When I was a kid, I spent a lot of my time at a creek down the hill from my house. Spring and fall was the best time. The rainy days ensured the creek had lots of water flowing through it. I was fascinated with the flow of the water as it tumbled over the rocks. Water would form eddies around certain rocks. Sticks as makeshift rafts or boats would spin in the eddies, or shoot the fast flowing water of the creek. Sometimes I’d move rocks around in the creek or even attempt to dam portions, changing the flow from one side to the other. None of these were successful. The water was too fast-moving for anything to be successful – and I lacked the items I needed to build a proper dam. The large and small stones I used were not enough. Adding weeds and mud to pack into the gaps was gross. No thanks. Eventually I’d give up for the day, go home, and play with my Legos, trains or other things. I did this a lot for the first few years after we moved to the house where – decades later – my parents still live.
Staying in one place for more than a couple years was different – it was difficult. Making friends was difficult. Paying attention to school was a challenge. Having peers your own age was stressful. Having teachers was stressful too. Frequent reminders to get your work done. Unanswered questions when you needed help, or to know why you had to learn what a Haiku is. Mrs. Perkins keeping a list of unfinished assignments in Grade 4 wasn’t helpful – especially when she announced to the class in the last week of school that I led with the highest amount of incomplete work for the year. Unfortunately there’s no prize for finishing first there.
I wish that someone would have explained to me that the school learning (math, etc) was important, but the social stuff was complete bullshit. That was especially true for high school. I hated high school. There were some glimmer of good things. Photography class. French class. The books in the library. Radio club. The bad far outweighed the good. Getting that driver’s licence was both a blessing and a curse. Freedom and the responsibility that went with it – I was not responsible. Grade 12 was nearly a write-off with skipped classes and driving excursions. Escapism.
I’d like to say there’s a distilled set of lessons learned out of those formative experiences. There isn’t. There’s the odd nugget of knowledge here and there to be plucked out of the rubble. Flowing water is calming, centering, and somewhat reassuring. Most social things, even as an adult, are bullshit and don’t matter. Some lists are helpful like what to buy at the grocery store and whick kid to pick up where. Other lists are just embarrassing. And a Haiku is a three line, 17 syllable, Japanese form of poetry.
Not all lists are bad. Not all lists are good either. Teachers don’t shame kids.
- Something to read – This piece by Sean Spear at The Hub on Pierre Poilievre is interesting. https://thehub.ca/2023-09-09/sean-speer-we-may-have-underestimated-pierre-poilievre/ In my experience, most politicians are underestimated until people figure them out. Then they fail to meet expectations. Usually the span for that is 8-10 years federally and provincially, 3-5 years municipally. On a side note, does Poilievre not have a similar look and speaking tone to that of a younger Steven Harper now?
- Something to listen to – Still stuck on listening to Yo Yo Ma.
- Something to watch – The language of photography
Final word… A picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s a thousand final words from my camera lens.