Sunday, January 15, 2006

From the Cave: Miss Jeong

Dear Miss Mi Jeong,

I am listening to my father’s music. Do you know John Denver? He is a little like Roy Orbison, of the seventies. You know that Canada was also once like a different, old place? There are parts of my little hometowns that are like ropes and ribbons, the beautiful summer night starry skies, where the littler, smaller, good little wooden boats can tie up and refinish, to load up on new supplies. I am the small world in a sailor, a wanderer, a dreamer, a doer. My home had always been my little felucca, just never knew the currents sometimes.

My last letter to you has been a long time. I was on the sands, I was soaked in my sweat in the heat of the desert, where the tribes bring together their children, and love them, and care. I walked where the camels walked, felt the hot winds of the Sudan on my face , there was a wealth of kindness in difficulty. For the most part, a people slowly betrayed by the technologies and races among business. These were the world’s first sailors. It was a land of the pearl, the phosphorescence, a sea, of the porpoise, the skate, and the ray. Now they drive many Mercedes. But have missed North and South Mountain, of people that I knew, well, and loved, well quite well.

I missed standing and working in my old wood-lot, knowing my new woodlot was worth twice what I paid for it three years before. With already one undisclosed offer. The trees, the eight old, rusting cars that lay there, among the spruce trees. Seeing the track of the deer, the sharpening of antlers on the old tree trunks. Tracking the growth of fern for alders cut, the raise of the wild rose hedge, the ivy on the stones of the sides of my aging driveway. The pruning into classical shapes of the new roadside spruce growth, the Etruscan undergrowth of mosses, sphagnum, and much Indian-pipe , planted wild high-bush cranberries, and leather leaves, rhubarbs, goose berries, juniper berries, and some wild hops. There abound many mountain maple, unsuitable for syrups, but of great drying grounds trees, they drink much water. The ferns themselves are some of the largest varieties I have ever seen and rival some of less temporal climate. So many natural clearings need more light, for more varieties of stout gardens. The natural, but controlled growth forest of the old. The ancestors walked on these lands. Antiques in restorable condition. The tiny mayflower carpets of spring, the bunch berries, the high Queen Anne’s laces of summer and fall. The birches of autumn winds. I tied the tarps for winter on my original model caravan 1970 Grand Prix Classic twenty foot, with sleeping for five, with all cherry-wood paneling interior remodeled in 1983 by an avid executive fisherman; it is in classic 1970’s condition. I was told that I may even have prospective summer rentals on it; some people want to rent my old trailer.
My classic trailer depicted in a Toshiba advertisement I saw on the wall at Toronto airport. In some ways, the Americans will stay, perhaps thirty-five or forty years. But would any of us have remained without them? The Germans were not far behind at that time, when their laboratories were bombed, their files alone proved they were within six months of a nuclear weapon. All of their rocket technology was used by the Americans, Russians, and Chinese. All jet air-craft technology really came from the Germans also.

Was happy to hear about President Roh, then sad to hear about his scandals. Was happy to hear about the greatest Korean soccer championship, a home-town crowd, right proud. Was happy to see a trial on road-side car accidents. Even if the first ones were the Americans. Saw Maemi pictures on the web. Also there was a hurricane here. The airplane crash in Kimhae. What the heart hears but does not see. What the tongue tastes, the smells and the scents, the camel soup, the blandness of it all, the gold and riches, the loveless and the lame, the sure and the crowd, the Shiva of Hampi. India was almost unbelievable. What I never said, was how to see the world now, on five dollars and ten cents a day. The fortunes of beauty and suffering, the striving and the caves, the world was always to be mine to explore. To make it home safely.

It took two months after I submitted resignation to my Major, as a civilian second lieutenant (as we were told to consider it, ask me if it ever felt like it), that I was able to secure each and every proviso, which almost never happens. Maybe because I had studied. I took two nights courses at the University of Wollongong; Financial Management Accounting, and International Business Management. Was invited to sit with Lieutenant Colonel Zayed. How could I leave so loved? Simply said, “It is time to go back to school.” But accept this time, I decide the where, the what, and the when. The school was in Dubai. Someone must have been impressed. It might have been a young Bahai-Irania-Australian girl. Who never knew where her father was.

To make something important, like your focus, is dedication to yourself, especially when you are at liberty. What you earn, you deserve, that the first best service is to yourself, and then you are much more aware and able to care, and give compassion, to others. But for some families, it has never grown. For some people, such roots never grow. They begin and end life without the chance, to learn more. To gain insight into self-respect, I take hard roads sometimes to see what lies be beneath my path. Our societies, our histories, they are all often under the same pathos.

