Getting Better all the time

There’s a fine line between stability and happiness. Sometimes they overlap, but when that balance is shaken it can often look like this travel map:

instamap

Two years of travel has landed me back in the East after trying out Alberta again; check out the spots I’ve stumbled into on this search for happiness (and finding it) in all sorts of friends and places!

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gratitude for growth

My friends are people who are doing well, who are happy purposeful people. They are connected by those who I have chosen to keep around, the fabric of my life I knew was important the moment I met them.

This has been the case with series of people in various places of my living, in only 26 years. I am grateful and bewildered by the community which supports cheerfulness, and magnifies the weight of living next to the weight of grief.

Many of the words that cycle through my head are memories of lives I am still living, in the alternate headspace of nostalgia, in the refusal to forget things which truly mattered.

The past few years have been a magnificent surprise. Reassurance from whichever cosmic forces once felt like tricksy fools have become the hedwigs of serendipity – when I least expect it, a peaceful beacon of comfort. A reminder that there is another world beyond the one our physical body is living in.

Thanks to cell phones, and facebook, and instagramming our favourite snapchats of the day all help stitch our favourite memories of today next to the imperfect offering of yesterday. We weave these fabrics as solo agents, but also beside each other more honestly than many cultures previously had permitted.

These moments unite us with stitches of fisherman’s twine. Accidental lessons, and futuristic dreams become one in the same, less distant with every odd seed creating the most beautiful flower. Less out of reach when trees widen above as they do below; less disconnected when we understand our fears run as deep as our love.

Without naming particular names, it is hard to tell the details of the story which has been a result of a serious attitude adjustment, quarter-life identity crisis, and vulnerable strength enough to pursue a particular fascination with hopes to turn it into a career.

The map of this journey has been a yin-yang  of jungalungalays and having fun with da baes. (in the Bay of Funday)

It has been a road trip and a train journey. It has been a reminder of human endurance, and resulting creativity.

I am sure to document each new particularly important era by means of travel notes and desire paths – both real and imaginary.

I do not pretend you understand me. But I offer you the most sincere challenge to get to know me,  if you care to do this two step in 3/4 time

I am hardly a heartbreaker, but I hope for the best in all our smiles.

This series of eras, of my getting to know myself, happened in waves. Like any privilege may offer, there were blissful opportunities to understand happiness. Yet like most of reality, though the world it might be dangerous, all it seems to do is turn – meaning the best situations get shaken up sometimes. My lesson of the decade is how we can all be hurt sometimes; and we can all sometimes hurt.

I keep myself a half step back from most crowds, until I want to be right in them.

I find safe spaces to remain cautious in, yet trust people in the concert crowd brushed their teeth when they ate pad thai for supper.

(of course the security is false, peanuts are everywhere. Danger is everywhere. We have a blissful setting which can be tuned into.

It doesn’t mean I’m always happy, it doesn’t mean I’m comfortable half the time. But it does allow for the opportunity.

The opportunity to become more true to myself is something which I never knew the magnitude of…in this capacity. Love is an indominable fear that we must live through all the time. If we do things correctly, we can work through the fear and become stronger people.

Cartographic Conversation

This past September I packed up my life from the corners of Canada where I’ve been hiding and moved to the Annapolis Valley for the first of two years attending CoGS, a respected but secret place for mapheads.

(cover photo courtesy of NASA, landsat5,+ ERDAS Imagine)

I have embraced my affinity for visual memory recall, and the affinity for photos, spatial displays, and visualized directions whenever possible. Ergo, it was about time I took those skills and developed them into something employable.

Getting here took a year of being unemployed, detaching myself from the emotional loss of a comfortable job, and resettling in a new version of familiar on the other side of Canada.  During this time I got to the heart of what I truly love – spending some time and “Pogey” dollars on travel. By the time I wound up back on the East Coast in March 2016, I’d been to every other land province in the country  for atleast 12 hours since leaving Edmonton in Fall 2015. (Sorry Newfoundland, someday!)

And yet, it was the best kind of preparation I could have designed for myself. If I were to do it all again, I would do few things differently if only for the improved state of mental wellbeing. Road regrets aside, I’m glad to have documented many of the adventures on paper maps with coloured notes. Pathways + people of places etched into memory banks. These banks I draw from on days when transition gets too heavy.

Here, is Lawrencetown (not the beach). For a town that turns out hundreds* (*~2) of cartographic wizards annually, it’s constantly surprising how confusing its location can be for nearly everyone trying to figure where they have to go to be spatially informed. A college tucked in the heart of the Annapolis Valley, it turns out. It’s not really on the map for much, but it hits the mark for maps.

I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the course of the past year, and I’m exceedingly grateful for the amount of rad tunes, fun folks, and window-seat-views I have the privilege to remember.

The next step, as it always is with growth, is to take what was and magnify into a continued beauty. Mapping opens the doors to what I have always Trump-ed about: what “should” be and how it “could” be done. Damn him and that attitude. Independent thought is alive and well. Love conquers hate.  Questions conquer fear.

Fear has no place here, says the wise Ken Stead.

So much for fear, echoes another bearded bard Dan Mangan.

In every ounce of sadness, confusion, and melancholy, there is a fellow human who has lived through worse and wants to share that moment with you. Music wins.

I’ve come to learn many parallels between cartography and composition. Notes and phrases move across piano keys as swiftly as the eye connects dots via contour lines, streets, and rivers.

Psychogeography is just that – allowing emotion to bleed into the documentation of living.

For now, it’s watersheds and text placement. Remotely sensing our community’s infrared, even, has a colourful subtext.

So much for Alberta.. Time for happiness in the form of hectare calculations.

thanksgivingdem

straight lines + colonial times (poem)

we’re taught how geography is straight lines, 

in clusters, 

forming cities. 

so we learn the names, who runs them, 

and his-story’s take on how they came to be. 


these straight lines occasionally bend around curving water

and rising hills. 

we know them because of

the flat maps of documentation

we inherit, these important memories

reduced to textbooks. 

we memorize. rarely feeling their textures of culture.
 

part of this learning, of how to carry this tradition,

is about building more and better, always. 

never ceasing to explore. 

document, collect, report back. 

this is the formula of colonialism // our heritage


we learn how to cross the river, not how to follow it. 

skipping over the earth’s chapter on flexibility. 

the inherit importance of curving around a rock, 

not blasting through it, 

may be one of the quietest secrets

eroding from our awareness 

with each new set of lines


this type of geography - systematic at best - denies understanding

of cultural nuance. spatial play. 

what it means to explore, truly and gently. 

rather than rape our land of its value. 

we are learning. we must. always. 

how to carve out cravings, and how not to. 

differently from tradition, if tradition is only a temporary gain


the same way feminism redefines equality 

against hard-headed men

in new ways, each generation’s own bra burning is different.

yet the redefining teaches the crude essence of humanity. 

passionate individuality our greatest and most cursed gift. 

emboldened community our saving grace.


to speak for all the world, and yet hear nothing, 

is a failure of many ‘great’ leaders. selfish explorers. 

fearful of what they might find in places ‘untouched’. 

fabricating myths and drawing such fear on maps. 

for them the value of the world is in power; 

what namesake can be stolen, ascribed, and profiteered.

redefined in industrial lenses. 

resources for the marketplace. 

we are told that is the worth of the earth.


as colonial byproducts we can hardly justify

any of our biases. but as humans we must do something 

(or many tend to feel strongly we should try)

is equalized stasis the goal? 

socially and psychologically, 


in this moment of security

as you cup that hot mug of cumulative achievement

and satisfying refreshment


look outside and notice your reflection

alongside the others in the glass.


question this moment, 

is it time for it to pass?