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April 28, 2020

The Corona Matrix

By Maryanna Gabriel

I didn't know what to say. I was gob-stopped by what I was hearing. A trusted friend was reciting her reasons why she thought the Corona Virus was a hoax. She was Face-timing me from her home in the central prairies of Canada. Her tone was aggressive. Angry.

I was fascinated by the reasoning. When she came to the end, I cleared my throat. "Try to keep an open mind," I said. 
It was a shock. I thought she was smarter. 

"You look upset," she said.

I was. It is tempting to go this route. It feels surreal, as though we are characters caught in someone else's bad scenario of the future. We want to think we will wake up one morning and say, "Oh, it all felt so real." A matrix, one where we are being controlled, and within which we must strive for freedom. Sure. Help yourself. Go right ahead.

Demonstrate. Protest. Yell at the restrictions. You must think this isn't real. Obviously. Ignore safety measures. Open up businesses. I'll just be sitting tight here trying to figure out if I can get a cantaloupe into my new green houses while you do, as the death count rises. I'll be keeping to my own matrix, thanks. I didn't entitle this blog "Travels In A Different Sort Of Way" for nothing. Gosh, there is so much misinformation out there. This is some ride we are on. 

April 21, 2020

Self Sustainability

By Maryanna Gabriel

I was listening to a podcast from New York city and was a little startled to hear "there were no vegetables" and thought about planes being grounded and how this might be disrupting the supply chain. Here on Salt Spring Island we are having our first Physical Distancing Farmer's Market today which seems like an important concession on the part of the local authorities.

With everything that is going on, the garden is a wonderful place to get lost in, as each day grows longer. Usually the garden is a more of a dalliance but this year there is an urgency on my part to protect what I am creating not only from Mr. Bunny, who hopped by one morning when I was writing, but rather a wish to speed growth along. I have built a mini-greenhouse which I am enormously proud of. I have enough greens growing in it to feel self sufficient. 

April 20, 2020

A Funny Thing

By Maryanna Gabriel

A few days ago I came into the garden and stared. It was puzzling. Why were the edging stones
My artist's sketch of the suspect. 
displaced? My first thought was that someone with ill intent has been in the garden. As I put them back I noticed more stones moved. I walked around. Other stones were moved too. Not all of them. Just randomly and slightly out of alignment. My heart started to pound. It wasn't a nice feeling to think that someone was messing around on the property with me inside. I walked to the front. All was intact. Well, that was good. Then down at my little cottage - it seemed that every second or third stone was moved. Then I just knew.

It wasn't a person. It was an animal. What animal would do this? As the fence is six feet high it could only be a raccoon. He would be looking for bugs or worms. A quick internet search affirmed that they do this. What a funny thing.

April 19, 2020

Timing Is Everything

By Maryanna Gabriel

I have an indoor garden growing where I am hoping to see the emergence of cucumber and squash. I have been watering the soil for some time now. I am surprised there has been no emergence. I ask myself how many days has it been? It doesn't matter. My mind is rushing ahead of the event. Seeds stir and unfurl when they are ready. No amount of hurrying ahead of something before it is meant to happen changes anything.

Time is like that. Our minds rush ahead and we want to see the result. We want to control events and make the moves that are needed accordingly. I have no choice but to surrender. The seeds grow when they are ready and not before.

When I am impatient with people or events in my life I try and remember this.

April 18, 2020

Slow Time

By Maryanna Gabriel

"This is the slow time..."
-John O'Donohue

I have a path that is rife with buttercups. It sounds sweet but this plant has been invading for 25 years and spread itself throughout the garden. I keep madly weeding other flowers thinking they are the dreaded buttercup. In exasperation, the delphiniums are now in a separate pot to prevent me from hurling them vicariously into the wood beyond.

Today I went to work and weeded all of the buttercups. I don't believe I have ever seen the path clear. I am trying to grow creeping thyme amid the tiles. It seems a huge accomplishment mastering these few feet.

Time isn't really creeping but 25 years is rather a long wait on the garden To Do List.

April 17, 2020

Garden World

By Maryanna Gabriel

      A New York paramedic said this is a war with an invisible bullet. A world war where one cannot see the enemy. Some days after a writing session I wander into my garden. Another passion. When I am engaging with the land I get completely lost in what I am doing. Hours pass. Lately I have been thinking about seeds. There is something so hopeful about them. Planting seeds is like an antidote. It is saying that I can feed myself, that there is a future, and that I am the creator of my own world. It is a slow meditation that is out of beat with time. It takes me to the real news of there being much to be grateful for with the miraculous unfurling of leaves. Seeds need time to do what they do. As I stir the earth and plant, a deep calm takes up residence.

April 2, 2020

Finding Comfort

By Maryanna Gabriel

Remember the days when cookies meant a word that was nice and cosy? I have been making some really good ones. Then I take my cookie legs and walk. I notice something. People are waving. This never happens here. It is as though one human is saluting another with genuine joy. It is comforting. Last night I knew I was really trying to soothe myself after creating a curry during which I watched three movies consecutively. The new star wars movie is really good. This morning I am baking. I am trying to make home made Danish's. One has to keep one's spirits up. 

April 1, 2020

Not April Fool's

Post Office Closed
By Maryanna Gabriel

Well, it was no joke. Closed until April 6th. The post office was darkened. Was somebody sick? That's the conclusion. Anybody could have anything and think they had the virus. The fear among the workers last week, when I did my Easter mail, was visibly palpable. Trying to be calm in such an atmosphere was challenging. So I used Fedex.

They have just announced that there are to be no more trips on our ferries unless it is essential. Another shock. Of course, planes are not arriving in the harbour either.

The movement of goods being restricted is serious. Above and beyond all of the changes we are experiencing in communities everywhere, 
this is all serious. I am finding my own restriction at the moment, is limiting my time on the media, an act of extreme self care, for it is all so difficult to bear. It does not help, not to stay calm.