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TToT: The Luxury of My Breathing – Hammer and Dance #10Thankful

And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still.

And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

“And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

“And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new wats to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”
– Kitty O’Meara

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Photo caption: massive flock of swans on a pond at the side of the road. Reminds us of how the world of nature and our environment might have been calling for a shut down of our regularly scheduled programming for a while now and to slow down and learn to value what truly matters, not what certain fake leaders think life’s all about.

And nature also takes a breath, as my favourite Canadian song writer (Jann Arden) says: “good things come from bad things.”

I am full of gratitude for so many things, even though this pandemic rages on across the world, moving in waves, inclines and declines, and I wait at home for news…for something.

Ten Things of Thankful #10Thankful

It all starts and stops, begins and ends with breathing.

I’m thankful for every breath I take that’s unimpeded by the virus in question and any other.

I’ve never experienced pneumonia before. I’ve been on ventilators before, during surgeries, but any remaining memories of that sort of thing are super vague.

I’m thankful my family are all safe right now.

Speaking of breathing, my sister has asthma and I’ll never get over the shock when I walked into my brother’s hospital room, after an emergency medical condition had him requiring help to breathe and we’d not had any warning.

I’m thankful for medical advancements in the last one hundred years.

I’ve read and studied a lot about the Spanish flu of 1918 and I know this is different, but the biggest we’ve seen since then.

I’m thankful my two essential worker parents are okay.

My mom looks after people in a group home and my dad drives a wheelchair cab.

People with disabilities already have greater difficulties during these large events because they can not drive and depend on others to do that and more.

Lots about this world isn’t accessible and all the work-at-home modifications being made to keep people working and our economy from total collapse are things those with disabilities ask for normally and are often denied.

Not so much the time to harp on that now, but it’s a valid point.

I’m thankful for the technology I do have in 2020 so I don’t feel so alone, even while practicing social distancing in my home where I live by myself.

I have family and friends nearby and am rather used to spending large amounts of time home.

I’m thankful for all the work being put into fighting this coronavirus thing here in Canada and around the world, all the brilliant minds working and the front line people seeing this covid-19 up close, but I feel intense appreciation I am in this country and not in the US, but I worry for all my friends there during such days as these.

I’m thankful for the message Prime Minister Trudeau sent out to the children of this country.

Trudeau gives Canadian kids ‘special thanks’ for helping fight coronavirus – CBC News

I envy my three-year-old niece, but I wonder if she’ll feel any of these issues going on around her. My older niece and nephews can’t go back to school and I know that will be an issue. I’m okay because I know their parents are there for them, there to explain things when they ask questions.

I can’t imagine running a country during a global pandemic, especially after Sophie Trudeau tested positive for the virus. He isn’t perfect, but better than many alternatives worldwide and I feel safer here than many places I could be right now.

Justin Trudeau: Working at home just like the rest of us – Politico

I’m thankful for a body that knows how to heal itself, at least somewhat.

I went for a walk last week and twisted my ankle and scraped up my knee.

I’m thankful for strange pain pathways that don’t feel how bad my knee looks/feels. I was able to put weight on my left foot and right leg and finish the walk.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jO2wSpAoxA&feature=youtu.be

I’m thankful for the beautiful words of children.

I asked my cousin if I could share the following thoughts from her kids. Good place to end the TToT for this week (copied, with permission, from Facebook):

We’re all poets. And have something profound to share. Here’s the sentiments of our sweet Anders and Nevie.

Nev😇
I am happy
I wonder how many animals there are in the world
I hear the radio
I see the lake
I want a pet hamster
I am silly

I pretend I’m an animal
I feel proud
I touch animals
I worry about wildlife
I cry sometimes
I am kind

I understand the way of life
I say I love animals
I dream happiness
I try hard
I hope this virus goes away
I am calm

Anders🥰

I am strong
I wonder about the world
I hear nature calling for me
I see love
I want to have a nice life
I am proud of who I am

I pretend that I can fly
I feel happy
I touch nature
I worry about other people
I cry sometimes
I am filled with love

I understand nature
I say freedom
I dream of the world being saved

I try to be my best
I hope I can listen to other people’s feeling and help them if they’re sad
I am the best, best version of myself

Write them for yourself and your loved ones to stay connected to Self and one another. Stay true folks❤️❤️

I AM
I WONDER
I HEAR
I SEE
I WANT
I AM

I PRETEND
I FEEL
I TOUCH
I WORRY
I CRY
I AM

I UNDERSTAND
I SAY
I DREAM

I TRY
I HOPE
I AM

Try these prompts out for yourself in the comments, as comments, if you want and take care of yourselves.

