Friday, August 11, 2017

Just when you think it's alright...

Suddenly, it isn't. I mean it's not the end of the world or anything, it just feels like it in this moment. I suppose it's a good thing I have a hard time getting comfortable in life situations, because in a moment (especially when you least expect it), everything can change.


Sometimes my anxiety gets the best of me, but sometimes it saves my ass. It's too soon to tell which way things will go, but I'm doing what I can right now to be ready for anything.

As I was saying the last time I wrote, this past year has been one of the best in my life. I've made so much progress on a personal level, overcoming my fear of driving, building on a career learning a new trade, and finally establishing a real home base. Having a partner at my side through it all that doesn't give up is a real plus. It all seemed 'too good to be true'. Maybe I was right.


But maybe it's just a bump in the road. Maybe we'll get it all sorted out. Maybe we can find work in time before we lose out on our place. The feeling of potential imminent loss has made me realize how much I truly do appreciate where I've gotten. But isn't that always how it goes.

...

We took a chance venturing out on our own as subcontractors in a trade that's greatly sought after. We had so much work, we hadn't taken a weekend in months. We were exhausted, but finally getting to a point where we could get ahead. A couple more weeks of plugging away, and we'd afford our vacation.


When we showed up for work a couple days ago, there was no material on site. When it finally arrived, so did a cheaper, inexperienced crew to install it. Which was all fine and good, as we were about to jump ship for another company that offered us full time work and an array of new tools. As we'd prepared to do so, we learned that it's not an option until spring.

So here we sit, broke and confused. What just happened? How did we go from too much work to no work at all? Is this because I asked for a day off?! Be careful what you wish for, I suppose.

...

With little else to do but think, we chose not to. We took to the lakes and rivers to calm our minds. We paced the garden picking produce from the vines. This morning I spent making calls out for potential work, with no leads as of yet. And now I sit here folding laundry, catching up on chores around the house we've been too busy working to get around to, wondering what the hell we're gonna do to keep it all. Or what the next step might be if we can't.


I'm prepared for the possibility that I could end up on this journey on my own, once again. But I'm hopeful that won't be the case. Flying solo has its advantages, but happiness is so much better when it's shared. Struggles are a little easier too. Just in case, my anxious mind is listing what to do if everything falls through.

Looking around the house, I'm taking inventory of all the things I need to keep, stuff we can get rid of, and what all could go to storage if need be. Preparing myself to once again be mobile, living in my van. Mapping out the towns that might be best to bum around in.

...


It's been a long day. I ended up at the beach, in the quiet. No sound but the waves of the approaching tide. The sun is setting and the heat of the day finally wanes. I'm thankful for these places I can tuck myself away. I'm glad that despite my ever changing situation I can find peace in the chaos. I'm grateful for all that I have, if only for today.


x

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Summer Daze.

What the hell is wrong with me? I mean, I know what's wrong with me, and I know what I have to do about it, but I just... don't. I make excuses. I don't have the time or energy to take better care of myself. Yet if I made the time, I'd have the energy!


This past year has been one of the best of my life. I met my amazing partner (the one my mother described to me but I didn't believe existed), I finally started driving, I moved to a beautiful place where I have a monster garden, surrounded by lakes and mountains that I enjoy fishing and exploring.. and yet here I am, feeling like a piece of shit.

I have made a little bit of progress since my last post though. I'm working on my anxiety. I suppose I've been stuck in that "too good to be true" mentality for so long that my mind tricks me into believing that it's real. That if everything is good, there must be something happening behind the scenes that's out to get me.


Don't get me wrong, it's not all easy and sunshine and rainbows, it's hard work to maintain this lifestyle and at times, shit happens. And like in any relationship, there's personal histories on both sides that make it difficult at times to relate. But overall, I couldn't have imagined myself being in a better situation. This is my opportunity to better myself and I don't want it to go to waste.

My partner and I walked down to the slough yesterday to pick blackberries, when out of the blue my good friend from back home (who I regard as my little sister) messaged me to tell me she had purchased a juicer. She said that I had always been an inspiration when it comes to healthy living. It was in that moment that I truly realized I had let myself down. I felt guilty that I could inspire someone else to make healthy lifestyle choices when I myself am fully failing in that department. What a wakeup call.


Summer is nearly over. I thought that by moving out here I'd finally be in a position to do what needs doing to get my health in order. It's been 6 months. I'd imagined myself being a lot healthier by now, and having the energy to enjoy all the goodness that is surrounding me.

