Second Excerpt from short story – The Coffin

Photo by Fabio Traina on Unsplash


‘The prize I want for my children is for them to experience generating their own vision.’  Gord nodded towards Cedar.   ‘So that they don’t forget to teach their children to have a life vision.  You are included in this, obviously.   It’s like an inoculation against conformity so you can be loyal to your weirdness without having to feel alone.’  Gord was applying his visionary skills he had used to grow his business now to generating some sort of family vision.  The word alone resonated too long in the air.

‘Once my wife died, I made the monetary aspect of my will known to my family about 2 years ago now.  That way everyone knows the percentage of my wealth they would receive.  Basically enough to buy a small house in a small town.  As long as I don’t live another 20 years.  If I tack on another 2 decades to this life that house purchasing power might diminish into more of a healthy deposit on a house, or a university education for the children, your generation.  But without saddling anyone with that demoralizing debt of a student loan.’  Gord explained as much to Cedar as to himself.  

‘I realized that something was missing.  I don’t know if I felt it was missing in me or in them to some degree, but for some reason I wasn’t able to provoke some sense of vision in life in my 3 children when I was …,  in my role as their father.’

He didn’t want there to be unclarity for them to get their medium-sized inheritance.  His children’s inheritance for Gord validated all the time he spent making money and not making connections with them.  But he did have one condition that he hoped would be fulfilling for everyone involved.  At this point he really couldn’t see them falling into a fight over his money.  At the same time something told him they wouldn’t follow through with his wish if he wasn’t proactive.  That’s why Cedar was sitting in front of him now.  

According to Gord, he didn’t think what he wanted wasn’t complicated or demanding.  Boiled down to what in essence Gord’s wish is, it’s to live in a real relationship with his family up to, during and after his death.

Probably not that unusual of a wish (except for the part after death).   It was just unusual to articulate it, have a plan of action and make it happen before he died.  The challenge for Gord at this point was connecting the moment with his emotions and the words they petitioned.  And he needed help.  

The silence was brief but rotund.  If earlier things felt a little awkward then now they had become almost adversarial.  

‘Wait. So then you want me to learn your,...your life vision and explain it to your adult children, because it didn’t take the first time round?  Sorry GG but is that my role here?’  Cedar was confused, hated bullshit and hadn’t signed up to be anybody’s therapist.

‘Ok, okay.  Listen.  Let me explain.  I have arrived, over the years, at a motto for what a father’s role is.  What I believe.  Basically it’s this:  to give his family things they couldn’t buy.  And that is exactly what I did.  I gave my family a solid upbringing.  A life with respect and reliability.  A home with encouragement and acceptance.  All with the stalwart work of their mother, my wife, your grandmother.’  His voice resonated with the assumption that it was understood that the father, or a man, was the sole source of these qualities.

‘So then.  GG.  What is a mother’s role?  What Is your motto for that?’  Cedar injected quickly before Gord kept rolling.  

‘Well, she um … She does the same thing.’  Surprised, Gord responds. ‘ It’s the same but somehow different.’   More than Gord’s definition of a mother’s role Cedar was really curious about her own motto for what a mother should be.  And how it would apply to her mother.  

None of his children; Phil, Sue or Martha had wanted to continue the family plumbing supply business.  It wasn’t glamorous but it made him what he was.   

The fact that no one wanted to continue with the business hurt his feelings.  It took the wind out of his sails for a while.  Of course he didn’t learn this until his children were well into their 20’s.  He figured they would try working elsewhere and learn they prefer to be a business owner rather than an employee.

In the case of his oldest son Phil that was true. But instead of taking on the family business he started his own tire business.  He had learned a lot from growing up in his dad’s business.  He especially learned from watching his dad that he didn’t want to run after people who hadn’t paid their invoices.  He figured that if he had the key to his customer’s car, they would pay him or they weren’t going anywhere.

Martha pursued a career in marketing where she could apply her creativity on a scale much broader than a small plumbing parts distributor.   Sue pursued her husband which turned out not to be a good strategy because he ended up pursuing someone else and left Sue and their two boys.   All this to say the company that Gord built from the ground up was converted from a family business into a plumbing parts supply business.  

