We've just come through yet another period of bad weather. New Brunswick was cold, wet and grey outside, and inside. Water was pooling inside my mind, and I dreamed of those warm days on the beaches of New Zealand. When I wasn't daydreaming I whined and whined and whined, then threatened to live the remainder my life in bed with the sheets pulled overhead. I wanted to hibernate until the sun shone again.
Hibernation is what certain mammals do to justify having Canadian citizenship. The Canadian winter is magnificent when you're asleep in a cave. I'm not aware that there are any mammals, other than me, that want to hibernate in mid-spring. I'm not even convinced that I'm a mammal. There are days when I'm certain that I'm a reptile. Some reptiles lay around all day until the air temperature gets high enough to warm the ice in their blood. That's me! I have some long underwear which would help, but I can't bring myself to wear them in late May. It's all psychological anyway.
At this time of year I should be foraging for roots and shoots, asparagus and fiddleheads. The only thing I'm starved for is warmth. It's pretty pathetic. When the phone rings and a telemarketer tells me that I've won a free cruise, I'm tempted to stay on the line and collect my prize. I quickly regain my senses and hang up the phone, knowing that a phantom cruise is not the cure. It wasn't always this way...
In February of 2006 I was suffering the most debilitating back pain of my life. I was taking hydromorphone, also known as Dilaudid, which is a morphine-like pain killer that left me comfortably numb. My life was in shambles at the time because I couldn't do anything that was fun. It even hurt to walk. When the phone would ring I would drag my wretched body slowly toward it. At least half of the calls were from telemarketers. I would talk to them because I had no life. One call in particular was quite memorable.
It was one of those free cruise calls. I had decided, before I picked up the phone, to use a fake voice. It was a froggish, croaky voice that lived somewhere at the back of my throat. I sounded like a monster. In fact, I was. I listened to an endless barrage of words while the telemarketress knocked down my wall of objections. She must have been pretty excited to have hooked a sucker like me. The conversation, albeit one-sided, went on for a record breaking five minutes. She was just about to reel me in when I dropped 'the bomb' on her:
"I can't go on the cruise."
"Why not Mr.Varty."
"Because...I have no legs."
"Because I have no legs."
Then she hung up on me. As soon as she found out I had no legs, she dropped me like a deep-fried beaver tail. She didn't seem to mind that I had no brain, but the lack of legs did her in. It just goes to show that brains aren't necessary to go on a cruise, or to work as a telemarketer. I remember that day like it was yesterday. It was a sunny day in February and there wasn't a single speck of snow on my lawn. I'm much more spirited when the sun shines.
I spent February 2009 in New Zealand. It was sunny for the entire time on the north island but I have to remind myself that it was cloudy and grey for much of my time on the south island. It rained for two days straight when I was in Akaroa, but I didn't whine or start to look for caves large enough to live in. I simply turned the water into wine. Not literally. Jesus! Who do you think I am? I simply made the most of the situation.
The image above was a compromise. It was raining outside my car, and the light sucked, yet I was still able to make an image that had meaning. Had I rolled the window down and taken that same shot, I would have produced a dead duck. There is beauty to be found in the rain. For me it was an important lesson (thanks Freeman!).
I now feel that I'm mature enough to go on a cruise. My back is once again healthy and my mind is clear. If the weather turned to rain during the cruise, I could photograph life through rain beaded windows. Now, if I could just find my sea legs I'd be all set.