This morning

our shapes are blurring under miracles of snow.
~ Faded Flowers, Shriekback

I want to write this scene, but I’m suddenly overcome by a fear that I can’t do justice to it. (May as well just not rather than do a shit job, the voice says). I follow the thread of it and find a link to the many instances lately where my confidence has deserted me. The thought, I can’t do anything right is in my head a lot it seems. A one-two punch of the Side Launch “restructuring” (it’s me, no matter what they say, it’s me, I wasn’t enough, the evil voice says) and all that goes on at the ski club (you are utterly useless, says the voice).

I fucking hate that voice. Why am I listening to it? It will never help me do anything with my one wild and precious life. In fact, it will do the opposite.

so fuck it. Here goes.

The morning is glorious, as only bright winter mornings can be. I can tell by Keith’s tire tracks on the driveway that another few centimetres of snow fell last night, adding to the many centimetres that had fallen in the last few days, enough snow to smooth over the footprints to the bird feeder. Our shapes are blurring under miracles of snow, a line from a Shirekback song I love springs unbidden to mind. I whisper it to the birds. They continue fluttering and cheeping around the bird feeder, paying me no mind as I stand at the living room picture window.

The snow looks smooth, but there are blue shadows that soften along the curves of the earth showing small imperfections, dimples and ridges. The crisp angular shadows cast by the trees is a sharp contrast to the contouring.

The trees, oh the trees. They are truly stunning right now. They still have a coating of ice left from the ice storm a week ago, and the sun is turning every twig, every branch into a crystal that reflects and refracts the sunshine. The pines, boughs sweeping low, seem like dark serene sentinels against this brilliance.

A slight breeze, not enough to make the pine branches move but enough to start the ice-covered birch saplings to sway ponderously, picks up light snow of the branches so that it slowly sifts to the ground.

The sky is cloudless, and is the cool pale blue only found in mid-winter, a gradient from an almost white to a soft loveliness of robin’s egg.

It is beautiful; we live in a place where winter is winter.

Neither words nor photo do it justice.

It is night

I can’t tell you how or where exactly I ran across this line, but it has stuck in my head:

It is night after a long day. What has been done has been done; what has not been done has not been done; let it be.

Which in turn led me to google it to find out where it’s from. I found this on Google Books:

I am moved by it, but not by the mention of a religious deity. I 98% don’t believe in the G-word (the 2% is when I’m swearing, so I don’t think that counts anyway). I want to use it as a prayer in the “earnest hope and wish” definition of the word, so I changed it.


It is night.

The night is for stillness; let us be still.

It is night after a long day. What has been done has been done; what has not been done has not been done; let it be.

The night is dark. Let all our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives rest.

The night is quiet. Let the quietness of peace enfold us, all dear to us, and all who have no peace.

The night heralds the dawn. Let us look expectantly to a new day, new joys, new possibilities.

It was fun while it lasted, but it’s over.

It’s been four weeks since… since what? I’m not even sure what to call this. The language for this life event seems inadequate.

I wasn’t fired, I was assured that it wasn’t me, I was doing a good job. I know this. Not laid off either as I’m sure there is no intention to hire me back, Let go? Don’t like that phrase, as it implies they where holding on in the first place. It seems a bit passive anyway. Employment terminated is very cold and clinical. There are joke-y terms: the old heaved-ho, the bums rush, given my walking papers. I don’t feel like joking right now. I’ve been saying FUNemployment but really, there is nothing fun about it. The one I especially dislike is “lost my job”.

I didn’t lose my job. I know exactly where it is. Someone else is doing it.

There was a word the CEO kept saying like it was an explanation as he walked me from the brew house to the room where the HR person waited: restructuring. I don’t much like that word either, but I guess it works better than anything else.

I am the victim of Side Launch’s restructuring.

No, I don’t know what it means. No, I wasn’t the only one let go that day. Yes, they made the other brewer, the head brewer, a victim of restructuring too. Yes, they gave me a good severance package, a generous one. Yes, I was assured it’s just business. And no, I don’t know anymore than that. Yes, I have theories, but they are just that; you can draw your own conclusions.

