Friday, October 31, 2014

Emotional Reasoning

Emotional Reasoning is the reasoning of psychopaths and sociopaths.  Because “I feel” it is true, it is “true”.  Psychotics collectively respond to ‘emotional reasoning’.
“I knew she loved me so I forced to have sex with me so she would feel for me the way I felt for her."
“I heard the anguish in her story so she must be telling the truth”.
“No one would share such a heart wrenching story without it being true."
Emotional reasoning is the new “if it ‘feels’ right,” it is right.  In the age of rationalism people said “I think I should kill you so I’m right to kill you” . Today in the age of emotionalism people say, “I feel I should kill you so I’m right to kill you”.  The media sells by taking advantage of peoples emotions.  Every day there’s a dying child, a new war zone, the latest rape victim, another spotted owl going missing, the temperature going up or down, a volcano or an avalanche.  They sell ‘emotion’ the way Hitler and Stalin before them sold “ideas’.
But hey, who am I to question insanity, “If it feels good, do it”.  “You’ve got to be right because ‘it feels right’.
Personally I know why people have difficulty believing in evolution .  Evolution implies ‘forward motion’.  The media’s fear mongering and playing on emotions of citizens en mass for personal profit presents far more evidence of ‘devolution’.  Emotionalism is such evidence.  Cavemen and cave women and especially cannibals loved the logic of emotionalism.  Rationalism was a higher level of discussion.  Rationalists at least questioned whether eating your neighbour was ‘healthy’  but emotionalists merely depend on ‘group think’. The more mass appeal, the greater the sense of emotional rectitude.
Indeed, Hitler was likely the one to first develop emotionalism as the weapon.  The bully always uses 'emotional reasoning'.    