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Viewfinder, #JusJoJan #Outlook

Here’s my view. It’s taking a while to find what that is, but this blog allows glimpses of some of the insights I seek.

Welcome to 2020 on this blog and off of it too. New decade and I overwhelm myself when I look back on the last one. So, instead, I try to live in this moment.

I do like having this first month designated for finding my direction for the year head. The blogging world has given me many tools, including this
Just Jot It January #JusJoJan
for jotting down thoughts to hopefully unscramble them.

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Day one of
Just Jot It January
because January 1st was a restful New Year’s Day and a Wednesday, which will be my break day throughout the rest of this month and this blogging exercise.

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Today’s prompt is about taking a photo and posting/sharing with any jot that might go along with the image.

This image is one taken on Monday, my day to travel a distance of less than an hour, to my brother’s town to record the half hour radio talk show on disability/blindness. I do this with my brother.

We have guests on occasionally, mostly we like to do interviews, but this time it was a friend and we had him in the background, as more of a guest host really, as we did a round-up of 2019 for Outlook.

After which we went out for lunch to celebrate the holidays. We’ve known him since before we can remember.

Thing is, I am blind and I still find managing the world of the sighted difficult, specifically when it comes to photos. They are an important part of life for most people, or at least a common enough occurrence. Hell, my brother is a photographer and a damn good one, but my memories of pictures that capture a particular moment in time fades as the years pass me by.

I wasn’t born unable to see photos at all. I am at that point now though.

I find many things about losing more sight frustrating, but then I try to tell myself it doesn’t really matter, to focus on the things that do make sense to me.

I don’t take the pictures housed on my iPhone currently. My mother took this one, one of four she ended up leaving, after she deleted some. She told me what they were, but I forgot the order of the four and am on my own today as I post this.

I usually like to include a caption in words, when I post a photo on my FB page or on the public pages I run. I do this for any other blind people, like me, who don’t see the photos and still want to know, to feel included as best we can.

This time, I don’t know if the photo I have chosen is just my brother and myself or if our friend is in this shot. We were at a restaurant that had a Christmas tree and some photos were taken in front of it. The other, at our table.

I fight with my frustrations, the sighted world being one of them, but I wanted some photos to choose from, to post on the FB page of the radio show we do. It’s called Outlook and past episodes can be found at our podcast archive page:

https://soundcloud.com/ketchuponpancakes

There are more and more forms of technology now, including photo recognition apps, but they are far from perfect. I often grow more frustrated when trying to use them than I would if I didn’t bother.

I will find a more upbeat and positive outlook for my 2020 and here, hopefully, as the month goes on. It’s there and coming.

I think it’s important to share and show the frustrating moments, as well as the times where a more optimistic tone can be struck. I have both inside. That’s what this first month is for, finding a balance, though I’ve been away from this blog for far too long and I need to warm up to it again.

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Blogging, Memoir and Reflections, SoCS, Spotlight Saturday, The Insightful Wanderer

Stretch and Still #SoCS

Unsure if anyone truly noticed the absence of activity here these last few months. That’s right-it’s been two months since I’ve written on this blog.

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The
silence
has felt strange to me, a void of something I’d been doing for five years of my life.

It’s like anything else, a muscle that must be worked. Without the work, I find myself forgetting how to do simple tasks that were always a main part of this blogging process for me.

I’m evolving, I guess is what it is. I’m doing new things that aren’t involving this blog directly now. It feels like a lousy excuse, but nobody else holds me to this place but me.

I am on radio now. Ooh, look at me! Ha!

I am writing, not less, but differently. Wait…less sometimes too. Scary stuff to me and the silences make that thought hard to stomach.

I don’t stop thinking, but that continues on in a silent stream of consciousness action. Just not here. Never here anymore it seems.

So I heard this week’s prompt and I knew about the silences. I knew it and so I’m writing through it.

The silence scares me, I admit. It threatens to drag me away somewhere. I cling to the edge of this blog with my fingernails (threatening to break), wondering whether it wouldn’t be easier to just let go.

No no…I don’t have to. This is my place and I am comfortable here, but maybe it’s harder and more of a necessary challenge to pull away sometimes, or risk never growing at all.

I spend a lot of silent moments and I think of sound as the opposite. Then I know I don’t have to be silent when I’m here. The point of being here is to not stay quiet like I’m drawn to being.

I sit in silent contemplations. I will always, but I love this place too much to leave it for long.

Two months does feel long enough, but I know I am always welcome here.

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TToT: March Breaks and Time Straddlers – Design and Procurement #10Thankful

I can’t get the image of all that plastic in that whale’s stomach out of my head. Or the gorilla who was shot and blinded. Or fifty human lives lost in New Zealand last week.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yks0RggaluY

But then, I am reminded, we live in a world with rainbows.

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“Watch the rain drop.”

I’m thankful for new Cranberries music. She’s dead, and that’s still unbelievably sad, but this song just released is powerful, even more because of how things are.

I am thankful for a good
classic Irish memoir
to read on St. Patrick’s Day weekend. (All twelve braille volumes of it.)

I’m thankful that another news network put a spotlight on the disability issues radio talk show I do with my brother.

Radio Show About Blindness Promotes Accessibility – CTV London

I’m thankful an interesting documentarian/filmmaker was generous enough to give me a few hours of his time, to ask me several thoughtful questions, to get to know my story a little better. I’m discovering, life’s all in the connections that you make.

I’m thankful for an upcoming Niagara Falls weekend trip with my family to celebrate the start of spring.

I’m thankful for my recent weekend away in New York City with my friend and travel agent extraordinaire, just in time for International Women’s Day festivities.

I’m thankful for rooftops, bars/restaurants/nothing but the roof.

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I stand on one, on a cold International Women’s Day in New York City, with my friend Anita.

I’m thankful for fear that I keep facing.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to share my fears and not feel so alone. On the stage, the presenter (my “writing mentor” was the presenter) spoke about fear in her talk and then called me up, along with two other ladies, to share what we’re afraid of.

I’m thankful for lovely songs and their singers.

Though I don’t mind winter like some do, I am thankful for this first day of spring.

“Everything is new in the spring,” said Anne. “Springs themselves are always so new, too. No spring is ever just like any other spring. It always has something of its own to be its own peculiar sweetness. See how green the grass is around that little pond, and how the willow buds are bursting.”-
L.M Montgomery, Anne of the Island

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Sounds of the 2018 Season, #AllWomensVoices #SoCS

It’s cold outside. Snow has come, gone, and come again lately. As Christmas approaches in a few short weeks, I love the air this time of year. I love the thought of a silent night, snow softly falling, but then there’s the bright lights and the musical spirit of this season.

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I am not Jewish, but I was listening to an all Hanukkah edition of a radio show my brother likes to listen to, a college radio station out of New Jersey I believe.

I don’t get annoyed by holiday themed music this time of year because it’s really only a short time out of the year. It makes me happy, from older classics to newer stuff, unless the singer goes too wild with their own rendition.

I see all the articles about the banning of Baby It’s Cold Outside, on certain radio stations since this whole #MeToo movement. I have read people’s thoughts and opinions on Facebook and thought about adding mine, but as usual, I am somewhere in the middle when it comes to whether the whole thing should have occurred in the first place.

I know the song well enough and I am not a fan of it personally, but other people have their own connections to the song and are upset that there’s any kind of pulling from holiday tune rotations.

