In Canada, when we speak of water, we're speaking of ourselves. Canadians are known to be unextravagant, and one explanation of this might be that we know that wasted water means a diminished collective soul; polluted waters mean a sickened soul. Water is the basis of our self-identity, and when we dream of canoes and thunderstorms and streams and even snowballs, we're dreaming about our innermost selves.
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Here are some passing thoughts. Imagine looking up at the moon and seeing it burning. Imagine seeing the grocery store's checkout girl grow horns. Imagine growing younger instead of older. Imagine feeling more powerful and more capable of falling in love with life every new day instead of being scared and sick and not knowing whether to stay under a sheet or venture forth into the cold.
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I am a quiet man. I tend to think things through and try not to say too much. But here I am, saying perhaps too much. But there are these feelings inside me which need badly to escape, I guess. And this makes me feel relieved because one of my big concerns these past few years is that I've been losing my ability to feel things with the same intensity- the way I felt when I was younger. It's scary- to feel your emotions floating away and just not caring. I guess what's really scary is not caring about the loss.
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When the world throws you too much information, the only way you can stay sane or survive is to look for pattern recognition. Amidst all the blurs, is there a constellation that emerges, is there a straight line that's emerging. I think as long as you keep your mind in the palce where you're actively looking for patterns, you may not be safe, but you're going to feel safe, I think.
maybe memories are like karaoke-where you realize up on the stage, with all those lyrics scrawling across the screen's bottom, and with everybody clapping at you, that you didn't know even half the lyrics to your all-time favourite song. Only afterwards, when someone else is up on stage humiliating themselves amid the clapping and laughing, do you realize that what you liiked most about your favourite song was precisely your ignorance of its full meaning- and you read more into it than maybe existed in the first place. I think it's better to not know the lyrics to your life.
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Mom said that people are interested in birds only in as much as they exhibit human behavior - greed and stupidity and anger - and by doing so they free us from the unique sorrow of being human...I told Mom my own theory of why we like birds - of how birds are a miracle because they prove to us there is a finer, simpler state of being which we may strive to attain.
And in his heart, I think, he's now learned what I came to believe, which is, as I've said all along, that the sun may burn brightly, and the faces of children may be plump and achingly sweet, but in the air we breathe, in the water we drink and in the food we share, there will always be darkness in this world.
When you're young, you always feel that life hasn't yet begun""that "life" is always scheduled to begin next week, next month, next year, after the holidays""whenever. But then suddenly you're old and the scheduled life didn't arrive. You find yourself asking, 'Well then, exactly what was it I was having""that interlude""the scrambly madness""all that time I had before?
I think if human beings had genuine courage, they'd wear their costumes every day of the year, not just on Halloween. Wouldn't life be more interesting that way? And now that I think about it, why the heck don't they? Who made the rule that everybody has to dress like sheep 364 days of the year? Think of all the people you'd meet if they were in costume every day. People would be so much easier to talk to - like talking to dogs.
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Imagine you're a forty-year-old, Richard," Hamilton said to me around this time, while working as a salesman at a Radio Shack in Lynn Valley,"and suddenly somebody comes up to you saying, 'Hi, I'd like you to meet Kevin. Kevin is eighteen and will be making all of your career decisions for you.' I'd be flipped out. Wouldn't you? But that's what life is all about - some eighteen-year-old kid making your big decisions for you that stick for a lifetime." He shuddered.
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In periods of rapid personal change, we pass through life as though we are spellcast. We speak in sentences that end before finishing. We sleep heavily because we need to ask so many questions as we dream alone. We bump into others and feel bashful at recognizing souls so similar to ourselves.
I sit on the steps in the heat of the sun and listen as one by one these car alarms extinguish themselves until once more only the muted roar of the city is audible, and the city, bathed in sunlight, once again resumes dreaming its collective dream. Cars roll down the city's roads, plants grow from its soil, wealth is generated in its rooms, hope is created and lost and recreated in the minds and souls of its inhabitants, and the city continues its dream and searches for those ideas that will make it strong.
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My mind then wandered. I thought of this: I thought of how every day each of us experiences a few little moments that have just a bit more resonance than other moments-we hear a word that sticks in our mind-or maybe we have a small experience that pulls us out of ourselves, if only briefly-we share a hotel elevator with a bride in her veils, say, or a stranger gives us a piece of bread to feed to the mallard ducks in the lagoon; a small child starts a conversation with us in a Dairy Queen-or we have an episode like the one I had with the M&M cars back at the Husky station. And if we were to collect these small moments in a notebook and save them over a period of months we would see certain trends emerge from our collection-certain voices would emerge that have been trying to speak through us. We would realize that we have been having another life altogether; one we didn't even know was going on inside us. And maybe this other life is more important than the one we think of as being real-this clunky day-to-day world of furniture and noise and metal. So just maybe it is these small silent moments which are the true story-making events of our lives.
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When someone tells you they've just bought a house, they might as well tell you they no longer have a personality. You can immediately assume so many things: that they're locked into jobs they hate; that they're broke; that they spend every night watching videos; that they're fifteen pounds overweight; that they no longer listen to new ideas. It's profoundly depressing.
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