Friday Morning Early

I awoke early this morning. It’s Hallow’s Eve.  Samdain.  The world of the dead is closest to the world of the living.
I dreamed a great dream  I was in a multi storied house.  There were people congregating throughout.  I’d been camping on a beach. There was a woman with sunshine in her hair.  I’d smelt the scent of the sea. Then I was in this dance hall, a place I’ve been before in my dreams.  Sometimes I’ve been dancing.  It’s a dancer’s paradise.  Men and women dressed formally but casually enough for the exercise of dance.  I remember doing cha cha and jive and waltz.  Tonight there were black men and white and some women wore wear.  The hardwood floor was well polished.  Immaculate waiters served food to tables.  Some smoked I think. There was wine being served. I ordered coffee.  I didn’t dance, just looked around at this world of wonder and joy.  I was alone.
Waking at 5 am I first noticed my feet ached.  I have pain in a hip.  My back hurt climbing out of bed. I’d begun to worry about work, worry about patients, wonder how I was going to face the depressions again and again.  More and more I see people unhappy who don’t want to change anything but want this life they’re living to bring them joy when what they persist in is not joyful.  Some magic pill is supposed to save them in their isolation and self pity and self recrimination.  I encourage them.  I am positive. That only makes them angry. It’s as if I should agree with them that suicide is the solution.  And it kills me to rise to the challenge and convince them day after day to live another day.  I’ve walked thousands through these days. There’s no reason to go on.  Life sucks. Our loved ones fail us. There’s no truth in politics. The promises are all false. This world is a lie.  My life is a litany of failure.  And there I am again and again saying get out of bed, face the day, move on. Take this pill, take this therapy.  I know the government wants you dead.  I resist euthanasia.  My colleagues are giving out heroin.  The studies out of Wales tell us the threat to sobriety is in these people who have no faith in you.  I have faith but they say I’ve got compassion fatigue too.  We all do. Here in the front lines.  On beaches in Mexico and Hawaii it’s much easier to see the pleasure in life.  Lying in her arms I always felt life was worth living till she ran from life and kill our baby in fear and celebration.  Now it’s 5 am and the thoughts and past are on me.  Like twin vultures of fear and hate they sit at the top of the bed waiting to pluck out my eyes when I wake.
I looked up his name yesterday.  A patient asked for something from Winnipeg and I looked at my old university, searching a name for them.  And seeing all the other names. The road not taken.  I left the snow and cold and curse or blessing.  It’s easy on Halloween to think of witches I’ve known, beaten by broomsticks of despair.  “You’re supposed to make me happy. You make everyone else happy. Why don’t you make me happy.”  The screams like etchings on a bridge.  I found silence in a ship at sea. I think of sailing often too, wake from dreams of being in gales or just sailing in trade winds, the sweet loneliness and silence.  Then the cries of seagulls.
I’m all messed up overwhelmed by details and demands.  I balance precariously this sanity I cling to reaching deep down into the abyss to pull another out.  I’m afraid each year I’m older my grip is weaker and the tree on the ledge I cling to has roots but how much more can they take.
I’m a human busy.  There are men in accounting and women with white panties in offices that sit at computer and think of things they’d like everyone else to do and they demand it and bill more for themselves and self aggrandize.  My day is spilling over while they work 9-5 or more likely 10 to 2.  They decide what I must do and threaten me with all manner of threats.  If you don’t do this you won’t get paid, you won’t have a job, you will be blacklisted even more than we’ve blacklisted. The patient is anathema to them. They care not for anything but themselves and their kissing the ass of the next higher up and the new colour tv.
There is never enough money.  There is never enough air or life or love or sex.  There is never enough entertainment. Even sailing trips and hunting trips come to an end and then are contrasted by the sheer magnitude of stress and work and service.  How can I explain yet again that joy is not found in a pill, a bottle, or a ‘feeling’ but rather joy is that comparison.  I love my chair because last weekend I was hanging from a ledge.  I love my stomach today because sailing in a storm my gut was wrenching.  I compare the present with the negative not with some idealized television positive.  Hollywood is such farce.  Life is all about living. No platitudes. No adult children games.  Good work if you can get it.  Artists and all that.
It’s not about healing. It’s about doing protocols. It’s a vast call centre and the scripts are being written by boys in shorts and big girls in little girl panties.  Their parents had money.  They want more money.  They have this idea for mass production of protocols. These protocols are what save the world. And there are millions of courts that ask if the protocol was followed. Everyone is dead, mind you.  But was the protocol followed?
“It’s all about man and machine,” he told me today.  Someone sometime had called him schizophrenic.  But the man’s IQ was so much higher than my colleagues.  His ideas frighten people.  Indeed I have to agree. It really is about the woman and the machine. Man and machine was yesterday’s news. Now the woman is in love with the machine. Her vibrator, her protocols, her suction vacuum, her toaster oven, her iPhone.  It’s all about the woman and her machine. And that’s what men fought WWI and WWII , wars to end all wars.  But she refuses to accept that her lipstick was bought by a better machine gun .