I’ve always found it creepy, but it can be interpreted lots of different ways. Many artists and performers have done their individual renditions and made it sound differently, come off in a unique way, all depending…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpDLpz88V-I

I grew up knowing of Red Skelton from my father and grandparents too. He is a part of my childhood, but kind of from a different time. This song I came across is from the 40’s and things were different than they are in the 21st century we’re living in now.

In one version, the male sings certain parts and the female sings the rest. In another version of the song, there is a reversal in lyrics, in lines.

Is it a song where one person is pressuring another to stay, to spend the night? Is it more about both wanting to stay, but in those times, concerns over what people will think, a purity thing? Or is it a harmless flirtation?

I don’t necessarily think a song should be banned. Many songs, a lot from the 40’s or the 60’s come off, today, sexist and pushy, even inappropriate. People today should be more aware of boundaries and what messages we’re sending. Songs of today can be just as inappropriate, in my mind, but harmless in anyone else’s.

Thursday, December 6th, 2018 was an All Women’s Voices day, in remembrance of the 14 women in 1989, Montreal (mostly engineering students) who were murdered, by a madman who hated feminists and didn’t think women should dare go into the traditionally male fields of study.

On a university radio station near my home,
(for 24 hours straight)
they played and aired all women’s music and interviews with women and girls, about their interests and their fears and the issues they care about, how they’re making a difference.

I was interviewed for this, where I wanted to speak about myself, as a woman who is working for more equitable treatment for everyone in our society. These things weren’t taken into as much consideration in years gone by as it is today. Some still think we’re overreacting.

Again and again I hear about snowflakes and safe spaces. I know people think we’re making too much of things, politically correct as people like to say, far too sensitive for our own good, but this is a tactic of minimizing someone’s lived experiences and a brush off of possible trauma.

I just want people to try and put themselves in someone else’s shoes for a minute. If a song made someone feel uncomfortable, due to experiences they might have had, can we not stop and think about that for a moment at least?

The song Baby It’s Cold Outside is still available. It hasn’t been banned from the earth. If certain radio stations choose not to play it now, can you not just go find it elsewhere?

On the other hand, we’re not going to get rid of everything. There’s been progress, but there’s still so many discussions to be had. I may sound wishy washy, but I prefer to have a stance, somewhere in the middle of the road. I see both sides, but want to respect all people if I can.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SoCS

I know of so much beautiful music at this time of year. The song in question is jolly enough, I suppose, but not for everyone.

Not my cup of tea.

My head hurts today, so I think I’ll go listen to some instrumental Christmas music, by the crackling fireside.

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TToT: Time, Place, and Space – Lost On Spot, #FamilyReunion #LaParada #Panorama #10Thankful

“It helps, too, to dream big, to make plans for future projects that are beyond the scope of my current experience, to make connections with other people who work in the arts, to apply for grants, send out stories, throw bottles into the sea. Make space for more opportunities to unfold. Here’s a fun thing to try: write a letter to yourself, addressing yourself like you would a dear friend. What advice would you give yourself? Can you name all the things about yourself that you like, that give you strength and courage? What questions would a good friend ask you? (I did this at the beginning of June, and reading over my “Dear Carrie” letter now, I recognize that it has helped shape my summer in positive ways.)”

–Carrie Snyder

I read this blog post and wanted all of it. I want to think good things about myself and write it all down. I want to know art and other artists. I like the bottle in the sea idea.

I have been slacking, not keeping up reading other thankful posts. I have let myself down, in a couple ways this summer, but then I’ve taken on so much that is new and thrilling too.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for feedback that is hard, sometimes/at times more than others, to hear.

I know I am learning from it. I know I need to hear it. I know it is part of the deal, of being a writer.

I’m thankful for a surprise offer.

It came at just the right moment, right after the difficult-to-hear feedback. It was a strange contrast of a day.

I was unable to trust in it, at first, because I still don’t expect good things to come my way much in life. (Bad habit/trap to fall into.)

I could sure use offers like this one to come along, once-in-a-while. It was from a well-known company, with a healthy budget and reputation. I was discovered, just by having my words, in existence, out there in the world.

