First snowfall – Daily Moments – Troibun

A disturbing nudge on her shoulder kicks her out of her sleep. Her longtime friend and foe is ever consistent. It’s November, and dawn has not yet shown its face. Her cold dark room reminds her of death. It is after all, the month of death. She hears a neighbour roll over in bed. The springs are probably as old as his grandfather but hardly a nuisance to hear. In fact, it’s comforting to hear the expected. There is life upstairs.

She pulls the duvet over her head and whispers her morning mantra, “Please help me be a better person and make this day slightly different…Amen.” Shuffling to the washroom, she peaks in the room at the end of the hall. Squinting, she sees her black feline sleeping soundly by the windowsill.

In the kitchen she starts the coffee. She grinds the coffee beans at night to ensure quiet in the morning. Pulling the curtain in the living room, she sees dark purple shades painted across the sky. What a gift to see this performance offering hope for a new day…yet, it’s all a lie, really. Nothing changes.
Tiptoeing to the washroom, she closes the door runs her morning bath while the coffee maker does its magic. Hot water oils her joints…sort of, at least to function, maybe enough to walk to the bus stop today. Lowering her body so her shoulders are covered in the hot steaming water, she lets out a soft groan exhaling the bad.

The last gasps of the coffee wizard announce the end of her bath.
Sitting in her mother’s old rocker, she sips her first taste of happiness leaning on two ice packs. The aroma fills the air. The ice slowly numbs the pain on her neck and lower back; the rising sun puts a smile on her parched lips. Who knows? Maybe today will be different.

For decades, she’s always told herself that pain is her friend. If she feels aches, it means she’s alive rather than paralysed and unfeeling. She has the energy to work, to love, the passion to care despite the lulls in the day or night, she still lives and feels.

Accepting her limits is the secret. Walking too far or housecleaning in one shot will force her into inaction for a day or two. On days she cannot function, she reads, writes, edits photos or binges on Netflix…always pleasures to take her mind off physical discomforts…the nagging, accusing poking of her stalker or long-time partner?

dawn squints
billowy shadows linger
first snowfall

dawn squints
cringing at intruders
morning strain

billowy shadows linger
shift in autumn’s speed
chasing winter

first snowfall
brightening muddy paths
cooling giddy tongues

(c) Tournesol 19/11/07

A haibun and a Dear Emma journal…just thinking on paper

 

It’s driving her bonkers visiting so many condos. She is working still but this new place should be affordable when she no longer works and accessible to basic needs. Public transportation must be achievable so she can still get around at all hours of the day and evening. She loves the city for the culture, education and so many interesting events. She loves to read and if her new location does not provide what she needs in books, she wants to be able to hop on a bus and go to her Alma mater, having access to it’s library.

visiting
searching
a place to call home

visiting
private homes
of strangers

searching
impossible dreams
peace of mine

a place to call home
yet, fearing isolation
single … not alone

(c) Tournesol ’19/10/30

Yesterday she heard a radio broadcast of a man who retired. He talked about how it was a terrible shock to him. She has been planning to write more and teach English part time on line or in person when she retires. She planned on volunteering doing group work like she did a few years ago but somehow she did not feel “at home” in community outreach programmes like she did in Toronto. Why was that? Was she tired of volunteering in the mental health world where she has worked for almost 4 decades, volunteering and working? Well, that would make sense. Even if she offered workshops, she knows she would still be drawn into their narratives that pull at the heartstrings.

And, to hear this man voice his misery with retirement, jolted her. She thought about the time when it will be an END…rather than her usually way of thinking that it will be a new beginning. Even if she got certified to teach last fall, she never really grasped the idea of cutting ties to workforce. She remembers not working for one year when the children were little and she found work to do from home to keep her sanity. Somehow, being productive AND connected to people was a need and not just a desire.

How did she get here? She has always talked about volunteering and working part time here and there to fill her time. She has relished the idea of going to a library or coffee shop with her laptop and writing to her heart’s content. And yet when it is a choice and something in the future, it looks like a dream come true. When it gets closer, it feels like a death sentence. Oh my, why is she seeing her future so bleak? Is it that time of year?

