Friday, April 25, 2008

Tide in, Tide out


The sea comes in and goes out again.
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Dear All,

Since January 8, 2005 when I started this blog, I have enjoyed the daily process. As my 'Creative Portal', it served as a space within which I was easily able to express and project elements of myself and my work - albeit drops in the ocean of 'me'.

Over this time I connected with many great people who entered the Now is Wow 'Portal'. Some came and went, some came and stayed. Some I never met in person, some I did - forming special connections.

Today's post will be Now is Wow's last post. I was sitting here wondering what to say about that ... wondering how to close this blog off without sounding too abrupt, too long winded or too whatever-else-would-not-say-it-adequately. In life's typical way, a few minutes ago, a symbol came along to assist me and to affirm everything. I had paused on my 'wondering what to say and how to say it' and went upstairs to get some water. There was a green bird (green tanager I think it's called) - one of my favourite birds - trapped in the kitchen, pressed against the closed window. (Thankfully Jasper wasn't about!) I went to it and, although it agitated a bit as I got closer, it did not seem terrified, as many birds usually are when this happens. I opened the window, said "There you go" and she flew away over the grass.

That story says it all.

I will leave Now is Wow up as an archive. Anyone coming to it will see this page and will be able to explore all that has gone before via the links in the sidebar. Those interested in following up on certain projects which are to be completed can read more about that here.

I thank all of you who, in a variety of ways, were a part of this online journey/experience. I wish each of you the best in your lives and in every endeavour. While this blog may be 'no more', one Truth remains eternally unchanged for every one of us: Now will always be Wow.

Love, Elspeth

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For those who wish to follow up

Over time I have shared many of my creative projects on this blog. Often, I take you through aspects of the process - from inception to completion. The two projects listed below are still 'open' (i.e. in motion, in the works). Please see below if you are a regular reader of Now is Wow and are interested in following up on their progress and eventual outcome (beyond the blog).

Veronica's House
Habitat for Humanity has partnered with us to ensure that the house for Veronica and her children is built. Once the necessary 'red tape' is cleared (e.g. Town and Country Planning), work will officially begin. All things running smoothly, the house will be finished within 2008. Those who wish to be involved in the construction as volunteers can contact me at nowiswowisnow [at] yahoo [dot] com for further information. Or you can contact Habitat directly (see their website for contact info) and indicate your interest in being a volunteer for Veronica's House and/or other Habitat projects. You do not have to have prior construction experience. Volunteers will be needed for all kinds of tasks, from making phone calls to painting walls to more 'concrete' jobs, literally.

Within the next few weeks, the designer of the Veronica's House website will update it to reflect the recent changes (as a result of Habitat coming on board as a partner).
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The Tree of Dreams

The Tree Planting Ceremony will take place as announced on Saturday 3rd May, 2008. Thus far 20 of us have confirmed our attendance and, on that day, will be making the hike up the mountain to plant the dreams which various people placed into the Dream House. I have chosen the Flamboyant as our Tree of Dreams. When the flamboyants are in bloom on the mountains, their vibrant orange presence cannot be ignored. They are visible from far and wide, like fires (i.e. fires of flowers, not flames) on the mountain range. One day our Tree will be one of those striking orange beauties, standing testament to the blooming of our Dreams.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Now

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tutorial: How to leave comments

The Dream Tree will be one of these - only bigger (a sapling)
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I just got off the phone with a friend who told me he wanted to leave a comment on The Dream Tree post but did not want to sign up for a Google account. He is not the first person who has told me they want to leave a comment but, for reasons like that or just not understanding how to, they did not.

Lately I've encountered quite a few people saying this, so I'll explain. It's very simple.
1. Click on the 'Comments' link at the bottom of the post
2. A blank box will appear saying 'Leave your comment'
3. Once you have written your comment, type the letters you see below (e.g. qwszzd) into the blank space for 'Word Verification'. (This is to confirm that you are human)
4. Choose an identity. Here is where people get confused. In order to leave your comment you must click on one option.

(i) If you click on 'Anonymous', your comment will appear as being from Anonymous. (But sometimes people click on Anonymous and still sign their name at the end of the comment they wrote in the comment box.

(ii) If you already have a Google/Blogger account you use that option (e.g. I use that option)

(iii) Name/URL is for people who do not want to be anonymous. These people may or may not have a blog or website (URL). If they do have a web presence and they put the URL, their name will appear as a link to that site. If they just put their name only, it will not appear as a link.

(iv) Open ID is for Live Journal, etc. (as displayed in the drop down menu next to that option). So unless you are one of those, you don't have to worry about it.

Most people therefore will choose the Name/URL option.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A vast offering

Near where the river meets the sea between Manzanilla and Mayaro, there is a long stretch of what (from a distance) looks like pinkish white sand (as opposed to the rest of it which is brown). Drawing closer, you will see that it's not sand, but millions of mainly whitish and pinkish shells, glistening in the sun like a fresh carpet of snow.
My tropical 'snow' angel
I wave, you wave, sea waves.
Whenever I go to that spot and see the shell carpet, I wonder what makes the sea choose that particular stretch of sand to make its deposit? Water currents? Energy currents? And where do so many shells come from all at once? It's like a never ending supply. A vast offering.
Acknowledging Earth Day

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Invitation: Planting the Tree of Dreams

Two lumps of raw clay purchased to make the vessel.
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This is what will happen to the dreams we placed in the Dream House:

1. THE HIKE TO THE SACRED SPOT
The tree planting ceremony will take place on a friend's estate in Santa Cruz on Saturday 3rd May 2008 from 2:30 p.m. (Note this in your dairies). To get to the spot where we will plant our dreams/the Dream Tree, we will hike uphill for about 30 - 45 minutes. (Bring water to drink)

2. THE CLAY VESSEL
Once we reach to the mountain top, we will sit in a circle and pass around a large lump of raw clay. Each person will contribute to the gradual creation of a deep, open-top bowl. It doesn't have to be 'perfect'. It may end up being lumpy and misshapen, but the important thing is that this vessel will contain the positive communal energies of all who created it. Once finished, our dreams will be put into the vessel, which will be placed in the earth, open top up. This vessel will hold our dreams. (Those who wear lots of rings, your hands will get caked in clay, so it will be better to come with bare fingers).

3. THE TREE OF DREAMS
Earth will be covered over the hole/vessel/dreams. In that exact spot we will then plant the tree (type of tree to be announced closer to date). The moist, unbaked clay of the vessel will be one with the earth. As the tree grows, its roots will stretch down through the open top of the clay vessel, toward the dreams, absorbing them and transporting their energies from the earth (a nurturing womb) to the sky (limitless potential).

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THE INVITATION
DATE: Saturday 3 May, 2008
TIME:
1:30 p.m. sharp (please, not Trini time). Meet at collective point: outside Undercover Plant Shop, Santa Cruz.
VENUE:
Follow me from Undercover to the estate where we will be planting the Dream Tree. (About 10 mins drive away). To make it easier (less cars), car pooling for people coming from the same area can be arranged.
WHAT TO BRING:
Hiking shoes, knapsack with drinking water/snacks, etc., a raincoat and change of clothing (just in case it rains).
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IMPORTANT: I need to know the amount of people attending. Those who plan on coming, please e-mail me at nowiswowisnow [at] yahoo [dot] com by Sunday 27 April for the latest with the following information:
Name, contact information, headcount (you may want to bring a friend) and where you're coming from.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Full moon heart

Last night I went to a barbeque on top of a mountain on a friend's estate in Santa Cruz. It was a medium sized gathering. We had an adventurous roller coaster ride up the mountain in various four wheel drives, along steep and bumpy, freshly excavated dirt roads. The view from up there was great - stars above and, in the distance, myriad dots of lights along the crest of ridges and in the valley. And of course the moon, which was full, bright and huge. Being so high up, it looked and felt extremely close - as though if we climbed to the top of one of the trees, we would be able to touch it. I pointed my camera at the moon and swirled it around in a heart shape motion, on a slow shutter speed. The above photo is my attempt.

This location, but a bit higher up the mountain, is where the long awaited ceremony for the dreams that were in the Dream House will take place.

Invitation to come this week.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Two pennies

When you have only two pennies left in the world,
buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other
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- Chinese Proverb -

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Les examens

Yesterday evening we had our final French exams. I spent a few hours of the morning revising under the sapodilla tree at the bottom of the garden.Le sapodilla: mon arbre favori dans le jardin
The sapodilla: my favourite tree in the garden.
Pippa essaye d'étudier avec moi.
Pippa tries to study with me."Je ne comprends pas ..."
"I don't understand ..."

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Musical sketch

The window reflected in the keys of my keyboard.
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My keyboard is in front of a window. Sometimes while playing or listening back, I look out and up. The sky becomes a screen and the music becomes the soundtrack for whatever is happening. I often create quick musical 'sketches' ... using musical notes rather than a pencil to sketch what I see or feel as I gaze out/in.

What scene unfolds through your window when you listen to this sketch?

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Pause





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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Fearless

Fear less and you will be more.


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Taken care of

This morning my heart crumbled when I got an e-mail from Detta (who is abroad) explaining what to feed Sapodilla Dawn and who to call to get specially reared meal worms for baby birds. (This was in response to an e-mail I'd sent her with the Sapo-D. story). Suddenly yesterday's answers were no longer satisfying and the nagging "I should have kept her" voice resurfaced.

As much as I dreaded going for a walk and passing by the tree where I had left her, I decided to do it.

On my way, I noticed a startling amount of keskidees. They were everywhere: looking down from the wires above me, walking bravely across my path, sitting in trees calling out. Were there really more or was I just noticing them more because of the Sapo-D association?

As I approached the tree, my eyes flew to the spot where I'd placed Sapo-D. It was empty. I looked around. No sign of l'oisillon (fledgling in French). No sign of what I had been dreading (a small, half-eaten carcass swarming with ants). I looked up to the nest and saw a Keskidee sitting directly above me. The mother? She stayed a long while and, despite my presence and proximity, did not fly away.

Perhaps the gardener had put Sapo-D back into the nest as promised. And, if not, maybe someone had passed by, seen her and picked her up. "A UWI zoology student," I thought ... who knew, more than I would have, exactly what to feed her.

Little bird, big teacher. The whole experience made me think about the art of 'letting go'. Sometimes we are afraid to let go of what we 'know' because we don't know what is in the 'emptiness' beyond it. Sometimes we may not be sure that we are doing the right thing by releasing that to which we are 'attached'. I think Sapo-D came along to show that it's okay to let go and trust. When we do, everything is taken care of.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Guilty questions and satisfying answers

Why did I take Sapodilla Dawn back to that spot on campus where I'd found her? Why didn't I keep her and look up 'what to feed a baby bird' on the internet?

Guilty questions of this nature plagued me as I drove back home from POS today, somehow noticing more Keskidees than usual along my route.

So ... I just looked up 'what to feed a baby bird' (for future reference) and came across the below extract. It makes me feel better about the decision I made in the end.

If the bird is uninjured you should ask yourself, "Is it really an orphan?" Nine times out of ten the answer is no! Look for nests in nearby trees and shrubs. They are usually well hidden and hard to get to. If you can find the nest, simply put the bird back in it. It's a myth that the parents will not care for young birds that have been touched by humans. In fact, birds have a poor sense of smell. Great horned owls kill and eat skunks without even noticing their overpowering stench.

If you can't find the nest, put the baby bird in a shrub or tree - somewhere up off the ground. You can even provide a substitute nest by tying a berry basket (with drainage) up in a tree. Most often this is all the help a baby bird needs. As soon as you leave, the parents, who were probably watching you the whole time, will return and continue to feed the fledgling. If you want to be sure the parents are still around, observe the baby bird from a distance, preferably with binoculars. If the parents don't return to an undisturbed nestling in two hours, something may be wrong. The parents may have been killed by predators or hit by a car. Don't worry if you only see one parent. A single parent can raise the young alone.

This site (where the above extract is from) has info on what and how to feed baby birds.

Also check this site. Both sites deal with foreign birds (robins, etc) ... but the info will work just as well for tropical birds.

