March 10, 2001
Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
I'm a late night-- early morning writer.
Snow flakes of various sizes-- like a pocket of change, blow and float gently to the ground. After a week with no snow fall, the top layer had become hard and dirty. Now, through the window, everything I see-- the wind chimes, steps, trees, driveway, street and power lines are all covered by white fluffy cloud stuffing, as if the heavens descended.
4:21am. Time evaporates as I journey inward, sitting on a wooden chair in front of the computer. In my head, a continuous conversation notes observations-- past and present. Using this keyboard sketch-pad forces me to analyze points of view, as if drawing a panorama picture while stopped at a look-out on a mountain path, gazing back at where I've been, and attempting to put it all into proper perspective, detail by detail. The recording pales to the experience, as it is limited by my skill and effort to clearly express my view at that point. More important, is just slowing down, taking the time to look around, think about where I am, how I got there, where I am going, and why.
Life is a path; step by step, I did this... then I did that. I met these people... and they lead me there. Scene after scene after scene... the movie rolls on; changing characters and sets keeps things interesting.
4:50am. This afternoon, Tom and I walked on the Bay Shore mud flats-- uncommonly large from the full moon low tide-- nearly out to the Shag rocks, wearing black seaweed locks. He just got back from his March break in Montreal, where, he said, "There are people everywhere. You can't just go for a walk like this-- where there is no one."
My view was wide open. I felt free. I like living here.
Looking back at the westside cityscape, I saw only linear architecture-- no-frills homes built by fishermen and dock workers. On the bluff above the beach, houses with a prime ocean view seem unrenovated for a century, with paint cracked and chipping-- as if stuck in a warp-- where time passes, but nothing new happens. Very little imagination put me back in the 1940's. That makes the character of this area unique. It is much easier on my eyes than the Eastside-- the land of vinyl siding, shopping malls, and big ugly plastic neon signs-- which could be just about anywhere in suburbia North America.
Saint John is the oldest city in Canada. Uptown has classic architecture-- like Gotham City. We'd have boomin' tourism if the Evil Empire's Deathstar wasn't parked in front yard. It is hard to be optimistic when it looks like the city is always on fire.
To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.
-William Blake (about 1803)