Happy New Year to all

 

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There are a lot of expectations tied up with the New Year.  It is expected that people will spend time with family and friends, that people will have a lovely time.  That one should “bring in” the New Year with some ceremony, toasts, good food and good wishes.  Where do these expectations come from?  Tradition?  Memories?  Images that are sold to us?  Something to think about.  Every day is ” New Year” in some ways, I suppose and every New Year is rooted in the old one.

I read a little on the subject of blog writing…funny idea. . .reading about writing.  One of the contributors presented what I thought was an interesting idea.  She said she believed we could think of ourselves as water in its various forms, liquid, ice, vapor, still or stormy, even evaporatng I suppose.  I think I will try to do a few posts on this and we will see if they are worth while.

We know that water is the origin, the sustainer of life.  I remember not believing my teachers when I  was a child and they revealed that our bodies were made up of a high percentage of water.  It seemed impossible to me.  Now I know it is true.  True and miraculous in a way.  We take so many of its manifestations for granted.  Often we think of snow or rain as inconveniences when, in fact, they give life to the thirsty earth.  On the other hand we love to go to the beach and play or float quietly on the cool water.  On of my favorite walks is along the great river that surrounds Montreal.. Just imagine, a city sitting in the middle of the stream of the river.  When I walk along the shore of the river, no matter what the season, I am facinatd by the strong flow of the water.  In winter chunks of ice emphasize the speed of the water, constantly, day and night, hurrying on downstream to the sea.  I have a vivid memory of a huge silvery fish jumping up out of the water on a hot summer day.  So beautiful and full of life.

So,what is my watery self during these special days?  I see a narrow stream flowing unnoticed down a green hillside.  No one can see it, hidden in the ferns and gorse bushes.  It flows around obstacles and creates patches of swampy ground here and there.  It is cold, timid perhap, but creatures come to drink at twilight time.  What is in me that is kin to the little stream?  All the cels of my body, tears of joy or sadness, that flowing questing spirit that hides away?  Certainly the little brook must merge with something bigger but just for today it is quiet, alone, obscure.

My picture is not anything like what I imagine for the little burn, but even the most humble of water must come at last to the great ocean.  So, perhaps this graffiti on the side of a Women’s’ shelter here in Montreal will do.

 

Ferns

 

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The encyclopedia (let’s be honest, Wikapedia) says that ferns in some form have  existed for 200 million years but that ferns as we know them have existed for 120 million years.  Boy, what a relief.  I mean, 120 million years.  That’s OK then.  Come on,guys, even 1000 years is hard to envision as real and not just fairy tales.  You know,people walking around looking like Jack and the beanstalk, Puss in Boots.  Hey I wonder if beanstalks as we know them existed. . . Oh, sorry.  Back to ferns.  Who can envision even one million years.   I know coal is petrified trees.  Well scientists tell us that but then I remember my grandmother throwing a scuttle-full  of coal on the fire and it seems sort of unlikely.  Do scientists sit around and chuckle and say , “Hmm, let’s say 200 million years.  We could even say one billion years.  How would they know, anyway?”  But then I revert to my respectful sensible homage to science.  When I look at the kindly ferns that hastily pop up in my front yard every spring, I freak out a bit.  Besides being older than dinosaurs (honestly, now, how many of you know if ferns are older than dinosaurs?) the fact that they propagate by spores is a bit odd.  Flowers, seeds, fruit, all those seem ” normal” but spores??? A bit spooky.  At night I imagine my ferns shooting up higher than street-lights just ready for a mild old dinosaur to munch on .  There are a few odd legends about the rare ( think nonexistent) fern flower.  Seems if you find one, usually on midsummer day, you get all sorts of good luck.  So I guess next month I’ll be checking out my ferns for flowers.  Maybe I’ll stick to the Victorian view of ferns as beautiful, discrete ornaments to be printed and stamped everywhere.  Think potted ferns in the conservatory and  Sylvia fending off Percy with her fan.  Somehow I can get my head around that more than the 200 million year stuff.