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Sapodilla Dawn

Sapodilla Dawn
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This morning while walking with a friend, Mitra, on campus, we came upon a baby keskidee on the grass, near a tree. It had fallen from its nest. Nearby, a man was cutting grass with a noisy weed-wacker. No doubt terrifying for a bewildered baby animal. Had it not been for that, I may have left it for the parents to find her and feed her ... but instead, I scooped her up and we turned to walk back home. We named her Dawn, since she had been found at daybreak.

When I got to my street, I saw a bird eating one of my neighbour's sapodillas ... which was interesting because on arrival at Mitra's house, the first thing she had pointed out to me was her laden sapodilla tree. I decided to add Sapodilla to the bird's name.

Sapodilla Dawn was covered in mites and kept opening her beak for me to feed her. I called Detta (whom I normally call for advice when I find baby animals), but did not get through. I had had good intentions of rearing Sapo-D until she could fly (as with Rainbow the pigeon), but I didn't think Rainbow's heavy diet of soggy oats and bird feed would have worked with Sappie. Not wanting to give her the wrong food and kill her, I wrapped her in toilet paper (a temporary nest) and returned to the tree under which I'd found her.

Upon my return, another man was there, clearing away dead leaves with the blower. I stopped him, showed him Sapo-D and said I was leaving her near the nest for the parents. He said that he would keep an eye on her and when he was finished blowing he would get a ladder and put her back in the nest.

I decided to trust him.

I removed Sapo-D from the toilet paper, placed her in a safe spot near the tree and walked away.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Free

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Wow. At first I felt a sense of shock and then a feeling of loss. Then, as I continued to read, a sense of relief washed over me and I began to remember the idea of non-attachment and how freeing that can be. We achieve so much more in this life when we are non-attached to the material, and take with us instead the spiritual gifts that something as profound as living art offers us. Thank you for releasing our dreams to the universe. From our hearts, through the dream house, and out into the air until the earth...

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A friend's response to yesterday's post about the dismantling of the Dream House)

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Full circle

The Cosmic Web in the tree under which it all began
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Yesterday my friend Glen came with his pickup van. We went to collect the Dream House from the Raj Yoga Centre where it has been since it left Alice Yard. I was going to keep it at home until I figured out where next it would go.

However, on the two-minute drive back home from the Raj Yoga Centre, a decision was made which may surprise some people. Dismantle the entire Dream House ... rather than keep it, sell it or put it anywhere else. It was an unexpected decision, but it felt like the right thing to do and the right day to do it. No amount of thought was involved and I felt no attachment to the piece. We parked in the driveway. Glen got out his screw driver and started to unscrew everything that was keeping the lamp together. I went inside and got a bucket with a cover - to keep all our dreams in (until I source an appropriate clay vessel). Within minutes the Dream House as we knew it was no more.
As of yesterday, this physical structure no longer exists.
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The original idea was (once Veronica's House is built) to gather all of the dreams that people have put into the Dream House, place them in a clay vessel (time capsule), hike into a forest, bury the vessel of dreams and plant a tree (still to be decided what kind) on that spot. This will still be done (at a date and place to be announced), but as of yesterday, the timing has changed. I will do it before Veronica's House is constructed. Energetically, the Dream House and Veronica's House now feel like two separate entities.*

The dismantling process felt very freeing. I made the comment to Glen that it felt as though we were doing something for everyone's dreams. As soon as I said it, a sudden light rain sprinkled us, lasting a few seconds.

"Blessings," Glen said.

I know some people will be taken aback and will ask (as has already happened): "How could you do that to your artwork?!" or: "Why did you destroy the Dream House?!!" But it is not destruction. It as a part of the process. It is in keeping with the way I followed my feelings and instincts (about this window) from the very start, so I trust it. Glen took the parts back home - to somehow reuse the wood and metal in his factory. I kept the bulb and lock and the dream catcher/cosmic web.

I took the cosmic web and put it to hang on the same tree at the bottom of the garden under which the original window (Kairos) once stood. As I hung it, I suddenly remembered that in the beginning, there had been a spider's web being spun above that very spot. This is the web that had inspired the dream catcher/cosmic web in the first place. This confirmed for me that everything was right and had come full circle.

