Friday, 24 March 2017

Disappearing Acts

I woke in the dark this morning. It was still raining. I promised myself I'd wake early to watch the sun rise from basecamp at the dock, but the sound of the rain on the roof of the Tiny House was so familiar, so comforting, I considered staying cocooned like a slug in the warm loft.

Instead, I made myself a thermos of coffee and hiked down to the waterfront, navigating the slick ramp down to the floating dock. The rain soon subsided. I stood at the dock's edge and peered out over Pedder Bay, watching the sun break in the direction of Race Rocks. The sky glowed orange, then a fiery yellow. When I turned around, a spectacular rainbow arched over the forest, from the direction of East Sooke Park to Matheson Lake


One World Expo, 2017
One World was a spectacular success. Students danced, sang, spoke, and Soca'ed their hearts out. Speaking of hearts, tunes like Shosholoza tugged at the heart strings. A posse of my fellow years gathered in Victoria for a mini-reunion. It was a gift to hang in the audience together, listening to haunting music from Syrian refugees, spoken word by an Afghan feminist, expert emceeing by students from South Sudan, Mexico, Norway, and Ontario, and a fierce performance by Indigenous students from around the world.

The Nostalgia Project--an interactive exhibit featuring your postcards, letters, emails, and messages to your Pearson selves--was featured in the One World Expo in McPherson Theatre. The stories, memories, and advice were eagerly pored over, especially by current students, who will have the chance to spend quality time in conversation with your messages (and writing messages to their own future selves) as part of the Life After Pearson workshop next month.


I'm leaving Pearson for the second time. It's been such a privilege to be back--the writing, storytelling and migration workshops, the passionate mealtime conversations, the rainy day hikes, the long forest bike rides, the quiet morning time in reflection and meditation.

I've been thinking of all the ways we leave or have left the College. The wrenching, sobbing, early morning goodbye at the end of our second year, when it felt like the world was ending. I've been wondering about all the alumni who have gone completely off-grid, AWOL, slipping silently away from the Pearson web for reasons all their own.

Pearson Log, 1992/93
I've been thinking of the many ways we disappear and re-appear to ourselves and to each other; times we feel ourselves lost and re-surface; intimate conversations we have with our own private ghosts.

And I've been thinking about Bruce--his crazy explosion of curls, his brilliant gifts on the piano, his generous intelligence, his smile. I've been thinking about Laureen--her warm, mischievous eyes, her confident two-step, her rock solid sense of vocation.

All the ways we consider our lives, like lines on an invisible map, spiralling every which way. The magic of taking the time to be present, to savour the sunset, that last meandering conversation, a fleeting rainbow, love.

We all take our leave, eventually. From Pearson. From each other and those we care about. From the world and its gorgeous mystery.

But here we are, you and I, breathing right now. Let us find the grace to live the wonder and the mystery.



In memory of Bruce McKinnon (Year 18), Laureen Laturnas (Year 19), 
& all the wild and quiet Pearson dreamers
who have blazed a trail before us.


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