My friend is a woman. She talks of walking with friends in the hills.  She has no silly city girl illusions about the source of her make up.  She has sons who served.  Her daughters serve.  She raised her children to be citizens and to participate. She loved her man long enough to matter. She didn’t demand that there be no other voices but hers in the home. She wasn’t a tyrant.  She knew the value of democracy of parenting and had no desire for tyranny.  She’s one of many women who amaze me.  I’m reminded so often of my mother and her business woman sister.  I loved them all.  The ex wives too.  And girl friends.
“You’re a sexist”, the young man said to me.He’s learning not to use his fists in anger but has picked up the most violent words of our times, ’sexist’, ‘racist’, ‘Christian’ .  In another country he’d have different slogans “capitalist” “westerner’.  Anger within seeks an outlet like volcanoes.  I stand near with God’s fire extinguisher. He’s pushed so many people away with his anger. Maybe I’m the latest sacrifice.    He’s spent most of his time mental masturbating and alone.   I think of the quarter century or more I shared my bed and life with women. So little of his life has been devoted to women and none to children. He’s served himself and only now is leaving to serve others.  But he’s such a fool, so vulnerable, thinking of women like porn stars and such, not knowing them for their ruthlessness and sacrificing himself for the liar who keeps teasing him and then calling the police to protect her.  He hates me now but finally he has locked her out. Finally he’s respected women enough to fear them.  Now there’s hope he’ll meet some real woman, a girl who knows her diabolical self, knows the power of her sex and will not abuse this.  He’s ready to meet a woman who will want to work together with him and not solely think of herself and how she can use him to further her goals for wealth for herself.  I’d been afraid he’d go to prison because he didn’t respect women.  I’m weary of name callers and ad hominems and the violence of those who don’t know ‘namaste’.  You are an idiot. Namaste.But then the students all want to be the teachers and the quickest way of the cannibals is to kill their leaders and eat their brains.  Why not?  Sure is easier than reading a million pages of books or listening to a million hours of lectures.  I work with street people and they call me anything they think will hurt because if they hurt me they think that bleeding I will be less a threat to them in my wholeness.  They destroy rather than create.  Their fear is such they are always looking for ‘precious’.  C.S. Lewis asked, ‘why are you looking for the architect in the wall’.  Such is the limits of materialism.  There’s never enough money.
We all have descended from cannibals.  We’re all survivors.  Our parents parents killed to be here.  We didn’t live by chanting om.  Now I chant om, but I know that there is creation and destruction and renewal.  Projection is that unconscious process where we deny our own violence and attribute it to the other.  Parents watch their children grow out of stages and then they see the same in nations and friends.  Just the other day the sweetest child in a moment of devilry poked a finger in my dog’s eye.  My dog was older and more mature and avoided the blow then moved away.  Humans can be so dangerous.  But the power today is in false accusation.  Lies are alive in this lying society.  The tyranny of communism was all about the lies.  The arrogance of judges is in their believing they can decipher truth without the basis of solid evidence. Even the Pope acknowledge science but it will be a long time before the Judges show humility.  That’s the irony today.  The elected are nothing before the appointed. And that’s how democracy dies.
If I go back to bed I might have another hour of sleep.  In Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron recommended daily creative writing, writing without the editor, just sharing whatever was on the mind. I called it ‘squeezing the puss out of the brain’.  In analysis it’s called free association.  Right now I’m troubled by these self selected ‘activists’ and their ‘group think’ cronies ,  Why can’t anybody see the merit in hewers of wood and carriers of water.  Instead we have these money grabbing resource sucking ideologues but such is a kind of capitalism.  Most of the non profits only profit those that make them.  They lack the true respectability of a real corporation that must show value beyond self aggrandizement.  But really, if I go back to sleep I might wake up more hopeful.  I could pry and meditate and read holy borks. That’s certainly a positive use of time and then one feels guided by the silence within.
Gratitudes lists are good. Thank you God for everything.  Really. Thank you for everything. Help me to appreciate more your wonder and all your myriad manifestations. Help me to love as you love.  Guide me today in all my activities. Overcome my world weariness.  Lessen my pain.  Sing to me Lord. Let me hear the sweetness of your voice in my inner ear.  Help me know your laughter in the essence of my being. Help me share your love. As St. Francis says, let me be your channel.  It’s Samhain and All Hallow’s Eve.  Let me reach out with my being to touch those departed, my father, mother, aunts and uncles, grandparents, friends and pets. Let me this day know the closeness of those once nearer in this space.  I love you all more with age. I love you all who are departed and thank you for all the love and lessons you shared.  I am remembering too the Halloweens and costumes and parties and fun and parents and schools and friends and silliness and laughter.  We had so much fun with the girls all those youthful decades and the dances and the music.  Thank you lord for all the hallows eves.  Thank you for this summer and the harvests and the harvests and the harvests.