November approaching is like opening your heart and home to death. The only good thing about this month was her first child was born on the 7th. She feels herself slipping into the darkness of despair and numbness. Knowing it is going to happen; understanding the why’s and how’s makes it even more frustrating because that mood just takes control over her. It snickers and sometimes bellows at her weakness. It weighs on her like a heavy duvet with iron fists keeping her under, and all she can do is concentrate on breathing…waiting for a break in that dark sky. Until then, she will go through the motions…work three days a week; listening to the darkest stories from callers, searching for hope. She sometimes, feels like a hypocrite not being able to take her own advice. She can hear them, feel them, open her heart to them and engage them and help them get to a safer and lighter place even if it’s just for a night, one more day, one more week. If only she could have someone like that to do the same for her.

It is probably one of the toughest parts of being in the service profession. Police officers, first responders, nurses, physiotherapists, massage therapists, doctors, teachers and social service workers and any other outreach career, have the same risks of slipping. Some take comfort with their family, friends and balancing self-care. Others drink too much or eat too much. The things they see or hear are not things you can share and vent with a friend.

In Toronto she had a great therapist (doctor/masters in social work) covered by healthcare. She was even her doctor and her support was helpful and refreshing. Even her doctor would pick her brain on ideas for clients she had who were parents.

She doesn’t feel it really matters where you live. It is how she feels inside…the heart of any home is the soul of the person living there. The living space can be spotless or cluttered, shiny or dreary, quiet or noisy, it all depends on what is going on inside that person. However, lots of windows make a huge difference…just being able to look at the sky; looking out and also seeing life around her like pedestrians, cars, squirrels and chipmunks. Seeing life is vital…it is a connection to the living and she can relate more and more to older people she worked with years ago. She is minutes away from any of these persons now.

She so admired their energy and persistence to keep moving and staying involved with social events. She wonders what their secret was when that heavy duvet weighed them in the morning or when it hurt to move a muscle or hurt even more to open their eyes. She did get advice from her 90 yr old aunt one time. Roll out of bed, shuffle to the bath and run a nice hot bath to oil the joints; then you can move!
She does this on most mornings now.

Maybe she could learn from more retired people. Experience is worth its weight in gold…now she is feeling a bit more hopeful. Thanks, Emma, for listening.

Daily moments Oct 30 2019, clr

 

reflections (haibun)

31,479 hours and still counting…

31, 479 hours to date, she has picked up the phone or sat at her desk replying to youths on the world wide web. She wonders how many hours one has to work before they start seeing pink rabbits and blue dinosaurs…

purple turtles
crawling ever slowly
weight on her heart

purple turtles
light and vulnerable
once upon a time

crawling ever slowly
feeding on every teardrop
nutrients within

weight on her heart
so called “innovation”
betrayed by giants

Giants make important decisions but may not have all the variables. Sadly, they are too tall and high, they cannot always hear the true believers…

hearts beating
to the sounds of their cries
fears, pain and suffering

Pushing the heart to beat faster, longer; lungs that sometimes collapse…not enough time to come up for air; maintenance does not seem to be the giant’s option. Push harder, drown, bury, replace, rebranding…looking to the future, they stick their chests out snapping their suspenders woven out of self-righteousness. Gatekeepers hold onto to their purple turtles so they don’t slip away. Hiding from poachers and giants who claim that Father Knows Best.

pink rabbits scatter
creating a diversion
blue dinosaurs roam

pink rabbits scatter
compassion their fuel
keeping turtles safe

creating a diversion
here, there, up and down
giants can’t keep up

blue dinosaurs roam
keeping watch night and day
the Universal Rule

when does an ideal begin to crumble?
what happens to noble dreams?
why do new stakeholders falter?
where have those primary dreamers gone?
when have visionaries replaced compassion and humility?
why have giants slipped away so far…from that Golden Rule?

She remembers going to see a new mechanic in Mississauga in 1997 when she had just moved to GTA. Her car had just passed the five year mark and was no longer on warranty. She had a list in October…to change the spark plugs, oil and filter and clean or change the brakes. She had her winter tires (which very few had there but she was from Montreal…better safe than sorry was their motto).

Mike, the mechanic (Yeah, I know like the song) did the oil change and put on her snow tires and told her everything else was fine. He told her that always cleaned brakes when doing an oil change; he said, “A garage will never make much money from a customer like you, Cl. You come in October to prepare your car for the winter…most people come around in at the end of November or even December and often when their car won’t start…prevention and good maintenance is the key to keep your car for a long time.” Of course, the winters were not as cold and snowy as in Quebec and that car held on up to 2008. The motor was still fine (thank you Mitsubishi) but it was not as safe to travel to visit her family in Quebec…her ailing mother and beautiful grandson merited more visits now.

