Horses & a Dragonfly

Tuesday 9:30 am

We just came out of a long weekend.

You’re asking me ‘how’s life in the forest!!’

It’s a complicated question. Such contrast, to what first comes to mind, when one mentions/hears those words ‘life in the forest’!

Let’s dive right in.

Life in the forest these days, for yours truly, seems to be an unstoppable ebb and flow, of joy, bewilderment, more shocking news, encouraging business related news pertaining to my job as a coffee roaster, immediately followed by, not so encouraging news about people I know who are struggling.

I woke this morning, made coffee, went outside. Sat in my chair facing the trees. And tried with all my might, to feel some…stillness.

Backtrack to this past Saturday:

She is 22. A waitress at our local pub in town.

She approached our table. Her mask hid any attempt that she may have had, in order to produce..a counterfeit…smile.

Did she feel thankful for the mask in that instance?!

Her usually amiable eyes, whispered something..foreign..to what I’m used to hear them vocalize!

They looked, muddled, wistful…and sad!

After asking for our orders, I asked her how has life been?!

Her answer was shockingly discouraging “not that great lately”. And now!? I suspected, there was in fact, a forced ‘perhaps apologetic’ smile, underneath her dark mask. But I’ll never know for sure!

The mask. The thief of all kinds of smiles. It doesn’t care about their sincerity! It doesn’t care about their warmth, or their beauty! It just masks them all, hides them all, after..it steals them all.

Back to our young waitress.

Something compelled me at that very moment, to utter “would like to sit down and talk about it?! I’m free on Monday”

She immediately accepted. Then departed with our orders’ list.

Fast forward to yesterday afternoon.

I arrived early. I found us a seat underneath a red umbrella. At a local eatery in our little hamlet.

I ordered a glass of Chardonnay. And immediately chastised my choice, and discreetly mumbled a curse word as the waitress left. I hate wine.

Maybe the Chardonnay won’t be as resentful towards me this time! Maybe it’ll have mercy and not cause me a headache! I contemplated as I sat there nursing my glass of wine, and waiting for her.

She arrived wearing her usual happy smile this time! She was also wearing a black tank and bluejeans shorts. Her right shoulder and arm, covered with colourful tattoos of horses and dogs.

She sat infront me. Then ordered, an iced tea.

If you knew me, you’d know how lousy I can be at making small talks. I am completely abysmal at it! I can not consent, to its inauthenticity. Unless you get drunk with me! Wink. Then it’s all fair game. Other than that?! I can’t. Even ask my doctor! He always complains I just sit there quietly, and he has to drag even medical answers out of me.

So there we were, sitting facing each other, underneath a red umbrella. I think it took me less than a minute to ask “so, what’s going on?”

She was very open. She expressed her frustration at those treating her with disregard. Family issues. The plague causing patrons to act insensitively and discourteously more often than usual, lately.

She looked, defeated.

And when I asked her “what would you rather be doing instead!!” Her answer was:

“I’d like to work and be, with…horses”

The moment she uttered those words! Her genuine innocent and child like smile, returned. Her eyes lit up. He posture is no longer attempting to look smaller, and a dragonfly flew in between us, glanced at her, and said this:

“Child! Go! Go be with horses. Work it out! This job you’re doing, is ravaging your innocent soul! It’s feeding on your youth, and ingesting your joy!

Child, leave it all behind! Listen to your inner voice. Follow the horses. They will guide you to safety. Where your smile will bloom, and your spirit becomes awaken! And with the guidance of the horses, you’ll find where you belong!”

I hope she heard the message.

Coco is my person

I have so many stories! But my stories are struggling, as they continue their entrapment in my brain!

I go through a lot of mini adventures, throughout my days.

There’s so much to write about! And I end up…writing….nothing!

Ideas come and go. I let them.

I’m in no rush to write these days! In fact, I don’t believe I’ve ever been!

I write when I feel like it. That pretty much sums up the process.

My fascination with freedom, in any shape and form, dictates even my writing.

I cannot stand restraints, regiments and rules, especially when they make no sense to me. I just rebel! And my writing?! Is just another manifestation of my rebellion

I went on a hike with Coco this morning!

Coco never leaves my side. She follows her nose to check things out! She’s a teenager; yet she looks at me as her ‘guardian’? Is that what I am to her?!

How can I explain, Coco can run and disappear, but never seems to leave me?! I’m ‘her person’. What is better than that title? Nothing.

We went through thick bushes today. I have scratches all over my body to prove them. And I absolutely love, her and I’s little adventures.

My time with Coco, is when I’m most real…when I’m most..myself. No verbal communication. Just little whistles and a lot..I mean a lot..of communication through just energy.

Why can’t I…just have 30 dogs…and forget all the humans?! They’re getting more exhausting everyday

Go Outside

Good morning.

Today, smile at the sun before you hide from it.

Today, feel the breeze in a shady spot, and savour the feeling.

Today, examine the anatomy of..a flower, or a butterfly.

Today, listen to a tree…humming about a beautiful moment in life…where nothing is rushed.

Find a spot by a river or a beach, and have a quiet conversation with the moving water.

This summer, is probably the most precious one we’ll have. Let’s make memories for the fall and winter

Today, go outside.

Typography

She was tiny in stature, but a fireball in personality!

Shelley Warsh, has been on my mind..a lot..lately….!!!

I can picture her hip cropped bangs. How quickly she moved among us checking our work..smiling..and? At times..frowning (her usual designer frown)

Shelly, was one of my professors in Graphic Design! I took Typography courses with her, over 6 consecutive semesters.

Shelley, was loved and respected yes! But was a scary professor if you did not pull your weight in her classes! And, if you ‘ever’ acted uninterested in Typography!? You were guaranteed being ruthlessly subjected to…’the look’! Over ..and over..until you either did better, or..quit

That look? Made you want to just disappear and evaporate like a poor tiny little ice-cube, standing there shivering..underneath a stream of boiling water! You couldn’t escape it.

Shelley passed away a few years back. And I miss her these days.

To receive an A+ from Shelley on my thesis when I graduated?! Was an indescribable feeling!

I can picture her, on the big day too! The day of our graduate students exhibition!

How she’d take (big shots) in TO’s design agency community, literally by their hand, and walk them towards my exhibition to show them my work! I was eventually hired by a design firm, thanks to her!

I did not, even dream, of her giving me an A-!

She was tough! But I loved her.

RIP professor Shelley Warsh. I will carry that ‘obsessive’ love for Typography, in your honour, for the rest of my life.

Get on with It

It’s 8:30 am on a Monday morning in July 2020

I am readying myself, to attempt designing Joy’s Bookstore poster.

My heart, hasn’t been in it and I contemplated declining taking it on.

Thankfully, my hesitation did not last.

Hesitation, is one of those things that I don’t well with! I am hard on myself if/when I hesitate. I am also even harder on others, if I detect their hesitation!

To me, make a decision. Get on with life.

Lately however, and for the sake of self awareness and hypocrisy avoidance; I have noticed, my own hesitation with regards to reopening a storefront business of some sort.

Thankfully, I still remain, generally unhesitant, about the smaller stuff. This does not get me off the hook.

I will need to one day find out, why hesitation is such an issue for me.

On an important decision one rarely has 100% of the information needed for a good decision no matter how much one spends or how long one waits. And, if one waits too long, he has a different problem and has to start all over. This is the terrible dilemma of the hesitant decision maker.

Robert K. Greenleaf

Joy

I have guests arriving soon. Well..not really guests..but rather customers/neighbours getting some freshly roasted coffee! However, I do want to utilize my current ‘enthusiasm’, over writing about Joy.

———-

Last year, I drove around an hour, to go meet Joy at her bookstore!

On that day, the Rockies, looked majestic! Close…very close…as I drove and drove on that two way highway heading to the mountains, where the bookstore is nestled!

When I entered, the place was bustling with visitors, and books. Books, and books..and more books everywhere! I guess that’s what one finds in..a bookstore?!

I introduced myself to the manager behind the counter, who informed Joy that I was there.

As I walked around, admiring…everything my eyes landed upon! I couldn’t help, but notice, the immaculate care, that must have been taken, while doing the design of the shelves and their historical decorative touches.

Joy arrived.

A blonde shorter woman, beaming as she’s walking towards me!

Her wide smile is warm and very inviting.

She introduced herself! Then immediately said ‘well…c’mon! Let me show you around’

We walked from one room to another.

Joy, would sometimes, point at a set of 4 or 5 old wooden stairs, brought there from somewhere, and now are being used, to enhance the nostalgic feel to the store!

She’d explain, where she acquired them from! A lot were brought in all the way from historical homes and churches even, in England. Did I mention Joy is English?!

Then, she will suddenly remember, we had passed another antique piece that she had missed showing me! And we would go back, and again, she will enthusiastically yet with poise and grace, explain the history behind the piece and how old that piece was!

There was no doubt, Joy…loved history! And it meant a great deal to her! Hence collecting all those bigger pieces, and transporting them all the way to her bookstore!

Joy, had a lighthearted laugh! Her eyes, when she’d start laughing, would shimmer with excitement laced with a touch of..mischievousness! Her eyes, did a lot of smiling on their own or so it seemed! And you couldn’t miss that part!

She would at times, get very animated! And in her English accent and all while laughing, she’ll bend her torso down in a theatrical and very comical way, in protest and astonishment about something that had happened!

She was incredibly entertaining!

She did listen when she would ask me a question! But her smiling eyes, never ceased to show her infectious wonderful…joy.

Joy & I

Brings tears to my eyes! How much Joy is now deprived of her joy and peace!

She is physician and a wonderful bookstore owner.

This is taken at her incredibly lovely bookstore

Please ask me what she’s like!

Poster

A bookstore in a touristy town, has asked for my graphic design expertise to design a ‘wear a mask/buy a mask’ poster to place right at the entrance to the store.

The irony is, the owner is a friend and a..physician!

She is absolutely terrified of visitors not watching their social distancing, and not wearing a mask.

She was asking for creative ideas, of what to do with the café part of the bookstore!

I explained, how she needs to reopen that part. I explained how I see small business being the backbone of our economy! And how hardly it’s been hit! How it’s imperative to ‘keep going’!

I offered help to reopen the café part! I expressed how I feel I have the energy and the courage, to get it up and running for her again. /she used to serve my coffee there prior to Coronageddon/.

She..wants me to design a poster first then we will meet and discuss the café.

Should I?!

I asked Coco during our walk last night?! She said ‘well..you kinda agreed already’.

Darn.

Passive Trees & A

Where do I start?!

It’s 7 am..I am having coffee and looking at the forest….sometimes…I wish the trees, will pick up their roots, like ruffled dresses, and start walking towards me.

Sometimes I wish..the trees, get tired of my stares, and just..get closer, sit on a chair across from me, beside me..it doesn’t matter….then stare at the..passive tress _who didn’t dare..or even secretly contemplate…doing what the bold ones did_ and just start..talking to me.

What would the trees say?!!

– – –

I sat outside with a moderately impassioned musician yesterday!

Let’s call him A.

A came over, to purchase one of my art pieces, for his band’s upcoming album!

A, has been expressing how much he appreciates the art, for a while, as I post pictures on social media sometimes!

I’ve been short with A.

If you knew me, you’d know, that if you are a stunningly attractive younger male, I find it hard to take you seriously, until you prove to me I was wrong!

Yes, I get this is a severely shallow statement! I get it makes me sound, judgmental and arrogant! But just grant me some room, if only for the sake of my honesty.

This attitude, is not known to those around me.

These are basically the voices, that some of us have, that don’t get verbalized, as we fear getting judged, or labeled..as this or that. So we quiet them down, all while pretending we are ..friendly and sweet.

I will say however_and this will not cause you to like me more_I am one of those, who cannot pretend to like someone, if I don’t, a lot of times!

My attitude tells the person I am not a huge fan. I am not mean. Just..short. And that is still..not a very good attribute, I get that! But it makes me feel..honest. And I’m ok to trade that honesty, with acting flakey or insincere instead.

I met A, at an a annual Christmas event 3 years ago. I operated the main espresso bar. He played music with his wife.

We continued to meet every year at Christmas after. I was busy behind the bar, keeping up with cappuccino lineups. A was leisurely strumming the guitar facing the coffee area.

Their music isn’t bad at all! It’s sweet and relaxed and wonderful!

We talked during my breaks and their intermissions.

I was generous with injecting them with the needed caffeine to keep them going. They appreciated that.

Then came their request to purchase some of my art that they’ve been apparently following on social media.

Fast forward to the past couple of weeks, and now they are serious about coming over to choose a piece or two!

My correspondences with A, about using my art, has been…straightforward! To the point, and like I mentioned earlier, being short at times.

– Hi Kat, would Thursday work ..etc etc?!

– Sorry Thursday doesn’t work. I have Friday at 6 pm

– Ok how about 4 pm?!

– Fine. See you then

Stuff like that. You get the idea.

Needless to say, I was not that thrilled A was driving here to pick up the art.

Why?! I guess..it just felt awkward! No reason. Just awkward!

Yes, I’m fully aware of certain types of tension, that take place in these circumstances! So let me assure you, this is absolutely not the case! I even find the idea repulsive, insulting and plain nauseating!

So now that we have cleared out that thought, I shall continue.

A, to my surprise, picked the weakest piece out of a randomly laid out stack on the table.

I looked through the window while he was examining the pieces, so he doesn’t feel pressured! At least it drives me crazy when others don’t give me enough space, if I am examining something to purchase, at any setting!

I wish he picked a better one! I even contemplated not charging. But decided to stick to my business principles.

He was smiling and looking through the patio door. And then asked if he could go outside to “check it out!” I reservedly said sure.

I sat outside, with my glass of water, after acting motherly and offering A some sourdough, considering I am constantly baking sourdough these days, and the aroma could not be ignored. A seemed eager to try it.

A is walking around the patio now…again looking around and smiling. The house does that to people when they first come here. The house is architeictecturly unique, so I can see why they can’t stop smiling. I remember my own non disappearing smile, when I first entered this house!

A decided to have a seat. I did not offer one.

It was ok.

I was quietly sitting down with my glass of water. I offered him a Perrier so he doesn’t choke on the sourdough and butter.

The conversation to my surprise?! Was wonderful!!! I learnt so much abt:

1- Autism and all the misconceptions and all…the corruption apparently associated with autism, in our public school system!

2- How A’s mother, is writing a book about this extremely important subject!

3- How this person in the audience the other day, decided to shut down an entire concert, that had the potential of supporting 50 or so musicians, including A, when they decided to protest against the actual singing taking place!

4- How in actuality, there were more than enough distance, between the bands, and the audience. Yet one person decided to complain, causing it all to get canceled.

I will try to touch upon the Autism part of my conversation with A, in the next post.

All I can say, I am glad I was pleasantly surprised at how the conversation was quite informative and interesting!

I realize now, how I tend to discriminate, against (anyone) who is younger than I.

How, my own growing up, around folks who are much older, makes me feel..comfortable…… around those older than I, and acting untrustingly, around those who are younger.

How wrong and shallow of me, to not try to work harder on this issue.