Thursday, May 23, 2013

Bright Lights, Big City

Hurrah for the municipal leadership of LaPeche who has once again trumped its own idiocy with the installation and activation of 20 some streetlamps in the village centre and lit them up in a flourescent blaze that would blind an already blind driver right off the road.  Piercing beams of halogen hit me right at eye level as I turned onto the main drag one evening last week in a bright lights big city assault on our little paradise lost.  What I assume was an attempt at quaint, old England style lamp posts to add a warm glow to our dark winter nights in the village square has failed miserably.  Now gone, not only the night sky, the moonlit view of the water, and twinkle, twinkle, little star, but with it any driver`s ability to spot a pedestian, dog, or other moving creature who might step casually off the sidewalk and into the flow of traffic.  Gone also to the average pedestiran is the ability to `see anything at all`, as one villager said to me recently, so overwhelmingly bright and tightly spaced together are these quaint blemishes on our decreasingly rural landscape.

Oh sure, failing the yellow spray paint brigade that could dampen it down with a series of well aimed spritzes at bare glass (hint hint), we will get used to it.  Turtles won`t.  They will creep off elsewhere to compete for safe haven as big city mentality, and hence, action, claims more and more of their wetland, dark sky, and quiet country roads.  In our quest to `beautify`and `civilize` have we humans forgotten the value of natural rhythms of light and dark, night and day?  Have we scrapped the romance of a low lit night stroll holding hands, or a quiet snowy walk home from the bar?  Walk down any dark road if you can find one, you will be suprised what tones of grey emerge out of the darkness, and what your non-visual senses will pick up on as they open to another kind of seeing;  and experience the activation of our natural motion detectors that don`t react with a terrified blast of police spotlight on anything that stirs.

It is my fantasy that citizens will put pressure on the powers-that-be to turn down the (light) noise on Main Street.  Its simply not necessary or appropriate to light up downtown Wakefield like Times Square. Even the Styrorail plant`s outdoor night lighting is more demure than our new lamp posts!  For over a decade light pollution has been a well known part of public discourse in planning and environmental circles.  Meanwhile our municipalities gun their engines for a rip-roar up new asphalt, lit up waterfronts, new condo developments, industrial zones and the like, and incredibly, turn a blind eye to the blinding light they are proposing.  If you can handle the resulting circadean madness, more power (sic) to you.  The rest of us may eventually have to crawl into the mud for a decent night`s sleep.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Brainicide and other Pre-Menstrual Dangers

Hello, dear reader.  Yet another communique from PMS land (see post from June, 2011, "The Angels Singing"--  Warning, this post may contain violent language and scary imagery.  And kids, don't do this at home...

What is Brainicide?
Brainicide is a kind of uncontrollable self-mutilation that happens in your head, with negative talk of all kinds surfacing simultaneously from every moment of self doubt and poor self esteem you have ever had.  It can build in a slow crescendo or erupt suddenly without warning into your neurological synapses.  It hammers at you as mercilessly as a TV crime series:  violent, bloody, relentless;  next episode, next episode, next episode... it self perpetuates and is hard to interrupt.  Next episode "I will neeeeever be loved"; next episode, "I will neeeever find someone"; next episode, "I'm so faaaat and ooooold"; next episode, "I'm soooo loooonely!"; next episode, "Oh why, god? (dramatic sigh)"; next episode, "I'm soooo STUCK!"; next episode, "Move over asshole!  (Man I'm such a hater...) next episode, Blah, Blah, Blah!!!  The guy is being tortured, the girl is running for her life, there are kids being beaten in the back alley, cats being boiled for sport;  Brainicide is vicious, and cruel, and shows no restraint, remorse or release (you gotta watch the break out of jail shows for that...).  One must clench ones teeth and somehow live through it.
Brainicide masks itself as normal life thinking, which is its main weapon.  But if you name it for its psychotic self it has a little less destructive power.  Maybe put off some decisions, reschedule a hard conversation with that friend/colleague/dater/client... don't subject yourself to much expectation during a Brainicide bout and try not to commit any 'cide of any other kind including suicide, homicide, pesticide, cyanide... Don't blame anyone for Brainicide: not yourself, not him or her, not god, not the dog, not the kids, especially not the kids.  Brainicide exists because hell exists, because evil exists and one only has to keep patient terrorized brain vigil until it passes on to other phases, which it inevitably does.  As for mitigating remedies, lots of protein, staying warm, exercise if you can manage it, and screaming and crying in moments of private release will all help.  You've got to parent yourself through this shit-- whatever your Brainicide be, this is the time for maturity, wisdom, and faith.  So call it forth, trust and yield to Brainicide's nasty medicine to a reasonable degree, and hope to god your head will not explode.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Bad seeds, good apples