It. Is. Time.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The crash.

I haven't published a post in a while, though I have many sitting in draft that I just haven't been able to finish. Sometimes it's hard to find the words. 


I'm coming up on my 3 year mark of permanently uprooting myself from Southern Ontario, and a lot has changed since then. There have been many ups, and some pretty severe downs.. and though on the outside I have made a lot of progress and achieved some pretty rad life goals, on the inside I'm falling apart. 

My health is failing, being the number one down. My physical health, which I had come to master on my own through nutrition, exercise and meditation, I have all but lost touch with. This is affecting my mental health in a serious way this past 9 or so months, and as a result I have been pushing away my partner. 


I'm on the brink of losing everything I have worked so hard to achieve, just as I'm about to finally make a huge step forward in my career. If I don't get my health in order, and fast, I'm going to be in some serious trouble. I don't want that. I don't want to lose out on decent job opportunities, on the homestead I've put my heart and soul into, and the partner that helped me make it all happen. I must make a change before it's too late. 

One day at a time, right?

I woke up this morning, sick and tired of being sick and tired. I awoke to the realization that if I don't take control today, I won't have the energy to keep on working, to maintain that beautiful garden, to keep getting out into the world, on the water, into the mountains. 


I have everything in life I could have ever dreamt of and then some, and I have been letting it go to waste by letting myself go to waste. I don't want to be sick anymore, or angry, anxious or depressed. I want to live the life I have, and be happy. 

Today is the first day of the rest of my life, and I will make it a good one. I will only eat healthful, nutritious foods, I will do my best not to have a cigarette, and I will smile. 

...


If you're reading this, thank you. For your love and support and kind words and thoughts. I would have never had the strength to keep my head above water the past few years without you. I will get through this, like everything else. One day at a time. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's day.

The first one without her was the hardest. Being that it was the Friday of mother's day weekend that she'd lost her grip on this plane of existence, the emotions that ran through me at that time were almost unbearable. Mother's day, however, was never really an easy one.

My mom suffered from depression for many years. And of course, she missed her mom. My brother and I would always do our best to make her smile on her special day, but sometimes she just wasn't having it. It was one of the two times a year we could anticipate a phone call from the police or the hospital (or having to call one of the two).

This is the fourth one since she's been gone. It has gotten easier as I've become more comfortable with the idea that she's still around in some way, and no longer suffering. So it's okay to be grateful for her bringing me into this world, without feeling guilty that I'm in it without her.


We went down to the river where I set some of her ashes adrift. The weather was beautiful, and the trail was quiet. We hiked as far as we could without our waders and just enjoyed the views.

The drive back home was short and sweet, an eagle followed us back to the highway from the creek. As soon as we arrived home, we kicked off our shoes and stepped into the garden.

...

Here I am, in the mountains, with an epic food garden outside my tiny farm house. Sandy Shores Farm.. in dedication. I'm learning a trade, driving a van, and living the slow life out on the country. My brother has a decent job, a car of his own, and we're both blessed to have partners in crime to share our lives with. This is all she ever wanted for us, to have a good life and enjoy. I know she's smiling with us.


xo

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The adventures of staying put.

If you know me, you know I have a hard time with the idea of staying anywhere too long. I get itchy feet, the travel bug bites me pretty frequently. Or at least it did.. I'm not sure if I'm just getting old or I've finally grown out of it. Not completely, I still like adventuring, as long as I have my home base to which I can return.


I've had some tempting offers for travel come my way the past few weeks, which I somewhat hesitantly declined. Usually if someone says to me, hey let's drive across the country or, grab a flight my way I have a place for you to crash while we go explore for the next month... I'd be all over it like white on rice. Not this time.

Staying put is an adventure for me. Putting down roots and having a place of my own is a kind of unknown. I've moved more times than the number of years I've been alive. Most of my twenties were spent toting a rucksack someplace or other. Renting rooms, basements or storage lockers to keep my belongings in place while I wander.

...


There's excitement in having a space to grow a huge garden. Every day something is happening out there, sprouting, growing, changing. Being able to produce my own food and have extra to share sounds like a pretty good time to me. Having something to look after and put energy into that has a bountiful return. It's fun, satisfying and relaxing to spend time wandering the rows and maintaining the plots.


Our space changes every day. Structures are built as they're needed, then disassembled and re-purposed as our needs fluctuate. Today the bird scares were taken down and their posts became our fence. Our poly tarps became our greenhouse, our rocks to hold the tarps in place became a border for the zucchini patch.

...


I appreciate simple luxuries such as having a kitchen to cook and create in. I don't mind having to clean it knowing it's my very own space. I get to use it whenever I want. That's a pretty rad thing coming from a long history of rooming houses, hostels, crashing couches, shared spaces or no place at all. Maintaining my home and living space is a pleasure I don't take for granted.

I feel so lucky and so blessed to have found a place in a small town in the valley. The commute to work can be a little far at times, but at least it's a nice drive with a sweet view and not being caught in gridlock city traffic. The sky is always changing, the clouds put on a show. We see columns of rain, patches of snow, and often enough a beautiful rainbow.


We went to town to buy a line trimmer on the weekend. And I was thrilled! It was my birthday gift. I couldn't wait to take it home and make my yard look good. I'm stoked for the season to change so I can see what this place looks like when the trees have leaves and it's sunny all day.


Oh yeah, and I'm learning a trade which in itself is another huge adventure. I'm getting better every day. If I learn the ins and outs, I could be traveling in the future to follow the work. I think we're in a pretty decent place to be close to developments for a good few years to come while still being able to enjoy life outside of it all.

Life is good. And still an engaging challenge to navigate through day to day life. Staying put isn't necessarily an 'easier' way of life than being transient, it's just different. Maintaining a routine, a house, a garden, a schedule.. it's satisfying. Learning more about our little town and the people in it is intriguing. I'm excited for the upcoming farmer's market season. For summer, and autumn, and everything coming full circle.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

4/20

I never thought today would be so hard. 14 years ago today was my first day in the field rocking my film SLR capturing the 420 scenes, celebrations and marches for freedom with the crew. Matt if you're reading this, thank you times a million for bringing me along. It's also my 14 year friendiversary with everyone's good homie Clay, and his amazing family. Today is the first year since that I haven't talked to him on this day. I miss him. We all do.


Three years ago was the first Toronto march since that I did not attend. It also happened to be Easter Sunday that day, and my mama didn't want to be alone. She invited me over for Chinese food Easter/birthday dinner. It was the first time in years I'd seen her smile (with teeth!), and the last time I ever hugged her goodbye. If only I had known it'd be the last time I'd see her face to face.

...

Yet as I stand here in this garden, they are with me. My mother lives on in the sunlight that shines bright through the rain. Our brother is heard in the excitement in our voices as we rejoice the emergence of new life. I believe it to be true that we live on in the hearts and minds of those who love us.


Today I am thankful for these memories. Today I am grateful to have my bare feet in the soil, watching my garden grow. For my life and everyone who has been a part of it, I am blessed. 


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Talk of the [tiny] town.

I suppose it's hard not to be noticed when you're the new kids in a small town, especially when the overall population is less than 150 people. People tend to be more neighborly, everyone waves as they pass on the road. Our epic transformation of the land we live on has drawn a lot of attention.


Though we live on a dead end road, there are several people that travel along it each day to watch the birds, or pick up hay and firewood from the farms at the end of the lane. Since we started digging, passers by have been slowing down to see what we are up to. We are now known as 'the gardeners'.

Last week a local cyclist, a retired officer, stopped by to chat while we were working the composted manure into our main veggie beds. He asked us how we like living out here, and commented on how we were blessed to have a 'million dollar view'. We talked about gardening and fishing, and how the small town vibes are much more inviting than living in the city. He was happy to see us out there working the land, and said he'd stop by later in the season to see how we're doing.


...

Ten days later, our beds are already sprouting. The landlord noticed our methods (and that they're working) and asked us to help poly a 'small' test patch on his huge farm. He was so impressed by what we could do with our little plot that he had his whole family stop by to take a look.


Even the people at the trading post have taken interest in our gardens, and we've lined up future trades. Our gardens will produce more fresh veggies than we can handle and preserve, so the overstock will be traded for farm eggs and honey. That means come late spring or early summer, ninety percent of our food intake will be from ten feet to a mile away from our home. If that's not eating local, I don't know what is!


Hopefully we will have some fish to add to the freezer too, fresh from the river. Fellow anglers in the area know our vehichle, and stop by to chat when we drive out to our spots. Though we've only been here a few months, this little town has become our home. And I love it!