A Perfect Ten – 2015

Continuing my countdown to my blog’s 10th Anniversary on 27th September this year, I’m revisiting what I posted on or around that date each year.

On September 25th, 2015, I’d planned to do a bit of a postscript of the previous nine posts, which isn’t what happened, but I decided that those nine posts were worthy of their own place on my ‘Perfect Ten’ list.

2015 was many things but one thing stands head and shoulders above all else, our Road Trip.

Have you ever chosen to do something so monumentally beyond anything you’ve ever experienced before that the Universe looks out for you until you get a handle on what you’re doing?

I’ve had these things thrust on me by Life, and the actions of others, but only thrice have I dared to leap off such giant Cliffs of the Unknowable, by choice.

Cliff 1 – buying a motorcycle when I’d never, ever, been on one before. (I didn’t even have my drivers license) The only thing with two wheels I’d ever ridden on before then were bicycles. (and believe me the experience is very different!)  I had a very elegant road bicycle that got me everywhere I needed to go, but not everywhere I wanted to go.

I rode my motorcycle (everywhere) for two years – until a truck on the wrong side of the road took us out … destroyed my bike, put me in hospital for five weeks and one day, (but who’s counting) and left me with one-and-a-half knees for evermore. Had I been in a car I would’ve been killed.

I loved that bike. Like my bicycle before it (which I sent off to a good home) I gained the freedom, the space, to leave the damaged parts of my life behind, and focus on putting the remaining bits back together again – a lifelong project, I might add.

Cliff 2 – Moving from Australia to Canada via an interminably long aeroplane journey. Most of you know the story, but here it is again, briefly. Mrs Widds and I met online and as I had no ties to bind me to Australia off I flew … having only twice ever been in little ‘puddle-jumper’ planes before.

I had no idea what a trans-oceanic sixteen-hour flight, from one side of the world to the other, from one hemisphere to the other, would be like. Needless to say I survived.

Cliff 3 – Mrs Widds and I driving ten thousand kilometers across Canada, and back, towing an 8 meter (25′) travel trailer that we’d only picked up four days previously, having never towed anything before, ever, either of us.

I was the designated planner and map-reader (Mrs Widds was working in Vancouver at the time and commuting from Widder Island – an hour-plus-change in each direction) and I discovered all sorts of fun things for us to do on the way … an amethyst mine, Dinosaur Provincial Park, hyper-tourist-y jaunts in Niagara Falls … but neither of us got the hang of the intricacies of reversing our honking great (as it seemed at the time) RV into camping spaces with millimeters to spare (there was lots of room, really) until we were well on our way home.

Each of these ‘cliffs’ moved my life forward in ways that were wondrous and terrible, challenging (understatement of the millennia!) and satisfying … but, all things considered, I’d rather any cliffs that come my way in the future, be a smidge less … hmm … high.

-oOo-

And now, for all you Swingin’ hepcats out there, here’s Muggsy Spanier’s Ragtime Band, getting smooth in the AM with, ‘Relaxin’ at the Touro’ …

A Perfect Ten – 2016

Continuing my countdown to my blog’s 10th Anniversary on 27th September this year, I’m revisiting what I posted on or around that date each year.

In 2016 I actually posted on the 27th of September. It was the third installment in my series about our adventures at Otter Lake.

Otter Lake was the second, and unfortunately the last (so far) of our ‘big’ adventures in our travel trailer. (the first was our epic cross-country, 10,000-kilometers-in-31-days peregrination from here to Niagara Falls and back the previous year – the archive reads chronologically from the bottom of the page to top)

There’s many sad things in this world but perhaps one of the saddest is seeing great swathes of Mother Nature decimated by the meddling of humans. In this instance I’m referring to the pine-beetle infestation that is as a result of the original forests being plundered for timber and never replanted properly. The rich bio-diversity that exists in a natural forest was replaced with a cash-crop of endless rows of pine trees.