Emmett Fox wrote for this day:
The Consecrated Life
Of what doest the consecrated life exist?  Your life is a consecrated one when you are ready at all times to do the will of God - when you are willing and anxious that God may be fully expressed through you, through your thoughts, words and deeds, during every hour of the day. You are not concerned with the questions of results.  Results belong to God.
“Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6.8)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

BC Hunting - 70 mile House

I got mixed up and thought spike fork moose was open at 100 mile House.  Bucks were open but at 70 mile house it was bucks and spike fork moose.
The fact is, I wanted to go to 100 miles house because I like the town.  I'd passed through it quite a few times and always liked the people I met there. There's a great hunting store there, Exeter Sporting Goods Ltd.  I last bought my Bushnell Fusion Rangefinder binoculars there.
My friend Laura had liked the boutiques and pharmacy when we'd stopped there together.
My friend Jackie had lived there and liked the Red Coach Inn.
I'd hunted there a couple of times years past and always liked that the A&W was open early so I could get a coffee, and sausage and egger for the ride out to the logging trails and woods.
It really is spectacular hunting terrain.  Very moosy too.  It's a good thing though I had the iHunter app on my iphone and we had coverage. When I looked at what was legal I was surprised to find we were 30 miles north of where spike fork moose were legal.  So we drove on the logging roads south, all the while watching for bucks.
We didn't see any moose even after we passed the magic line where they were legal to shoot.  I did see one buck. It was 240 yards away when I checked it later with my Bushnell range finder binocs.  There it was, standing in a clearing up on a hill. I stopped the truck and took the "Cannon", my new 300 WSM Winchester Coyote Light long range rifle.
My Ruger 30:06 was called the 'sexcalibre" because as my first stainless steel it looked like the 'Excalibur" when it came out of it's box.  My friend said it was 'sexy' so the name 'Sexcalibur" stuck. TheWinchester is heavier and made for business.  There's just something about a rifle that shoots a mile, twice the distance of my 30:06 and packs twice the whallop .    The "Cannon" got it's name the first time my friend heard me shoot it.
"That thing sounds like a cannon!" he said admiringly.  The recoil isn't that bad either. The Winchester 70 Coyote Light is also lightweight for the power it packs. Heavier and more weildy than my Ruger it's still not too much weight for an old guy like me to pack about over the woods and fields.
We did a bit of that this weekend. Parking the truck a couple of times and hiking about for miles, stalking about. We didn't sit still at dawn like we normally would because I didn't know the terrain.  Next time I hunt there I've got a couple of likely places I 'd be glad to wait in ambush.  Road hunting in the rain that day in my comfortable Ford F350 Harley Davidson Edition diesel 4x4 truck with air conditioning and heated seats was just fine by me.  I had the Kodiac 450 ATV in the back of the truck. With the rain turning to sleet then snow then back to rain I found myself thinking that the Kodiac by comparison only had heated handles.    The three of us just enjoyed driving about in the cowboy truck jawing and watching the incredible autumn terrain slip by.
The one big buck I saw looked every bit masculine but for the life of me I couldn't confirm horns. I was sure it was a really big spike but I was looking up and the head was in front of grey clouds.  I moved to adjust the Zeiss scope from 10 power to 25 and just as I saw what I thought was horn the deer spooked and I didn't get off a shot.
We saw 4 doe the next day but no moose and no deer that we could shoot.
Twice we came across ptarmigan that flew as a flock of 20 or 30 a half mile or so.  Tom followed them once with a very keen Gilbert but they just flew off again when he got a few hundred yards nearer. The same happened the next day with me and Gilbert.
"Do you think we should call in an emergency air strike by the world hunter associations? I asked Tom
"Well, those are awfully smart birds. We certainly don't want wild chickens to get a smart gene that spreads. It's bad enough that the moose are outsmarting us but if word gets out that the chickens have more brain power than hunters it's not going to look good for the sport. I really think that a thousand hunters should be flown in to ensure that none of that flock's genes spread. They're just too damn smart."
Gilbert was disgusted with us for not shooting anything but cans. We did that in a gravel pit. Tom got bullseyes with his Mossberg Lever Action 30:30.  I shot up an A&W cup with the Cannon then wasted a few of those orange skeet disks with the Sexcalibur. All the while Gilbert waited in the truck.
It was a great weekend notwithstanding the obvious lack of killing and gutting and fresh meat for the winter. The country fresh air spiced by the north was better than any city air freshner. The beautiful colourful fall scenery was spectacular. Comraderie. Tom threw the ball for Gilbert in lieu of shooting the Ptarmigan.  Gilbert was happy with fetching the tennis ball.  The Red Coach Inn at 100 Mile House was a great motel with a great restaurant and really friendly staff.  Gilbert ran his little cockapoo legs off.  I got some exercise. Tom shot a few more bullseyes with his new Mossberg 30:30 Lever Action.
"I'm really liking this rifle, Bill.  It's what the Rifeman used." he said.
"I know," I answered thinking next thing he'll be getting it customized with an expanded lever on it. The Rifleman had done that to his rifle to improve for rapid firing.
On the way back we enjoyed listening to the Ian Rankin,  Saints of the Shadow Bible, audio book. The Scottish detectives Rebus and Clark were in the thick of murder and mystery made all that much better by the brogue accent of the reader.
 The sun came out as we passed through the Frazer Canyon.  I snapped pictures with my iphone.
When I dropped Tom off at the Chilliwack Airport his diesel VW car wouldn't turn over.  We hooked up the cables between our batteries but even with Tom loosening nuts to bleed it,  it still wouldn't turn over. It finally took me towing Tom around the parking lot.
This was Tom's bright idea.  After a couple of loops of the parking lot the car still hadn't started.  I stopped when he waved to me, remembering Tom's idiosyncratic hand signals are more confusing than a drunk  deaf mute signing.  What's funnier is that he thinks his gestures are some sort of universal Esperanto.  It turned out he wasn't signalling me to stop but rather to go faster.
Given the Chilliwack police department was right next store I was glad that I 'd stopped. With clear instructions and a glance in the direction of the police station I picked up the speed a notch.  This was the airport.  Who would notice if a VW  was suddenly flying like a kite.  Amazingly enough the car fired up.  I stopped and retrieved the tow rope, shook hands with Tom and headed into Vancouver.
By Sunday evening the guns and ammo were back in storage.  I left the ATV on the truck because I'm planning another weekend.
As much as I'd like getting dressed as a bearded lady in a gown and wig for Halloween,  going to the Rocky Horror Picture cult flick to chuck toilet paper and such,  I may just dress  again in cammo  hoping to surprise a deer or moose before the hunting season closes.  Samhain, here we come!

Red Coach Inn, 100 Mile House, BC

I told my friend Jackie that I planned to hunt in the 100 mile house area.  Jackie had lived there once.
"What hotel would you recommend?" I asked her.
"The Red Coach Inn is my favourite." she said.
"They've got a hot tub, nice pool, and I really like the restaurant.  The Super 8 is good but I prefer the Red Coach, probably because of the restaurant."
Well when Tom and I pulled into town after midnight. It had been a long haul from Vancouver after a long day of clinic.  I was really glad to see the after hours buzzer.  Surprisingly the night man was very pleasant.
I got a room with the truck near by out back, a two double beds.  Tom was impressed.
"It's really clean and tidy."
 Gilbert, the cockapoo was glad he was welcomed.  The rates were really reasonable.  In the morning at 7 am after too few hours of sleep we had the country breakfast in the restaurant.  Young and beautiful waitress far too bright for that early in the morning. After we loaded the truck with guns and ammo and headed off.  Eggs and sausage and ham and toast.
After a day of hunting we returned to the Inn at dark.  Another great restaurant meal.  I had steak and mashed.  Tom had something exotic. There really was a wide variety.   Tom had enjoyed the shower in the morning.  I enjoyed it in the evening. Gilbert exhausted fell right asleep after eating a Little Cesar.  He'd had to do guard duty on the room while we were at the restaurant, after a long day of hunting.  So he really was a tired pup.  Not too tired though to snack on a piece of steak I brought back for him. Then he was asleep. I think I read a page of Tom Clancy before I was out too.

Dr. Shaohua Lu - Addiction and Consultation Liason Psychiatry

It was a rainy dark night at the end of a long day of clinic.  While the Seasons is a very fine restaurant,   on such a night I'd gladly have been home.   Dr. Shaohua Lu, however. was the night's dinner speaker. His topic was Pain and Addiction, A Psychiatric Perspective.
Dr. Lu is extremely well educated in the field but more importantly he is one of the leading clinicians in hospital based psychiatry for the addicted and medically ill.  His contribution to psychiatry at Vancouver General Hospital is immense.  Personally I've always admired his knowledge and clinical acumen in the treatment of difficult and complex cases.
I've had the pleasure of treating people in the community who were seen by him in the hospital.  There had been no platitudes or stupidities, no missed diagnosis, or whacky medication regimens.  He'd given patients the straight goods and they'd returned to the community well aware of the seriousness of their illness and exactly what they needed to do to address it.
When the College of Physicians and Surgeons employed lesser qualified physicians in the field of addictions it was always a pleasure to listen to the greater experience, training and wisdom of Dr. Lu. Never a policeman, in the field of addiction where sometimes punitive controllers loved to act out their unresolved traumas of  potty training, Dr. Lu by contrast, was always a physician first, and always a gentleman.  He based his work on the latest in research and taught the basic foundations of medicine and psychiatry.
It was a packed room he spoke to that night. Two of my most seasoned addiction medicine colleagues had been at another talk sitting next to him.  Later they'd say they'd got more clinical 'pearls' from him than from the speaker. The people in this room were impressive.  Dr. Paul Sobey, a leader in the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine, sat near Dr. Malomed from the excellent BC College of Physicians and Surgeons Methadone Committee.  Dr. Horvath and Dr. Tsung, well weathered clinicians from the DTES Docside Clinic. Dr. Durnin. with her vast clinical experience, from her practice at Pender and also in Surrey. Dr. Klajic, humorous and wise, spoke with the very bright Dr. Cohen who sat near a couple of the top East Indian clinicians whose long names I shamefully forget.  I actually asked one fellow twice and really should have written it down. There were several others too, a great turn out.  Mostly the over 40's crowd.  There might well have been another 60 year old but I fear my beard was whitest. The experience,  knowledge and collective wisdom was palpable.  The questions asked of Dr. Lu came from that depth of experience.
Dr. Lu spoke to the overlapping areas of Pain and Psychiatry, the appropriate use of antidepressant, anti anxiety, anti inflammatory medications and finally opiates. There's been much talk of abuse of prescription opiate medication.  Dr. Lu cited the appropriate use of opiates but distinguished his work with cancer patients and palliative care versus his work with 'chronic pain'.  There's clearly a different approach to dosage when a person's life expectancy is months not years.  Further he emphasized proper medical work up for pain and the importance of recognising co morbidity with psychiatric disorder.
"No chronic pain patient is without psychological consequences."
Nadine Sparks, the Senior Sales Representative for Eli Lilly Canada Inc had organized this meeting for the benefit of pain and addiction clinicians who were commonly prescribing a variety of medications to address the patients issues with complex pain.  Cymbalta, (duloxetine) is the new antidepressant the FDA has approved for pain treatment especially fibromyalgia.  No other antidepressant medication has received such approval to date though commonly the tricyclic antidepressant, elavil (amitriptylline) has been a mainstay of pain treatment.  My patients swear by Cymbalta,this breakthrough medication.
Dr. Lu never spoke to any drug or company by name, having no conflict of interest and clearly basing his discussion of the research data to date.  He discussed buprenorphine as well in the chronic pain patient and addressed the importance of exercise in the treatment of chronic pain.
Discussing the controversial topic of 'medical marijuana' in the treatment of chronic pain he cited the research that showed that the cannabinoids that help with pain are not the same that get people high. Essentially he said, "If a person is 'feeling' high on the marijuana the dosage is too high or its not the right cannabinoid medication."
He was especially helpful in his discussion of the early onset of hyperalgesia.  Most people think of opioid induced hyperalgesia as happening at high dosage whereas Dr. Lu cited low dose induction. He maintained that it was wise clinical course to be aware of this phenomena with all opioid usage but especially when the response is not what is anticipated.
It was a truly delightful presentation and I was thankful even driving home late in the rain that I'd made it out for the evening.  Yes the Season's was a very nice restaurant.  And yes, Nadine Sparks is extremely enthusiastic and convincing.  It was great too to see fellow front line workers, the clinicians who work with the patients who suffer from these ofttimes difficult but equally challenging illness.      

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Burying Dad and Mom

John and Jean Hay died in years past.  I was there for their deaths, each time arriving shortly after their passing, viewing their bodies, acknowledging their individual spirits had gone.  St. Francis, later in life, when asked if he would be somewhere, answered “Brother Ass willing".
I believe in evidence of life beyond death.  Indeed given linearity is a construct, I believe the soul transcends this life and the mind is much more than the brain.  Reductionists like child size bites on reality and call the godly wanting.  I don’t even know if there’s a clear demarcation of life and death but feel often this life as death. I’ve been dying since I was born and gain greater awareness with aging.  There’s a lost of externality for sure. My senses are less robust, my hearing decreasing with my sense of smell and my eyes long ago required glasses.  Then there’s that sex drive thing and other drives that have me recalling my life more ‘driven’ than today when I wouldn’t say I’m coasting but I’m certainly not as much consumed by the rush.  As time runs out I’m more appreciative of time.
Dad and I talked in his latter years as did Mom and I.  Mom was firm in her Christian faith and Dad was glad to be with ministers and priests.  In the end both were attending services and ministers and priests served them well.
The church wasn’t as interesting to me in my middle years. It had been a very important community growing up.  I followed the Beatles to drugs and eastern religion only to return to Dr. Carl Ridd’s Christian existentialism, the study of Kierkegaard and later the spiritual Christianity taught so well by Dr. James Houston in person and in his books at Regent Collge. C.S. Lewis’ Surprised by Joy captured me heart and soul as later did St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross.  The Dark Night of the Soul best explained a particular life passage as I found myself understanding as never before Jesus of the cross, the Servant King.  East met west in meditation and prayers.
My brother and I drove from Napanee to Toronto today.  My parents wanted an urn where their ashes lay side by side.  They wanted to be buried with my mother’s father and mother and her sisters in the Prospect Cemetery, Toronto.  Dad and mom met there during World War II.  He was with the RCAF and she was volunteering to help the soldiers.  My Aunt Sally would be in Washington DC as the executive assistant to Canada’s Ambassador.  Her other sister Hannah married a dentist.
For a Baptist, ironically, Mom loved to dance with Dad.  Dad loved to dance with her.  They married. There’s a picture of Dad looking most handsome in his RCAF uniform while mother was always an outstanding beauty with her mass of red hair and wholesome smile.  They lived with my mother’s mother and father when Ron came along and a few years later there was me.
Mary from Prospect Cemetery placed our parent’s urn in the deep hole beneath the big tree.   Ron and I stood watching. Then Mary left. A slight rain fell beneath the grey skies. I read Psalm 23 faltering.  Both my parents liked Psalm 23.  I liked it as well.
Then two brothers stood silently side by side.  I silently prayed. I asked forgiveness. I thanked them.  I prayed for them.  I prayed for family and friends.  My mind was still. There was stillness there.  Peace descended. I cried.  I opened my eyes.  Ron was holding the shovel.  He scooped some dirt into the hole. I followed.  Shovelling a scoop of dirt into the hole.  Ritual.  I passed the shovel back to Ron. He folded the cloth over the remaining dirt laying the shovel on top of the grey fabric. An excavator waited on the street to finish.  I hugged my big brother.  We returned to the car where Gilbert waited.  We drove away.
Ron asked if there was anything I wanted to do before he took me to the plane. I said I could see Aunt Sally’s old place if it was near.  We’d come off St. Clair.
“Our childhood homes are closer, “ he said. There's a deepness in Ron.
“I’ve not been to them since I was here a decade or two ago. “ Indeed I couldn’t remember which wife I’d been with when I decided one day to make the pilgrimage to the old houses.  Ron drove us there.  I got out and took pictures with my iPhone.  We went to the churches we attended too.  He remembered more than me.  I was only 5 when I left Toronto.  He was in Gr. 3. We drove by the school he attended.
 I remembered grandma’s home and our house on the street with the cul de sac at the end where the forest began.  Playing marbles came to mind. Ron remembered the wasps. I remembered the shivering maybe rabid dog, the hospital and needles.
We drove around the Toronto of our early years.  Nothing much had changed in buildings. Red Brick structure.   Different signs.  New languages. Half a century ago.  We stopped at a Wendy’s for burgers. Gilbert enjoyed his burger paddy and walk after that.
Toronto Pearson Airport.  I said good bye to my brother, thanks and god bless.  Now Gilbert and I are waiting for a plane.  I miss Mom and Dad.  The Road Less Travelled.  Ron said it right when he said how right he felt in Toronto.
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Monday, October 20, 2014

