I was first an “ex-patriot” from Canada officially in 1973. On those few remaining days, whenever I met any of my friends on the streets, their question of me at the time, fully acted out with their hands of their hips and their very best sneering retort, was: “What do you want to go to the United States for?” My somewhat flippant answer at the time, “I’m tired of behaving.”
I made it back to Vancouver International in the middle of October 2015, waiting in various shelters, until in April 2018 some kind advocates found me this place where I have once again come home. Right away I have to qualify that because I have largely vindicated the comment from the 70’s noticing that all that “behavior” is still in place. Shows up that, in fact, the downtown east side ghetto territory suits me quite well. No such thing as good behavior here and over a few years, I have become street smart. Thank you for that!
I remember clearly lovingly gazing on the last pair of bell bottom jeans that I finally gave away in 1989! Imagine them folded in a suitcase for a considerable period. Now only 26 years on, it’s, “OMG! It’s Vancouver!”
I used to say, I don’t fit the profile! I still don’t fit the profile. When I’m out and about rolling in my chair, especially in my neighborhood on the way for groceries, on the way for acupuncture, on the way to watch the sunset at False Creek, there are many of the 60 to 85 year older people around. I do not fit the profile of the standard model of 80 years.
I am coming to be known by my lightness, my smile of, dare I say contentment, and the funniness I purvey in generous quantities around and about as I go. My second father-in-law used to say, it’s non-stop comedy. I’m quirky enough to see the laugh out loud jokes as I go. Who laughs with me? The scraggy toothless guys who’ve been resisting jobs and homes for years, the bearded fellow wheel-chair dude with one leg gone from the knee. The Asians, all of them, smile and wave. This is a very nice thing, folks!
Just about everywhere I go, it is really difficult to miss me; sidewalks are narrow, people are many. As I am in these streets, I’m aware I am not of the streets; that is quite another distinction. But I am known here because I laugh and joke about my prerogative, I’m old enough now. What is intriguing about all this is that it really only works when all of it is easily and freely given.
I can attest with a great feeling of warmth that all of those street people somehow find ways to look out for each other notwithstanding there are raging, raving verbal battles that are the curling of short hairs in ferocity and sheer volume. Alongside these venting’s, the local Salish lads, (more grandchildren: see how this gets to be really fun, really fast!) pull out the large ceremonial drum, then 5 or 6 of these cedar-built guys sit around the circumference pounding the daylights out that drum so that it echoes to the reaches at least 2 blocks around this heart of the ghetto.
Those I write of here and those young Indian lads drumming like maniacs on the street corner: all of us in our own way and together: We are healing the nations!
Us Euro-American white folk do not know we need this kind of medicine. We also do not know that healing is without a fee. Nor is smudging with cedar, sage or sweetgrass (cleansing the aura).
The title of this category is GlowBall Inspiration. This is where I am right now on the planet. Imagine, I have a virtually unlimited ability to talk. My first report card, 1945, she talks too much! I have not changed. I have learned to use words quite well just as you yourselves are telling me now and anytime. Please send your whims and wisdom; pictures are kool, even I have learned to send them from my phone. Welcome and let it be known that your participation will actually be showing us the way of the Raven. It is, after all, her medicine!
The whole thing, all of IT, is inside us, let’s begin this moment to act as though we have known it all along because within us, we always have!