Monday, 3 December 2012

Movement. Blog 7.

A broken block.



It was with great verve and anger that I attacked the t-shirt that advertised: “Don’t Play With Your Health”  Indeed!... 'playing' with my health, going up an unsafe ladder, (one that I, myself, had set) and falling to my own broken state has left me with three and half months of crutchdom, crawling up stairs on my knees in utter humiliation, suffering through painful surgery, and fractured bones that may, someday, heal. With less than three weeks until I get the okay to slowly start weight bearing and walking, I am anxious, a little terrified, and completely and utterly fed up. I am headstrong, too fast to judge, and always think I know best... all qualities that I inherited from my mother... in both their good and bad affiliations. 
This “Parkdale Occupational Health and Safety Committee” t-shirt was comprised of a series of comic-like drawings of work and home accidents. It was the one word “CRASH” in cartoon lettering that spoke to me the most. That sound of a ladder falling haunts me forever. I wasn’t sure where I was going when I started this quilt block, but, as I kept cutting and sewing, I realized I wanted to make it feel ‘broken’, like shattered glass or bones...  off-balance and sharp. 

Anger to Sadness... if I could just call my mother and have her admonish me for my stupidity. Sigh.

Note to all: always have a ladder buddy below.

Fish and leaves to be embroidered on at a later date.

Fish and Foliage


I started swimming as part of my physio: moving through watery space with some speed, heart beating, ankle loosening, body thanking me... underwater: I want to be a fish, or a dolphin, an orca whale. (Word of advice to anyone who suffers an injury similar to mine: swim as soon and as often as you can.) I dedicate this block to my harsh but true mantra of late: “move or die”. Swim, hike, bike... move. A family of walkers, my father hikes his way to a renewed life and love through the jungles and beaches of Costa Rica. My husband waits impatiently for our long walks, future travels, hiking new trails and old paths. Our old dog still jumps up when I move from room to room, ‘will she finally walk me?... it is time?’. Soon, dog, soon.

Hiking is healing. As family and friends gathered for my mother’s funeral, we went on a few group hikes to some of her favorite spots. It was a great time to walk together, be together with or without words, share our sorrow and heal.

Some family gathering at the bluffs, remembering.

The freedom shirt.

Liberté, Freiheit, Libertad, Freedom

A road to travel, a desert to walk.
Those words in many languages were spelled on the t-shirt used in this block. I reflect for a moment on my mother as a feminist. Remember the early days of feminism? There was a time when all that I know, and all that my daughter takes for granted, was simply not there for women in this country. Needless to say, in so many other countries and nations, women have no where near our rights and freedoms. The struggle does continue. But in honour of my mother, I harken back to the sixties and seventies when feminism first grew strong as a movement and then as a way of life. She marched and rallied and held her head high as a vocal woman, an educated woman, and a fearless woman. I winced as a young teenager at her diatribes on the importance of the feminist movement, embarrassed at her passionate and opinionated voice in front of my shy and wordless adolescent friends. I struggled with her formidable presence... I just wanted to blend in with the latest fashions, peer pressures, and mindless attitudes. It wasn’t until many years later that I realized how the gift that she gave me, that very same strong voice and feminist attitude, has formed me. A favorite song from those pioneering days of the feminist movement:  Give us bread, but give us roses.

As we go marching, marching, in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: Bread and Roses! Bread and Roses!
As we go marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women's children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses.
As we go marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient call for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for, but we fight for roses too.
As we go marching, marching, we bring the greater days,
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life's glories: Bread and roses, bread and roses.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; bread and roses, bread and roses.

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