Friday, August 10, 2012

Enjoy the moment

“Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end.” – Virginia Woolfe

In the July 21 issue of The National Post, commenter David Frum pushed the envelope about city versus County dwellers here in Prince Edward. Musing about his “more than 20 summers in the village of Wellington, Ont.,” Frum managed to distill his estival experiences down to a level of triteness and petty goading.

The afterbirth of this fluff piece, published during prime city-dweller vacation time, was a flood of letters and online commentary from the locals of the County. While a few praised Frum, others were deeply offended. An undeniable and ever-present rift between residents and outsiders was reopened yet again for examination.

While on holiday, we may not be thinking about such things. We enjoy the moment. But upon reflection once home, we may analyze impressions that might be best left undisturbed.
However, the alternate can also be true if we are open to it.

This morning, I recalled a flight of pelicans that flew so very close above a friend and me on a West Coast beach. The woodcut topography of their bodies and shagbark feathers against a cobalt sky provoked a striking image: ships launched in sepia tone V formation, headed into the waves in search of fish.

Such descriptive words at the time eluded me because I was in a state of pure feeling, like those prehistoric birds who do not know what a wristwatch is. Time didn’t matter.

I can never think of a poem in the moment… and language becomes something else. Maybe that is why we say, “That’s nice,” and just look at one another and smile with our eyes when we are exploring a new place on holiday. And then later the cells remember and bring back the memory, as this one did for me while walking along the beach here in the County.

We have a choice in what we take home, and what we share about a place after we have left it behind. Places that are somebody else’s home. I’d rather write to you about the gorgeous moment described above than about the rude locals on the beach fornicating, or what the political atmosphere there was (which really is none of my business).

Prince Edward County is a beautiful, special place. Tourism is an industry that is here to stay, one that is all the more precious because of how it can help foster the success of local businesses old and new. Regardless of your position on the old days versus the new, today we are all in this boat together. On a trip to either city or country, we carry our own personal packet of expectations. Is it really wise to let those expectations blight the wonderful unexpected or unsought experiences that separate the travellers among us from the summer tourists?

On a personal note: What was in the envelope? Something more valuable than gold: a handwritten note from Dad with an accompanying poem. Not one he composed himself, but by another poet, its message intended to gently nudge me toward the good island and away from the pirates. In my oft-rudderless ship, I tend to get caught in the reeds of worry and concern over what others think about my choices and path. This paper sleeve filled with love, hope, ethics and honesty cut through all my selfcriticism. The world needs more of that.

Read the article here in The Wellington Times - August 10, 2012

No comments: