So, five years ago this month, I did my level best to shuffle off this mortal coil. I contracted an infection, went septic, then into heart failure, all the while drifting about in lovely pain medication induced haze (my narcotically virginal body took to Percocet like a duck to water) and pretty much oblivious to how sick I was.
In the end, all was well that ended well, thanks to our wonderful hospital and staff. I lost a lot of hair (was is, as it was pointed out to me, a minor detail) but gained a new respect for the fragility of life. I was reminded of this, and how often we take things for granted, yesterday during a visit with a friend I have been missing for far too long.
And my point is, you ask?
My point is this:
Hug. Love. Laugh. Cry, Get mad is you must, but don't stay mad. Grudges are useless. And no one will make the changes you need to make in your life but you.
When I walked outside this morning, something looked... awry. I could see the horses. All three of them. But Hollywood, a handsome and lovable, if lazy, gelding, was once again on the wrong side of the fence. Tony piped up that I should just get a pail of grain and lead the horse down the fence line to the gate the way he does when this happens. No way, says I, am I going to reward that naughty horse for his bad behaviour by giving him grain. Besides, no matter which side of the fence I am on, I will either have Hollywood crowding me for the pail, or the other two, Molly and Joe, who are on the right side of the fence. So off I trudge, halter and lead in hand, squelching through the mud, climb through the barbed wire fence and get the halter on Hollywood. I will translate what I believe to be an honest recollection of the conversation that ensued. Me: How do you get through the fence? I can't see any spots where you could keep doing this. Hollywood: I am magic. Me: You are not magic. You are naughty, and if I find that spot I am going to fix it so you can't do this anymore. Hollywood: Am so magic. My great grand-dam was part unicorn. Me: You are lying. Let's go. We have a walk ahead of us. Hollywood: Where's the grain? Me: You don't get grain. Grain is a reward. You are naughty. Hollywood: Tony brings grain when I do this. Me: Tony is also naughty. Let's go. About a hundred yards down, Hollywood stops. Me: Come on, let's go. Hollywood: Can't. The other horses are back the other way. Let's go back. Me: No, we have to go this way, there is no gate on that side. Hollywood: I miss them. Me: Well then you shouldn't have done this. After a little encouragement, we walk another hundred yards or so. Hollywood once again stops. Me: What's wrong now? Hollywood: There is something in that bush. Me: It is just a bag. The wind must have caught it. I will pick it up while we go past. Hollywood: SCARY BAG. Not going. Me: Ok, I will tie you to this post and get the bag. I tie the horse, walk over the get the scary bag, shove it in my pocket and go back to get the horse. Hollywood: You are my hero. It could have killed us both. Me: It was just a bag. We are almost there, let's go. Hollywood: WAIT WAIT WAIT. Me: Now what? Hollywood: Gotta poop. Which he proceeds to do. Me: Are you ready now? Hollywood, sighing heavily: I am so tired. Can't walk. I might be lame. Are you sure there is no grain? I am famished. Pity me. Me: You are not tired. We barely walked a kilometre. And frankly, you are fat and you don't need any grain. A little exercise is good for you. We finally reach the gate, unlatch it, walk through and latch it up again. I take his halter off. Hollywood: I am just going to do it again you know.
And with that parting shot, the pitiful, famished, possibly lame and exhausted Hollywood snorts at me, turns and runs like the wind back to his buddies in perhaps a 10th of the time it took him to walk to the gate. Horses.
Have you ever noticed that? I posted on Facebook once about enjoying my delicious raisin toast and the most interesting barrage of negative raisin comments appeared with lightning speed.
Everything from how they were nothing but sad little wrinkled grapes to a diatribe about raisins being the root of trust issues as an adult (something about that cookie they thought was chocolate chip really being raisin oatmeal).
But snowfall, that is something I do have mixed emotions about.
In a place like this, where our climate is semi-arid, and in a profession like my current one, that being a ranch manager, a good heavy snowfall means water in spring. Water for crops, water for trees, fields that are not tinder dry by August and therefore an interface fire threat.
Lots of snow means a rich water table.
We are not that part of BC that is rich and lush, though I would seriously consider a move there if it were not for wanting to stay where my children are, at least for the foreseeable future.
