Posts tagged with "rituals"

perpetual eve

This day is the same every year. The streets are dead and filled with slush, the stores all closed. No matter where I am, it seems people are looking for a channel on TV to watch a corporate-sponsored countdown, and I always feel alone even though I’m surrounded by friends.

If it’s the same every year, it’s strange that my memories of New Year’s Eve are so mixed. Jocks harassing me on the bus. Bundling up in big coats to share petit coronas outside. Panic attacks. Blonds and redheads. Rich foods and too much drink. And somehow the people I love and the people I hate end up at the same parties.

Sometimes it reminds me too much of my childhood. My family hosted the same countdown party every year that became the only real time we spent with other people, and the only time we ever caught up with our “friends”. Numbers would be shouted in unison, champagne would be toasted, nothing would change. An empty ritual for empty people. Maybe that’s why I never feel like I belong anywhere on this day. It’s like I’m waiting to feel what everyone else around me is feeling when the ball drops.

A New Winter Ritual

Snow collected on the grass last night.

This makes me dream of weekend mornings in my living room, tea and a laptop, looking out to a blanket of white. Dolly curled up on the armrest next to me, as she always is. No other contrast feels as cozy.

Ritual dictates that I watch Onegin or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind on the day of the first snowfall, a tribute to winter scenes and warm romance.

This year, I’ll buy myself some skates. I’ll pack a snack and some water. Maybe my camera in case an image catches my fancy.

As the strings shudder and the beats go on, I’ll carve a little path for myself on the canal, and burn beneath the orange sky.

And this will be my new ritual.

Autumn Recall

Fall approaches. The trees have yet to shift their colours along the spectrum, but the temperature has begun to drop. Even when the air is calm it’s a playful shiver down the spine.

One of my favourite things to do around this time of year, before I quit, would be some wake and bake to start the day. After smoking a joint, I’d open the windows, turn up the music, and let the breeze drift inside. Sometimes I would go for a walk with my iPod before the sun fully showed itself. When the beat was right, the hardest thing to do was not to move my body to the music, to groove embarrasingly, and grind and sing and twirl.

With enough weed in the lungs, anyone will dance.

I won’t say that I don’t miss that lifestyle, because it was a way I could view things from a different perspective. My thoughts would run freely on those early autumn walks. Music would sound better. Girls, covering up in sweaters and long sleeves, would look nicer. It was a prescription I would need every week.

The experience isn’t the same until it’s this time of the year. Smothering summer heat dulls the senses. Winter overstimulates them into sobriety, and even after a full bowl, all one can feel is cold. It’s only in the fall, in the perfect weather, that brings one to ones’ senses. The green air, full of that cold concrete smell, gives a rush to the head.

Until I walked outside this morning, with !!! pounding in my ears, I never thought I could feel this way again.

The approach of fall has brought this back to me.

To Steep

Thumbnail: Bacon grease

Thumbnail: Breakfast

Thumbnail: Dolly's milk treat

All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes.

—George Orwell

On Saturday mornings I wake up a little past seven, no matter how late I was up on Friday. Get dressed, check the mail, read the news, go upstairs to cook breakfast in a pan of grease. Everything is timed perfectly. The toast is started two minutes before the eggs are broken into the pan, but only after the bacon is done. The tea starts steeping two minutes before that. Everything is ready and warm within 25 minutes.

Dolly gets a treat on the weekend mornings: a bit of Fancy Feast, or half-and-half mixed with water. Cats are lactose intolerant, so they can’t drink straight milk, but they’re drawn the fat that their noses can smell.

Bacon, bread, egg, bacon, bread, egg. I eat my breakfast in order, going clockwise around the plate, but I always save a few sips of tea for the end. Even though I’ve given up the Hong Kong style milk tea, Orange Pekeoe is an appropriate black leaf substitute, rounding out the meal.

It’s a little ritual that keeps me sane. At the end of breakfast, satisfied and full, I can reflect and recharge, down to the dregs.

Every year, as I grow older, I find that I let my tea steep a little longer. Maybe life has gotten a little too complicated, and I need the tea as a distraction, or perhaps life has become too simple, and I need the companionship of a rich mug to stimulate me.

Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company.

And I’ve never needed this more than I do now.