Mythos & Marginalia

life notes; flaws and all

j.g. lewis

original content and images ©j.g. lewis

a daily breath...

A thought du jour, my daily breath includes collected and conceived observations, questions of life, fortune cookie philosophies, reminders, messages of peace and simplicity, unsolicited advice, inspirations, quotes and words that got me thinking. They may get you thinking too . . .

Mondays are just young Fridays

What has been heard, what has been said, after 24 or 27 months give or take? More or less, what was said (even wished) was mainly, and above all else, that we wanted things to return to normal.

We were longing for the everyday day-to-day, the regular way, sort of; or at least, some semblance of such. We wanted, we said, to be with people again, doing the things we usually did.

We wanted to see smiles, again, on stranger’s faces, we said from behind our masks and wanting so much for our lips to be read as much as our expressions of joy. Or reality. Or anything other than what it was for the 26 or 25 months of what came to be.

We weren’t asking for much, really, or nothing any more spectacular than what life grants us on any given day. We wanted the ordinary, if nothing else.

What we have known is not over. How we are living, coping, or struggling, is not the same as it was eight months, or 11 months, back (or 25 or 23). It was a long time, and longer still will be this shadow of a virus that has hung over us (more than a footnote, and still not quite a chapter) in this never-ending story.

What was, or what is, close to some kind of normal, feels closer now. Dare we say it? We wished it, didn’t we, and here we are now more than two years later, finally gathering in parks and parades, galleries, shopping malls, and back at the office.

Masked or unmasked, we might not be as close as we were before, but we are working on it. Aren’t we? Can’t we now see, or hear and experience life, a little bit like we did before?

Yes, we want more, but right now this is as good as it gets for those of us still cautious, yet relieved, that we are here to see what’s going on.

It is, or seems to be, a return to the usual, the normal, and the everyday ways. For some of us it will never happen, for many of us it will never be, but for all of us there is a new (or another) opportunity for ordinary.

The ordinary: after all we have been through, that may even be better than it sounds.

06/27/2022                                                                               j.g.l.

 

cloud songs

     Morning begins it all,
yet it is much later
                    you notice
   nights become shorter
when the day is no longer.
          We see less
       than we want to, and
   know more than
          we should.
   Darkness allows silence.
        May your thoughts
            be understood.

 

06/21/2022                                                                           j.g.l.

Mondays are just young Fridays

The lush canopy of green above us seemed to take its time arriving.
   The recent sunshine, warmth, and humidity contribute to a general feeling of euphoria.
   No specifics required.
   The changing of the seasons is not lost on us; nor is the change of reasons.
   In the grand scheme of things, this feeling doesn’t last as long as it should.
   Shouldn’t we appreciate this more than we do?
   Look up. Look around.
   Think of where you are now and why you are here.

06/20/2022                                                                            j.g.l.

I'm like a pencil;
sometimes sharp,
most days
well-rounded,
other times
dull or
occasionally
broken.
Still I write.

j.g. lewis
is a writer/photographer in Toronto.

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The Greatest Respect

Posted on November 7, 2018 by j.g.lewis Leave a comment

I have no space in my heart for war.
   I am fearful, and saddened, by continued conflict on foreign soils that I have grown up watching on television and reading in the news. I cannot get past the hatred expressed by bombs, and guns, and the death of innocents unable to defend themselves.
   I am distressed by the threat of war. I have no space in my mind to even try to comprehend such action.
   I have no room in my heart for war.
   I do, however, have the greatest respect for those who have served this country, or made the ultimate sacrifice, so that I, that we, may live as we do now.
   It is not hypocritical.
   It is honest.
   I grew up listening to the horrors of war. I grew up attending, annually, Remembrance Day ceremonies. Armistice Day, as observed by commonwealth nations, marks the end of the First World War. We learned of the war, and those that followed, from a very young age, in textbooks, through the media, or from our parents.
   The stories were not lost on me, but truly didn’t sink in until the end of my teenage years.
   As, then, staff photographer at a mid-sized daily Canadian newspaper, I was assigned to cover the annual November 11 ceremony at a cemetery on the outskirts of the city.
   As a photographer you learn to hover on the edges of an event. I, not wanting to disrupt the ceremony — and wanting to pay respect to those who were there for greater reasons than I — tucked myself behind a tree, attached my telephoto lens, then watched and waited for the right shot.
   The crowd was not small, rain threatened, and veterans still stood tall in their uniforms, blue blazers and berets, medals displayed proudly. Their postures straightened as a bugle played The Last Post.
   I watched as a man in a wheelchair began to shudder, his head bowing down. I then watched as the soldier next to him reached over and placed a hand his shoulder. I was watching through a 200 mm lens, the complete picture of the scene and the crowd was not important to me.
   The sound of the bugle fill the air. I pressed the shutter button a few times, capturing the intimacy of this small act, then my eyes began to cloud with tears. I lowered my camera and broke down.
   I tried to remain silent behind the tree. My eyes were no longer fixed through the camera lens, but sweeping the crowd. I watched aging veterans, wives and widows, and sons and daughters honouring family.
   The impact of the wars, on me, was felt more deliberately than ever before.
   After any event, as a photographer, you search out the subjects of your photograph to get names (and correct spellings). This particular photograph would not require the soldiers to be identified as I shot mostly from behind and they were simply the two men, in a crowd of many, who were not identifiable, as such. I could have easily offered a cutline in the next day’s paper identifying the men as “veterans”.
   I did not think it as respectful, or I wanted to know who these men were. I had been profoundly affected.
   When asked, both men proudly provided their names, ranks, and details of where they served. I was also invited to the Legion Hall where a simple lunch was planned.
   I went, and I sat and listened to men who were not regaling themselves of war stories, but sharing memories of friendship, of comradery, and of duty.
   I have no place in my heart for war.
   But I have room to remember those who defended this country and others; proud soldiers who defended the lives of others across the globe. The numbers have dwindled over the years.
   They were fathers, and husbands, grandfathers. They meant something to their families, and to me.
   I still tear up on Remembrance Day.
   Some years I will watch the beautiful ceremony broadcast from the National War Memorial Ottawa. I have visited the Cenotaph in Winnipeg, on Memorial Boulevard, and sat through the ceremony. There is nothing as dramatic as the cannons going off as a sign of respect, heightened by the silence between each shot.
   I cannot help but stop for a moment each Remembrance Day, wherever I am, and offer a silent prayer.
   I have no room in my heart for war, yet, if I am to claim peace the most important goal, I am also to acknowledge, and dare I say, respect, war, and Canada’s peacekeeping role throughout the world.
   No, it is not hypocritical; it is the reality we are faced with.
   War is a reality we are all forced to live with, sadly.
   That should not stop us from hoping, for praying, for peace.

Lest We Forget.

© 2018 j.g. lewis

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