Yup, I am guilty of goodness, honesty, and self-destination. A willing worker, a contractor, is now on temporary sabbatical, self-sufficient sabbatical. I realize I own and drive my own bus. But I choose each job as I would screen. Research takes years. I love my current situation. Free. I would work here, for a star in the sky. I give it a six month chance at this time. One CEO has offered to hire for fish-plant training programs, as a designer. I still have good rubber boots. Where they feel a man would be more effective. Our managers are often women you know.

Am here studying a university diploma, three days a month, in a course of six months, which I fund; with a small bachelor housing my carpet bags and me, at a distance of an hour from my parents and brother, with my teak chests, and foods, the little tables of an office sleeping bedroom, on the corner of an old Halifax side street, on the commons grounds, a street named for Samuel Cunard. Here before wanting to live in Sydney for six months starting in May, maybe the Glebe or the Cross, to finish a Masters of International Business, not in regular twelve months; while not working, walking to class, to study about business. And if I do not get job teaching Hong Kong Elementary National Program for September or October, where real estate prices fell so low, but the stipend for apartment remains quite high, then I might just go to Edinburgh for ten months. I would rather have very large tax deductible expenditures, infinitely tax deductible expenditures, held over from year to year, adjusted for inflation, perhaps more valuable as inheritance than cash, an easy going, educated man. A home body, in a cold winter, with a Finnish hat, for the bone-chilling side walks of ice and chips. Lines of credit of one percent above prime.

Took one week in Toronto session, like minus 35 degrees, a bit of an extreme for my body. A range of eighty degrees from A’Dhabi. But this land also appreciates. It is the ideal of assessment. The returns on generous assessments are often esthetics. I love wilderness, with the alders and sparrows; the owls of the boreal. The water towers. My sniffle is quite strong. But a seeker of some more knowledge, skills, and practice. Will my car always seem a little smaller? Yes, I sold my donkey at a fair price. My future is not my car. Also my family and friends were missing me. My sister took me to tour the CN Tower. The downtown of Toronto is like a little Switzerland. I met a police man, a station chief, my class-mate, who told me my starting salary would be forty-nine thousand, and my retirement at full pension would be at age forty-five. One of my trainers in Halifax was a Toronto policewoman for twenty-seven years. She owns a Yacht Club in Orillia, on Lake Simcoe, in a time when, she says, “There were more horses in the city police force than women.” They have over six billion dollars in their pension fund. Business and security management go together with studies. I will next take a Diploma in Adult Education.

Another classmate, Valerie, works for an international corporation with offices in Hong Kong. Some people grow up and never leave Toronto. The United Nations comes to them. Just wonder when. Never been to New York, but will try for week long stop over on way to Sydney. May fly in to interview on the way. In H.K. Did I mention I love oysters? Bought into gold at 225 USD. Will hold at 400 or so for quite some time. The attitudes of those who struggle inspire me, I begin to understand love.

Miss Mi Jeong, I remember, we stood in the rain for what seemed like hours, and you never complained once. A fond memory wants never to forget of so many. Like two nights ago, on my air-bus delayed by a slow plane, deiced twice for want of a confident pilot, it was landed like a swordfish. On the old school bus, I was the only passenger. And the driver took me to my door at my request. You waited, in dignity, like a captain on the Wood Islands old ice-breakers, I would still fit to reverse into old Pusan port. I gave the driver a five. Bus: 12 dollars. Limo taxi: forty one dollars. An airport over twenty-five kilometers into the woods.

My flight path sailed over Indian woods. My road blasted through granite, the stone chipped away like basalt mountains, but black rocks and Acadian path markers; in my mountain, a little covered trailer, a pioneer Irish apple tree with sweet apples. Now tell me you know how sweet the pie can be. How is your life? Do you ever miss this kind of Canada? I understand the Greeks, I am a Mari timer. My little cat, I gave to a Filipina with a bird. The magpies visited my little pusky on two visits each day at the windows and balconies in my villa for three years. The life that I gave to her, it was not a prison. It was a golden cage, like the mountain lions of Deseronto- we shared the time and space. Who said I could not love my wilderness?

Air-conditioned, it was cold, always twenty degrees. I was a member of the Sheraton Club. An excellent yogic master of the desert contemplations taught many of us the principles of the silver sailing dhow-boat. He was encouraged by my current level of flexibility. He himself was an engineer for thirty five years and from Jordan. He loved his family very much, enough to come home town at least once a year or so. In grand countries like Canada, this is as much many can hope for from one generation to another. This is our independence. So many of us still know how to write letters. But for how long? He said a shower should be like the testing of metal.

No comments: