At This Point In Time

Well, it’s been almost one month, a big four weeks more or less, since I’ve posted anything.

Yes, we were on vacation for the first two of those weeks and unfortunately, I’ve been back at work for the last two weeks.

To be honest here, the thought of creating any type of content(of any description) literally would ramp up my already throbbing anxiety new and really exciting levels of distress.

So, no new posts in a month or so.

And the reality is, I’m not sure of there will be anything of creative writing substance coming from yours truly in the near future.

I really do feel burned out in the blogging realm.

Not so much in the writing world of things, but exceedingly scorched as it relates to the blogging universe.

As I look back, I’ve created over 900 blog posts(and yes, some of them are updates and re-posts), but nevertheless those 900 have in many respects drained the tank.

I will admit that this feeling of burnout isn’t entirely due to simply blogging and writing. Much of it I suspect falls of of where I’m at in my life at this moment.

Which in many ways feels like burnout…….which it probably is.

So, what happens next?

I don’t have an answer for that, other than to say we’ll see what happens as time marches on.

I have decided at this point to point “Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt” on an extended “leave of absence” so to speak.

I really do appreciate and have a heart full of thanks to the many, many of you who participated perhaps just once or often on a weekly basis or somewhere in between in making “Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt” a wonderful exercise in creativity(on your part) for over a year.

I don’t think I’m at the point yet of completely abandoning my blog and blogging altogether.

I am really proud of what I’ve accomplished in the wonderful and often frustrating world of writing and especially in terms of “justabitfurther” as an entity within the blogosphere.

Writing, blogging and creating poetry has forced me to look very deep within myself and often having to come to grips with what is/was hidden within the crevices of my soul.

This isn’t goodbye post or anything close to that(at least I don’t think it is).

What I think it ultimately is or will be……is simply part of the evolution of “justabitfurther” as a blog “organism.”

Life moves on and changes are part of that process we call living. This is part of it.

So, not goodbye….but how about I’ll catch up and talk to you all later.

— as always with love —

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Flower In The Lily Pads

It sort of goes without saying and this is a gross understatement, but life does have a certain ebb and flow associated with it.

Things change and things stay the same. And often the more things change, the more they stay the same.

So, in this vain of “ebbage and flowage” so to speak, it has been an exceedingly long time(easily measured in months, if not years) since I’ve written or posted anything on a Sunday.

For those following along at home, this week starts a shortened pandemic/construction related crew change, where I now have Sunday and Monday off. The bonus is I’m done Saturday’s at 11:30am, which means I can be back home before 12:30pm. It’s like having an extra day off. Well, not really, but you get the idea.

In a post from last week, Lack of Wacky Motivation, I detailed where I was in terms of writing motivation or lack thereof.

So, on this warm and soon to be humid Sunday morning, I can proudly proclaim, I am focusing(as a minimum), to keep pounding away at the keyboard, even if it feels and ultimately is an exercise is self-inflicted agony. Which, it often is.

Moving right along, Lynn took this picture with her phone of a white water lily surrounded by lily pads, when we were on a trip to Algonquin Park last summer.

Now, I’m positive that there would be a few “folks” who would go “bat-shit crazy” simply over pictures of lily pads. I do however suspect, that there would be significant numbers that would be beyond hysterical(which is close to “bit-shit crazy”) for only the flowery water lily(sans lily pads), and a damn fine grouping who would be goofy for both.

The point is, the picture is of a single water lily within a grouping of lily pads.

But, the reality is, the white water lily blossom does make the picture so much more of well……… a picture.

And, from a botany perspective, the water lily blossom is exactly where it is supposed to be. In a pond surrounded by water lily pads. For those not sure, water lilies are not found growing in the middle of the street outside your home.

So, what is the point here?

It certainly can’t be a lecture delving into the life cycle of the (whatever the scientific Latin name is for water lily) – can it?

No – it isn’t.

Even if that one solitary flower in the picture wanted to bloom in the middle of Highway 400 – it couldn’t. It simply wouldn’t thrive at all. In fact, it would die.

My brilliant deduction is this – that solitary water lily flower is blooming and thriving because it is where it’s supposed to bloom. Pretty impressive conclusion I must say.

And that’s what we need to focus on within the context of who we are as weird and often wacky individuals. Figure out where you’re supposed to be; get there and bloom.

If you’re supposed to be an artist – be an artist. Jump into the fray and do it with the greatest passion and vigor imaginable.

If the place you need to be is “writer’s land” – write like you are the one to write the last great love story ever to be told.

The water lily grows and thrives because it is where it is supposed to be.

You need, hell we all need to figure the same out for ourselves.

It makes no sense whatsoever, to stumble through life, slowly dying, by being something you’re not supposed to be.

It might not necessarily be that whole and often quoted “bloom where you are planted” deal. I have an idea about that, but it is better served in a another post.

If you’re destined to be a water lily, we need to be in a pond or lake to bloom and thrive. Not the middle of Highway 400.

— as always with love —

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Lack of Wacky Motivation

For the life of me, Ontario has to be one of the wackiest places to live, certainly within Canada. Perhaps even the wackiest spot of the planet.

Yes, I know you are likely sitting in one of your comfy and “oh my god I could live here forever” living room recliners and be thinking, “you have no concept of wacky – let me tell ya.”

Fair enough. And, if you’re telling me that your area of the universe is more wacky than mine, who am I to dispute that?

Nevertheless, wacky tends to be a rather broad word in terms of its definition. In fact, using the word wacky allows one to head off is just about any direction that “wacky” could possibly go.

So, where is this post going?

Excellent question. Glad you asked.

Part of our wackiness(at least from where I sit) stems from our localized weather that can go from snow one day to temperatures in the high 20 degrees Celsius the next.

And along with that, a provincial government that flip-flops more constantly than a fish out of water who’s trying desperately to flop off the dock and back into the lake.

But, putting all of that aside for the moment, for yours truly, the wackiness flows out of the all too often lack of motivation to produce much in terms of creative endeavours – art(drawing and painting) and writing(blogging).

So, perhaps wacky isn’t the correct word or theme for this post.

But, as I sat down this morning to pound out something the on the keyboard, wacky was fortunately or unfortunately the one word or idea that more or less flashed in front of my eyes.

After our daughter headed off the college(like moved out and moved to the east coast), we downsized from our century home to a much smaller and to what is often termed as a “working man’s cottage.” Smaller as in two bedrooms and 750 square feet. I often tell people that our place is so small, that in order to change your mind you have to go outside to do it.

However, it did come with an actual art studio/writing refuge in the backyard.

Now, although the “studio” has electric heat, I don’t normally come out here early in the morning, this is until the weather gets sufficiently warm. which it has been for the past week or so.

This is where I headed this morning at 6:30am to change the environment up to touch to see if a new creative location might help.

Over the past year or perhaps eight months or so, my motivation to certainly write and blog has taken a significant hit. Even when the motivation is there, finding a topic to blabber on about seems almost impossible.

I’m not entirely sure why.

Part of the reason I think is that I’ve created in the neighbourhood of 475 posts since the beginning of 2020. Granted a large number of them have been reblogs from participants in “Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt” and a few of my own reblogs of previously written pieces.

Nevertheless, it does feel like I drained the “idea well” of things to blog about.

Which isn’t true at all, cause there are a ton of things I would love to delve into blogging wise.

The second thing is I think the pandemic has simply knocked my mental and emotional wellness around at times. Likely, as I suspect it has for many of you as well.

Lynn and I for some reason, just can’t seem to get our bloody act together to schedule a hike or adventure. I understand there have been so many COVID restrictions in Ontario over the past year, that one needs a program and computer spreadsheet to keep track of them.

All of that taken and lumped together has baked itself into this “got no damn motivation” scenario.

So, back to “where is this post going?”

Well, I think the post has taken us to this point and wonderful conclusion.

Certainly, changing up the scenery to get inspired out in the “studio” helped for sure. It must of done something positive, because I wrote this post out here.

Perhaps most importantly, is to remember not to beat oneself up if things aren’t chugging along as they might have been a year and a half or two years ago. Global pandemics are kind of new to all of us and we all have had to navigate through environments and situations that we never had to before.

So, I need to remember to cut myself some slack.

But, in four weeks we’ll be on vacation and that is something to look forward to.

In addition, I’m hoping and praying that we will be able to head to the east coast(at least Nova Scotia) and visit our daughter in the first week of October.

Well, that’s it; that’s all folks; that’s all I got for now.

If you’re in the same boat as me of “diminished blogging and life motivation”, cut yourself some slack. It will all workout in the end.

— as always with love —

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Long Weekend

Here in our part of the country, we have arrived at what is traditionally known as the “May 24 long weekend.”

Specifically, it is the Victoria Day long weekend and has been observed since 1845(that’s a while back and well before my time). And get this, it was officially declared a Canadian federal holiday in 1901 — the year of Queen Victoria’s death.

Here’s a couple of more tidbits – the holiday was originally celebrated on May 24, Queen Victoria’s birthday. But, seeing as no one really wanted a holiday that more often than not could occur in the middle of the week, the Canadian government way back into 1952, decided that Victoria Day should be observed on the Monday before May 25.

Actually, it has to do with the holiday potentially occurring on a Sunday. The whole, “can’t party it up on the sabbath” drill.

Anecdotally, it is called the “May 2-4”(pronounced May two-four) long weekend because beer is generally sold in cases on 24 bottles/cans here. So, with it being the first long weekend on the summer – most revellers buy at least a “two-four” of beer for the weekend. Or whiskey or vodka coolers or wine or any alcohol for that matter.

Often, this long weekend can at times get out of hand in terms of the partying and yes – excessive alcohol consumption. In fact, most provincial parks in southern Ontario(which means most provincial parks in the province) have a alcohol ban this weekend and often into early June. It is also the traditional weekend that cottagers head to their cottage and get it opened for the summer. Again, often with excessive partying as part of the “opening routine.”

Nevertheless, today is the start of the long weekend in Ontario and across most of Canada. Last year at this time, we were pretty much locked down tighter than Lynn trying to slip a size small tee-shirt over my extra-large frame.

This year, it is pretty much the same, expect golf courses and other outdoor recreational activities are opening tomorrow(Saturday) morning.

The province unveiled its 3-phase reopening plan yesterday, and frankly it has given most of us hope that things will get back to “normal”(or whatever normal will look like) sooner than later.

Our vaccination rates are chugging along very well, with near 60 percent of adults in the province having received a first dose. We may hit that magical 60 percent mark this weekend. Many family health clinics and city run vaccination sites have been doing 24 hour “Jabapalooza’s” to get as many needles into arms as possible.

The first phase of reopening starts when of 60 percent adults are vaccinated, along with some other key indicators that need to be in good shape as well. Phase One is expected to get going on June 14 or perhaps just before that date if things keep going as they are.

So, it is the May long weekend and yes – I do have to work Saturday and Sunday(both are really short shifts), but I have the Monday off.

Oh, I should mention fireworks are a BIG thing on long weekends here in Canada.

There is nothing more Canadian, than getting pissed out of your skull and setting off explosive fireworks to impress both you and the gal you brought to the cottage. There will be at least one hospital admission in cottage country this weekend from some drunken sod who set a “roman candle” off into his/her crotch.

Have fun!!

— as always with love —

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – A Strange Week or Two

The past two weeks or so have been strange to say the least. I’m using the word “strange” when perhaps the word “scary” and the hyphenated phrase “shit-show” might be better.

We had an declared(by local Health Unit) COVID outbreak at my work.

The positive tests came fast and furious. And like many places, the lack of information coming from all fronts, combined with mounds is dis-information created an historic toxic environment.

At least it did in my opinion.

And as expected both the Ministry of Labour and our local health unit had major roles in the whole deal. And the deal is still ongoing, as it was explained in a number of lengthy FB threads(last night) and a union email.

Of course, with that came the “blame game.”

And from where I sit, there would appear to be plenty of blame to go around.

I can unequivocally say, that I and workplace drama, whether it be real or contrived, DO NOT and let me repeat DO NOT get along well.

I hate anytime there is a “whole drama shit-show.

These cheap two-act plays are often unnecessary and always destructive in many ways.

But, we haven’t had any new positive cases in the last two days that I’m aware of. So that is a good thing.

So, over the past two weeks I have done what is generally referred to a “low flight path to keep under the radar.” In other words, I made myself just about disappear. I might be six feet away from you, but you wouldn’t even know I’m there. That’s how low I flew.

Don’t get sucked into “any conversations”, which really means, “don’t get lured into the rumour mill.” Don’t make eye contact…..just fly low. And above all, don’t let anyone get closer than six feet to you; preferably ten feet away.

And – never take your damn PPE off at work. NEVER.

Why?

I was scheduled to be vaccinated on Friday, April 23.

The vaccination appointment was the one thing that kept me reasonably sane through the last few weeks. And there was “no way in hell” I was going to risk that appointment due to a fuck-up at work.

There has been so much that we’ve all lost during the pandemic and much we have absolutely no control over.

Getting vaccinated was the one thing in this last year, that gave me a sense of control.

I got to chose yes or no to vaccination. And no one could take that away.

So, at 2:38pm yesterday(Friday, April 23) a lovely and very kind Doctor at a vaccination centre in the city where I where, stuck the needle in and completed, yet another step in ending the shit-show called COVID_19.

I was so happy and thrilled about it, I cried.

I can say, I’m now a proud “Moderna-gang” member. We’re a tough bunch, so don’t piss me off. lol

Unfortunately, many in my extended family, think I’m a bit of a guinea-pig in some ongoing world-wide experiment. People can think what they want. But, I’m beyond happy.

Today, Saturday my arm is quite sore and I’m very tired.

So, for the first time since the pandemic started and also being a designated essential front-line worker, I called in and said, “ain’t coming in today.” Operations did seem shocked when they answered the phone and it was me.

I’ve had enough. And honestly, I and like many others, are at and even beyond our breaking points.

My sore arm(it’s kind of floppy like); being tired and just generally sick of all the shit and drama, seemed to fit the bill for a day off.

Yep, happy and thrilled.

Now, if my limpy arm would work. lol

— as always with love —

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – A Good Day To Smile

It’s still kind of early here at the “old homestead” on Friday morning. The sun is now just starting to peak over the eastern horizon.

For those of you who have followed along with Lynn and I over the past number of years, know that the outdoors fills a good or large chunk of our awake and not so awake hours.

Whether it be hiking, canoe tripping, snowshoeing in the Canadian Rockies or positioned along slightly above a raging river in an ice canyon at night or even a simple week’s worth of camping at a drive-in campground, we do tend to spend a fair amount of time outdoors.

The past year has taught ALL OF US a number of different life lessons. Some good one and unfortunately some bad or horrendous ones.

One thing we can always do and it is entirely up to us and it is the one thing we have absolute control over is our attitude. Now, I get that out attitude can change and often on an hourly basis, but it is still one thing we have control over.

Over the past year, one thing that many of us feel we’ve lost is a sense of control. Without a doubt, we’ve and many others have lost far more than control. The loss of loved ones is most certainly at the top of the list.

I’m not writing this as some sort of “pollyannaish” rose-coloured glasses all is good unrealistic outlook on our current situation.

Nope – our current situation in an overall sense is quite crappy or worse to tell the truth.

But, I do have a couple of suggestions.

If you find your overall whelmed by all the media coverage and granted most, if not all of it is negative, I get that. So, my suggestion and please excuse my language is “get the fu@k-off FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, the television, the radio, and just about any other media outlet.” Believe me – you’ll feel oh so much better.

Secondly and most importantly..

Smile and take a very deep breath. And once you’ve done that – do it again.

A smile and a deep breath can be the catalyst to change your attitude. Remember, your attitude is the one thing you have control over. Don’t give it up.

The pictures in the above collage where taken on our vacation camping trip trip last year to Algonquin Park.

Thinking back at our week there and looking at those pictures makes me smile and take a deep breath all at the same time.

— as always with love —

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Little Is Good

I have no idea if Winnie The Pooh said this or not. Although, it does kind of sound like something he would have softly muttered to Piglet at some point during one of their walks along a wet and foggy trail in the “Hundred Acre Wood.”

Nevertheless, those words hold so much water.

Our hearts are pretty big places when it comes to holding things that are nearest and dearest to us in it.

As I type this, I’m not sure where we’ll end up.

All that I know is life is made up mostly of small things. Oh sure, there are the obvious big things like family and loved ones, but in reality life is a long series of small and often inconsequential or not so inconsequential events.

We’re told or at least I’ve been told, not to “major on the minor” or stop focussing on the things that are essentially minor in detail or nature. Why waste valuable energy of things that at the end of it all didn’t have much meaning in the overall big scheme of life?

I have found over the past year, that my own mental wellness at times had the snot knocked out of it from time to time. And as I type this, I find myself at yet another low or certainly lowish point.

Our daughter lives on the east coast of Canada and has been dealing with her own mental wellness and coping issues for the past couple of years. Communication was/is one of the biggest hurdles that she seems to confront. We haven’t heard from her directly in about a month and a half give or take a few days. Her former roommate who she moved east with after college, said that our daughter is trying hard and that if there was a major problem our daughter and/or her boyfriend would reach out to her.

This is a long story and better saved for another post. We aren’t able to travel to the east coast due to travel restrictions upon entering Nova Scotia. I checked and we wouldn’t be able to enter and not isolate for two weeks, even on compassionate grounds.

I don’t know if love is big or small. Hard to measure I guess.

All I know is that my love for her and to make sure she is safe, is the only thing that fills my heart at the moment.

Sorry for the ramble, but keeping the emotions in, makes my dark days even darker.

— always with love —

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Why?

Not that there has been a lot going on in my life at the “old homestead”, but there seems to be a lot going on at the “old homestead.”

Not with us so much, but with me.

I have been in a rather darkish place for the past number of weeks, or maybe even longer than that.

I’m stuck swirling around a seemingly never-ending vortex of the question, “why?”

Why my life or what is my purpose in this life?

I don’t think any of you can answer that for me. But, if you want to, please give it a go.

I get that many of us have been battered and bruised over the past year or so with the mental wounds caused by the pandemic. I include myself in that group.

Maybe it is just as simple as that. Burnt out from a year of this. But again, who knows.

So, this is where I start my day again.

And to be honest, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to answer that question. It’s been one I’ve been trying to answer my whole life.

— as always with love —

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Why The Rush

I’ve written likely far too much on the whole freakin’ idea of life is meant to be lived at a much slower pace than most of us live it.

I remember reading or talking to people about a year ago, that maybe this world-wide health crisis we find ourselves in, will cause humanity to stop and re-evaluate much of life and how we live it.

The original intentions of this “re-evaluation” were good and exceedingly admirable. But, the reality is – I’m not sure much has changed.

Most of us continue to rush to work; continue to rush to this and that.

Rush, rush and more rush.

I’m sure this doesn’t apply to everyone. I know there are many who have put the brakes on; given life a once over cleanup and now are in a much healthier position. Excellent.

Priorities is one word that does come to mind here. What are your priorities or the important things in life?

