Debwewin River – a short story by Laurie Fraser

Debwewin River

Oaky Dokey’s testimony was the most interesting, just because he was the oldest witness, the oldest by far. Oaky Dokey was 436 years old. Can you imagine? He has seen more than 5,000 full moons. He remembers when Bangan Forest had no borders, when there was nothing but trees and rivers and rocks; nothing but animals and birds and plants.

Oaky Dokey wasn’t the oldest tree, Black Gum was even older, but Oakey Dokey had spent his entire life beside Debwewin River with his roots pushed right through River’s North Bank, his gnarly toes in water every day. He was the best witness to what had happened to Debwewin, and so it was his role to come before Council and talk truth.

The case had been brought before the Council of Seven by Debwewin River himself. He cited his right to be clean. Council had come to River to hear witnesses on North Shore.

Oaky Dokey grew on a small crest; River was slightly lower and water was wide here. Long Grasses loved both water and land; they danced all over North Shore. Spectators and supporters had trooped over with the seven Council members and they stood around in small groups. The situation was critical.

Oaky Dokey had a gravelly voice. “From the time I was a boy, River has been my friend, cooling my toes, quenching my thirst, growing my leaves, fattening my acorns. We are entwined and my health depends on him.”

“What changes have you witnessed over the years?” Councillor Crow led the questioning.

“Before Town was built,” said Oaky Dokey, “changes were seasonal: flooding, freezing. Current moved around and Sand Bar was erratic, but the quality of water never changed. Spring streams fed Debwewin fresh melted snows and he was clean. Since Town arrived, I sometimes see garbage in River: plastic bags and cigarette butts. Sometimes there is a smell or a pool of oily substance floating on top of water and she can’t breathe then, through that oil.”

A surge of agreement erupted from groups of deer and beaver and heron.

Ducks quacked loudly from River and frogs pumped their fists. They hated the oil slicks. Trout had already testified about the smell. Goose had brought evidence: one of her babies was all sticky.

“Flooding has increased,” continued Oaky Dokey, “and streams come earlier now that Heat has intensified. Year after year, it is too warm. But the dramatic change has been recent, ever since Town humans built pipes and culverts to join Town water with River. Town water is dirty- brown and smelly- and it mixes into River, our pristine Debwewin.”

Stream testified next. “More animals come to me now because I am clean, and I taste better than River. They are depleting me.”

Councillor Turtle was concerned with Truth and so it was he who spoke next. ”Debwewin River has the right to be clean. It is his birthright. More than that, Debwewin shows us our true selves when we look into him. This truth must not be distorted by garbage or oil. Water must be clear.

This very council uses Debwewin River to show wrongdoers the truth of who they are. It is essential that water reflects clearly for the health and good function of our community.”

Councillor Wolf raised his bushy eyebrows. “May I remind you that Mr. Fisher is waiting for his day in court.”

Everyone already knew that Debwewin River’s case had been pushed ahead because of the Fisher case. There was no way to help Mr. Fisher when there was no Truth to be seen in Debwewin.

“Clearly there is an urgent need to rectify the problem,” Councillor Wise Beaver spoke up. “I’ve been out to the site a number of times. It is a matter of re-directing that sewage water back into Town. Give me a team and 3 days.”

It took 3 days of stealthy work and 3 nights of manic work. It took 45 beavers, maybe 20 or so turtles, and a slew of muskrats and otters. It took about a hundred otters, but you’d swear it was a thousand the way they swarmed the project… and wanted all the credit too at the end.

Wise Beaver’s design perplexed Town humans. It was weeks before they realized that their dirty water was being recycled right back to them. Wise Beaver had blocked the pipelines with dams so that dirty water couldn’t reach River. Otters’ slides and tunnels re-routed that Town water right into the water tower on the edge of Town.

Councillor Eagle took Debwewin River under her loving wing and he healed rapidly there. The trees and plants and animals poured love and gratitude into River as he quenched their thirst once again.

Mr. Fisher’s case came to Council and it was agreed that the time had come for Mr. Fisher to stop hitting Mrs. Fisher. Crow walked with him to Debwewin River, and Fisher looked at his own face in water.

Debwewin showed him the truth of who he was, for when Mr. Fisher looked in water he saw himself as a boy. A sad boy; a scared boy. He saw his father hitting his mother. Then he saw his father as a boy. A sad boy; a scared boy. He saw a teacher hitting that boy. And then Debwewin showed Mr. Fisher another truth. He showed him Little Fisher, his own son, sad and scared, growing up and hitting his wife.

Mr. Fisher saw all these truths in Debwewin River. He understood that he was a hurt fisher; not a bad fisher. Like all animals in Bangan Forest, Fisher trusted Debwewin River, and so he believed the Truth of who he was.

Humans figured it all out, of course- they are the clever ones. The Town workers unblocked the pipelines, bulldozers ripped apart the dams and tunnels. Garbage flowed directly into Debwewin River once more.

So, Wise Beaver’s team got back to work.

And then the bulldozers came back.

Just when it looked like the cycle would never end, a teenage human posted a few pics on Instagram. They went viral- did you see them? Pics of beavers at work, bulldozers at work, sewage flowing into River, trees weeping, ducks unable to fly with their heavy oily wings. Those pics were shared all over social media.

A reporter came and interviewed Oaky Dokey, Wise Beaver and Town Mayor. Mr. Fisher was on the news too. He explained how Debwewin had shown him his true self. He had taken his hurt to Eagle who gave him so much love, that he came to forgive himself and his father too. But the most important interview was with Debwewin River himself. It was the first time a river had been interviewed by a human.

The media exposés about the cycle of waste made people angry. Humans in Town gathered outside the mayor’s office. They pumped their fists like frogs. They pumped their fists for frogs… and oak trees and fish and fisher families. They protested for Debwewin, the truth of the matter.

And so it came to pass that Town workers installed some expensive machines that clean water. Beaver Team became a consulting firm, much in demand in Town. Mr. Fisher became a loving husband; Little Fisher grew up to be peaceful too. And Debwewin River’s rights were upheld- the right to be clean, the right to be treated as a living being, the right to be his own true self.

