Thursday, April 21, 2022

nightmares, art, pansies

Couldn't sleep last night, playing nightmare images of the soldiers and citizens of Mariupol, huddled in a steel factory, awaiting the monsters. As the neighbour I ran into this morning said, I feel guilty my life has been so easy. The Ukrainian people living calm lives just like ours, now plunged into inconceivable horror. How to understand that scope of evil? 

My daughter would say, It has happened here. Not the same way, not to the same extent, but yes, we are guilty of violence and destruction too. But here, now, life continues as before, only things are a bit more expensive. But there's peace. 

For now. 

Friends are travelling - Monique to New York, Gina to Portugal - but for me, the thought of being anywhere other than at home as the world disintegrates feels frightening. I must force myself to travel again at some point or I truly will be stuck to this chair forever. But not now.

In the meantime, there's art to illuminate our days. George F. Walker's entertaining, powerful play was  about the violence and corruption of the Russian state in 1905 - prescient, no? — and notable for having a blind character played by a blind actress. Annie, her son Nick, and I went to The Library at Night, a fascinating event directed by Robert Lepage. We entered a replica of book-loving Alberto Manguel's actual library, a cosy room stuffed with books, where we were given instruction in how to use the virtual reality glasses, and then in the next room we put on the goggles and headphones. Amazing - as we sat be-goggled we explored in detail the insides of ten libraries around the world. My favourite was Ottawa's parliamentary library, an ornate Victorian wedding cake made of wood; our visit there included birds flying about the room. 

SPOILER ALERT: The season finale of My Brilliant Friend, which had me shouting at the TV, "No no, Lenu! Don't do it!" But she did, she left her marriage. Brought back haunting memories.

Last night on The Agenda, an interview with Jean Charest, who said he wants our politics to be Canadian and civil, not to be a vicious American-style attack dog like his competitor PP. He sounded like an experienced, thoughtful grown-up. How many of those do we see in politics these days? And then a discussion about Sweden's catastrophic Covid decisions, leading to one of the highest death rates in the world. Bested by far, of course, by our freedom-loving friends to the south. Funny how the Repugs love freedom and yet also love Putin. Strange.

And a terrific documentary on Socrates. Please don't ever tell me TV is crap. So much good stuff. Especially for those of us who live alone - we have a fascinating companion hanging on the wall.

Several have written lovely things about Sam, and Chris wrote, Only two more sleeps until Bandit! A neighbour wrote that after their dog's death they put all his things in storage and are now going to donate them to Sam. 

So many people are kind and good. So many are not. Humans have been wrestling with this dichotomy since Socrates, and before. 

I needed to cheer myself up, so: 

And now a nap.


  1. How lovely, the pansies in their planter, a little tuft of alyssum (?), on the rim.
    When my husband won a GG in 2006, I was lucky enough to travel to Ottawa with him and to tag along on all the marvellous stuff arranged, including a tour of the Parliamentary library. Inside? Even more beautiful. The ornate carved panelling, the sense of being in a grand place completely devoted to books. So memorable.

    1. Yes, alyssum, Theresa. Pansies - pensées - such beautiful flowers, colour and delicacy. How thrilling to be in Ottawa for a GG award! I lived there twice and never visited the library. But have done so now, sort of.