And no, I am not ok in general. I am sometimes ok-ish though.

It’s a pretty paradoxical time actually. I’ve been good. I’ve been not so good. I’ve been OK. I’ve been terrible. I understand that it’s just business. I wondered what I did wrong (nothing). I’ve been resentful af. I’ve felt resigned. I felt hopeful. I’ve been scared I will not find another job in my field. I’m confident I will. I feel strong and capable. I’ve felt ike I’m going to shatter into a million pieces. I want to stay active and busy, finding things to occupy my time – a part time job, volunteering, knitting, visiting. I also want to crawl under the covers and come out a few days later blotchy and tear-stained. I hope that the powers that be at Side Launch know what they’re doing and the company will be successful for the sake of my friends who still work there. But there’s a small dark part of my heart where the hope is that they founder and fail. I am grateful for my time there and would not trade the experience of the last two years for anything. I also kinda wish I’d taken the other job that was offered to me at the time. I’ve had people I barely know reach out and offer my sympathy and support. I’ve had close friends I love go radio silent (it’s ok; I don’t know what to say to me either). I want to use this time to reach out and connect with people. But I can’t seem to pick up the phone. I want to write because I know I will feel better if I do. Alas, even five minutes of free writing is a struggle. It’s taken me five tries to finish this bloody blog post.

There are three things I have been most grateful for over the last four weeks. First and foremost is Keith. He’s not a demonstrative man and needs to be reminded to hold me when I’m anxious, but he loves me and supports me. He reassures me we’re going to be fine, and proves it by being the same as he always is. He’s not letting me wallow, and is good with making tea and tea cookies and self care suggestions.

Second: I am very grateful for my communities. My beer network has been full of hugs and well wishes, suggestions and job leads. My friends and neighbours have been wonderful with texts and coffee visits and casual dinners filled with candlelight and laughter. Everyone has shit going on in their life, and I appreciate any time spent on helping me deal with this big shit in mine atm.

Lastly, I am grateful to my past self. I’d hate to think what the last four weeks would have looked like if I hadn’t made a commitment last March to look after my mental health. I am not ashamed to say that I have seen a psychiatrist this year, and as a result take citalopram to dial back the panic, the anxiety and anger to liveable levels. I can feel the anxiety now, every waking moment, especially at night when the over-thinking makes sleep hard to find. But I can keep a lid on it.

And that’s not nothing, as a friend would say.


Let me preface this part by saying I’m not a huuuuge believer in the tarot. I think it gets it wrong as much as right, and some spend a lot of thought into shoehorning the wrong readings into their situation. But I like the symbolism of the cards, and feel that often you can pull something relevant for yourself, even if it’s only inspiration for some fiction free writing. I just got a deck I quite like, the Modern Witch Tarot, which is the old Rider-Waite deck with a female-centric modern twist.

I was shuffling and breaking in the new deck on the second or third sleepless night, thinking about my new employment status when this card flipped over:

Everything is Fine

It seemed so apropos for the moment, I had to laugh.

It’s now three+weeks past that, and I’ve been in a bit of daze. I’ve been productive, but also vague and distant and feeling not-quite-here. The anger has faded somewhat, and left a heaviness, a depression in it’s place. I don’t like this stage, and woke up feeling like it’s time to get active and work on getting past it. To all those who are now saying, don’t rush it, feel the feels, I say sshhhhh. I want to see the small delights again.

I pulled a card today for shits and giggles. Again, it seems to fit the moment.

Excelsior, my dad would say, onward and upward.

well, that worked about as expected

A post a day for a month. Who was I kidding?

It quickly went from a good idea into today-nothing-happened-maybe-tomorrow.

To start, some small things. I’m laying in the hammock in the back yard. It’s a bit like being by a campfire: my front is warm where the sun hits my black hoodie, my back is cold where the wind chills me through the thin hammock fabric. Add in the smell of woodsmoke from Mike’s place, and it’s kinda nice. My fingers smell like concord grape – I touched my marijuana plant and the stickiness of the resin first smelled dank and dark as I expected, but it’s changing to grape, and now a bit chocolate-y. I need to talk to Mike about drying it for me.

Breakfast today was a hot chocolate and three spiced date cookies from the Kimberley General Store.T he loaf of sourdough I bought was still warm. I went to my swimming spot and sat on my camp chair and watched golden leaves fall into the river with every freshening of the breeze, helped milkweed seeds float away on their fluff, opened my notebook and wrote maybe 8 words. I gave it up in favour of enjoying the sunshine and the beauty spread out before me.

Day 19

Day 16 – nothing much happened. I thought about writing about my mental health. But thinking about doing something is not the same as actually doing it. Maybe later.

Day 17 – Met Keith and went to the city to see Massive Attack with Katherine. Many thoughts. Again, maybe later.

Day 18 – Went to drop off my knitting for the Great Northern Exhibition. I was surprised by how much it all delighted me, until I remembered how I’d always wanted to enter something to the Binbrook Fair, but never wanted it enough to follow through. I was there early, and they will still trying to get set up, work through technical issues, etc. They hadn’t gotten into the groove of it yet. I saw a woman bring in pieces or art made by her children, and another bring in two laundry baskets full of quilts. Maybe I’ll enter relish next year.

Day 14

It’s Saturday, one without Keith. I kind of like those days. Not that I don’t love days with him, we both also love our separate days.

I did laundry. Thats about the only thing I’ve crossed off my to-do list so far. Unfortunately, knitting in front of Netflix and picnicking by the Beaver River was not on the to-do list. I did them anyway. When you are given a sunny and warm-ish day off, you take advantage of it. The rest can wait until later.

I was really hoping for a warmer spell as I would love to go for one final swim in the river. That does not look like it’s going to happen. The first swim next summer is going to feel really good.

But for now I’m sitting in the sunshine, holding down the hammock in the wind and writing. The air is filed with the sound of the wind in the trees, and a cricket chirping to me from the fire pit. It’s punctuated by tractors filled with rolls of hay and the odd motorcycle out for a ride.

I feel bad that I don’t feel worse about not riding much this summer. I spent a lot of money on insurance for the BMW to just sit in the garage most of the time. Finally talked to Keith about selling it and getting something that is more me, more fun. Something lower to the ground that won’t make me so anxious about falling over. I was surprised by how much I wanted that bike that our neighbour sold for Don’s wife. Or maybe I should’t be.

Day 13

It’s Friday the 13th. And a full moon. Once upon a long time ago those facts would have meant something to me. Now it’s just a Friday.

It was a CIP day, and I felt on top of things for the first time all week. Thing got cleaned, things got put away, malt got milled. SS DD.

Highlight of the night was the poser going out during a long thunderstorm. It gets really fucking dark out where when that happens. Got the flashlight, lit the candles, and had just realized that it was too dark to read or knit when it came back on.

Jesus, my Friday nights are super thrilling.

Day 11

Hey, thanks Google Photos for reminding that I had the worst (IMHO) interview in my life two years ago today. (Yes, I know bigger things happened on September 11, but not to me and not in my country. Forgive me if I’ve moved on.)

I’d had other offers, but this was the one I wanted, the job that would be best for both Keith and I. I was so sure I had blown it, that I drove to the Collingwood Terminals, stared at the bay and cried for a half hour.

I got home and sent the thank-you-for-your-time email, and proceeded to wait. I’m not sure exactly what happened between then and getting an offer other than getting an update from Robin, but I remember it being long and rollercoaster-ish…just looked back at Google and it was a month+.

It feels odd that it’s been only two years; it feels like it should be longer. The changes in our lives have been huge: urban to rural; renter to homeowner; getting by to happy. there were crappy moments like Keith feeling that this was never going to be home, my anxiety ramping up, the lack of friends, the speed at which I feel off the radar. But the joys are frequent, from small ones like watching birds at the feeder and eating a tomato out of our garden to having the pleasure of watching our relationship grow stronger.

It’s a good life.