* Brief update: we are partnering with Habitat for Humanity to build Veronica's House.

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Life Before Death

Through a friend's link, I encountered this site. Anyone looking at it would have their own personal experience. The subject matter is intense.

This sombre series of portraits taken of people before and after they had died is a challenging and poignant study. The work by German photographer Walter Schels and his partner Beate Lakotta, who recorded interviews with the subjects in their final days, reveals much about dying - and living.

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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Manzanilla moment

Manzanilla: ever changing, yet the same.
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A photo is only visual and can never capture a moment as fully as we experience it. All of the other senses were engaged at this moment.
Touch - walking on the sand there are firm parts and there are unexpected parts where suddenly your foot sinks in as if you are in quicksand
Taste - there is a strong sea spray. If you stick out your tongue you taste it
Smell - wet, salty, nothing too overpowering
Sound/Hearing - constant roar of sea and wind, a wild sound
Extra sense - the sacredness of Manzanilla

Sunday Scribblings: Photograph

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Au revoir

Water lily in the Pax pond, where the French crew spent their last two days
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Early this morning Ilana (director, who had come in two weeks ago) and Stefan (cameraman, who came in a week ago) left Trinidad to return to Paris. After one final interview in the morning yesterday, we drove to Manzanilla, where we spent a few hours. A delicious dinner at Pax brought the day (and this French experience) to a close.

C'était bien et Ilana et Stefan sont très genial. I will miss the real life experience of talking in French, as I learned a lot from it. I have an invitation to visit Paris, so once I've fuelled up my private jet I'll definitely stop by.

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Friday, April 04, 2008

Drumming, dreaming, mid-air dancing


I keep dreaming I am in Toronto. Every night for the past week or so I'm there (sometimes briefly, sometimes for a long time) and it just feels like an extension of where I already am. Not as if I've made any drastic moves or used any forms of transport to get there. Many times I am sitting in a particular place. I don't know where it is or if it exists ... but it always makes me think of an American Diner and it is largely white with plush red leathery seats and couches (quite like the image on that link). The frontage is pure glass and looks onto a tall brown brick apartment building.

Last night there was a gathering of 'natural' people, wearing recycled clothing, hemp, etc. I was with them and we were pulling out our instruments on the sidewalk. I pulled out Dandelion and started to play her. The sound that came out was different: deep and slack. At first I thought she needed tightening. Upon looking more closely I realised there was a slash in her skin (a hole). I was horrified, but my first thought was: "Thank God I'm in Toronto" because my first instinct was that I had to go to Saikou, at whose shop I had bought Dandelion.

In another part of the dream, I was there (in TO) yet here (in T'dad) and looking through the window to the grass where the doves feed in droves. Suddenly a single dove flew up ... or rather, it rose in a straight vertical line (as if being beamed up by a force). It did not need to flap its wings in order to be airborne. Rising with it from the grass was a strange-looking yellowy-creamish creature. I couldn't make out what the creature was. The two of them were in mid-air responding to each other in what appeared to be a dance. They headed to the window and came inside, still in their mid-air dance. I retreated, so as not to disturb them ... and also because I had no idea what was going on or what the creamish creature was.

There was someone else with me (not sure who).

At some point the creamish creature dropped to the ground and the person who was with me went and picked it up and brought it to me. It was a baby swan.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Another 'Elspeth' classic

(From a phone call a few minutes ago)

Me: Hello, may I speak with Mrs Xxxxx, please?

Woman who answered: She's on lunch. May I ask who's calling?

Me: Elspeth Duncan

Woman (brief pause): E ... E ...

Me (slowly): Elll - spethhhhh Duncan

Woman: L ... Elstet?

Me: No. Elspeth.

(This is followed by a few variations of the name which I can't remember now, then):

Woman (finally getting it): Elspeth! Forgive me!

(She then consults with the person I am trying to get onto and comes back to the phone):

Woman: L ... Les ... look, Elsie, she will call you back in 7 minutes.

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Try it and see what you get

Stuck in l'embouteillage yesterday on the way back from POS.
Leather star hanging from my rearview mirror. Cement truck in front of my car.
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When stuck in traffic, if you have someone with you (and some paper and a pen), here is a possible game to play, to while away the hours. Try an example now (below) and see what you come up with.

What to do:
1. Think of and write down 5 random single nouns (e.g. window, field, etc.)
2. Once you've done that, scroll down this page. Don't scroll down until you've written those words down somewhere.
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3. Fill your words (in the order you wrote them down) into the blank slots to complete the poem:

Today when I woke up and saw the ______________,
I got goosebumps.
At once, I rose from my bed and went to the ___________.
A friend was there with this large _________ in her hands.
Giving it to me, she said: "Life is such a big _____________. Enjoy it!"
I smiled and danced around the ______________.

4. Feel free to put your completed poems in the comments. Would love to see what you've come up with.


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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The only thing changing in TT is food prices

In November 2007 (post-elections) I stopped buying and reading newspapers. The daily onslaught of bad news and politics was getting me angry, tense and irritable. If there was a newspaper nearby I would avert my eyes and not even look at the headlines. Driving by the women on the road who sell papers in traffic I would stare straight ahead and ignore the headlines they were holding up for drivers to see. I also stopped looking at news on TV and if it came on the radio while I was listening to it, I would quickly turn the radio off. News on the radio usually begins: "A man was ..." or "A woman was ..." or "Three people were ..." (and something about death). Ignoring the news worked. I became more peaceful within and didn't feel the frustration and anger. Living in TT no longer seemed as hopeless. (Ignorance is bliss). I only had to deal with the road rage and lack of customer service. I found I had more energy to focus on positive things. A lot of energy is wasted being angry about or frustrated with what goes on here.

In the past week, however, I have found myself picking up the papers and glancing at the headlines, quickly scanning what has been written (but not dwelling on it), also scanning a few pages inside (and not dwelling). Nothing has changed. It's all still multiple murders, multiple road deaths, political drama, corruption. The only thing that seems to be changing (daily) is food prices.

Today the front page of the papers announced: chicken prices going up, flour going up (hence all the things that are made of flour), taxi fares for St. Anns and St. James going up. And so on.

Imagine 4 doubles* and a sweet drink now cost $17.

Two pilhourie balls cost $4.

The other day on the way back from the beach, two friends and I stopped off for 3 shark and bakes and two bottles of water. The bill was a whopping $87.

Is there any sign of the Gov't putting things in place for us to grow our own food so we can be self sufficient? Or is it that agricultural land is only good for housing? The other day some friends and I were discussing growing our own food crops and sharing our produce among ourselves.

* While on the topic of doubles ... the other day I took Ilana (French director) to sample doubles by UWI. When I was finished eating mine, I wanted to discard the paper, napkin and bag. I saw no bin anywhere in the vicinity. I asked a man in his late 50's getting into the car next to mine: "Is there a bin around here?"

He looked at me with deadpan seriousness and said: "No, but there's a running drain."

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...

Where are you?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Out of this world

This week's Sunday Scribblings topic is: Out of this world" In this inverted photo my eyes subtly reveal their alien shape.
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Of course there is life beyond Earth. Humans feel that they are superior to 'other animals' (so much so that 'the human being' is rarely referred to as 'an animal'). This superiority complex leads many (most) humans to believe: "We are the only beings in this Universe."

Is it possible that something as vast and incomprehensible as the Universe would limit itself to having humans as the only 'living organisms' or 'intelligent life forms' in existence? Humans can't even begin to comprehend the true scope of the Universe, much less all that is in it.

When I was small I used to constantly try and envision the Universe as 'having no end' and being 'infinite'. That, along with the question: "If God made us, then who made God?" used to baffle me and drive me up a wall. No-one could explain it well enough to satisfy me.*

When we walk down the road today, how many visitors will we see? It is easy to point out someone who looks foreign, either by the way they are dressed, the way they are looking around them with fascination and excitement (or confusion or disgust), the things they are taking photos of (or the fact that they are taking photos at all), etc.

But how easy is it to spot the visitors we receive from other planets? Being one myself, I can tell you I know a few.

* As young aliens sent to live on earth we go through this initial human confusion when we try to envision our home.

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