‘The fact they didn’t want to take over my established business and the fact that I am now retired and widowed created a lot of space in my life.  Space and time in me.  So now, I have ended up reflecting a lot on life.’

‘I think that’s a good thing.  I have my introverted side too.’  Accompanied Cedar

Of course’  He said with a chuckle

‘We all recoil, and you know – repair and recharge.  It should be normal’  Insisted Cedar

‘You’re …, you make a lot of sense.’  Another chuckle from Gord.  ‘Getting through those teenage years is a real journey, if I remember correctly.’

‘Ya definitely.   It’s like every moment, every word you say, everything you do, every outfit you wear, every person you associate with creates this watershed that either includes you with or separates you from someone else’s definition of cool.  It’s exhausting.’  Cedar took her turn at using the conversation as therapy. 

They sat in an empty, scratchy moment and took a sip of their tea that had been cooled in the late autumn air.  Cedar brought her feet up onto the chair and hugged her knees.  She had kept her scarf on as she knew GG’s house was going to feel friendly to an arctic fox.

‘Oh sorry did you want a blanket.  Let me get you one.’  Gord got up and Cedar didn’t say no.

‘I just can’t  justify heating this whole house when my daily routine uses up such a small part of it.’

There had been no family conversations of downsizing.  Yet.  Without needing conversation, it was known that it would be Martha’s task to stickhandle that conversation with dad come the day.  But the children knew and respected that time had not yet come.  And it may never arrive.  

Martha, in conversation with Phil after their mother’s death had commented effortlessly, 

‘The only downsizing he’s going to do is from the house to his casket.’  She had no idea 

how right she already was.

The pain of leaving would be just as much about leaving the house as leaving his garage.  The garage was his man cave, his power pack, his church, his cocoon, his therapist, his studio, his laboratory.  He felt it is where he could be himself and not make a mistake and be in the flow of his thoughts and projects.  He hadn’t felt he had that freedom outside his garage.   No doubt this urban retreat would also have functioned as a prison.

‘I am telling you all this now in case, at some point, my health deteriorates quickly and I, I don’t know, I forget or simply lose the courage to follow through with it all.  I am telling you as a way to take the path of least resistance.  And because I trust you.  I trust my children too but, how do I say?’  Gord scanned internally a moment for the words to hang on his sentiment.  ‘I trust my children will do as they have taught me they want to do.  Which isn’t bad but it isn’t naive.’  Gord liked how he felt as if he was a functioning elder, sharing wisdom with the following generations.  

‘It’s so edgy …, new agey of you GG.  So what you are offering is a Vision Quest?’  Cedar looked for clarity.  She hadn’t quite grasped GG’s request for what he called an anchored vision.  He said it was a written intention that is associated with a physical object. 

‘It sounds intriguing but how does it work?  This anchored vision thing?.’  Cedar made air quotes around anchored vision   Cedar was getting pulled into his idea.   ‘I have never heard of that before.’

‘I know. I made the term up.   I want it to mean you write out a phrase and you associate it with an object.  You repeat the phrase and mentally send your intention encased in the phrase to the object.  To come true.’

This was the first time Gord had said his plan out loud so he was a little surprised how coherent it sounded.  He and Cedar had always had a good relationship but there was no guarantee she wouldn’t think this was the stupid rumblings of an old fart and a sure sign of onsetting senility.

