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Karen M. Black
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Back to the Water cover

A daughter's tale of truth, love and letting go

Moondance cover

An addictive spin on awakening, soulmates and past lives

They were rushing to get to stillness

I just spent a week in the Bruce Peninsula, a couple of hours north of where I grew up.

We stayed in a tiny cabin. No laundry, dishwasher or internet.

On the bay, there were thankfully more sailboats and kayaks than motors.

My routine was simple. Get up, drink water. Go for a walk in a blanket of silence. Ponder the trees. Come back, eat breakfast and write.

In the afternoon, I sat by the water. Floated and imagined. Visited, catching up on life.

In the early evening, I went for another walk, marveling at the cottages of all shapes and ages. Oh my, if buildings could talk.

One of the things I noticed here is that people raise their hands to one another. As if to say: I see you.

Crossing streets in town: Hand Up
Passing cars on a narrow road: Hand Up
Passing a car on a walk: Hand Up

When people hold Hand Up to one another, they are present. Detached from the distraction of devices. Immune to frenetic busy-busy lives.

More than that.

Hand Up shows a reverence for life. It dissolves what divides us. Sex. Colour. Religion. Age. Politics.

We may still have our differences. We may still have stuff to work out. But instead, we acknowledge what’s common between us: Hand Up.

As I was writing the first draft of this ezine outside on a tiny cabin deck, a man with a white beard and a smile sauntered up.

“I used to live here...” he said. I put aside my computer, fascinated.

He told me about raising four kids in this tiny cabin. The cedar hedge he planted that was now eight feet tall. The place between the trees, which in the winter was a skating rink.

How his family outgrew this tiny place… and how it took seven years to sell.

How before they left, they put a glass jar with their pictures inside the bathroom wall, like a time capsule.

His kids are now grown and he lives in a larger place “across the bay”. He was back to visit some old neighbours. There were very few of the originals left.

We talked about how the area was changing. The locals who were here in the beginning. The city-slickers moving in.

“Did you hear about the accident on Highway 6?” he asked.

I shook my head. His eyes darted somewhere past me. “Four people dead...”

People from the city. A car erratically charging up a country road.

Rush-rush-rushing to get to stillness.

The man re-visiting his past and I sat silently for moment. Then he shook my hand and turned away. We waved at one another Hand Up.

Could a Hand Up save lives? Yes, I believe it could.

The next day, I drove carefully to my permanent home five hours away. I extended my Hand Up to pedestrians and their pets, construction workers and other drivers as I passed.

I am awake. I am present. I see you as life – and I wish you safe passage.

Hand Up.

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