Hay Bay Home

My brother, Ron and Sister in Law, Adell have bought a second home near Nappanee on Hay Bay. I confess, I love that family are living on a place called Hay Bay.  Driving through the Ontario country side with fall colours of red and orange and yellow we see a sign Hay Bay Women’s Society.  I don’t think it’s narcissism to appreciate the location by name but a sense of deep belonging. Next year I’m hoping to get back to Scotland to the Aberdeen area from whence grandad came, where a Hay is apparently a dime a dozen.  One of my brother’s realtors was a Hay too.  Makes it feel all sort of right in an odd way.
Last time I was here I was attending my nephew Andrew and his bride Tanya’s wedding at the Canada Club wearing the blue Hay Hunting kilt.
When I flew into Ottawa to attend the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine Conference my brother met me and Gilbert my cockapoo at the Ottawa Airport.  Great to be with family. Nephew Allan , just completed undergrad psychology waiting to begin masters program.  Over delicious Italian at Poccopazzo family owned restaurant I got to catch up on the latest doings of chemical engineer movie making nephew Graeme and geologist nephew Andrew and his beautiful  publisher wife Tanya.  Graeme’s horror movie Ragnarock Cabin has opening to coincide with Halloween this year.  Tanya and Andrew were on a pumpkin hunt in preparation for a Halloween party. It all seems so civilized.  I feel like I’ve descended from alien planet out in the wild west when I come home to this happy normalcy.  My brother and sister in law are both retired so we no longer commiserate over the challenges of work with all it’s attendant frustrations.  My stories only serve to remind them of their past.  Ron continues his investing from home while I’ve never seen my high school principal Adell not bustling about with home making.  Her primary student this visit is Eva, Allan’s little brown Chewy the wooky  looking cockapoo.
Having just bought another house, all the talk is about landscaping and decorating. They’d just moved the weekend before.  When my conference finished Adell and Allan picked me up with Gilbert already on board and we drove the two hours from the city to their new rural retreat.  I loved seeing the quaint hobby farms along the river. The red barns of Ontario are so picturesque with the red leaves of autumn sumac. Cattle and horses were interspersed with hay fields and corn. Graeme and Andrew have seen deer in the forest on the way here.  Adell pointed to the white swans in the marsh nearby.
The house isn’t visible from the road.  Nearly 5 acres of waterfront.  Down a short road between spruce and pine is the garage  at the first level. The roof of the large two level home sits next to the parking at the lower level.  We entered through the great veranda on the second floor. “I hope to screen this all in next year, “ Adell said as she showed me the upper rooms, a regular Marriott guest suite where I’d be staying.  Bamboo hardwood floors throughout the upper guest area.  Down the bamboo stairs is the music room. Adell sings soprano with several choirs still.  When I told her about attending Carmen recently she said, “I love singing opera but don’t much like attending it anymore.”  I’ll always remember her as the beautiful young girl solo in the church whose voice touched the heavens.  Ron’s veritable collection of guitars was in the music room.  The great living room had a heated cement floor and large fireplace. Dining room and kitchen were part of the pattern with the glass panel doorway looking out on the huge expanse of front yard opening onto the lake. From there I saw Gilbert and Eva running wide circles about the property at breakneck cockapoo speed.  Everything is large, large walk in pantry, large cupboards.  “There’s no basement ,” said Adell .  Of course that explains the need for the storage spaces.  Ron has a couple of sheds in addition to his garage.  The master suite is beyond the large two person whirlpool tub. It has lots of walk in cupboards and another elegant bathroom. It opens onto a a patio where no doubt the Lord and Lady of the house can take afternoon tea and contemplate their apple tree orchard.
Allan and I bought day fishing licenses at the Napanee Canadian Tire.  With Ron’s kevlar canoe and fishing gear, fishing rods, an Adell packed picnic and Gilbert in a life jacket in the middle of the boat, Allan and I, like countless coer de bois before us, set out on the great fishing adventure.  Ron had taken a break from driving his tractor pulling his rotor tiller through his planned potato garden to push out his wheeled aluminum Fendock.  We pushed off from shore before he figured how to lay down the wood flooring.
Allan paddled in the bow while I j stroked in the stern.  For a guy who at his age was white water canoeing the Winnipeg River, I couldn’t recall the last time I’d paddled.  The technique is never lost but the muscles sure weren’t happy.  Neighbours further along the shore waved and spoke to us as we passed.  They were all out doing yard work, burning leaves in fires,  chatting on lakeside decks.
“How far are we going, Allen?"
“Getting tired already, Uncle,”
“No just wondering,” I lied.
“There’s a marsh a long the shore up ahead, where mom sees the swans,"
At last we stopped paddling and Allan put a Canadian Wiggler on my line.  I began casting. “This was dad’s favourite lure, “ I told him and then went on to tell about Dad taking Ron and  I fishing in Northern Saskatchewan, catching pickerel and cooking the fillets over a driftwood fire on the shore.  We casted either side only once tangling lines and the wind pushed us along the outside of marsh.  Allan told me about his research interests in early child education.  He’d applied for research grants and was waiting to hear.
