60 Shades of Grey: My Year in Masset
When I was a young girl, I lived with my aunt and grandma. My grandma Lila had grey hair. I loved her. Sometimes her hair was blue-grey and sometimes purple-grey, depending on the number of washes since her bluing ‘rinse’ at the hairdressers. But if you asked me what colour her hair was I would have simply said “grey”.
March is my birthday month (since one day will no longer suffice). On the 21st I will be 60 years old and it is abundantly clear to me that, rinse or no rinse, grey is not one colour. Nor is it simply colour-less as a scientist might quip. In the art world, adding grey to any colour is said to ‘sadden’ the colour. I say AGEISM!!!! Grey, rather than lacking the colour of the freshly blossomed bud, is the ash left from the glorious burning of every petal. My abundant 60 shades of grey float not only through my hair but, like Mt. St. Helen’s, blanket the wider world and drift deep into my bones. I am more compassionate, empathetic, kind, arthritic, forgiving, loving, gracious, fat, fearless, outspoken, wrinkled, creative, giving, free, passionate, near-sighted, accepting, inviting, generous, old, helpful, humble, inviting and grey then I ever thought possible. I am very thankful for my rich life. I am very thankful for all the connections I have made with others. I am very thankful to be alive.
I am thankful for my sister Kathy who came to visit! On her way here she stopped in Vancouver to see my boys and girl and baby. It was foreign that she should witness my sons’ cooking and Kelsey with Kennedy on her lap, all with me not present. But the gift of having someone I love dearly and who loves my children almost as much I do share with me the details their conversations, recounting her experience of them as the wonderful individuals they are brought me immense joy. Remember all you who have young children- adulthood does arrive. Be patient. Thank you Kelsey, Russell, Duncan and Kennedy for taking care of your Aunt Kathy.
Kathy and I talked non-stop while we walked the beaches looking at the groovy rocks from the beginning of time while Sandy fished.
leenie holding one
one alone on the table
a big pile of clams
One evening we dug for razor clams! They are wily and surprisingly fast! We dug up about 35, cleaned and ate 15 and sent the rest home with Kathy for Jeff. Thank you for coming Leenie!
The Fibre Arts class is finished for Spring Break! We had a fabulous time. On Mondays and Fridays I volunteer in the High School Art Room and on Wednesday mornings I read with Grade Oners. Last week, a particularly precocious Grade Oner told me my hair was messy and that he didn’t like it. My inner Grade Oner felt mortally wounded and wanted to punch him in the face. Immediately I felt awful that I could think such things about a little boy. Luckily, my mindfulness practice came in to save the day; how close to the surface are our immediate feelings and how quick we can be to judge those feelings when that is all they are….feelings. I was able, in a nanosecond, to accept my feelings without judgement and tell the boy that “Luckily, the state of my hair will not influence our ability to read together”. He was testing, he needed room and his comment wasn’t about ‘manners’; he too needed to have his feelings accepted and left to float away. I felt like a big Grader Twoer!
I continue to work with Reg Davidson on a design for my clothing but I am sorry to say that I will no longer be participating in Eco Fashion Week this April. In the past, Canadian designers have headlined the show. This year it is, wait for it, H&M’s Eco Line! Although I know it is vital to bring large corporations onboard the eco fashion movement, it is the large corporations who drive the mass production/consumption of clothing made overseas in large batches with huge amounts of waste. It is only with small, conscious batches, made locally or in well supervised hubs overseas, with a clear intent to create a statement of beauty and/or function in a sustainable way that consumers too begin to make very conscious and ‘green’ choices of what they are going to wear. Corporations like H&M are indeed driven by a new consumer desire for the sound byte of “green”. But the sound byte is not enough. Unlike the corporation of Patagonia, whose mandate is to provide ethical clothing to fit the customers desire for performance wear, H&M is presently fulfilling a consumer desire for the IDEA of ‘green’ in order to make more sales. Online, H&M is all ‘green speak’ for the new line, with no reference to where the clothing is made, what dyes are used, where the fabric is from or the size of the batches. It is wonderful when corporations like Patagonia lead the consumer to the ethics of clothing and consumption, but when they don’t, the consumer needs to lead. I fear we have all become complacent and, out of necessity in our busy lives, allow the larger organizations to lead us with words that promise what we hope for. Many of these corporate organizations (including our own Harper government she said even though it is not a corporation) are not working for our best interests. Our curiousity needs to run deeper: corporations are inherently run by profit, economics, moola, chaching, lots of expensive clothes made cheap by toddlers in Bangladesh, so the shareholders are happy with the profits. Ergo, let us try to buy from those who put people, land, air, animals, life first and economics second. And that ain’t H and M (it isn’t Harper either but that is another rant).
On that note, Sandy designed and I made these t-shirts (made ethically in North America with safe dyes in small batches albeit made of cotton). They mimic the ubiquitous tsunami signs on Haida Gwaii with the addition of oil seeping up to your neck. We are selling them as a fundraiser to help Haida Gwaii CoASt, a not for profit organization with the mandate “To help maintain the integrity of our coastal ecosystems, communities, and sustainable economies by opposing oil supertankers in the waters around Haida Gwaii”. You can order one from me for $30, from which all of proceeds being donated to the priceless cause of saving these pristine waters and the lives of those depend on it. www.haidagwaiicoast.ca
CSIS and Bill 51 come and get us!
Finally, Dahlia Drive did a fashion last Monday with designers Joyce Bennett, Raven Ann and Rachel for a group called “My Walk with Healing”. The women, all victims of violence or abuse, had finished an 8 week session on healing and mentoring and wanted to invite other women from the community to witness their ‘walk’. It was a glorious event. The women were truly ‘stepping out’ to show their beauty, spirit and vulnerability, encouraging, by example, other women to join them. Nonnie Audrey, an elder, spoke of her own abuse and encouraged every one of us to speak out for each other. It was an event that wholly fulfilled any aspiration I have ever had for Dahlia Drive: to help make transparent the beautiful, strong and vital spirit of women. The missing women in the world were represented by empty dresses hung in the room. We ate good food and laughed and cried. How’aa Masset women.
My place in the world of community volunteerism seems to be blossoming. I wonder if such a place lives in the city. The city seems to plump up my ego and I start thinking in price per hour or recognition or ‘bang for the buck’. These are not the neuro pathways I wish to further trample. Do the hard, destiny driven roads of the city influence a singular drive toward a desired tomorrow? Do stop lights give me pause to think or merely become obstacles to my hope filled future? OR does time stop because Kennedy lives there and I have already arrived.
Much love dear humans. There will be no April newsletter since my talented web master Lara is following her own heart path to Africa. Bon Voyage Lara!
Wendy the dahlia in the drive