I should be able to brag, but still I am uncertain whether or not to speak details of the thing in question, while contract is still being worked on and leading up to the release date.

Still, I had to include it here, in this list, this week. I won’t ever forget that contrasting day of offers, for feedback and for growth and opportunity. I only need to make sure I get it right.

I’m thankful for friends/writers who offer me a bit of encouragement when I’m starting to doubt.

Editors are unknown and unfamiliar to me, but then that means their job isn’t to make me feel better about myself or to buck me up. I know, logically, that isn’t their responsibility, but yet I probably still am looking for that, somewhere, deep down. Working on it.

Friends, those who know the world of writing (creatively or business wise) are the ones who are there, when I need them the most, to remind me that I am a writer, still learning and growing, but yet not at all without merit.

It’s just nice to hear it. I am indebted to both editors and writers/writer friends/friends and family, for the contrast.

I’m thankful I got to check out a live radio studio.

Radio Western (94.9 CHRW)

I was in there, going and observing the action live, while my brother put on his Friday music show. I told him, on air and off, that witnessing him in that environment made him seem a whole lot cooler.

I was there to celebrate his year on air (48th episode or so) and to talk about the summer social we have coming up, for our work with and as the
Canadian Federation of the Blind
and also, to get any listeners, familiar with his show, familiar with him and I together. (Keep reading to find out why that is.))

I’m thankful the woman who runs it wants to give us a chance.

She has offered us a weekly half-hour talkshow. We are doing it (based on our podcast/Canadian Federation of the Blind) as a theme. We will talk about disability, accessibility, and equality/equity. We will be current (have call-ins/live guests).

She has also offered to air already recorded episodes of
Ketchup On Pancakes
and so that’s why we don’t want to do a total copied version of our already-existing podcast together. That is about family/creativity/humour, not strictly about disability issues.

It isn’t mainstream radio as most people think of it, known by everyone, but a university radio station supports the arts and local talent, as well as community. It will be more of a reach than we’ve so far had, be broadcasting us to more of an audience than we’ve had as of yet.

And so, we are (soon-to-be) available to people, driving in their cars, across London, Ontario and beyond. Also, we are available, online and on Rogers (channel 943).

Now, all we need to do is come up with a catchy name for our talkshow that captures what we are about. We have a little less than one month to do this. Sometimes names and titles are easy to come up with and other times, not so much.

I’m thankful I got to see a talented singer/performer live.

She is a local girl, someone I’ve known from a writing group, full of talent, and full of life. She is animated and energetic. She is many things I wish I could be, but have no stamina to be for long.

She is multi-talented creatively. She went to school for musical theatre and she ended up singing some opera (in English/German/Italian I believe). She had to practice, in front of friends, family, and local community, to attend nationally, after having gone to perform in provincials.

She sang about men and about eating children. She sang and had two young men performing, so she could take a break. It was inspiring and fun.

I’m thankful for a long awaited family reunion.

We used to see each other (my mom’s side of the family) at Christmas every year. Then, with every passing year, our group increased in size. Then, both my grandparents passed away, (2005-2010) and we would’ve needed to rent a hall for our gatherings. The decision was made at that time, to stop holding holiday celebrations, and we’ve seen a lot less of each other in the years since. Some of us see each other more than others.

It was a beautiful day. I tried to enjoy the day. I don’t do well in big groups, even when it’s family. These are people I have known, more or less, all my life. Some came along in the nearly 35 years since I was born.

Cousins have children and some didn’t or couldn’t make it. The children don’t know me. Some of the adults don’t know me anymore and I don’t feel as if I know them now.

Still, family is important. There are connections (no matter the time that’s passed us by or the place/life’s circumstances that have occurred). I know we’ve all changed. We’re not the same people we once were. I know there’s a set of roots there, those that run deep. I wanted to reconnect. I can’t make that kind of connection happen again, not with the wave of my hand or by snapping my fingers.

It was nice we did it. I do hope we can make it happen every so often. I wish some things were different, but we share a common thread of where we’ve all come from, no matter where we might now be or where we end up.