© Laurie Fraser 2021

Stream Knows – a short story by Laurie Fraser

Stream Knows

It was one of May’s cool damp mornings. Fawn wore a beige sweater and an acorn necklace, but nothing on her legs. Her legs were so gorgeously awkward that no male of any species could pass by without gawking at them. Frogs and herons alike admired Fawn’s legs.

She came soundlessly out of Bangan Forest and stood for a moment where Long Grass began. Peace was all around except for Baby Jay squeaking for his mom. Turtle was beside Stream, acting like rocks. His dark eyes peered at Fawn from under the brim of his cap. Turtle was a sucker for legs, but he posed no threat. Fawn stepped over to Stream.

Her exquisite legs were on display as she splayed them apart and bent her mouth to Stream to drink, her saucy white tail in the air.

“Thank you,” she said to Stream, “you quench my thirst.”

“I’ve been gaining weight,” said Stream. “I could fill a camel.”

Fawn lifted her pretty head and looked around. At this point Stream moved slowly, hanging out with little pools and inlets, but further down Stream, rocks would break water into tiny white waves, causing Stream to spit up like a baby. She was small by nature, not a river, but Stream was long, and she knew mountain meadows as intimately as she knew Bangan Forest.

“I don’t know about a camel, but my brother is just behind me,” Fawn laughed her tinkling little laugh. The whole family needed Stream, and they visited every day.

Stream was birthed by Spring herself when Sun came closer each year. Sun hugged Snow with his many warm arms. Snow would melt with love for Sun and take off running and playing all the way down Bangan Mountain. And so it was that baby streams were born all over the place.

Sun hugged everyone- ice and snow, but also tree trunks and winter sleeping places. He woke bears and groundhogs and turtles. Old friend Rain came back as he always does, even Sleet showed up once in a while.

This Spring, Stream had grown until she felt quite large. Deep curves developed, pockets and eddies came into being. It was because of Sun’s warm kisses that her body was constantly changing. Stream adored Sun and would do anything for him, give him anything- even her own self.

Stream and Sun had a complicated relationship. History. They had kissed before- this wasn’t Stream’s first trip down the mountain, after all. Sun hugged the others- snakes and lizards and baby robins- but Stream was the one he kissed. Stream was special.

Stream freely admits to silliness and poor judgement those first heady days with Sun each Spring, when Pussywillow sang her songs, and Crow seemed to fight with everyone. Every year, Stream would expand and stretch under Sun’s attention, her little ripples giggling, her fingers reaching and reaching for more. She would rush and chase and take some crazy risks choosing her path, but streams are like that.

Of course, Day would grow longer then, and Sun had plenty of time for Stream. Stream could count on Sun to shine on her, warm her waves, glisten her peaks, reveal her precious stones. She loved to give to him- vapour, mist, wet kisses… whatever he asked.

The animals of Bangan Forest would come to slake their thirst and to feed too, for small fish frolicked in her. Stream slowed down with Summer and she gave to all who needed her: dragonflies, moose, clouds.

It wouldn’t be until late summer, but sooner or later, every year, Stream would give too much to Sun. Conversation would dry up first, and then it would come to pass that Stream herself would become quite weak. Sun became hard then, and he would dictate her path. He refused her soft kisses, and it broke her in places. Sun would glower and glare as Stream thinned. Bushes often grew nearby, gaining size by late summer, and she would try to hide under them. Sometimes clouds protected her. Rain rarely helped.

When Sun did bother to show up, he was cold and distant. He didn’t have much time for Stream. She would miss him then and call, but if Sun did pick up his phone, he made excuses: he had to work overtime, he wasn’t accustomed to Stream’s constant babbling.

The truth was that Sun had other streams. Spring was always arriving somewhere, causing melts and havoc everywhere she went. I mean, Spring is famous for that. In Paris or on a tall mountain, Spring will mess you up.

And this hard truth meant that Sun could not be present for Stream when leaves fell. Deserted every Autumn, Stream would cry until she was dangerously thin. Some years she barely survived, nothing but a frozen trickle on rock-hard ground.

Winter was good to her though, holding her safely in his strong arms every year. She could always count on Winter for some stability. He brought the Snows, and they guarded her too. She would rest there until Sun came nudging around again.

Oh, he was confident! He could play guitar and of course, being Sun, everything revolved around him. Beautiful, charismatic, he reached every year, reached for Stream.

“Not this year,” Stream would say, her icy thin arms still tight around herself under sleepy slopes of snow.

“Deer is thirsty,” Sun would tease. “She can’t drink ice.”

“She can eat snow!”

“Aww c’mon, Stream. Her babies are coming.”

“Not yet, they’re not.”

But Sun would flirt, you know how he does it- a clear ray right into an eye, a breaking smile, and then the hug that she had been missing… warmth.

“Sweetie,” he called her.

You could say that Stream never learns, but Stream would answer that she always forgives. Stream would say that she loves the cycles of life, the coming of Sun with all his mania, and the leaving of Sun with all his peace. Stream would say that when love encircles us- we must revel in it, expand, and when love has more important things to do- manoo, let it be, take a nap.

Stream knows about this, the cycles that always circle- seasons and water and love.

© Laurie Fraser 2020

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On Leaving the Body (What happens when you die.)

From What I Can Tell, the part of us that leaves the dying body is what you know as your Self. When I was 9, I thought that I would change when I became a teenager, but I remained exactly the same person. I thought that adult me would be different again, but it is not. The part of you that doesn’t change over the years- that’s the part that leaves the body and doesn’t die. I call it my energy or my Self or my Godself, but it is also called the soul, the higher self, universal knowledge, spirit. This doesn’t die, and although we are all connected in that we all affect each other tremendously, we do retain a sense of our individual self after death.

Just before leaving the body, some people have a chance to review recordings of this life located in the chakras. I believe that these holographic records are then filed in the Akashic Records. This is the traditional “movie of your life” but the focus is on how you made others feel, the impact you had on the lives you touched, including the plants, animals and planet. This is almost like watching memories- it is not to be confused with later reviews of goals, progress, karma, healing, etc. accomplished in this lifetime.