But even with that desire for a healthy ecosystem, waking up this morning to an inch of fresh, wet snow, I was sorely tempted to climb straight back into bed.
The cheery side of me says "well more moisture is better, even if it is just a little!"
The grumpy cat side of me shoved that little Pollyanna wretch aside, swore like a sailor, and thought of all the mud this will create in cow and horse pens, and pondered going back to bed for at least, say, a month.
And of course, true to March form, it is now about 5 degrees above zero, and the snow is melting, sinking into the ground, creating mud mud mud... no way I will be getting into the greenhouse until tomorrow.
In like a lion. Out like a lamb. One can hope. Beginning to understand that raisin/trust connection...
Sitting, drinking coffee, just sort of spending time this
morning. Feeling time-wealthy enough to waste it in fact. That is a rarity! I
have decided I am taking this weekend to do what I want. Period.
It is has been… odd lately, the past couple of years. I have
not written much on my cherished old blog, in large part because so much of
what is going on in my life just now is not really up for publishing. At least
not just now.
I feel like a fraud. I tell everyone things are great, all
is well, I am fine.
And in truth, I am fine, but not because all is well, rather
in spite of it not being all well. I feel a bit of the old British backbone I
must have inherited from my maternal grandmother kicking in.
Because how else can I let it be, but fine?
I am not battling a dread disease or anything like that.
Things are just not… well. But that is ok.
I know from experience that they will be again.
It’s funny. I pop onto Facebook, and as I scroll the number
of people that feel fit to go public with all and any issues going on in their
life, large or small, sort of astonishes me. Each to their own, I suppose. But
I had no idea that I was so… is prudish the right word? Reticent perhaps?
Is it a desperate need for attention those posters crave, or
the desire to show people how strong one is despite “all these awful things?”
Or maybe I am just more private that I realized. Perhaps, in
this day and age of oversharing, I feel more protective about my personal life.
I don’t mind baring my soul now and then, to a smaller
audience. And one day I will be more specific about what is currently going on.
One day. Not today.
I will say I am right sick of winter! We have this
greenhouse, you understand. And a rather large garden. As you can see from my
previous post, I have ordered seeds and it appears I have become a bit of an
Who would have thought the teenage girl who hated having to
pull weeds for her parents in the garden would one day long to be out there,
doing just that and tending to the seedlings with glee? Which makes me wonder,
how are Ian’s oak trees growing? Did Little John stay strong? My, that was a
long time ago.
Ok then. Coffee cup is empty. Must go refill.
Hello to one and all, will pop by and have a keek at what
you have been up to lately.
It started out well enough. Getting to see cute posts,
photos of family, keep in touch with all sorts of people and participate in
Yay! Ah, such fun.
But like many things, including lovely, unvaccinated yellow
dogs, we seem to have a tiny problem.
Facebook appears to have developed rabies.
And it is running rampant, passed on in posts that promote
hated and fear, intolerance and increased ignorance.
Take Islamophobia for example. Can you think of any better
way for extremists to succeed than by having millions of people post messages
of hatred and intolerance that prove their point that the non-believers must be
Oh, well done.
Would not surprise me in the least to find out that most of
the hate and fear inducing things originate from the extremists groups
After all, what better way to recruit than have the very
people you hate do your promoting for you? And like the fearful Chicken Little
we all run about with our wings a-flapping, terrified the sky is falling and
making the entire situation significantly worse, especially for the majority of
Muslims who frankly don’t have any use for the extremists either.
Get my drift? Somewhere there is an Islamic terror group,
geek division, tapping their fingers together gleefully saying “Oh goodness!
Look how they are falling for it! Now ALL the Muslim people will join our
cause, now that they see how much the infidels hate us!”
Criminy. You have heard the term “playing into their hands,”
The myriad of angles the entire Islamophobia issue brings up
would fill volumes, and I am not here to argue the rhetoric of religion. I am,
as we all are, horrified and angered by what has been happening in the world.
I will say, however, that the posts that bug me most are the
ones angled towards, “If you don’t want to abide by Canadian Law, git out!”
Such short, convenient memories the masses have.
I had coffee the other day, with a First Nations friend, who
can clearly recall what it was like to be taken from her family, forced to
forsake her language and culture, and beaten if she dared mention any aspect of
her own people’s religion. Forced, really, to abide by Christian faith, rather
than the one her people had in place for centuries on this very land. What is
done is done, but let’s not forget the past couple of centuries of change,
murder, theft and devastation that occurred so recently on this continent.
Somehow we have once again managed to gloss over the centuries
of harm, murder and degradation the Christian faith as perpetrated to masses of
people. I don’t know of any faiths, except perhaps Buddhism, that have not
committed atrocities at some point or another.
But again, I digress. Because my point, and I do have one,
is this: Facebook has become a bit rabid, and it is being passed on quickly to
many of its members.
Our outlook, our morality, out so-called patriotism, all are
Funny thing, that social media creature.
We entered into the age of the Internet a couple of decades
ago. The original intent, I think, was to make information available to all at
the touch of a keypad, to bring us closer together, to create better
We can see what is going on anywhere in the world at any
But here is the rub: who do you believe?
There are lot of decent, reputable news and information
agencies out there providing, as best they can, balanced, thoughtful,
informative parcels of information so we can use our powers of rational thought
to come to informed, intelligent conclusions. Of course, new information is
always forthcoming, and even the best of the best can be misled or given false
information. And we will not always agree.
But then there are the scary ones.
The (and I simply cannot call them journalistic) outlets
that promote hatred, fear, uncertainty and paranoia. Or just plain stupid
If I tried hard enough, argued strenuously enough, perhaps
enhanced a few photos and quoted enough “sources,” I imagine I could convince you
all that the real culprits of all war, terror, environmental degradation,
social collapse and every other evil out there, are all courtesy of a secret
society of people that few of us are aware of yet, led and masterminded by none
other than the nefarious, impossible to kill, Grigori Rasputin.
Perhaps, but not nearly as far-fetched as some of the tripe
I see out there. And I am not just talking about extremist groups now. I am
talking about a lot of the stuff that is floating around out there like mines
in the cyber-ocean. I swear to the Goddess if I see one more post about
Michelle Obama really being a trans-sexual man I think I might scream. Because
number one, I think it is idiotic, and number two, and more importantly, if she
really is a trans-sexual man, I don’t care. Again… I digress.
And the even scarier part is that there are people who BELIEVE
some of this stuff.
Because they have proof you know. Verifiable facts.
Facts become facts based solely on getting people to believe
Or are they more like an opinion?
Everyone has one, after all.
Take this column. This is what you call an “opinion piece”
which gives me the ability to vent and express my opinion freely.
A news piece, as a journalist is taught in their first year,
must, to the best of the writer’s ability, contain the who, what, when, where,
why, as well as the various sides of each story. Your opinion, no matter what
the issue, should not leak through.
Not so with social media. It is a massive free for all, with
no moderators, no rules or guidelines, you can say whatever you like, manipulate
in any direction.
Let me let you in on a little secret. Facts can be made up.
Photos and videos can be altered dramatically. You will be outright lied to in
order to further a cause. You, yourself, can be, and likely have been,
It can, indeed, be difficult to know what to believe.
And another thing, you cannot fully comprehend something
like, for example, the troubles in the Gaza Strip, from a Facebook post, short
article, or even a long article, because it, like a great many situations
facing our world, is a long and convoluted mess of issues that frankly take a
lot of time and study to understand.
But don’t let that stop you.
By all means, hop on board, push share, click that link and
promote hatred, fear, ignorance and intolerance. Play into the hands of terror
and prejudice. Because that is your right. As a Canadian.
Or, here is a thought: colour me crazy, BUT… what if we stop
with the relentless promotion of rabid negativity?
Unlike with Old Yeller, social media cyber-rabies cannot be
dealt with using a bullet. But perhaps we can find a way to decrease the
I am not saying stop reading. On the contrary, I am saying
read more. From a variety of sources.
And then read more. And more. And while you read, remember. Remember
the past. Remember it clearly and without ego. Remember it with clarity and, as
best you can, with humility. Remember the good stuff, and remember the bad.
Because guess what folks? We are all in this together.