Monday, September 08, 2014

Scorched Earth

The other day, our hike took us to an area that had burned in one of the fires this summer.
I thouroughly expected to feel sadness; to mourn the loss of biomass right here in my own back yard.

While the fire was active, anxiety pulsed through our little town like an electric current.
The unknown loomed large, while we faced giant clouds of smoke, and the sight of trees gone orange in flames.  Those days spent waiting, our brains raced and reeled through our own conclusions, since there was no satisfying news the media could supply.

This was my first up close and personal forest fire event.  We were fortunate enough not to have been evacuated from our homes.  But that meant that we could watch the fire raging from our doorsteps, in the not too distant distance.  We watched the water bombers fly directly over our house to reach the lake, and we timed their circuit, less than 5 minutes in total.

So, imagine my surprise when instead I felt hopeful, standing there on that burnt ground.

As we entered that space, it felt so quiet and empty, even devoid of birdsong.  It was a space suggestive of whispering.  The ghosts of the former forest hung heavy in the air, as the smell of smoke and charred wood.
While at the same time, shiny young mahonia shoots were unfurling impossibly green new leaves, and bright weeds were popping up just about everywhere we looked.  
There was so much new energy, quietly rising out of what had first looked like utter destruction.

I hope that the next time we go through this experience, I will remember the new growth, surging out of the blackened ground, that I will remember the hope, and the promise of life renewed.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

An Open Letter of Thanks to Rae Spoon

Dear Rae Spoon,

This is a letter of gratitude, to say thanks for your song, "I'll be a Ghost for You."
In way of saying thanks, I have a little story for you.

This story is about a vivacious lady named Abby.  Abby happened to be a very special chocolate lab.  She came into my life through a dog rescue group, and we loved each other intensely for the five years we shared.
If Abby were a woman, she'd be a pearl-wearing, Elvis-loving, smoker of cigarettes denoted as "light.  She'd wear her dark dyed hair in what she'd refer to as "a permanent."
I imagined Abby had a penchant for a classic sound in her music.  I used to sing her Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, and a lot of Neko Case.  When I heard your song, "I'll be a Ghost for You," that fit right in, and I believed it was one of her favourites.
The time came to kiss my Honey Brown goodbye.  As we shared those last few moments together, she drifted off with me singing her that song.
It will always be our song in my mind.
The story doesn't end there.
In the fall of 2012, we moved from Ontario to the Okanagan Valley in BC.  It was about this time I was wondering, how would Abby find me all the way out in BC?
One day, on a hike by a waterfall, I looked down, and she was there.  Not even kidding.  There was my Abby, clear as day, standing there, beaming that big old smile right up at me.
I immediately felt happy, balanced and connected to her, right here in this valley where we live now.

The other day, on a quad ride, the song popped into my head, and as I was singing along, I had an epiphany.
How amazing and significant was that - that Abby momentarily became a ghost like figure, reaching out to me,  How ironic, and how wonderful!  How fitting to our special song.

So, there it is.  I'm sure you get lots of feedback, telling you how special and meaningful your music is.  I hope you do, because you deserve it!
I also hope that my little story may have warmed your heart, and helped you see the good in the world that comes from your music.

Sonia Thompson

ps, a photo of my girl, Abby

Monday, September 01, 2014

Falling for yet another season....

I adore seasons, I really do.  I have to stop trying to commit to a single one as a favourite.  
For a time in the spring, I am intensely convinced that summer is my favourite season.  I am so drawn to water and the beach, that summer seems to be "my season."  I was born in summer, in a farming community with sticky hot summers, and epic beaches.  Summer always feels like home to me.
This time of year, however, as summer is slinking away, I become obsessed with fall.  I begin collecting lovely teas (this year I'm already up to five little jars of loose tea), planning knitting projects, watching football (!), baking, etc, etc, etc...

This year, fall brings me another reason to get excited...  I will finally (FINALLY!) be taking my yoga teacher training.  I am super stoked about this, because it's been something I've wanted to do for about 15 years now.  That's a long time to keep something out there, in the nebulous beyond of "maybe someday..."  
Why was I pushing it away?  Well, there was the "Oh, that costs money," argument.  Or, "Oh, that takes time..."  (way less than 15 years, tho!)  
I think the real worry was a fear that I wouldn't be "good enough,"  "bendy enough," or just not "enough" of whatever it is I assumed yoga teachers are made of. 

Now that I'm older, I take to heart a simple truth that I've known the whole time I've been practicing.  Yoga is a path.  

No one ever "wins" at yoga.  There is no end to yoga.  There is always deepening, expanding, breathing and learning to be done, once we choose this path.  Yoga is not simply, "hey, look what I can do..."  Yoga is a philosophy, and a love and an immense energy.  
If there are more guides to help others find and follow the path, there will be more of that love and positive energy to go around.  

So when I told my sister over the phone that I had big plans for this fall, and she asked if she could guess, she nailed it on the first try.  She was like, "Finally, Duh!  That's who you are!  Do it!"

So very excited and very ready to soak up all there is to learn during my training!