Saturday, 24 September 2016

The Tides

The Arches, Northern Peninsula Newfoundland

Early last week I received an email with a request and in the email a reference was made to tides. The person wrote that she thought that I would appreciate the imagery of high and low tides.  She also referred to the gradual wearing down that a tide eventually effects.  When I responded to the email I replied that the tide is fabulous imagery, as one never knows what treasures will be revealed in the low tide.  It was a fun banter back and forth between a land locked prairie person and an Atlantic Canadian, who had just returned from a trip east.  It was also interesting as one of the conversations that I had been a part of in Newfoundland was about how the tides were wearing away the cliff near a home and how many feet of land had eroded over a specific number of years.

The banter and imagery set me to thinking about the tide.  It is an imagery that I have played with in my mind these last few weeks. Tides for people living on the sea/ocean shores become a part of life. They often go unnoticed unless they are going to affect whether or not you can do something or it seems to be coming in higher than normal.  Houses near the shore were often built to accommodate the high tides.  The tides eventually erode cliff sides, smoothly finish rocks and glass. The tides take a toll on sea life and people alike.  The tides wear things away and smooth off rough edges. The tides come high and low.  The high washes away remnants on the shoreline and the low reveals the treasures that wash ashore.  The tide holds mystery, balance, power.  It washes away the old and reveals the new.

Life is much like the tide.  It has its highs and lows and each experience shapes us slightly differently, smooths off or gives us rough edges.  Each experience reveals something about us and inevitably alters us in some slight way.  I suppose what we really need to consider is how we will let the tides of life affect us.  Life tides, like ocean tides, come whether or not we are ready for them. Transformation takes place both within and without, we are altered in a deep and meaningful way.  However we do not always appreciate the changes when they are happening to us.  It is only with the benefit of time that we often appreciate the tides of our lives and what has been changed, revealed, washed in or out.

Tides perform gradual transformation, for the most part, and at times we barely notice that the changes have occurred,  I suppose that what we have to ponder is what the tide takes away and what the tide reveals.  There are losses that must be endured and treasures yet to be revealed.

E. J. Pratt

It took the sea a thousand years,
A thousand years to trace
The granite features of this cliff,
In crag and scarp and base.

It took the sea an hour one night,
An hour of storm to place
The sculpture of these granite seams
Upon a woman’s face.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

A little cuppa...

Those who know me well know that I quite enjoy a lovely cup of coffee.  As the years have progressed I have become quite discerning about what is in my cup and have occasionally been described by my DH, lovingly I am sure, as a "coffee snob."  Like most people I began drinking the regular varieties on offer at coffee shops and knew which ones were the preferred choice, perking at home would be the ground variety and then later beans to grind and then learning to roast my own beans and which varieties that I liked best.  The bean and the roast is an important process but no process is as important as the end result of what is in the cup.  The cup is mostly unimportant, what I enjoy most is having someone with which to share the coffee time.  Friends can also tell you that I will always make time in my week to meet up for a coffee, no matter how busy the week looks! I have discovered through the years that the bean, the roast, the brew is all important but nothing is quite so important as sharing the coffee with a friend.  

When we first moved to Manitoba from Newfoundland it was a difficult transition.  I had left behind everything familiar but what I missed the most were the friends and the cups of coffee we shared. Without those friends nearby for a face to face coffee, for a very long time, I would sit and write emails to the support network I had left.  My morning would begin with "morning coffee" by email chat.  It was a lovely practice but not one that could sustain a person indefinitely.  Gradually coffee friends were made here and new coffee houses were discovered and a variety of treats.

The cup of coffee holds great symbolism of friendship, warmth, comfort.  It reminds me that sharing of life and its joys and sorrows can be done over a cup of the warm brew and this week I read this story that brought all of this to mind

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.
Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups – porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite – telling them to help themselves to the coffee.
When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: “If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups have been taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.
Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups… And then you began eyeing each other’s cups.
Now consider this: Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of life we live.
Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee. Savour the coffee, not the cups!
The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Author Unknown

 Life, like the warm brew, is to be savoured, shared, enjoyed.  My coffee friends remind me on a regular basis that whether near or far we have much to share and to gift each other.