When the wind picked up and it looked like we’d be blown too far away we paddled back into the lee of the point coming aground in the weeds.
 “My hands are freezing from the water, “ said Allen.
“I put my gloves on an hour ago,” I said.
Gilbert was sleeping in the middle of the boat. I was enjoying the cup of thermos coffee and sandwich Adell had packed.  A flock of Canada Geese rose up from the marsh and flew back to Vancouver British Columbia.  That’s where all the Canada Geese from all over the world congregate for seminars on how to avoid being shot by hunters in the rest of Canada.
We talked some more. Allan changed my lure from the Canadian wiggler to the Red Devil. "I always catch a jack whenever I fish with a red devil,” i told him then cast.  Immediately a large fish caught the hook and tugged. I watched the disturbance on the surface. “I’ve caught one, “ i shouted.  “It’s just a rock,” Allan said.  Gilbert rose to the excitement.
Sure enough I pulled in a large northern pike alongside the canoe shouting at Allan to get the net.  Untangling the net from Gilbert’s feet doing twisting pretzel contortions behind him Allan had the net and put it under the fish. “It’s too big for the net,” he said.  He couldn’t get it under the body but the head and hook got caught in the top of the net.  Gilbert was looking the fish right in it’s glassy eyes threatening to jump overboard then suddenly the hook was free in the net and the fish was lying across the opening.. “Quck grab the gils, “ I said.
“I’m not putting my fingers near those teeth, “ said Allen as Gilbert whined and the fished impatient took a massive flick of it’s whale sized tail to Jonah into the reaches of Hay Bay.
“I wanted to eat that fish. “ I said to Allen, “I never knew you were a catch and release sort of Eastern guy.”
“You didn’t pull it up beside me where I could get the net under it. I should have just used the camera to show it wasn’t all that big.”
“Admit it, you’re too weak to lift such a mighty fish."
With all that excitement and all following casts catching weeds we paddled back to the dock.  Ron had again left his tractor and rotor tilling to stand on his now decked dock with Eva waiting for the return of the Canadian couer de bois.  Eva and Gilbert were ecstatic with the reunion and yet another excuse to run wild circles all over the property.  Exhausted I collapsed in Ron’s great leather chair and watched pink finch and blue jays avail themselves of the feeder outside the main window.  I love looking out on the lake between the wedge of forest.  Every once in a while Ron came by on his mini  orange Scots by John Deere tractor to deposit wood by the door.  Allan collected it and stacked it by the fireplace. I enjoyed the warmth while Adell made a roast beef dinner which we all enjoyed later at the dining table.
That night we drove to Kingston a half hour or so away to watch Judge the movie my friend Dr. George Chalmers emailed a recommendations for.  We both love Robert Downey Jr and Duvall. Their performances in this incredible drama of family and small town America should get Downey at least an Oscar.  It was incredible acting that had me in tears at one point. My brother took care of my elderly father at times and the compassion the movie showed of son caring for dying father was very much like the sensitivity that had been shown in On Golden Pond.
Back home Adell handed me pumpkin pie for a snack,.  After that I collapsed in bed with Gilbert the cockapoo climbing up to lie on a pillow beside my head.  This morning it’s raining.  Adell made us all bacon and eggs.
Next Ron called out that we’re all going for a drive in the country side. Adell and he were discussing earlier that they’d not explored their neighbour hood and wanted to see what’s on the other side of the lake.  By the time I caught up with the plans Ron was in the Suburu with Allan, Gilbert and Eva.  Adell was waiting to lock the door behind me as I slipped on my shoes.  There was a drizzling Vancouver rain till we got to a ferry which took us across to higher land.  There we drove up to Lake on a Mountain where the dogs had a jolly time on leash exploring this ancient mysterious lake.  What they call here a mountain though wouldn’t cut muster in BC.  There was a great view of the waterways and I saw where Lake Ontario became the Reach.
Picton was the town and harbour we landed in.  A quaint little place with old stone houses here and there with the red brick two stories. Pretty little tourist site. We drove on from there to Desronto in the Mohawk territory then on to Napanee, the little town I really liked. It’s 20 minutes from their home but we’d gone all around the backside of Hay Bay to get there from the other side.  We stopped for burgers and fries at Shoeless Joe’s Napanee.  Great food and great service.  Ron and Allan were happy with the sports scores on the telly at each booth.
I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had such a fine cheese burger with mushrooms remembering times I’d taken Dad for burgers, something he really enjoyed in his last years.  Of course, Cheeseburger in Paradise by Jimmy Buffet will always be a favourite sailor song of mine. Gilbert and Eva shared a charbroil barbecued burger paddy between them and just wanted more.
After a couple of shopping stops, Cartronicpowersports for Honda 3000eu generator and Marks for socks,  we got back home where the dogs ran the length of the yard and back, glad to be free.  Ron’s been playing Four Strong Winds on the guitar with Adell singing.  I’ve just finished an after burger nap in the guest room.  It’s so relaxing in the country.  I love this house and  family. The dogs are simply the best little characters happy as can be with each other and their surroundings.
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