The food was good and the kids had fun. It was on my uncle’s farm, where I grew up staying, for summer holidays, as a child. I was never a farm girl, but my mother had been, like her mother and father before her, and my cousins were, though I did grow up a country girl who would eventually move into town.

It ended up the perfect spot for a summertime family reunion.

I’m thankful for my August birthday boys.

I’m thankful I met these talented writers in Mexico and that I get to go on another journey with them, if only by reading their wonderful words:

Go on a trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina with Angela Lang

or else…

wander through time/space/place with Kristin Vukovic

These two writers, along with the rest that P publishes, make me want to keep working to become a better writer myself.

I’m thankful for
this literary travel journal
they are both featured in, and for “Lost,” the most recent issue.

It is full, with each and every new issue that gets released, with the best writers around.

It is soon to celebrate its two-year anniversary. Happy Anniversary Panorama!

Your name continues to thrill me to no end. The bigger picture indeed.

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TToT: Anniversaries and Possibilities – Desert Roses and Rain, #BloodMoon #LunarEclipse #10Thankful

“There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you’d better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you’ll never understand what it’s saying.”

― Sarah Dessen

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I’ve been thinking of the concept of time lately. I’ve been thinking about the timing of life’s greatest surprises.

I’ve been thinking, the last few days, of the girl I was (in my early twenties) when I lost my grandmother and the person I am today (in my mid thirties) – because of her and thanks to so many others.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful to them all.

My family have lost both my cousin and my grandmother in the month of July and we never forget.

I’m thankful for the time I had with my grandma and that I can remember her on this day and every other.

When we lost first my cousin, followed almost precisely one year later by my grandmother, I was adrift in my twenties and things wouldn’t become clearer for several years.

When I think of how much I miss those loved ones and the person I was when they were still here, I wish to turn back time, but then I stop, pause and ponder, and my present and future beckon.

I’m thankful for moving writing like this.

Orange by Susan Block – The Citron Review

I’m thankful for the hope that much waited for political change can bring.

From my standpoint, born in Canada, Ive recently been lucky to hear stories, firsthand, from another’s place in the world.

As much as I worry about where we are, I know there’s a big big world out there, one still fighting hard for something better.

I’m thankful for music.

Listening to music helps me sort out my feelings. It has recently become energizing and lyrics and feelings music provokes, this awakens me to the possibilities.

I’m thankful for a blood moon and a lunar eclipse, even if I can’t see all of that.

Our Favorite Photos of the ‘Blood Moon’ Eclipse – National Geographic

Do I wish I could see these? Yes, I do.

But I can still see the moon and I can feel the power it has over the earth and everything on it. The way it moves the tides is a powerful example.

I can love the fact that it is “blood,” “orange,” or “Red” and I don’t stop, won’t stop imagining what that looks like.

I’m thankful for my ability to cry.

When I heard the news, I cried, letting my hot stinging tears trickle from my eyes, onto my pillow and down into my hair.

Whether it’s from a sudden great loss or a rush of extraordinary emotion in the face of something real, crying (even a little) reminds me that I am loved, of my ability to love, simply to feel alive.

I’m thankful for the feeling that I’m flying.

Desert Rose – Sting

I’m thankful for the desert.

I know very little of this climate, up close, other than the sands I stood on on my Yukon trip last year.

Carcross Desert – Atlas Obscura

Not exactly the same as in this song I realize.

Whether Sting is singing about the desert or rain – from the sands to the ocean deep, as in my favourite IMAX movies.

I remember the first time I heard the above song. I was in high school and my friend’s mother had picked us up at the movies. We were driving in her van and Desert Rose came on the radio. I was blown away, as there was nothing else really like it on the radio in Canada and I felt like I was being transported, somewhere far far from my home.

I’m thankful for the rain.

Last time it was fire and this time it is rain.

“Ever since I met you on a cloudy “Wednesday,” I can’t believe how much I love the rain.”

(Lyric from a Chantal Kreviazuk song, which I’ve altered only slightly.)

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