A few weeks ago, in an early burst of spring cleaning, a most interesting item rose to the surface:  a zip-lock bag of semilla de marijuana, donated to me in a jestfull moment at a "Bakefield" (ie, Wakefield, stoned) garage sale last summer, or maybe the one before it.  Despite repeated yet fleeting ruminations over the years of supplementing my piano-paltry income with an illegal grow-op, I have yet to stoop so low, or so risque.  After all public image is a factor for a piano teacher.  So I have thought it best not.

Plus, my relationship in principle to the wacky weed has grown to be a contentious one at best.  Whether this is for actual reasons or just to be different in a sea of stoners is up for grabs, as usual.  But the power of planting hormones overtook me.  So I lovingly embedded my garage sale seeds in little round pots of black earth and placed them neatly on the sunniest windowsill.  Maybe I had grown harsh and snotty in my I-don't-agree-with-you-John-Akpata anti-marijuana polemic, and this horticultural experiment would soften my soap box wee(d)totaller vigilance through a slow sprouting mother-offspring love relationship that watching something grow inevitably inspires.

Bad Seeds?
There is something very exciting about planting those very first seeds during an April cold snap, when you are chilled to the bone and tired of all things winter.  Whether they are tomatoes or onions, cucumbers or strawberries, or marijuana seeds, these pots of dirt become promises you want to believe in.  They are a gesture of faith and hope at the trailing edge of a long Canadian cold, and you become that desperate soul who checks for inbox messages from god in the form of green shoots more times per day than you would like to admit.  It doesn't matter if those pots of dirt survive to hit the tongs of your fork as a juicy red tomato, or if they dry up and get thrown in the compost.  They serve to get us through.

Mine didn't make it.  They never sprouted.  Bad seeds I guess. 

Good Apples?
Luckily I was distracted by another wave of horicultural urge while visiting my father's apple orchard on the family farm in New York.  He has been an apple grower for decades now, and most of his prize trees were created by grafting from other ones that bore prize winning fruit.  Over a half century he has nurtured a diverse orchard of fruit bearing trees into existence, that all started with some sticks and a tar can.  Its a very slow process, requireing a different sort of approach to time and totally different interpretation of patience.

            So I clipped some twigs from my favorite Horak apple tree and smuggled them across the border in a wet paper towel.  A few days later, I climbed up the stepladder with a tube of silicone and did my very first grafts onto the scrubby crabapple tree in the yard, no knowing exactly what I was doing, but hoping the delicate cambrian layers would touch, and the silicone would provide an adequate seal for the grafts to take.  Three weeks later I am happy to report, the twigs are not dead.  We're having a spring heat wave and the crabtree is pushing out its leaves in a hormonal explosion.  I have tossed the dried up marijuana pots and am focusing on the apple twigs.  By far I prefer a good apple to a bad seed.

Meanwhile, my sister writes from Florida.  She just dug a huge bunch of unexpected potatoes out of her compost pile.  Some things spring to life on their own, unplanned, in a most joyous harvest 'sin trabajo'.  Others take patience, intention, and work.  And still others well, they just won't grow.  So let go!  And keep planting.  And let nature do the rest.