The Coffin – First page excerpt from short story

Photo by Veit Hammer on Unsplash

Gord was comfortable in his coffin.  Snugly packed in with the intentions of his family.

~~~~~~

Anyways, that is how he sees himself.

The steam from their mugs was curling and unfurling in the cloudy light of an early Saturday November afternoon.  It’s because Gord kept his house on the cool side that steam was so obvious.  And perhaps that is why he had so few visitors.  Perhaps that was his plan.

Placing a mug of hot green tea on the kitchen table in front of Cedar, his grand-daughter, he slid into the chair opposite her.  

‘Mmm, thanks GG’.  GG is grandpa Gord.

You could smell the crisp green tea distinct, but not in opposition, to the history of the house.   Gord had arrived here in this house as a newlywed, became a father, businessman and grandfather.  And now he has become a widower in this house.

How can you call something that is three years old brand new?  But that is how it felt every morning when Gord would wake up surprised to be alone.  Gord hated the play on words but it was so apropos:  Linda’s sickness was just like her – short and sweet.

To create space on the table he neatly stacked off to one side his library books that were making the place look a little disheveled.  On top of the books he tossed his toque that a different granddaughter gave him last Christmas.  He had been outside on the small front porch fiddling with the Christmas lights when Cedar arrived.  Cedar didn’t arrive late but he just became too anxious and couldn’t wait for her inside.  It wasn’t weird that GG had asked her to come over but it wasn’t a random invitation in the flow of things either.

  

Gord wanted to take a sip of his tea so as not to appear he was jumping straight into his story without being social with small talk.  But by the feel of the mug in his palm he could tell it was still too hot to drink.

‘Cedar, how have you been, school and all?’ Gord manufactured conversation.

‘Pretty good.  Ya, school is busy with exams around the corner.’

It was getting awkward pretty fast so Gord just launched in.

‘I realized that something was missing.  I don’t know if I felt it was missing in me or in them to some degree, but for some reason I wasn’t able to provoke some sense of vision in life in my 3 children when I was …,  in my role as their father.’

He didn’t want there to be unclarity.  Or any sense of guilt for his children.  For them to get their medium-sized inheritance.  His children’s inheritance for Gord validated all the time he spent making money and not making connections with them.  But he did have one condition that he hoped would be fulfilling for everyone involved.  At this point he really couldn’t see them falling into a fight over his money.  At the same time something told him they wouldn’t follow through with his wish if he wasn’t proactive.  That is why Cedar was sitting in front of him now.

According to Gord, what he wanted wasn’t complicated or demanding. 

Rare Earth: What is it?

 

This is a brief look at the phrase ‘rare earth’ from three different angles.

The first version is the well known economic sound bite we see on the internet.  The second is a petition to your instinct to recognize the planet earth for what it is.  And the third is a bit of a stretch. 

First …

Rare earth elements (REE) is a funny saying. These are the minerals; Neodymium (Nd), Cerium (Ce), Europium (Eu) and 14 more that are used in the manufacture and function of cell phones, big screens and military components among other technologies.  

The term rare earth was coined when an unusual black rock was unearthed by a miner in Ytterby, Sweden, in 1788. The ore was called “rare” because it had never been seen before and “earth” because that was the 18th-century geological term for rocks that could be dissolved in acid. (www.sciencehistory.org)

The term ‘rare earth’ has taken on new meaning.  Specifically in relation to the need we have prescribed them.  We need these minerals to make our cell phones and we are cranking out a lot of cellphones.  As of 2021 there are more than 12 billion cell phones out there.  More than 1 per person.  So we have created a need for a lot of minerals.  And of course there are always shareholders to appease and answer to.  So it seems the rare part of the term has morphed to be in reference to the ease of getting these elements to market.  Which actually means they are discovered in places that are far away from the manufacturing sites and shopping centres.  On top of that it is rare that they are found in concentrations that make extraction commercially viable.  

Rare earth elements are an essential part of many high-tech devices. The U.S. Geological Survey news release “Going Critical” explains:

“Rare-earth elements (REE) are necessary components of more than 200 products across a wide range of applications, especially high-tech consumer products, such as cellular telephones, computer hard drives, electric and hybrid vehicles, and flat-screen monitors and televisions. Significant defense applications include electronic displays, guidance systems, lasers, and radar and sonar systems. Although the amount of REE used in a product may not be a significant part of that product by weight, value, or volume, the REE can be necessary for the device to function. For example, magnets made of REE often represent only a small fraction of the total weight, but without them, the spindle motors and voice coils of desktops and laptops would not be possible. (https://www.americangeosciences.org/critical-issues/faq/what-are-rare-earth-elements-and-why-are-they-important)

Peering down at these elements with our economic blinders we are gasping at the reality that the process to extract them from their home – in ore – is costly.  So the elements indeed are rare to the human ‘make buck – I don’t give a f**k’ mindset.  They are not rare to the planet.  They are her elements after all.  

Second …

Another way of looking at the phrase ‘rare earth’ is that indeed, the planet Earth is rare.  There is only one.

We tear up, heat up, and dirty up the planet Earth to sift out what is of use to us so that we can post a photo on Instagram of what we are having for dinner.  Modern technology is not bad; it is amazing the speed and precision and applications where it can be used.  The price of producing the technology can be quite damaging to the life of the planet, rivers, animals, planets and people.  That is not good business.  That is robbing Peter to pay Paul.  It is stealing from tomorrow to be comfortable today.   The extraction and processing of these minerals is labour intensive and has several toxic by-products.  

This disposable mentality we have slid into is defining our relationship with the earth.  This attitude of needy ignorance could be seen to parallel our outlook on the ‘rare earth’ of the human.  Specifically the higher human faculties of mind and soul.  Territories that are known to exist however found to be difficult to access and apply into daily life.

Third …

The third look at the term rare earth shines light on the territory of the higher human faculty.  This is not a topic we cover in our education systems – though it’s a potential experience for each breathing person.  These are the realms of human purpose.  Human purpose being considered the merging of the mind according to soul categories to have the leverage to join the spiritual trajectory.  It is rare that many people gather on this level.  The spiritual pioneer Jidduh Krishnamurti, who died in 1986, was someone who wanted people to do this kind of work for themselves.  To have this natural experience of self elevation so they can be drawn up into the trajectory of spirit.  And so he shared what he had learned.  And it has benefited the world in small yet indelible way,  

From https://kfoundation.org

Truth is a pathless land. Man cannot come to it through any organisation, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, nor through any philosophic knowledge or psychological technique. He has to find it through the mirror of relationship, through the understanding of the contents of his own mind, through observation and not through intellectual analysis or introspective dissection…

Krishnamurti was concerned with all humanity and stated repeatedly that he held no nationality or belief and belonged to no particular group or culture. In the latter part of his life, he travelled mainly between the schools he had founded in India, Britain and the United States, which educate for the total understanding of man and the art of living. He stressed that only this profound understanding can create a new generation that will live in peace.

Bronze weighs more than Silver in Happiness

great message

Inspire&change

*Have you noticed that a bronze medalist is generally more happy than a silver medalist at the end of the game.*

Its not incidental finding but proven fact in many research studies after studying reactions of silver medalists vs bronze medalists!
Ideally, a silver medalist should be more happy than the bronze. But, human mind doesn’t work like mathematics. This happens because of phenomenon of counterfactual thinking.

A concept in psychology in which there is human tendency to create possible alternatives to life events that have already happened, that would be contrary to what happened.

Sliver medalist thinks, “Oh I couldn’t win the gold medal.” Bronze medalist thinks, “At least I got a medal.”
Silver medal is won after losing, but Bronze medal is won after Winning.

This happens in our life also, we don’t appreciate what we have but feel sad with what we don’t have. Let’s be grateful…

View original post 12 more words

Welcome To Heaven: Stories From the Line Of Control that May Enlighten The World– VII. Final

Story and Photos that will transport you

ROAD TO NARA

On the Great Himalayan Road Journey to Baltistan, today is the showdown, the final journey continuing from

Call of the Now- I

Life and nothing more- II

Road will tell you- III

Remember me with a Lotus- IV

The Gun Mountains and other Gods- V

The Wait of Baltistan- VI

: ँ :

It was more difficult to reach here than i had thought. To an extent I was only one night away from leaving it all and going back home.

A whole day had gone in repairing Tyre and servicing this vehicle in Diskit, the same valley that hosted gypsies once, ancient travellers, porters coming from Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan carrying opium and other magic potions to the cold desert of Hunder; a stop that they still talk about as the Silk road. This was the ancient Silk route, and from here you either go up to Mongolia…

View original post 3,624 more words