eye movement and furrowed brow.
You got up, turned around, walked over to me. After a hug and a kiss, you simply said “I love you. I’ve missed you”.
And then, something pulled me out of my dream. Something woke me up. The sound of a thousand trumpets. I followed the trumpets out of my dreamscape, back to my reality, and I realized these were not trumpets, but Canadian geese, making their way home after wintering in the south.
Needless to say, I was floored by the symbolism this morning.
I awoke, ground some coffee and boiled some water and mixed the two in my french press. A bottle of maple syrup stood on the counter, from making lemonade last night. I came to the computer and started writing this while the coffee soaked. After hammering out the first sentence or two, the smell of the beans told me to pour them out, so I did. I poured out my coffee, threw in a little cream, grabbed my coat and my pack of Djarum cigarettes and went out onto my balcony for a morning smoke, hoping to hear the geese again.
I put the coffee cup on the cement ledge near my window, and watched the steam rise to meet the cold air as I lit my cigarette, and I looked up at the evergreens in the courtyard. They’re cedars, but I imagined them to be the spruce trees of Rocky Mountain House, as I looked up at their green silhouettes juxtaposed against a clear blue sky, much like one would see in Alberta. I was reminded of those many times I’ve spent camping with Dad, sitting in a lawn chair, staring up at the sky. When I stare up at trees against the sky, I feel at home, and for a moment I did. I knew my place in the world, and this wasn’t it.
My eyes watered as an uncontrollable sickness washed over me. A mixture of love and home sickness. I took a puff on my cigarette, and remembered the Player’s Light that my Dad smokes. My coffee tasted like Tim Horton’s, and I heard the voice of people singing.
O Canada! Our home and native land! True patriot love in all thy sons command. With glowing hearts we see thee rise, The True North strong and free! From far and wide, O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. God keep our land glorious and free! O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
They sang it apathetically, low and slightly off-tune, as Canadians often do. But to me, the sound was that of angels singing to my soul. The national anthem is usually something we endure before the hockey starts. But for me, this morning, it took on a whole new meaning.
(Published electronically by Island Grove Press) Mr. Braaten holds all rights