Only you can answer that one.

But, there is one thing that is abundantly true or something to take heed of.

You don’t want to wake up dead some day and think to yourself, “what if?”

So, slow down; figure out the path you supposed to be on; get on it(if you’re not there already) and live the life that is going to make you love it.

Short and a bit rambling…..but you get the drift.

— as always with love —

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Rebirth

It’s an early Friday morning here at the “old homestead” and there is the smell of spring in the air. Not entirely sure “what spring smells like”, but it does feel like spring is slowly creeping up on us.

Spring is the time of year for new birth or rebirth for that matter. It’s this time of year most baby animals are born, and along with that those tiny crocuses and other early spring flowers that pop up through the thinning snow blanket in their rebirth to hearld warmer times are “a coming.”

This picture was taken a few years back during a buggy spring trip to Algonquin Park.

Just off Highway 60, is an area known the the “Old Mew Lake/Lake of Two Rivers Airfield.” The new implies exactly what it is – an old abandoned airfield. A large flat area, surrounded by rolling Algonquin hillside.

However back in 2012, a prescribed and controlled burn was done within the Mew Lake/Lake of Two Rivers Airfield. There was an information board along the trail describing how and why the burn was done by the Ministry of Natural Resources. Unfortunately, we didn’t snap a picture of it.

The following I found from a 2012 local newspaper article

“Prescribed burning was also used on two plots of land in the Pembroke area, covering a total area of 6.2 hectares on the Highway 60 corridor at the Lake of Two Rivers airfield. The objectives of the burn were to assist park staff with habitat manipulation of a grassland area for songbird research and to promote the development of fire management and ecosystem management techniques for the park’s interpretive program.”

As one can imagine, the area would have looked pretty desolate after the fire was extinguished. Burnt and charred trees and the ground looking like a sickened and blackened carpet rescued after a house fire.

But, as the picture indicates within what appeared/appears to be a location of bleakness, life sprang forth. “Life finds a way.” Now, there is a whole science behind the how and why certain plants and trees pop up in a relatively short time frame in an area either from a controlled burn like here or a uncontrolled burn from say a lightning strike.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest that for most of the world, we’ve existing in some pretty bleak and shall we say “burnt conditions.” The going global pandemic has certainly “blackened the earth” if we’re looking for a metaphor to describe the situation.

But, as in the picture “life finds a way” or “there will be a new or rebirth.”

My original thought when “birthing” this post, was to tie it into God looking after us and that even in the most dire of circumstances that may blacken our lives, HE is there to help us rise from the blackened and often scorched landscape. That’s good, but for a later time.

Often we need to go through a trial of fire if you will, in order to clean out the deadwood or debris in our lives, to allow new growth to take root and flourish. In a forest fire situation, after the burn nutrients in the soil are exposed, thus allowing new growth to occur. The Jack Pine for example, needs the heat of a fire to get it’s pine cone to expand and allow the seeds in the cone to drop onto the nutrient rich ground – new growth.

Just because it may feel like you’ve been through hell or your life is looks like the “Mew Lake/Lake of Two Rivers Airfield” two days after that controlled burn, and that there is no opportunity for change or new growth. I get that. And often new growth has a certain level of shall we say pain and discomfort associated with it. And has a human species, we do tend to shy away from anything associated with pain. However, the old “no pain – no gain” cliche does hold a bucket full of truth here.

There is great opportunity in front of you. Perhaps what you desire or are striving for, even if you’re not entirely sure what that is yet, just needed some nutrient rich soil in order to germinate. And remember, a controlled burn is exactly what the terms entails, a “controlled burn.” Maybe this is the day to get rid of whatever debris and deadwood is choking or undermining the chance for new growth to occur.

You have the ability to “control burn” whatever amount of stuff – small or large in your life. You decide what and how much.

Remember, given the right and fertile circumstances….”life finds a way.”

— as always with love —

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —