Mira spent her first 29 years in Canada before settling in northern coastal California yet the Canadian roots run deep, surprisingly so, she recently discovered. During a visit to Toronto she made time to visit the Art Gallery of Ontario where lives a fine collection of the Group of Seven painters - rugged Canadian impressionists. And she was smitten, as she stood before the Tom Thomson painting above, the tears just flowed, the knowing of the land, the season, the temperature, the home. We are truly a collage of that from which we arise.
As the eldest of six Mira tumbled into a world chaotic and wild where she was early on pressed into adult activities of childcare, cooking, cleaning, forgoing childhood playtime. Well, nothing to do about that except to note that the ledger of responsibility has tallied much higher than the play column and so she has set her heart on balancing those accounts and sees a good long stretch of playtime is not only due, but is her very focus and reason for being.
During the recent Canadian federal election following ten soul destroying years of a despotic prime minister, Canadians were ready to reset the political clock to more liberal zones and they did that with enthusiastic love for their homeland.
Sharing the sweetness with siblings Mira was moved as they proudly expressed their appreciation of diversity in the new cabinet (50% women, Sikhs, First Nations People). No melting pot this land, “we invite new arrivals to keep their cultural heritage and customs while embracing our shared values,” her brother emphatically declared. Mira loves you Canada!
And during that election time she was reminded of a more innocent culture, but maybe it’s more than that ... open hearted, rooted in farmland, tied to landscape, bound by geographic and climatic extremes. Maybe all of this helps the immediate sense of essential aliveness be more foregrounded, less amenable to cynicism. Mira feels a hopefulness, optimism, trust, in her bones that may link to cultural roots where trust is more important than control. Who knows?
After she retired, Mira packed up her tiny car for a six week trek across western Canada visiting rellies and dear friends. And the old aunties did not disappoint in their gritty wholesomeness, hard working in gardens and home kitchen preserving operations as they near 90.
What really surprised her was how much she missed that big Saskatchewan sky that invites the feeling imagination to swim and float about for hours. Jeweled sapphire sloughs ringed by viridian grasses, backgrounded by unending miles of wheat straw under cloud spattered cerulean skies felt like a tour through saturated primary colourlandia (a nod to Canadian spelling).
Her children are no longer children and they are always hers, no matter how beautifully distinct they become from her, delightfully different from anything she ever expected, surprising her at each turn, ever opening her world to fresh perspective, even hilarity. Energy of youth.