where the sidewalk ends

where the sidewalk ends

My new job is a new beginning, but it’s also an ending. It’s an end to lazy mornings lounging in my pajamas, and mid-afternoon play sessions with the dogs. It’s an end to looking through employment ads and updating only the expense side of my balance sheet.

In the past week I’ve tried to absorb more information than is humanly possible to retain, began to bond with people who will soon be leaving, and learned some of the history of a place which is now in the midst of change. It was a mentally and emotionally exhausting week.

I am preparing for an undefined role in the difficult time of this workplace, at the moment in which everything seems to be in flux. Yet there is so much potential — it could turn out to be a really fascinating and fun job. But if this first week is any indication, I won’t be following a predictable pathway, I’ll be helping to clear a new one. Yikes!

Photo taken on January 30, 2011

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family time

heading home

This is a family time of year, we are told, as if the nostalgic rosy-eyed view of family could be sold along with the tinsel and this year’s must-have electronic gadget. But what is family? A family is fluid, a river you can’t step in twice. Family dynamics are like skating on thin ice. Family is history and baggage and years of trying to fit a square peg into a round hole (or the other way around). Family is one slippery word; from Norman Rockwell to Mommy Dearest, it carries a boat-load of expectations too easily shipwrecked on the shoals of life.

Christmas can be a difficult time, family wise. We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my parents. After staying away for so many years, I am delighted to be home again, but now my brothers are staying away instead. This is family. Over the past four days, my partner’s son and his long-time girlfriend have been visiting us from Montreal. Spending time with this young couple who are so obviously in love reminds me of the magic that happens when people truly care for each other. This, too, is family.

Those who no longer have family find this time of year difficult as well. In a family-centric society, what could be worse than spending the holidays alone? Yet being alone may be better than spending time with a family that does not love you. That’s why we have friends. My friends have been there for me when I really needed them. And isn’t that, after all, what family is all about?

Photo taken on December 29, 2010

Saturday in the park

It was foggy yesterday. This wasn’t the vanish-with-dawn kind of fog, or even the sun-burns-through-by-noon kind of fog. This was stay-all-day fog. As I walked through the uptown streets, several times the sky seemed to brighten and I thought ‘A-ha, now the fog will lift and the sun will come out’. But it didn’t. By the time I headed home again, I think I could see a little farther down King Street, but I wouldn’t swear to it in court.

But I was born here. I grew up with fog. I like fog. And most folks here don’t seem to mind it, to judge from the number of people strolling through town and passing a pleasant afternoon in the park. If you need sunshine to enjoy your day, you’d best move to Fredericton. But if you live in Saint John, and it’s foggy, that usually means it’s not windy. It’s calm and mild and easy on the eyes. And sometimes that’s just what you need.

Taken on September 25, 2010

night walk

Yesterday, after the showers had passed, the clouds started to lift. The sun appeared, and the moist earth breathed dampness into the air. Then the fog rolled in. (Welcome to summer in Saint John!) Yet, I still love the fog. I love the soft filtered light during the day. And the fog halos around the streetlights in the evening. And the way it adds mystery to the darkness, inviting you out at night, to walk with the fog through the quiet city streets.

Taken on June 25, 2009