wild game

My maternal family played a wild game every summer when I was growing up. Wild in that we were in cabins, on a lake, no electricity, no television, living in tents and cabins. My grandparents had two cabins, my Uncles each had one and we were in tents. I loved our tents, though. I still have the tent that my sister and I used. It is over 50 years old now and doesn’t leak. We had very strict rules about tent care. And canoe care. And we could use all the tools but had to PUT THEM BACK. We had aladdin lamps and candles and drank the lake water. We filter it now, and the cabins are still there.

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: game.

Q for quiet

I am blogging A to Z about artists, particularly women artists and mostly about my mother, Helen Burling Ottaway.

Landscapes can be so quiet. This watercolor is of Lake Matinenda, in Ontario, Canada, where my family has summer cabins. They are one room cabins and old and very beloved. I love the rocks at the lake and the reflections in the water. I spend every minute that I can outdoors there. If it is pouring rain or I am cooking, I am in the cabin. I sleep in a tent, because we slept in tents when I was growing up there. I like to feel the earth under the tent and the sound of the water on the rocks and the wind in the trees.

ATOZBLOGGINGCHALLENGE2022 #art #Women artists #Helen Burling Ottaway #ATOZCHALLENGE #Christine Robbins Ottaway #APRILATOZ

For more information about the #AtoZChallenge, check out this link.

pleasures

I put up the picture of my friends canoeing under simple pleasures.

Yet it isn’t that simple, right?

We have to get to the lake. My friends live in Virginia, I live in Washington State. I fly to Sault St Marie, US and they fly to Sault St Marie, Canada. I take a taxi across the border and meet them with their rental car. We drive to the Lake, after stopping for supplies. The motor boat is ready for us. There is no road to the cabin, we go by boat.

The canoe is a Penn Yan that belongs to my family. I don’t know how old it is. It is treasured and cared for carefully.

The family needs life jackets, paddles and instructions on getting in and out of the canoe. One friend is a very experienced kayaker, so he doesn’t need help. The other two are less experienced. Sun hats are found and put on.

We are not going that far. I will be in a second canoe, a very tippy small one. We have lunch with us and water.

Not so simple after all, but definitely pleasurable.

https://woodencanoemuseum.org/builder-history/penn-yan-boat-company

the problem with angels

the problem with angels
is that they aren’t grey

nor do they have color

they are black
or white

sort of boring, really

pick one side
good or evil
night or day
male or female

I would rather be fluid

I want to be able to transform

liquid to solid
solid to gas
gas to solid
gas to liquid

flow around things

seep into the earth

always always
return to the sea

keep your wings

project black or white
as you choose
on me

while I flick water at you
and go for a swim

_____________________

written 2014

Game ball

Warning: this post contains some time out words.

How do I process the game you played?

I am the subject of the game.

Or the victim.

Or no, I refuse. It is your game. I was not playing. I am the honey badger, metabolism so fast that I have to run from one meal to the next or else I will starve. I eat whatever I can find: cobras, bees, anything. I eat or I die.

You have tethered a honey badger to oxygen by playing a game.

I am the football and you have been kicking me, throwing me, catching me, slamming me to the ground as hard as you can in the end zone.

And now that I am worn and damaged and torn, you’ll toss me away, not even notice me, and find a new ball.

You will need a new football. To play with.

I don’t envy that person.

The truth is, it will be one of you. The group will rest on their laurels, oh, we nearly killed her, wasn’t it great? We showed her. She is so stupid, took her what, 21 years to fucking figure it out? And she thinks she’s so smart.

I was looking for food because I am always hungry. The food insecurity goes back to infancy. Maybe to the womb: my mother says she was not to gain weight and spent the entire pregnancy longing for a gigantic ice cream Sunday. Think of being in a womb, attacked by antibodies to tuberculosis, and starving all the time. Might be a little bit worried when birth happens. Fuck, I am going through a tunnel, what horrors await me here? But maybe there will be more food.

Maybe someone will love me. Maybe there will be someone for me to love. And feed. We can give each other food.

My advice to you is don’t be the ball. I was the ball for 21 years. I was so hungry the whole time, for food and for love, that I kind of noticed but dismissed it as unimportant. Food and love were more important. Work and my patients were more important. You don’t matter and your games are trivial.

It will be the weakest one who will be the ball. You worry that you are the one. You should worry. You had better look strong right away. Post some horror. Write something really tough. Don’t show anyone any niggling doubts. Um, the ball is wearing oxygen. I am feeling a little bad about this. Are you feeling bad about this? The ball isn’t just crazy, it’s hurt. Actually crazy is an illness too: I know that you discriminate and think that cancer is a legitimate illness and that mania isn’t, but you are assholes. No, you’re too small and pathetic to be an asshole. You are a one celled animal that is clinging to a hair on an asshole and you get shat on daily. And you know, deep deep in your tiny shrunken heart, that you deserve it.

I am so glad I am not you.

I am tethered to oxygen. But I am healing. I don’t think you can. You are locked in your small sick pathetic triangulation competition and pretending that it’s a game that it’s ok that you are just playing.

Ick.

Meanwhile, the oxygen is portable.

I have food and I have love and I have work to do that lifts me on wings. I will go too near the sun and light on fire and fall burning, but that’s ok. I’ve done it before. The ocean heals me, always. It is so much fun to fly!

This is in memory of my mother, my father and my sister. I miss all three and I love them and they love me. Today is the day my mother died. The longer we live, the more days are days when someone that we love died. But they are still here. They are in the rocks and the sky and the trees and the coffee cup. They are not in sugary donuts or foods that cause heart attacks. But they are all around us, cradle us, still love us. Joy to you and the memories of your loved ones who have gone on. Blessings.

Kitchen skills

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: cook.

I really do like to cook. Eating is a pleasure too and I am blessed with children, now young adults, who always liked to eat. No fussy eaters in our house! I wouldn’t allow sodas in the house and when we went to restaurants, they could choose soda as a dessert or a dessert but not both. I harped on the evils of sugar and television, at least, too much of either. We did and do eat chocolate.

This is my cousin’s cabin, at Lake Matinenda, from 2012. The earliest cabin is from the late 1930s and they all have pretty basic kitchens. We filter the lake water now but used to drink it straight from the lake. My family stayed in a tent mostly and my parents, mostly my mother, cooked on a single burner camp stove. Bless her! A lot of work! We all took part in the cabin work. Trash taken out by boat, filling water buckets, working with hand tools and cooking on burners. The propane refrigerator is much better than trying to function out of a cooler! It taught all of us good camping kitchen skills and we have family recipes for the lake stay.