Originally published as a column on CFJC Today Kamloops and Armchair Mayor News on Monday April 21, 2019.
We had to add a few seats around the table for dinner last night. The kitchen was a bustling place, as it is when we have family and friends over. There were stories and laughter and dinner became tea time which went on for a while longer.
I am one of those people who believes that having people
gathered together for a meal is a magical thing. Even with the simplest, rushed
meal at times, because life is like that sometimes, the four of us sit down and
share that time and the food.
To the outside world, Elana Fric and Mohammed Shamji were a
couple in love, married for over a decade, children and all, each with a great
career. But the truth of their relationship was marred by darkness, the kind
that makes people shudder when they look closely. Unfortunately, few could,
given that their carefully curated (by Shamji) social media profiles displaying
a happy-go-lucky family and couple life.
Originally published as a column on CFJC Today Kamloops and Armchair Mayor News on April 8, 2019.
A year ago, a horrible bus crash claimed sixteen lives and left thirteen others with lifelong injuries and trauma; their loved ones and so many people across the country still carry the heartbreak with them. Humboldt Bronco defenceman Logan Boulet was among those who died. His life ended too soon but he left with giving the gift of life as his parents honoured his wish to be an organ donor. The lives of six people changed forever for the better and so did the lives of those who love them.
Did you know that March 21st is the International Day of Forests? It was established back in 2012 by the United Nations General Assembly. Not many people know that because it is not highly publicized; social media is filled with reminders of international days of, cupcakes included, to the point of rendering us nauseated. Forests of all things should not be left aside. We exist because they exist. Coincidentally, March 21st is the first day of spring, so let’s hope the reminder sticks.
You probably had this experience at least once: bringing up a topic that has the potential to either jumpstart a debate or turn everyone silent and eager to move on to the next thing without as much as a word to acknowledge yours. This happens more when the said topic pertains to one of the societal taboos, the most recent of which is, without a doubt, social media.
Since the beginning of time, humans have had a hard time and displayed adequate resistance when it came to objectively assess their idols, or, God forbid, downright ousting them. The golden calf of those early days has seen a lot of shapes throughout the years, the latest to date being social media platforms. Particularly Facebook, which billions of people have a special attachment to.
There is at least one reason why over 700 people packed the Grand Hall of the Campus Activity Centre at TRU last Friday for the screening of Dr. Ian Mauro’s newest documentary, Beyond Climate. To renew their hope supplies.
The documentary delivered both: reasons to be alarmed and hope that there is time to act. Beyond Climate was thought as a bird’s eye view of how climate change affects our province.
One could ask, in all fairness, if we need any more proof that climate change is affecting our world, and if we need to see yet another documentary about it. The short answer is yes.
It’s 7.02 and my alarm did not go off. How do I know this? Because of the coldish wet nose that is gently pushing down on the mattress near my own nose. Perhaps a molecule or two are exchanged in the process, that’s how fine her touch is. She knows that my weekdays start at 7am. On weekends we sleep in; she knows that too.
Make that magical feature number 1.
She seeks my gaze when I start dressing or even just reaching for a pair of socks. She looks into my soul and my soul warms up. ‘Can I come along?’ She almost always does. If the adventure is but grocery shopping, it’s togetherness she’s after. So am I. We listen to Nina Simone and Stan Rogers in the car and our eyes meet in the rear-view mirror every now and then. To never feel lonely; infinitive.
Magical feature number 2.
The other day we got ambushed by a coyote on the trails. Twice. The first time she barked her big dog bark, charged the coyote only so far, and then came to stand by me as we both scanned the hills. The second time around she chased it further but came back unharmed. She looked at me: we’re going home now. I listen every time. I learned that in the woods where it’s just the two of us (and the plethora of wild creatures stalking us!) and her nose and instincts always prevail. I am safe because of her; I never question her instinct.
That’s magical feature number 3. (Number 3 applies to people too. She sniffs out the strange ones and blocks their access to me. Go figure. I shrug and say hello but from a distance. As per my dog’s suggestion.)
She sleeps by my side of the bed and when I can’t fall asleep, I let my hand rest on her. Research says… everything calms down and I feel my thoughts tuck each other into imaginary beds… All’s peaceful again. Closeness. Gratefulness.
That’s magical feature number 4.
I signal our hiking trajectory wordlessly; I wave my hand and she gets it. I teach her the words for the things we meet on our hikes: snake, stick, cone, person, bird, puppy, plane (nope, we don’t fly but planes do and she looks up wondering what they are. Planes. So there.) I ask her if she is hungry on the way home and she licks her snout looking up at me. She knows people’s names. Her dog friends’ too. While I solemnly promise to never refer to her as ‘fur baby’, she knows me as Mama. Because the boys call me that. To be fair, we are raising each other, her and I. But yes, on paper I am the dog owner and the dog’s name is Poppy.
Today is her birthday. She turns 3! A pallid midday sun catches us playing soccer with a cone on a frozen beach. I kick the cone we found buried in sand, she runs to catch it and creates a mini sandstorm. Repeat. Repeat. Until. What? Already time to go? OK, once more.
We stop by the side of the frozen river. It’s quiet but for the hum of the city in the distance. I crouch down and she nestles into me. I kiss the side of her head and she closes her eyes gently. She sighs. I sigh. I’d change nothing; not her relentless bicycle chasing or occasional stubbornness. The car will be full of sand again. So what. Repeat. Forever.
Happy birthday, Poppy girl. May our snuggles and adventures never end.