owlfish gave me these
It's funny. I don't think of my animals as "pets," although I guess they are. "Pets" seems to diminish their singular identities, somehow, and my relationship with them. I always think of them as "the animals" or "my furry friends." They are family, in a very real sense (seeing as I have very little in the way of human family still living). Except for brief periods in Toronto and in China, I have not been without at least one animal companion; usually, I have several. Dogs, mostly, but there's nearly always a cat purring away in a corner or insinuating itself into dinnertime. Now, it's Robinson the beardie and Tabitha the cat, and that is Good. I love them both dearly and am happy that we seem to coexist happily. I sometimes stop and realize - that's another species sitting there on my lap, or walking beside me - and think what a miracle that is.
The Great Outdoors
Once, a neighbour said to me "you're just a country girl at heart, aren't you?" and I had to acknowledge what an astute observation that was. I'm seldom happier than when I'm outdoors, either in my own "bit of earth," my garden, or out in nature. I think that's something that I inherited from both my parents: one of the positive things I can say my father gave me. I'm fortunate to live in a place where the "outdoors" is only ten or fifteen minutes away - I can climb Mt. Doug, or walk around Beaver Lake, or sit on the beach, and find peace and solitude and beauty.
I've been taking (or "making") photographs seriously since I was about seventeen. I bought my first SLR camera when I was in my early twenties, and I've never stopped, though digital cameras have revitalized my passion, and sharing photos on Flickr has improved my work in amazing ways. It's my way of capturing the beauty of the world, of expressing some artistic talent that I had no other outlet for. Nowadays, I actually think of myself AS a photographer, though I know that I have lots and lots still to learn. I love it. I think I'll still be doing it at ninety, if I'm spared :)
This is kind of cool, that owlfish would associate me with feminism. I think of oursin, not myself, in that role. But, yeah, I guess it's something that's pretty important to me, or has been in my teaching. I've taught "mythology for women" and "women's lit" and I care a lot about women's issues. I grew up in a household with some rather skewed sexual dynamics. My mother was the strong one, the responsible one, but we always had to maintain this illusion that my damaged, immature, impossible father was the one in charge, the one who Knew It All. My mother tried to teach me that somehow knowing that we were stronger but Letting the Man Win was the way to go... I didn't buy it. My father used to tell my that if I "wanted a Man" I'd have to modify my attitude. My feeling was that any man for whom I had to modify my "attitude" wasn't worth having. I think a lot of that was my father's problem, not that of the male sex, as such, although I've had some encounters with men of my own age who are not yet "liberated." Young men are so much more delightful - they've grown up in a world where they don't assume superiority just because of some dangly bits between their legs.
Well, this is home, and has been for most of my life. It's funny that I've almost always lived on an island, and that Vancouver Island is big enough almost to fit England inside it. I've explored it almost from top to bottom, from east to west. There's the remarkable West Coast Trail - 40 miles of wilderness, accessible only by backpackers. Then there's Cape Scott, the northern tip of the island, again accessible only by a long, muddy hike. It's hard sometimes to be on an island; prices are higher here, and it takes hours to get anywhere from it. Vancouver would be so much more convenient. But it's my own little slice of paradise - I might trade it for England, but not for much else.