Sunday, October 28, 2012

Forest Walks, Salmon Run

"Where love and joy have visited, there exists heaven."
Gillian Cornwall

Scent of pine
Spinning maple
on the winds
crimson one side 
white-pink the other
Traveling tree to soil
the swan song

A river grows
in the gulch
autumn rains
housekeep its bed
for salmon's journey home

They will run red
run rampant
run wild
not knowing the fate
their farmed friends

Autumnal cries
eagles in aeries
await post-coital fish death
freshly battered
from their fight
to breed
to die
proud warriors

While beneath the pebbles
new lives begin
in their watery worlds
What life is this?
In this forest deep
my soul can sleep
where all is simple
where life is sweet

-Gillian Cornwall, c. October  28, 2012

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Breathe. Smile. Live Joy.

Birch on Beach
Salt Spring Island

Olympic Range at Dusk
c. Gillian Cornwall

It's in the everyday, that's where we find it.          
In the beauty of the
changing sky,

Autumn Sumac in Fairfield
c. Gillian Cornwall

the colours in the autumn leaves,
swirling to the still-green grass below and the freshness of the wind that carries them.

Sky Diver - Oak Bay tea Party
c. Gillian Cornwall

It's in the pure perfection 
of the existence
of each day,
the appreciation of life itself; 
that is the holy grail, the golden egg and the key to all joy.

-Gillian Cornwall, October 19, 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Lessons from the Earth

Saanich Peninsula
with Mount Baker in the distance
Gillian Cornwall c. October 2012

October. I wait, for time brings change regardless of how staid in my ways I have become. I reach forward into the black unknown but it does not bring light. It's 50/50 whether I will grasp onto something and there remains the chance that I will not desire that onto which I have taken hold. I retreat in fatigue for, if I am not to know, then I shall rest back and wait. "All is well child of the earth, all is well."

The fruit of summer pushes to the surface as the nudge from the harvest moon loans a hand to the belaboured farmer. There is goodness and understanding in the nature of things. I turn to the earth, the ocean and beyond; the mother teaches me well and provides. I will love her and care for her well in return. 

I let my faith lie in my self, embedded in my goodness. I light a candle in my heart in every dark place. I learn to sit and be at peace with what I do not know or do not understand. I learn to be kind and gentle and joyous for, above all else, I am blessed with the gift of life. 

-Gillian Cornwall, c. October 2012

Saanich Farmland
Gillian Cornwall, c. October 2012

Sunday, October 07, 2012

My Perestroika Path

Cowichan Valley, c. 2010.

"Perestroika means overcoming the stagnation process, breaking down the braking mechanism, creating a dependable and effective mechanism for acceleration of social and economic progress and giving it greater dynamism." -Mikhail Gorbachev

Disappointment. It's hard. This week I was told that I was unsuccessful in a job competition at my workplace. I've aimed towards it for five years - learning, growing, building self-confidence and strength. The micro-team within which I work has undergone perpetual change in this time and I am the longest standing member. I am at the base of the pay and institutional power ladder within the unit. 

I was very well-prepared for my interview and I was told I performed very well yet they selected someone they see as better suited for the position. "Ouch", I say, but I know their decision is not about me; it's about their perceptions and wants. 

So what can I do? I can only be the master of my own actions and reactions. It does hurt that I was not chosen. I know and work closely with everyone on the panel. I know the person they selected. I know I would do an amazing job had I been selected for the role. I know I enjoy and care about what I do and how it reflects up on my employer, my teams and the client base. I know the money would have changed my life. It's hard to work in a city where it is nearly impossible to survive on your own - even if you hold a decent job. I know how grateful I am to have a job, a home and food because I have gone without these in the past. I've been beaten on the streets of Toronto while people passed by - simply because of my sexual orientation; I've been denied employment because of it too. I've not been able to go to my own home because of an alcoholic and abusive partner. I've gone hungry while living with illness and poverty. I've survived this and more and healed from it all because I wanted to be better and stronger and able to continue giving to society in a meaningful way. I was fortunate enough to be able to access positive and useful counselling - sometimes using every available cent to pay for it all in order to be well and strong.

I am an absolute powerhouse of love, intelligence and resilience ...and I didn't get the job. Yes, I'll get over this too but, I have to tell you, it wears a person down at times.

I'd like to believe it'll get easier and, in the end, I'll be seen, valued and rewarded but, at the end of the day, it comes down to me and I know who I am. I will react to this job misfortune with truth, grace and strength and know that I cannot make people see or value me the way I want - I can only do this for myself.

So I will continue to work well, to strive towards personal greatness and know that a panel review of my employment skills in an hour-long question and answer and a forty minute written test does not reflect my worth. I will continue to care for myself and my needs and follow the advice given to me by a dear friend, Mary-Catherine Weymouth, about 35 years ago:

Comes the Dawn

After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul

And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning 
And company doesn't mean security,

And you begin to understand that kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises.

And you you begin to accept your defeats
With your head held high and your eyes open,

With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,
You learn to build your roads

On today because tomorrow's ground
Is too uncertain for plans, and futures have

A way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn that even sunshine

Burns if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden and decorate

Your own soul, instead of waiting
For someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure,
That you really are strong

And you really do have worth
And you learn and learn ...and learn

With every goodbye you learn.
-Veronica Shorffstall, 1971.

And so, I say goodbye to that opportunity; I learn from it and I move on with my head up, my eyes open and with a good heart on my own perestroika path.

-Gillian Cornwall, October 6, 2012.