Well, add to that diversity-desert an increase in global temperatures and the pine beetle became the apex predator in no time at all. (it’s taken decades for the penny to finally drop for them’s wot’s in charge of the forests, on both sides of the 49th parallel, to contemplate changing their business practices, but the damage has been done)

Wildfires love all that dead and dying wood, and when the wildfires are done the bare earth is washed away and mountainsides collapse.

Well done, humans.

(As we drove to Otter Lake along the Crowsnest Highway we saw attempts to mitigate this carnage by the establishment of ‘protected’ areas of bio-diverse treel-ings. (tree-lets?) If they survived predation and successive wildfires those trees should be mature enough by now (4 years later) to have grown fruitful and multiplied. I hope so)

Underneath our adventures at Otter Lake rested this sadness of the trees, which reflected in my writing at that time … which brings us full circle to today, doesn’t it?

So great are the changes to the human environment we’re living through right now, the one thing that has driven men of power since the times of Gilgamesh, the acquisition of ‘more’, (whatever their definition of ‘more’ may be) is being irrevocably, and painfully, extinguished.

The corona virus surrounds us all, whether we like it or not. The knowledge that the underpinnings of almost every society are being exposed for the anathema they are, sits with us all, whether we acknowledge it or not, whether we’re even aware of it or not, and it is what drives us now … it drives some of us to be and do better, for our Selves and others, and it drives some of us to resort to violence when asked to wear a mask.

These posts are about looking into a snapshot of my past to see if they connect to my present and have any influence on going forward.

By the time I wrote the story about Kerpy, I’d found a place of peace within the sadness of the trees, there was certainly nothing I could do about it other than to witness their lives.

My task in the present is to find a place of peace within the sadness, (and madness) of humanity, because there’s certainly nothing I can do for them other than to bear witness. Like so many of us, I’m not in a position of power to change the path humanity seems so bound and determined to follow.

What I can do, is appreciate humanity’s bio-diversity, live within my beliefs, do something really hard once in a while, love a few humans, have compassion for the majority, and hold accountable those dishonourable cowards who have shown their true colours.

The Great Blog Post Archive Emendation

Yep, ’emendation’ is a real word! It means a ‘correction’ or a ‘change’.

As part of my idea of revisiting one post in each of the last 10 years of my blogging career, I also wanted to go through the posts and delete the deletable, and update the updateable … which I now have done.

How did it turn out, I hear you ask?

First the deletions – 165 posts are gone. There’s probably a cached version of them somewhere on the interwebz, but as far as I’m concerned the only copies of (some of) them are on my external hard-drive.

I had a tough time deleting them to start with, it’s like they were my babies and I was abandoning them, but the only ones that truly ceased to exist were things like movie trailers, or links to things that had been removed. I started in 2010, and by the time I got to the end of 2019 I was deleting without a qualm.

Then there was the updatings. I ended up doing some sort of updating to all the remaining 369 posts … mostly renewing links, revising categories, keywords, and endeavouring to make sure there were no links left to the posts I’d deleted. That could be embarrassing. (just like typos though, we can always bank on there being at least one that gets missed)

I came across a few posts that I’ll turn into short stories and … who am I kidding, I couldn’t keep a story ‘short’ if my life depended on it, (maybe if my life did indeed depend on it, maybe) so they’ll probably end up evolving into something bigger than I anticipate, but what sort of wordsmiths would we be if we didn’t occasionally bite off writerly things bigger than we could chew?

I came across some wonderful videos too, like the fabulous peanut diving ferrets … and this one, which for some twisty reason cheers me up no end when the world tries to drag me down …

A Perfect Ten – 2017

Previous years, HERE.

Because the 27th of September falls so near by Birth Day (30th Sept) I’ve noticed a trend of the nearby posts being variations on that theme. Who’da’thunk! … and while those are important to me, I’ve chosen to skip along to the nearest post that isn’t about my Birth Day.

Case in point, this one, on the 1st October 2017, in which we build our garden shed.

Storage has always been a premium here on Widder Island, because as I mentioned in the 2017 post we have a large farmhouse’s worth of equipment stored in a little two-bedroom cottage … and moreso now that we’ve shifted our ‘Wunder-Luster’ gears to focus on finding our ‘forever’ home and then travelling in our trusty travel trailer, rather than the other way around as we initially planned. Thank you Convid-19.

I’ve often thought throughout my three-score years (mostly during the second one-score of ’em anyway) that the fact that I didn’t have, nor need, many possessions to be a mark of independence.

Given my upbringing, it’s not surprising I felt that way. Permanence and security, safety and trust, were illusions that were inherently dangerous to my young self. It was best to carry as little with me as possible … a survival strategy that made for a quick getaway, when and if necessary.

But, that kind of ‘independence’ relied on the stability of a whole lot of social conditions which are no longer secure (if they ever were) Thank you, again, Covid-19

However, in order to live my life the way I yearned to do, (Mrs Widds too, by-the-way. That’s one of the reasons we get on so well together) which was to live sustainably and comfortably, it would require the gathering of certain possessions. Tools and equipment to be precise.

Since we’ve been on Widder Island (8 years, at last tally) we’ve been accumulating what we needed, when things came on sale, or good quality 2nd-hand or thrift-store purchases.

By the time September 2017 came around we just didn’t have enough room for storage and live our lives at the same time.

Hence the shed.

By the end of 2019 we were ready, finally.

2020 was going to be our year … we were going to put almost everything in storage, hitch up our travel trailer and head  off into the wild blue yonder. … and, recording it on our Wunder-Lusters YouTube channel, we would seek out strange and wonderful new places, meet all sorts of strange and wonderful new people, and if we came across our ‘forever home’ that was all the better … well, we all know how that turned out don’t we? … for everyone.

T’was a bitter pill. One that I still joust with on occasions … but then what’s life without a few jousts?

I don’t know when we’ll get there now. I’d like to think we will, but, there’s a giant gap between then and now. It’s funny isn’t it? I thought this series would be a bit of a celebration of my ten years blogging on WordPress.

Going back in time is enabling me to clarify going forward … which isn’t a bad thing at all.

A Perfect Ten – 2018

Continuing my countdown to this blog’s 10th Anniversary on the 27th September by revisiting what I was posting at that time each year. (here’s the post forA Perfect Ten – 2019)

Today we hit 2018.

The nearest post to the date was 30th September – my Birth Day, my 60th in fact! The post itself is a little bit of a celebration, but in it I referenced a post I’d written about five months earlier, wherein I ponder the upcoming event and what, if anything it meant to me.

At sixty-one I still feel much the same about the passing of years, but I want to add a bit more about the Days themselves.

If you’ve announced your birth day on the interwebs (and we’re connected in some way), you might’ve noticed that I respond with’Happy Birth Day’, and not the more traditional ‘Happy Birthday’.

There’s a reason for that.

I’m rather fond of ritual celebrations, the ones that are connected in some way to Mother Earth or the deeper substance of our lives, and the day we’re born is probably the most important one. Although recognised in our diverse cultures, I thought it deserved its own upper-case ‘H’, and ‘B’, and ‘D’. … just like Summer Solstice, (coming up soon here in the Northern Hemisphere) the Queen, (there can be only one) and the Fraser Valley. (where I live)

Language, (particularly the English language) is a very fluid entity, and although there are occasional ‘fluidations’ that gets up our noses, (we all have our pet peeves … or several … or many. Go on, admit it) that fluidity is a good thing. It stops us, and our culture, from stagnating. And while a little stagnation is OK every now and then, if we do it for too long we end up smelling like bog-gas.

I also talked about getting into the final rounds of editing ‘Prelude’, (for those who are new to my blog is the tale of how I gained some rather fascinating wisdoms) which led me into a bit of a blue funk about my writing efforts of late.

“What writing,” I hear you ask. “Exactly,” I respond.

Along with our proposed Wunder-Lusters adventures, I feel like every other project I had in the planning stages was torpedoed by the Plague of the 21st Century, (the first one at least. I have a sneaky suspicion that these kinds of global events are just getting started) including my writing, fiction that is.

I have story ideas, I have outlines, (I’m mostly a pantser, but occasionally, when the mood strikes me, I do a serviceable rendition of a plotter) I have research, I have scenes – with dialogue and everything, I even have some fantastic mock-covers I created with Pulp-O-Mizer, (you’ve never heard of Pulp-O-mizer? Oh, it’s such fun, even if you’re not a writer, you need to go over there right now and have a play, I’ll wait) but what I don’t have is all the words lined up in the right order and formed into (coherent) sentences, paragraphs, pages, and chapters.

It’s a bit depressing really … and frustrating.

I was OK shifting gears away from my writing to focus on getting the Wunder-Lusters up and running, but I can’t seem to find the right combination of gears to get back to it. I keep on grinding the clutch. (which incidentally, is why I love that our truck has an automatic transmission)

Sometimes you just have to keep grinding the clutch until all those bloody little gears line up again.

A Perfect Ten – 2019

Here we go … as I mentioned in my last post, I’m doing a review of all my posts that published on or around the 27th of September going back over the last ten years.

Turns out I wasn’t very prolific last year and the closest to the date was this bit of absolute (video) cyootness, and what was probably the first of a string of ‘Have you ever’s’.

Here is the original … and because the link’s still live, I’m going to repost the video.

Having a bit of a read of other posts around this date, I see that I was focused on getting The Wunder-Lusters underway, and how we would be able to balance traveling in our little trailer and not lose our sense of personal space, that both of us value very highly. Underneath it all was the urgency to respond to the ongoing and ever-growing environmental crisis.

Alas, the vulnerabilities that the measures we’ve undertaken to keep ourselves safe in these first stages of the Covid-19 pandemic made it very clear, very quickly that our grand adventure was no more.

I have friends who are full-time Rv’ers, who’ve had to scramble for places to stay and wait out the shut-downs. Their stress-loads are terrible.

After much discussion, Mrs Widds and I agreed that to travel full-time without a home-base, even if it’s a bit of land that we can park our trailer on, would be the heart of folly now.

The fallout from this pandemic, both personal and global is literally unimaginable. no-one can imagine it, because there is no history to base such imaginings on. (the world was very different one hundred years ago during the last truly global pandemic so although there are similarities to be drawn on, they cannot, in any real sense be compared)

So, for the time being, here we will stay, on our little island in the middle of a lake. When our corner of the world opens up again, when there is a viable antibody test, when vaccines have been tested and not found wanting, then we shall see what we shall see.

A Perfect Ten

The other day my blog-friend, Audrey, posted that she had reached her 10th Anniversary of blogging, which prompted me to check when I started. I knew it was a while ago but imagine my surprise when I dug into my archives for my first post, which turned out to be on the 27th September (3 days before my Birth Day) 2010!

Ten years! Who’d’a’ thunk!

I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a bit of a purge of my old posts that don’t reflect who I’ve evolved into, or have links that don’t work anymore, that sort of thing, and this seemed like an auspicious time to begin.

So, here’s what I’m going to do … from this Sunday-ish (17th May) and thence about every two weeks, until the end of September (2020) I’ll be revisiting one post from every year that falls on or about the 27th September  and have a bit of a poetical wax about what I wrote … and just because I can, I’m going to start with 2019 and work backwards.

At the same time, I’ll be doing the purge-y bit starting in 2010 and working forward. I have no idea how much will disappear, or how I’m going to feel about it all, but it’s going to be an interesting journey.

I have digital copies of everything, of course, tucked away on an external hard drive in a drawer … somewhere … over there … and so as long as the files stay uncorrupted, those ‘deleted’ posts will exist. I might even print some out and keep for posterity … maybe.

If revisiting the Widdershins Worlds archives is something you’ve been dying to do for ages but have never found that perfect moment, here it is!

My usual completely erratic posts will continue as usual.