She required a more dependable vehicle to manage the trek from Toronto to Montreal. A humble 4 cylinder, Eagle Summit was still working after 16 years, however. It felt as if it was time for retirement, but she would not be able to visit it as it; it would now be running slower and less frequently. Just like we do when we retire…we put less demand on ourselves, stretching our lives with quality time and less stress.

Isn’t that how dependable and high functioning people should be treated in a workplace? Maintaining their overall health which includes physical and mental wellbeing is crucial. Is she wrong in believing this?

pushing
faster, harder
dropping like flies

© Tournesol 19-10-08

Daily Moments  October 8 2019

Daily moments September 25, 2019 “missing Dom’ ” ~Troibun

 

You know how the smells of certain food, the images of certain things like flowers or sounds like a song all bring you back in time reminding you of that special someone?  Time stops for a moment to allow you to place yourself back with that person. That is what was happening today as she waited by the stove preparing her lunch. 

The eggs were simmering over roasted garlic and rice.  It would take a few minutes longer, she knew, but they would be “just right”, like that amazing omelette she had years ago in her friend’s kitchen in St Basil le Grand.  She remembers sitting at the counter and chatting with her as she would go back and forth leisurely but expertly, to the stove, preparing their brunch.

miss her smile
warm and genuine hugs
shimmering baby blues

miss her smile
sharing joys of music
blues and indie songs

warm and genuine hugs
former colleague that became her friend
on her first shift

shimmering baby blues
telling so many stories
spill with emotion

© Tournesol ‘19/09/25

Daily moments September 25, 2019  missing Dom’   Troibun

tragic losses (troibun)

It is tragic when depression wraps a person so tight with layers and layers of prickly wool. A person falls victim to that predator who distorts their lens and forges their vision seeing no way out.

lost in the darkness
never sees the right bend
veiled from the light

lost in the darkness
never thought there was help
suffering alone

never seeing the right bend
turned to the left
that cul-de-sac

veiled from the light
obscurity snickers
`til that last breath

© Tournesol ’16/05/10

Daily Moments ~ tragic loss May 10  2016

Daily Moments ~ hear the breeze ~ troiku ~ August 16 2019

Tween seasons are the best…end of summer opens windows and turns off air conditioners, reminding us of the beauty of natural sounds [minus the cars during rush hour].

finally
listen to the wind
softly whispering

finally
open windows
fresh air

listen to the wind
cicadas do their shrill
how peaceful!

softly whispering
“remember your Hail Mary’s”
can’t help but smile

© Tournesol ‘19/08/16

Daily Moments hear the breeze troika August 16 2019

Chapter 2 of Emily’s autobiography (troibun)

Emily does not remember much of the unpleasant and scary for some reason. It’s like ghosts in the back of her brain. The good, happy, loving images are so vivid and when the ghosts try to poke at her and get to the forefront, she is never sure what is real. The details are blurred. She sees a little girl sitting on the steps at the back of her house, sulking or weeping for “no reason”.

“I’ll give you something to really cry about!” screams in her brain…a buckle on a belt flashes and then blackness.

Recalling unpleasant and scary is like trying to pick up a lost penny on the pavement with your toes.

Then feeling the warm, loving hugs and her soothing voice…remembering her comforting embrace is her safety net.

memories
floating in and out
dream catcher

memories
fragmented stories
and blurred lines

floating in and out
latching on like…
bloodsuckers

dream catcher
recalling soothing hues
tangible – love

(c) tournesol ’19/08/15

What would you write in Chapter 2 of your life story?

Dorothy sings the blues (troiku)

Today, I treated myself to a mani-pedi at the Mall across the street. As the lady started working on my neglected feet, I took out my beads and relaxed and chanted my mantra silently. Usually one lady takes care of my feet and later I move to a table where another lady works on my hands. Today it was not as busy, another lady approached me with a bowl to soak my left hand while she started working on my right hand.


just like Dorothy
pampering hands and feet
in the land of Oz

It felt good to just be in the moment and relax. Later, I walked around aimlessly at The Bay and realized I wanted to continue doing “nothing” and came home to cocoon with my thoughts and my bff’s (best feline friends).


watching the leaves sway
rustling with the wind
Mother Nature’s blues

watching the leaves sway
listening to sopranos
cicadas shrill

rustling with the wind
like a full satin skirt
Mother used to wear

Mother Nature’s blues
giddy daisies dancing
to a summer’s breeze

© Tournesol ’19/08/06

Tuesday s Tulips Daily Moments July 2 2019 Troibun

Image may contain: plant, flower and nature
(c) Clr’ 19 Mother’s Day Tulips

This passed winter was long and cold.  Spring came along mid-May.  It was such a joy to see those tulips sprout from the earth.  Reds, yellows and even white petals standing tall and strong despite spring winds.  Even the rain could not push them around!  Hope was painted on every smile when a passerby finally realized that summer was near.

And now in the heart of summer, tulips have been replaced by peonies and daisies…but still, she remembers with fondness, her Mother’s Day present…fresh picked tulips standing tall. If you take the time to notice, you might see one left standing…stronger than its peers.

last of the tulips
stands by the building
left with abandon

last of the tulips
longing for reds and yellows
waits for its time

stands by the building
scratchy and cold
bricks give no comfort

left with abandon
could stand up no more
feeding Mother Earth

© Tournesol ‘19/07/02

Daily Moments – June 2, 2019  Moving Day (troibun)

Related image
Photo credits: Home Depot

 

Moving day in Québec   has just passed in this part of her world like every year, July 1st when residents renew their leases.  When she was a young child it was May 1st and she remembers many new classmates arriving at the end of the school year.  It was not easy for the children to leave their friends and school and start anew in a strange school.    That is why the provincial government, in 1973 decided it was better to end leases June 30th so children would not be penalized leaving their school before the end of their year and that is when Moving Day changed to July 1st.  It is also a long weekend with Canada Day, so many renters who could not afford to take time off work had an extra day to move.

You will notice driving around urban streets in or near Montreal in mid-June to mid-July there are LOTS of junk, furniture, mattresses and many cardboard boxes on the side of the street.  I suppose it is a busy and demanding time for the garbage collectors too.  Notaries (in Quebec we have notaries and not lawyers to draw up house deeds) are very busy from April to July…well, more than usual.  It might not be the best time to draw up a will…if you’re not in a hurry, that is.

Living close to a Salvation Army depot near the bus terminal, she notices piles and piles of clothes and furniture dumped after hours every day for the past few weeks.  And, the curious and disrespectful rummage through the droppings, opening bags and pulling out garments and leaving them spread out in front of the door of the depot.  She shakes her head in disgust and feels bad for the employees who have to clean up the mess every day when they come in to work.  How discouraging is that? Some may argue, “Well, they are paid to do it.”  Sure, they are but the time wasted on this is wasting lots of donation dollars too when they could be doing something else.  Oh well, she can tsk tsk all day long and it won’t change people, now will it?

It is quite warm today at 28C and in the sun it is hot!  She was planning to go the Montreal International Jazz Festival with her grandson but he thinks it is only jazz music and he is not a fan.  She knows there is Blues, Reggae, Rap, Hip Hop and much more but it may be difficult to convince a teenager, so she will play it by ear.  Maybe they can just walk around the Old Port after a nice dinner and see a late movie. That would be cool and since he is a night owl like she is, lateness is not an issue.  Getting up the next day may be more problematic but she is off from work for two days and he is off for the summer.  How she remembers those summer months.  It was a perfect time to read a novel or two and work on your suntan.  How times have changed with the ozone and the sun giving her rashes, she avoids it now.   Well, her bikini body has gone and left her too!

It rains almost every day.  The rainfall has drenched her flower pots and instead of seeing wild flowers, she picks a mushroom or two and throws it on the lawn.  This is the first year she has set up so many flower boxes and pots filled with herbs. Well, Basil is looking promising…good strong plant, that one!

It is mid-day and as she sits in the warm shade, listening to birds chirping and negotiating with their moms for naptime and then the loud piercing shrill of the cicadas quiets everything!  It reminds her of the noon time fire siren that would blare when she was a child in her hometown. The cicadas have a way of mesmerizing nature to a long-awaited nap and humans too seem to find their eyelids heavier after a meal…siesta time.

peonies hanging
bushes cradling each flower
grinning at the sun

peonies hanging
heavy with morning showers
raindrops on petals

bushes cradling each flower
spill over with affection
madonna and child

grinning at the sun
stretching wide
in gratitude

© Tournesol ‘19/07/02

Moving day in Québec

 

Daily Moments – June 2, 2019  Moving Day (troibun)