July 19, 2013

The West Coast - Water and Heidegger

“To be a poet in a destitute time means: to attend, singing, to the trace of the fugitive gods. This is why the poet in the time of the world's night utters the holy.” 
― Martin Heidegger

July 11, 2013

Eulogy For Helen Bates

Gate to Auntie Honey's garden. July 5th, 2013. 

I could always smell Auntie Honey's kitchen before I even got up the green-painted wood stairs that led to the door. Spices and baking and hot tea. As a kid the smells meant cookies and conversation. As an adult, they meant a kind of time travel, where years went by but certain things remained constant.

She was the woman who let me rest on her couch when I was sent home from kindergarten with a concussion. She gave us free run of her raspberry canes out by Uncle Bob's wood shop during summer, or let us rummage in her time-warp basement for toys that were older than we could imagine. She became a surrogate mother to my own father, after his own parents closed that door.

I knew a bit about her life in Melville, in Toronto, the train rides back home to take care of sick family members. I knew her middle name was Stanley, even though it translated into something else in Polish. She wasn't really my aunt, but I'd never felt like anything but family with her. Especially in that kitchen - with its smells. Cloves and nutmeg, oatmeal cookies, clean linens.