Sunday, July 17, 2016

a little Captain Fantastic and a big one

This morning was as beautiful a morning as I have ever known - so tranquil, I could have been in some mountain glade, only I was in Cabbagetown, Toronto. The noise of the Indy cars did not reach this far this year - maybe the wind? And everyone is out of town, it seems, or catatonic, because there was just no noise. It was sublime.

Midday I rode across town on the new waterfront trail, 50 minutes door to door from my house in the east end to Anna's in the far west, and as I approached her place, the noise grew deafening. It was indeed the Indy, angry angry insects buzzing, and drawing closer, I was riding right beside it; I could see those cars whizzing by at hundreds of miles an hour. Terrifying and very, very loud - the sound of testosterone rampant.

But I had a first birthday party to get to. I went first to Scooter Girl on Roncesvales to pick up the balloons
and then kept an eye on the kids while Anna finished prep for the party. Because she's Anna, she also had two of Thomas's sisters' kids for the weekend, as if getting ready for a big party were not enough. But that's who she is and what she does. The place was all set, lots of water, a big plastic pool in the back with a slide that went into it, so the kids were already happy and wet when I arrived - and then the others came. Eventually, there were eleven children and lots of adults, and she fed them all.
 Jen gave Ben a Blue Jays shirt
 The assembled multitudes with cupcakes
The birthday boy, having a terrible time with his.

And then I rode back, past the incredible noise and speed that took my breath away, back to my quiet little spot in the woods, or so it seems.

Yesterday, I saw a movie that affected me deeply - "Captain Fantastic," Viggo Mortensen as an anarchist hippy father raising six kids in the isolated woods of northern California. After a family tragedy they are forced out into the world, where his brilliant feral anarchist children confront western society for the first time. It's a wonderful premise, too bad the writer didn't take it much further; he also directed the movie and obviously fell in love with his cast, it gets all dewy at the end. But still, it's an interesting film, much food for thought about how to raise children in this insane world. At one point on their road trip, they are forced to go to a fast food restaurant and the kids are thrilled - their first taste of hotdogs and hamburgers. But Viggo takes a look at the menu and says, "There's no food on this menu. Let's go," and drags them all out. The kids exclaim about how fat everyone is, and then one says, "But we must not make fun of people, ever."
"Except for Christians," says another, and they all nod. That made me laugh out loud. And then they celebrate Noam Chomsky Day and sing him a song.

Plus Viggo himself - worth a look, always.

Happy summer, my friends. It doesn't get better than this. And happy first birthday to beautiful Ben.


  1. A day of birthdays! My little granddaughter turned two today, though her party was yesterday -- yes, a pool, food, sunlight! (Her dad had to travel to a conference today and didn't want to miss the party!)I love the balloons tied to the bike!

  2. Happy birthday to your family too. How lucky we grandparents are! (The balloons were tied to a highchair at the party and shortly thereafter floated off into the heavens. Eli sobbed, traumatized. I said the balloons were making a break for freedom and heading to Africa to see lions. It did not help, but a Fudgsicle did.)