Lighten Up Eh!

Life goes on. Spring growth in the ditch.

At the best of times, there is inevitably minor power-hungry bureaucrats trying to save us from ourselves and so empower themselves. Our current virus has apparently given some of them a sense of license to post dire signs and try to impose closures wherever possible. We are not a species with high primal instincts of self-preservation anymore but really, I do not need to be incessantly reminded to go home, hide in a closet, put my head between my knees and kiss me arse farewell. I get it! OK?

OK? So who has been saved from what by having a small gravel parking lot blocked? The signs have dire warnings about Covid 19.
THAT’s better! You can see the blocked parking lot 100 metres away.
Nope! Nothing’s allowed. Go home.
Oh SHIT!
GERM. A sign of the times. I don’t mind this one at all.

Those who don’t understand by now, never will, so we may as well let the gene pool cleanse itself a bit. I was encouraged to learn that in some places where it comes down to which victim needs a ventilator, a smoker will lose against the non-smoker. Sad, but fair.

Plod. Poor old Jack is slowing down. He used to run ahead and wait for me. There is still a sparkle in his eye and the stubby tail is quick to blur in a happy greeting. The crows were engrossed in a lively mating ritual.

Sorry but I’m getting a little fed up. Folks, sick and dying is sick and dying, wherever you are. Don’t give me any crap after what your local infection percentile is. I just spoke with a nurse from tiny little Tahsis, (Population about 248) a village way up on the remote west coast of Vancouver Island, next stop Japan. They’ve had a confirmed case of Covid 19. If you want to having a pissing contest about who has the worst situation, please, walk on by. We’re all in this together. Dead is dead. Got it? Every community I’ve ever lived in has, by someone’s declaimation, the worst hospital ever. So stop it already. Lighten up eh! Look for some light.

Today is a flawless spring day. The sky is cloudless, the breeze is light and warm. It’s a T-shirt day. (16° C /61°F) The air is filled with pollen. Folks will be sneezing, coughing, farting, blowing their noses and all thinking they have the big C. I swear that soon we’ll have officious little-minded people on the street corners in fluorescent space suits, with 2 meter long grabber sticks, leaping out to install a headbag on anyone so cavalier to venture out.

It’s a jungle out there, but so much nicer with the sun!
Well woof to you too. Welcome to my wading pool.
This way a wet dog came.
“The vandals took the handles and now the pumps won’t work.”  …Bob Dylan

Our premier goes on television to tell the proletariat how to properly wash its hands, to stay indoors but also get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Yep, I’ve broken out into some good old blue collar epithets more than once.

It is Good Friday and struth, usually the weather is cloudy and stormy. My fundamentalist parents used to explain that it was God reminding us of what a terrible day it was when the evil ones executed Christ. That the bad guys were the local religious factions of the time seemed to elude them. “Hurry up, we’re late for church!” But then, which army has not had God on ITS side? I am presently wading though a novel called ‘Stones From The River’ by Ursula Hegi. It is set in Germany during the era leading up to the second world war. I can only read a few pages at a time about the darkness of spiralling self-serving values, terrible behaviour, attitudes and practices of many inspired by Mr. H and the boys. The country had doomed itself before ever marching across any border. My personal cynicism can draw parallels to the mass mindlessness of our present pandemic. The ripple effects of this panic and terror will be far-reaching and with us for a long time. As the Australian man said, “Brace yourself Sheila!”

“Now what have I pushed?” Banana fingers and mobile phones are a poor mix. The inadvertent selfie. Scary!  “More lines in his face than a street map of London.”
The poet’s desk.
New boots broken in, it’s time to say goodbye to the old ones. After three years of bilges, mechanics shops, welding, hundreds of miles of walking, one boot finally fell off my foot. I usually get about six months from a pair of working boots. Blundstones are more than just a fashion statement.

Our governments are trying to bolster our spirits by throwing money at us. Funds they don’t have and we will pay, and pay. There will be little happiness for a long time. Historically, countries pull themselves out of a crisis by starting yet another war. Pay attention! That’s all I’ll say now that I’ve depressed everyone even lower. While we ponder the extent of our weakness it is also a time to consider our strengths and develop those to a higher level. Kindness has no substitute and even a little has far-reaching implications. Common sense is clearly not common, so it is time to take a breath and think things through before letting someone else’s knee-jerk stupidity dictate the direction of your life. Smile. It’s Easter. Eat chocolate. It’s bad for you!

Bump! A stable air mass. Two intersecting contrails dissipate very slowly in the high spring sky.
The crack pansy. Does that sound rude?
Natural light, natural beauty. Trilliums are especially beautiful because they are so soon gone.

I understand how I may come across as crass and insensitive. In actual fact, I am an emotional flower and I am saddened when people demean their own god-given potential by refusing to think and feel for themselves. This blog finds me in mourning. Covid-19 took one of my few heroes and human inspirations this week. John Prine, gone. Oddly, a lot of folks don’t know who this incredible singer songwriter is/ was. His music will live on and on. He was of more value to me than any politician. Here’s a link to one of my favourite Prine songs:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIWotODqidE

And here is a poem I wrote the day after his passing this week.

Rough Draft

Bad news travels fast they say

But I didn’t hear Prine was gone

until only yesterday.

I won’t begin to list his works

some may perhaps have saved my life

Certainly they helped me get along

just a postman, but he sure as hell

could write and sing a song.

It ain’t right

that a humble man with

a quiet sparkle in his eye

and a raging fire in his soul

who wrote blue collar eloquence

about the beauty and the tragedy

of the common man

should find himself such a terrible way to die.

You’d expect there would have been a flaming wreck

some stark drama to mark this sad, sad day

but goddamn it, he’s gone

and it never even made the evening news.

Just another victim of a plague

randomly snatching us one by one

that gravel twang silenced forever

his pen lies still

beside a worn guitar

and a book of blank pages

yet to be filled

all those unwritten tunes

he is gone far, far too soon.

I wander the Covid streets

of my deathly quiet little town

there’s no-one around.

Even the accosting God-botherers

handing out road maps to heaven

have abandoned their strategic corner

and stayed home to pray in their closets.

Passing down the broken hill

in the cold early morning light

there is an old hotel with a pub

often filled with blues and country song

a reek of cigarettes and spilled beer

clinging by the battered door

the sort of joint John played

for so very long.

He was one of those guys

with whom you thought

you’d like to share a beer,

or ten,

sipping pints of rough draft

thinking up something witty

that would have made him laugh.

I don’t much believe in heaven

but if there is

I hope there’s a tavern up there

with a crowded little stage

John steps up and joins their ranks

Rogers, Petty, Cash, Nilsson, Haggard, Williams, Snow,

and all the others standing there.

They make room for John Prine and he begins to sing

He Was In Heaven Before He Knew He Died.”

I did not know the man

but still I’ve cried.

Stupid is as stupid does.” …Forest Gump

Author: Fred Bailey

Fred is a slightly-past middle age sailor /, writer / photographer with plenty of eclectic hands-on skills and experiences. Some would describe him as the old hippy who doesn't know the war is over. He is certainly reluctant to grow up and readily admits to being the eternal dreamer. He has written several books including two novels, 'The Keeper' and 'Storm Ecstasy,' as well as 'The Water Rushing By', 'Sins Of The Fathers', 'The Magic Stick', as well as an extensive inventory of poetry, essays, short stories, anecdotes and photographs. His first passion is the ocean, sailboats, voyaging and all those people who are similarly drawn to the sea. He lived aboard and extensively cruised the BC Coast on 'Seafire' the boat he refitted to go voyaging, to explore new horizons both inner and outer. This blog was about that journey and the preparations for it. Circumstances prevailed which forced the sale of his beloved vessel. Now on a different tack, the voyage continues. If you follow this blog your interest may provide some of the energy that helps fuel the journey. Namaste Contact me at svpaxboat@gmail.com

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