We leave our body feeling whole and we get help to show us the way. It can be a loved one or several loved ones, angels, guides, totems, or other. It will be the one you pray to. If you have a relationship with Jesus, he will be there. If it is Ganesh- he will be there. Sometimes we see only a pillar of light or a tunnel of light. If you feel unsure, just pray and help will arrive before the prayer is even completed.

It is best not to look back. When your loved one has died, the greatest gift you can give is to tell them  over and over: “I love you. I’ll be okay. We will look after each other here. You go now, as far as you can go, into your own Light. Don’t look back. Pray if you need help. Go, my Love. I’ll see you after your journey.” Actually, “Congratulations” is appropriate.

(Whatever you do, don’t say: “I can’t live without you. How will I manage? Don’t leave me.”)

When we leave the body, we feel fondness for it, almost a nostalgic love, as we would feel for a boat that had once carried us across an ocean, now irreparable and scarred. How well we know the eccentricities of the vessel: the surprising strength, the sensitive greenstick fracture. So, we say goodbye to this body with gratitude. Free from the constraint, pain and emotion, we slip out like a puff of smoke.

Once free of the body, we feel only love, lightness of being, an ease, a freedom. We do have things to do at that time and help will arrive as needed or requested. Generally, there is a variety of possibilities that I’m aware of, and I assume there are many more.

I have seen that you could go to a void. I found it so pleasant there, that I would have loved to stay. It is an emptiness, but not a hollow emptiness, more of a silence and solitude that can be wonderfully soothing if you’ve died feeling depleted, maybe from giving too much.

If you move past the void, there are giant buildings that look to be made of glass- but it is more of a translucent light- something that you can put your hand through, yet sit on if you like. (I sat on the steps of a library to meet my husband who had passed years before. The steps were made of that light material, as was the huge library.)

Or you could close into yourself and be miserable with grief or darkness or guilt or remorse. You will need saving in this case, and someone will come for you. If you are able, pray for help. Some beings in this state chose to end their last life deliberately.

Or you could go straight to another dimension- I’ve seen only 5th and 7th.

Or you could go to your “home” which is the retreat connected with your Ascendant Master.

Once you have crossed over, there is a time period of 40 days that will involve debriefing & healing. You might spend time in giant healing crystals that look like tanning beds. My understanding is that there is no real judgement, hopefully not even from our Selves. However, we were born with goals & hopes already in place on day 1.

For example, you were fated to meet your abusive husband from a previous life. Except this time, you had the power: you were the daycamp leader, and he was an obnoxious boy in your group. So, you had an opportunity to balance karma, to choose compassion instead of aggression when in power. How did you do? Did you hate that kid and the two of you made each other miserable all summer? Or did you find a way to like that boy, even give him some power? Did he find a way to trust you?

And so, in these forty days, we have counsel while we review our last life and consider what was accomplished, or not, and what damage was done… to the planet, other beings and our own selves.

I see us signing off on the lifetime and the record is then entered as a holograph in a book embossed with our true name. I have opened my book to random pages. Instead of reading the story of that lifetime, I see a holograph that pops up from the page- it’s a lot like watching a movie. (I don’t know if this is the Akashic Record or Library.)

How I Know This: I have seen these things in meditations, healing sessions on dying clients, and during teachings here and on the Other Side.

Desert Rose Meditation:

This happened while learning a stone.

I chose to learn a desert rose because of a life-long fascination with the desert. I’ve acquired many desert roses over time- I just love them. The stone is originally a collection of sharp edges that become worn soft by the wind, until they look like beige-pink roses.

I held the stone in both hands and felt a surge of love for it.

I laid down and held the stone in my left hand. I felt pinpricks all over my body.

I put the stone on my navel, and I could see sand and sand dunes. (I thought I was making this up, so I moved the stone to my heart.)

I felt despair, deep unfixable sadness with the desert rose on my heart and I began to tear up. (This surprised me, always a good sign that it is not just my imagination.)

I placed the stone my 3rd eye. I was lying in the sand, the sun setting, my camel beside me. Tremendous despair. I felt the blowing grains of sand needling my body. I knew that I would die here, the camel would die, and my woman would never know what happened to me. I loved her very much, and there were children too. A whole community, in fact, was depending on me for something that I would not be able to accomplish. I had failed. They would not get what was needed. Oh, my woman! I could see her standing at the edge of a village, her hand shielding her eyes as she scanned the horizon for me. She would watch for me in vain for months. The sand pricked all over my skin; I shivered uncontrollably. I had failed; they would suffer.

I rose up out of my body with wonder and surprise! How easy it was! No pain. In fact, there was no sadness. The despair was gone. I felt peace. Finally, after the sand and wind, I felt a stillness and silence.

I fell back into my body and the pain. Now I could notice the stomach cramps, the weakness, my throat like it was closed or stuck, the sand hitting me and hitting me, my woman, the guilt.

I lifted out of my body and floated above. Peaceful. Watched the sand bury my small body… and understood that I am the earth, that many of my bodies are part of the earth.

I went in and out of the body all night.

The next part of the meditation is to sit up and look at the stone. It took me a long time to stop shivering and sit up. I opened my eyes and looked at the desert rose in my hand. Beautiful. I closed my eyes. I saw a giant red rose and it came so suddenly with so much love that I burst out crying. It came with a message: “We love you! We are so proud of you. It’s okay that you didn’t bring help. Everything works out fine, all the time. Only the love is real.”

The message wasn’t: “You are forgiven,” because there was nothing to forgive. But I felt forgiven and that was what I wanted. Relief.

The red rose was fresh, wide open, a few drops of dew on juicy petals… to someone who just experienced a desert death, well, it was one of the most beautiful sights of my life.

Thank you, Desert Rose.

desert roses

desert roses

On stones, From What I Can Tell

From What I Can Tell, rocks and stones are alive. They are able to communicate stories and their own history. They absorb energy. By that, I mean that they can absorb emotion and happenings and later report those things. Rocks, stones and crystals are willing to share this energy and knowledge and it can be used for healing among other things. Also, stones can tell us stories about our own selves, even when we come into contact with that stone for the first time.

Stone Bear

Stone Bear

How I know this:

One summer my teacher/healer took a small group of us to an old abandoned farm. Her friend had been using the land for medicine wheels and moon ceremonies, but we went on a dry sunny day. She told us to go and communicate with the plants and trees, off on our own. The women disappeared down paths and through meadows. I was fresh off lyme disease and had a fractured relationship with Mother Earth at that time, afraid of being in nature. I would not be walking across a meadow.

I stuck to the widest path, once a farm road with low stone wall borders. I wondered about the people who had built this farm- the house was small and dark, the barns and sheds decrepit- no one had found their fortune here. In the sun, among birds and insects, I imagined a sweet simple life of weeds and greens, a cow and a horse, wild strawberries and sunny days… I sat on the low stone wall and traced over them with my fingers, listening.

The rocks told me about the days when the wall was built. I was completely surprised! It had been raining and very chilly, down to the bone. Three hard thin men did the work, one was younger. They were hungry and wearing dark clothes.

I knew that inside the farmhouse was as cold as the outdoors, the same feeling I had while living in a cave in Turkey (in the 90s). The fire would have trouble drying their clothes. The stones were placed in misery, “might as well work”, wet cold backs bent in the rain, day after day.

It was my first experience listening to stones.

After that, I learned to hold them and listen. (Instructions below.)

A desert rose took me to a lifetime in the desert when I died on a journey. I remembered the feeling of being buried alive in sand while my camel stood by.

I was male and I was overwhelmed with sadness about not returning to “my woman”. She would worry, would never know what happened. I had failed at getting what I was supposed to bring back; there were children too. I went in and out of my body all night. When I was out, I could look down at the little dune that was growing over me and see the camel and I felt only peace, then back into the body and the pricks of sand, overwhelming emotion, pain… then out- peace… then in….pain, sad…then out- peace

A pink tourmaline said clearly: “I will kill you” and took me a death by strangulation. Terrifying. Later I learned it was Boston, 1800s, attacked from behind.

A quartz gave me the sensation of rocking on water, floating with arms and legs splayed open, completely comfortable.

A smoky quartz took me to the void

An obsidian made me sob.

Just a piece of rock, I don’t know what it was, just from a walk, took me to grasslands, on a horse with no reins or anything at all, holding the neck and flying like the wind across fields and fields of tall grass, both us with long flying hair, feeling one with the animal. I was male, brown legs, the horse was darker than me, chocolate hair rasping my legs- I only saw down and ahead. We got to water eventually- I just jumped off the horse and went under a tree to sleep and the horse went off toward the water. What a sensation- I love to remember that.

Often, I just fall asleep. And from some stones, I learn nothing. Still, feeling them and giving them that time and attention – love really – is a wonderful feeling.

How to learn a stone:

Pick up a stone with your right hand, look at it/say hello/welcome, lie down and place it in your left hand.

Close your eyes and empty your mind (like walking on stones). Listen. Feel. You may feel emotion or a sensation somewhere physically; you might know something, hear something or see something.

When you are ready, move the stone to your navel. Listen. Feel.

Next, over your heart.

Then over your 3rd eye.

Sit up, open your eyes, cradle the stone in both hands and look at it again.

Give thanks.

Example:

My mentor died over a year ago and I miss him terribly. I sometimes manage to contact him, but not always.

One morning, I prayed to him (let’s call him John) and thanked him for the usual stuff. In a fit of loneliness, I picked up a crystal that he gave me years ago. I’ve always been a bit intimidated by it- perfectly clear like water, and quite large. This day, I decided to “learn” it.

I did it in front of the wood fire.

Right hand- tingling.

Left hand- body sensations, like weight, moving energy

Navel- sudden intense love, like a hug

Heart- vision of evergreen forest in the snow, me walking through it, so beautiful and calm, peaceful. I stayed there a long time.

3rd eye- John! Clear as day! I could see him in the mountains where he had lived, staff in hand, blue wool cap, goats all around him! He was herding goats or playing with goats… he was sure happy. I heard his laugh! His voice! I kept watching and I saw that there was an old-fashioned large ring of keys hooked on his staff. Behind him there was a place he goes regularly, where he is building something. It wasn’t clear- just a big deep place of blue in the horizon.

I asked John for a message for his wife and immediately out popped a giant blinking red heart like a cartoon. I asked another question I’ve been wanting to ask for months and got the answer I needed for my healing work.

I never thought of using the crystal to contact him- even when I was desperate to talk to him a year ago and couldn’t get in touch.

I shared the experience with his family, and they reported that he had herded goats for a time as a youngster and had spoken of it as a very happy time in his life.

Pandemic Dating by Laurie Fraser

Ah, pandemic dating: masks coquettishly askew, the scent of eau de sanitizer in the air, third date expectations of a hug- faces turned away…. with masks still on? Or has the time come to strip face coverings and reveal smiles? Sweet smiles, crooked teeth, hopeful lips, since when did mouths become so alluring? Since they’ve been hidden away like 70s porn magazines.

canoeing date

canoeing date

It wasn’t a virus that brought me to my knees in April 2020 – it was the realization that I was alone in my isolation bubble. Many perfectly happy single people became unhappy last spring. We had been busy with demanding jobs or volunteerism or sports. Single people are big on hobbies and travel and brunch with friends. Covid closed the door on that sort of engagement… and we found ourselves profoundly alone.

Now, that’s a whole lot better than being in a bubble with people who bring you down. At least my peace is consistent, the cat fairly agreeable. I imagine though, that everyone else’s big bubbles are full of laughter and stimulating conversation and gourmet cooking. I imagine the rest of you are playing board games, painting basements and making babies. I imagine dying alone, perhaps at the bottom of a staircase, where the cat will have time to eat my face before I am loaded onto a refrigerated truck morgue.

This is what drove droves of previously secure and independent singles to join online dating sites.

Hey, it’s something to do. I created a profile in order to advertise myself. “Woman available.” Some perfectly nice men contacted me. We messaged online, talked on the phone, and yes, that was uplifting, just because it was contact, human contact, a brand-new person to meet. But then… relationships develop. Ah, relationships are so tricky…. especially for the unmotivated. My theory is that although some normally fulfilled single people went online to look for company because of the pandemic, they were not genuinely looking for a partner. They had just been lonely or bored, not really looking to change their life in a meaningful way.

I did meet some men in person. Pandemic dating means no touching is guaranteed. A woman is not going to find herself in a tight corner fending off a man with six hands. I liked that the dates were outside and 6 feet apart. The first one was in a parking lot. We got a take-out breakfast and sat in our separate cars with drivers’ doors open. It was cold that day and windy. Little Styrofoam balls of snow garnished my home fries and we called to each other: “So, do you have any siblings?” “Do you like to ski?” Later we moved to another parking lot and talked with coffee cups in hand, car doors open, shivering.

I live near Morning Owl- a coffee shop in Manotick bordered by a big parking lot. I’ve had 6 or 7 pandemic dates there. The dates play out the same- a parking lot coffee, a walk to the Rideau River nearby and back to the parking lot to say good bye. I can’t resist comparing the men because the logistics of the date don’t change.

Morning Owl, Manotick

Morning Owl, Manotick

Some men talk a lot, and I can’t get a word in. One guy bought me an ice- cream cone, one guy played the outdoor piano, and one guy explained how the dam works. (In so much detail that my mind was free to wander, take in the clouds and the river.) For me, the river has become a test- I head down a thin path to the shore and see how my date reacts. The guy I’m looking for, my new best friend, will come right to the river with me, he will take risks on the rocks, he will interact with the water. So, when one guy held back, fearful of slippery rocks, I knew that he was too old, too fat. Another guy jumped from rock to rock until he sat down in the middle of the river, where I happily joined him. A fellow in shiny dress shoes slid down the muddy path on a misty moisty day, but he didn’t fall.

An hour or two later, we get back to the parking lot and I feel something by then: intrigued? tired? happy it’s over? Very often, what I end up feeling for these men is compassion. I haven’t met even one man who is ready to be in a relationship. I suspect some of them don’t even want it- they are just coping with a pandemic. They’ll go back to normal when society goes back to normal. They will get back to hockey games and football pools, dance clubs and a drink after work with colleagues, and they will have no further need for this dating nonsense.

Two years is the magic number for widowers to show up online. They were married for years, for decades, and they don’t know how to be alone. These guys, I think, will truly pair up with a new partner. They have a hole to fill. At my age, they also often have a house with a garden, a fireplace with 2 armchairs, a pension, and a queen-size bed. It looks easy to step into one of those holes- probably deceptively easy. How could I, messy ole me, replace a wife he loved for a lifetime?

I made supper for a widow. Over salad he told me about his wife’s death. He continued over lasagna- their first meeting, the proposal, the children. I had given up on him before dessert which was when I learned about her career and a couple of awards.

I have to say- I have met a lot of nice men. No duds. No tricksters. No creeps. I was reminded that men are anxious too. They may have little confidence, poor interpersonal skills, even a lack of courtesy. My single women friends (the professionally single who date for years) told me ridiculous things, but I believed them at first. “It’s his turn to call.” “If he doesn’t call, he doesn’t like you. Let it go.” “He’s playing the field. If he doesn’t make a weekend date with you, he is certainly seeing someone else.” “Oh, you’re being ghosted. Whatever you do, don’t call him.” (So, I called him- turns out he was legitimately busy at work, and we got together the following week.)

I know now that these enduringly single women are single for a reason. Men need the same empathy, support and understanding that women need. They are uncertain and they don’t know the dating “rules” that women do. (Especially older men, men who were married a long time.)

Give these guys a break! Reach out your hand- he’ll be relieved to take it in his. A sincere compliment is a gift he will appreciate- it might have been a long time since the last one. Go ahead, call him, even twice in a row. Be clear: “I like being with you because….” “That was fun. I hope we see each other again.” These men are not playing games – the older they are, the more they need simple and direct.

I have given up the idea “Is he the one?” because probably he isn’t. Still, the sun is shining and a decaf latte is in hand and this guy was interested enough to show up. Today I have company on my walk, so I will enjoy the company. Some men are shy; I ask them little questions and tell long stories. Some men never shut up. I know a lot about them, and they know nothing about me. Health issues, grievances, patents pending, funny stories, stories of change. In the end, I can always find some compassion for them- no one is having an easy time right now and kindness goes a long way.

I dated a guy for 4 months and only twice saw him pull out his wallet. The pandemic has severely limited options. In four months, we didn’t venture inside a restaurant, theatre or cinema. We didn’t dance at a club or see a band or go to a festival. What to do when everything is closed? Take-out Thai eaten on a curb beside a roped-off picnic table, long walks in various settings, sidewalk coffee, ice cream cones, homecooked meals, passing a guitar back and forth… eventually spending the day in bed.

I fell hard for that guy. I remember our first hug. We were outside. When he hugged me, he didn’t say, “You are so sweet.” He said, ”We are not social distancing.”

“Mmmmmm,” I answered, “I don’t care.” And so my bubble grew to include him, and it was wonderful company for a while.

Is pandemic dating worth all the effort? Well, it’s something to do. Takes 2 to canoe!

canoe date

canoe date

 

Look & Fix- energy healing

article by Laurie Fraser first published in Tone Canada Magazine, Nov./ Dec. 2020

I use muscle-testing and clairvoyance to communicate with a person’s energy (or the energy of a plant, disabled child, unborn infant, pet – anything alive can communicate).

Once communication is established, the energy will tell me what to remove and how to do it. Usually I am asked to remove old stuck emotions, dysfunctional energy, foreign energy and sometimes, an echo from a past life.

The client’s energy always tells me what to do; I don’t decide anything on my own. (I think that’s why my healing is so effective- I do no thinking- I just follow the energy’s direction. This energy is sometimes called Higher Self or soul or Universal Knowledge, but it is the part of a living being that doesn’t die. It understands what the client needs better than both of us put together.)

I named one of the methods that I use “Look & Fix”. I use clairvoyance to see the state of the client’s energy. I might see colours. For example, a cloud of red around a throat is usually unexpressed anger. I can easily remove these things when I see them, often with my hands. Usually, I see images that represent something else.

Things I’ve removed from clients’ energy:

– items tied to throats- chains, strings, scarfs, locks. (Represent someone else’s control over them, inability to express…)

– many things on feet- heavy boots, cement blocks, chains tying feet together (inability to move forward, paralysis, obstacles…)

– monsters (foreign energy, traumatic events, fears…)

– a broken car (car accident trauma)

– ice picks pointing to body (irritation)

– animals with teeth, open jaws, claws (attacks usually by people)

– deep water- I see the client in a tub or lake (sadness)

– brown hole in the ground, often client trying to climb out or fingers clinging to the edge (depression)

– balloons of all colours (I am directed to pop them or cut them loose. They seem to be old experiences that need to be let go.)

– ropes and strings like a marionette (someone else pulling the strings, lack of control)

– a large open umbrella (once needed for protection but now preventing intimacy)

Sometimes the energy holds wonderful images that it wants to keep. Things I have been directed to not remove:

– happy clouds

– musical instruments (represent a love of music- harps, guitars, pianos, orchestras, musical scales)

– the faces of children and babies (seem to be memories of love)

– flowers, fields of green, trees, meadows, vast pastures of white flowers

– wings

– animals (often identify themselves as totems or temporary helpers, often bringing a message, frequently it is Bear, Wolf, Butterfly, Turtle, or Frog)

Clients report a reduction in symptoms:

– a single woman reports not swearing on the Queensway anymore. “It’s not like the anger is suppressed. It’s just not there now. I can sing in a traffic jam.”

– an older man is no longer insomniac.

– pain reduced for many clients

– an easier time dealing with addiction issues- a woman who had quit drinking still had cues in her energy and when these were removed, she had fewer urges and cravings.

– a baby who cried excessively started crying 50% less immediately after his healing.

– unreasonable jealousy is no longer threatening a young adult’s romantic relationship.

– less anxiety and better sleep for a busy single mom.

DSC02941 (2)

What you don’t know about Seasonal Affective Disorder

first published in Tone Canada Magazine, Nov. 2020 by L.Fraser

We all heard about Seasonal Affective Disorder years ago. Media reported that people affected by S.A.D. need more daylight in winter to ward off depression. We got the message that being outside on a sunny winter day is uplifting.

It is not as commonly known that S.A.D. also involves mania. S.A.D. is not always sad, but it is always bipolar.

At its root, S.A.D. is the brain’s inability to regulate light coming in through the eyes. Light affects moods. S.A.D. can be caused by eye surgery and can appear later in life. It can be of varying degrees or severity.

Most people agree that they have more energy in spring / summer, and they feel slower or heavier in fall / winter. I think of this as a natural tendency toward hibernation. Circadian rhythms and biological clocks are cued by the sun. A time to sow and grow is followed by a time to harvest and rest. Traditionally, we have needed more energy for the long days of work and less energy for the dark days of rest. I wonder if the sun actually feeds our needs by giving us more energy in summer.

Anyone who has suffered from jetlag will attest to the discomfort of being out of sync with the sun. S.A.D. causes withdrawal or sadness or outright depression, starting around fall equinox. This can affect performance, sleep and appetite during winter. Spring Equinox is the most stressful time as days lengthen and short bouts of mania can appear. The mania increases until summer solstice and can continue right into the fall.

Mania is not always happy. Let’s be clear- mania is a busy-ness, a feeling of being driven, and although that can be positive (depending on the project), it can also be full of angst. It can be frantic or unfocused. Appetite and sleep are sacrificed for the project, and sometimes, sleep is just not possible.

Now for the wonderful news: pharmaceuticals are not required. S.A.D. can be effectively addressed by regulating light and dark on the brain’s behalf. As with jetlag, this can be accomplished with activity, light exposure and avoidance.

The most dangerous time for people with S.A.D. is spring. When manic episodes alternate with depression, a person can become suicidal. After all, impulse control is a manic symptom and the spring roller coaster ride is worthy of despair. (T.S. Elliot, who had S.A.D., wrote: “April is cruelest month.”)

The best way to interrupt the whole S.A.D. cycle is to stop the mania by wearing a sleep mask all summer. You will need 10 – 11 hours of darkness each night. (This means lying in bed in the morning with that mask on even though you want to jump into the day at dawn). If you are very manic, you must force sleep and wear sunglasses, even indoors.

As the days shorten, the sleep masks (or black out curtains) can be discarded as you try to get 12 hours light for your brain and 12 hours dark. As winter comes on, this must be accomplished by adding sunlight to your day with lightbulbs and outdoor activity.

‘Course you could always just move near the equator. Sun rises and sets every day at 6:30.

winter peace

winter peace

Raccoon & Turtle, by Laurie Fraser

A short story by Laurie Fraser

Raccoon was singing Morning Song as she ran along one of Forest’s paths. Animals of all sizes passed this way: chipmunks, skunks, deer, but tall birches on each side kept this path narrow and dark. Sun was barely out of bed, still stretching his fine arms, but Raccoon was sweating. It was so humid in early summer that heat followed animals right into shade and slept with them day and night.

Raccoon was on the skinny side and her mask was askew. She should have found a bed by now, but Dawn was early these days; there was little time to forage before Night disappeared.

Raccoon was moving so fast when she came upon Turtle that she had to hop right over him. He was a mature strong-legged turtle of enormous size. A beauty.

Raccoon had travelled a long way all by herself; she sure was happy to come upon a handsome dark-eyed turtle.

“Greetings! Where are you headed?”

Turtle adjusted his black cap. He was not fond of conversation, but he answered. “I am bringing provisions to my family.”

“I see,” said Raccoon as she eyed the many packs and boxes tied to Turtle’s back.

“You don’t see.” He nodded back toward his polished shell. “Food is inside.”

“So, what’s all this?” Raccoon motioned to the pile of boxes.

“Burdens.”

“Ah, burdens… Are they heavy?”

“What do you think?” Turtle was tired, and it made him irritable sometimes.

“I think they must be terribly heavy,” soothed Raccoon. “Can I carry one for you?”

Turtle did not answer.

Raccoon ran a circle around him. “Just one?”

“No! Go away!” Turtle knew that all raccoons were thieves and not to be trusted.

Raccoon fell back and watched Turtle’s thick legs dig into the earth and pull him forward a few inches. He flipped his feet forward and then pulled again, dragging his weight and his boxes. His muscles were clearly defined as they strained. One heavy metal box marked ‘Injustice’ was tied to his tail and as he walked, it drew a twisted trail in the earth behind him.

Raccoon picked up the metal box with her front paws. She walked upright, carrying the box still tied to Turtle’s tail. Turtle noticed how good this felt, and he said, “You have beautiful hands.”

Raccoon took this as an invitation to stay. She untied the metal box from Turtle’s tail, tucked it under her arm and began to talk. Now, no one can talk like a raccoon. Once they start, they never shut up. Raccoon told Turtle everything she knew, all her secrets, and all the important thoughts she had had until that moment in time.

It took a very long time for Raccoon to share all of this, and for Turtle to move down Forest’s path between tall birches. Time after time, Raccoon realized that she was ahead of Turtle, so excited was she and so slow was he, that she would have to stop and wait for him. She would sit with rocks or nap covered by Shade while Turtle progressed at his own pace.

It was a day of sitting with rocks for Raccoon and a day of hard work for Turtle, but at the very end, they found themselves at River’s edge. River was silver and flowing fast. Sun had started his drop toward Mother Earth and Sky chose her orange silk nightgown with pink straps.

“We must part ways now,” said Turtle, his dark eyes on Sky’s nightgown. “I will swim across River to the other side and you must continue to tread Forest’s paths.”

“I can swim,” said Raccoon and she took off her shoes.

“It is not an easy crossing,” said Turtle. “You are not heavy enough. River will toss you into Sky and she will catch you in her arms and never let you go.”

He directed her to attach the metal box to his tail again and so she did. He turned his face to Sun and readied himself.

Raccoon tied her shoes to her tail and jumped in Water. Current was strong even near Shoreline and Small Rapids could be heard by an ear turned in their direction.

“Come on!” she shouted from Water. “Why am I always waiting for you?” She showed off some new dance moves. “Hurry up!”

“We separate here,” said Turtle. “I have listened to your silliness long enough. I have important things to do, responsibilities.” He eyed Water’s edge and started a deliberate descent.

Raccoon laughed. “You work too hard!” She somersaulted into baby waves.

Turtle slipped into Water with relief. His burdens lightened, and he moved easily just under the surface of silver ripples.

Raccoon tried to grab the box tied to his tail, but Turtle swished her away. “I don’t need you.”

Raccoon swam alongside Turtle. She could talk even while she was swimming and she offered Turtle advice, a great deal of advice: how to untie boxes from tails, how to reduce baggage, how to run.

“Preposterous,” muttered Turtle, “why would I run?”

Raccoon tried to say, “It’s fun,” but River filled her mouth when she opened it. As always, River was greedy for space. He filled all the spaces he could find in Raccoon- throat and lungs and stomach. Raccoon became heavy with Water and she slipped below the silver surface.

Turtle heard silence and knew Raccoon was gone. He had secretly become fond of the raccoon who had finally shut up. He had chuckled on Forest’s path, and he was no longer accustomed to silence. Turtle reached over with one giant foot and flipped Raccoon over and then slid her onto his back. Raccoon choked and spit and sputtered until Wind found her spaces and forced Water out. Raccoon curled up among the boxes on Turtle’s strong back. She felt protected there, and he liked her weight on him.

River hugged Sky in her orange nightgown with pink straps. Sky hugged River back and got orange all over him. Even Raccoon and Turtle were silky orange for a time as Raccoon slumbered on Turtle’s back. She dreamed of waiting with rocks, as Turtle swam gently, careful not to wake her.

By all accounts, Turtle had journeyed for provisions many times and was expected to arrive without incident, without delay, without a raccoon on his back. Maybe Darkness knows what happened, or maybe Stars could piece it all together… but Moon was the opposite of full that night and so the most reliable source was unable to report.

Raccoon had been dreaming, of course, and Turtle had been charting his way as usual, but something disoriented him. Perhaps it was Darkness playing his games. There is no way to be certain how Turtle got stranded on Sand Bar, but Sand Bar is notoriously erratic, constantly shifting and changing in size. He traps his food by lying in wait.

Once Turtle got stuck, his belly in the grips of hungry Sand Bar, his flippers uselessly flapping the air, Raccoon did her best to move him. She pushed; she shoved.

“You must remove the boxes,” Raccoon said, “or you will die here.”

“Take one,” allowed Turtle.

Raccoon used her clever claws to unfasten the largest burden, over Turtle’s big fat liver. It was full of anger. Turtle felt lighter, but he could not be moved. Raccoon took down a second box marked ‘Explosives’. Then a third one labeled ‘Past’ that had been tied much too tightly to Turtle’s soft heart. As Turtle lightened, he felt relieved… even, just a bit… happy.

Raccoon rocked Turtle from side to side. She sang a love song to Mother Earth as she rocked Turtle. Turtle felt loved. Mother Earth felt loved. Sand Bar gently opened her jaws and released Turtle. He swam free into River. Sand Bar swallowed the boxes.

At Shoreline, Turtle stopped and offered Raccoon a ride. Now, there is not a single raccoon alive who will turn down a ride on a turtle’s back. It’s like a sports car to a raccoon. Everything is fun to them. So Turtle offered a ride and Raccoon clapped her beautiful hands.

Things had changed between them.

“You are slow and heavy,” admitted Raccoon. “I feel safe with you.”

“You are fast and light,” answered Turtle. “I feel uplifted by you.”

And so it was that Turtle arrived with Raccoon on his back. They were both smiling.

© Laurie Fraser 2020

Stone Turtle

Stone Turtle

Synchronicity by Laurie Fraser

a short story by Laurie Fraser

This is a story about synchronicity. I don’t know what to make of it- I’m not religious or even spiritual, really. I was raised without churches or mosques or synagogues. I was raised without a prayer. I knew who God was, of course, but I confused him with Santa Claus- a kindly old man who could see everything and could grant any wish, give any gift…but that didn’t mean he would.

That’s what I knew about God. In my 20s, when my baby died, I asked my parents, “Do you pray?” and they both said yes. My mother was sure and clear about it, of course she does. My father was vague.

“I don’t know how to pray,” I said. I didn’t know where my daughter had gone or if I could ask God about her somehow. I was angry with my parents after that conversation. They’d given me lots of things, nurtured lots of skills…but they hadn’t given me faith. Oh, I know, my mom’s from a nut-job family of fundamentalists, and she thought she was protecting us kids from the crazy confines of religion – I’m grateful for that.

But they had learned faith from their parents and it was a resource they used, especially when other hope was lost.

I wondered, could Beca see me now? Or had she disappeared completely?

She was the tiniest baby I’ve ever seen, born and died on the same day. She was born without a sound, total silence in that room, although nurses and doctors were elbow to elbow. They had no hope and I had no faith and so they didn’t stick her full of tubes and monitors in a little plastic house. They took her away and brought her back clean, in a blanket, and placed her in my arms.

I opened the blanket and saw a pulse right through her chest- her heart was beating! How could the doctors have missed it? Mesmerized, I reached my finger toward it, and gently, the nurse stopped me from touching the pulse.

“It’s electrical,” she said. “It’s just the brain.”

I didn’t understand. After many minutes, the beating stopped. For me, she died then. The death certificate would say Stillborn, but she wasn’t still.

But that isn’t my story.

When the anniversary of that day came around a year later, I knew I should do something to recognize the day. I was through the depression. I had adjusted to single life after her father left. I was back at work, although the two co-workers who had been pregnant with me- that club that I had lost membership in- were still on maternity leave.

I had bought a small dress, the prettiest I could find: lavender with white flowers, a white collar. I had wrapped it and put in the passenger seat of the seat of the car. And then I’d headed off to work.

Work was the best place to be. I was the only full-time staff in a community centre that was crawling with kids. We had 5 day camps chock full of children aged 3 to 12. The 13 – 15 year olds were the volunteer program, trained and supervised by me too, the most reliable of them paired with the younger children with special needs. The rest of them just ran around causing trouble. I once had to get one of them off the roof.

Once they hit 16, they could be hired. I was supervising a large group of counsellors- all students, sometimes hung over or broken-hearted or planning something wild for the kids. Like a huge piece of plastic on a hillside with a hose- a water slide for them to go crazy on, sometimes not taking turns very well.

I was only slightly older than them all, but I had the city’s legal team in my awareness. They were always afraid of getting sued. No tobogganing. Too dangerous. Summer camp made them nervous. But I was not wholly on their side yet. I was still in my 20s.

When a flash flood poured down on us one afternoon, the campers came screaming across the parking lot from the park. The counsellors did try to get them into the community centre, but when the kids saw the parking lot had become a shallow swimming pool, they laid in the water, laughing hysterically, trying to swim, their hands and legs splashing, the parking lot looking like it had beached a bunch of fish in bathing suits.

They were soaked anyway and I stood in the downpour laughing at them, grateful the lawyers were downtown. When the thunder and lightning started, they came shrieking into the building, slipping on the floor and shaking their hair like dogs.

It didn’t rain on Beca’s anniversary. It was terribly bright and hot, just like the day she was born. I was sweaty and maybe stinky as I got into my car at 5 pm and saw the wrapped present. With a start, I realized I had forgotten the significance of the day.

I caught my breath and started the car. Guzzling a jar of water, driving slowly down the leafy suburban street, I recognized the irony of spending the afternoon in a hospital with a child.

Ali was fine now – his parents had met us at the hospital and taken him home. He’d choked on something in the indoor pool. His blue lips called it “foam” but even after evacuating the pool, the lifeguards hadn’t found anything untoward. Still, I reflected, it was never fun to be in an ambulance with a child, unsure of his condition, with parents and municipal lawyers to inform.

I was driving very slowly, marvelling at the irony, when something flew directly toward my windshield and loudly thunked against the front of the car. I stopped. Whatever it was, it had come out of the sky, dive-bombing my car.

A bird? Birds are too clever for that.

I rolled the car ahead a bit, watching behind me. Nothing on the road.

I went a bit further. Nothing.

It had been a loud thunk. It wasn’t nothing. I rolled closer to the curb and stopped the car.

I got out and walked to the front of my car.

I gasped. A bird was on the grill. I looked closer. One dead bird. I brushed it slightly and it did not fall. One stuck dead bird, a small one, the feathers splayed out as if it was flying.

“I’m so sorry,” I told it, familiar grief suddenly burgeoning in me like blowing up a balloon. “Oh my goodness.” Tears filled my eyes and I was hopeless, helpless. What to do?

I looked up and around and saw a woman walking past a stroller in her front yard toward me. She had a running hose in her hand, and I saw she’d been washing her van. She smiled and called my name. To my horror, I recognized her as well- a co-worker who worked at a different community centre, but who wasn’t working today. She was on maternity leave this beautiful summer day.

I was working on the other hand. I had failed to produce a crying baby. I had a dead bird stuck on the front of my car.

I felt shame, profound embarrassment, my baby-killing nature on display, but I smiled and quickly blinked the tears away.

We had to ask how are you and how is the baby and how is work, no mention of Beca, but finally to the problem at hand: a bird on my grill. She stepped back- the bird was clearly my problem, not hers. I was mortified. I can use that word: mortified.

Swallowing hard, I reached to pull the bird away. It was just a baby. Maybe it had fallen out of the nest; maybe it was trying to fly. It didn’t come off the grill. Horror gave way to panic; I had to do this and get away from this woman’s picket fence. The head was stuck in a gap between two pieces of metal. I put my thumb and index finger around the tiny head.  I wiggled it and the soft skin moved around a hard skull the size and feel of a marble. I wiggled it loose, peeled the body off the grill, stood up and looked around.

The woman beckoned to me, and I followed her with the bird in my palm. She walked to the garage and lifted the lid of a garbage can. Newspaper filled it almost to the top. I laid the bird on it, and she closed the lid.

I walked back to my car and got in. I drove to St. Mary’s Maternity Home and gave the receptionist the wrapped gift. She promised to give it to one of the young moms.

It felt a little anti-climactic.

Now I don’t know about God or synchronicity or the Universe the way some people do. I don’t know what all that means or why that happened. I can only say that it was a very important day and that I wasn’t alone in knowing that.

The evening before they flew the nest.

The evening before they flew the nest.