The Red Road

macro photography of pathwayI walked a path less travelled,
on a road covered in red.
Evergreens bowed before me,
to welcome back an old soul.
Draped, lonely…in silence.
A still that became my only friend.
There, my worries were sheltered,
protected by a forgotten trail.
That journey became ritual,
to protect me from blended reality.
I ran as soon as the sun would let me,
far away from the stranger who looked just like me.

 

A Grand Memory

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I thought of you this morning while walking to work, there was something about the air, I smiled. It made me recall some random end-of-summer day, much like today. You were steaming up the harbor, towards home, from a day of cod fishing. I first spotted you on the horizon while you were rounding the point, just there by the lighthouse. As I rushed down the lane, I could hear the sound of engine puttering growing louder. There were seagulls squawking and hanging about. Like a feathery cloud, they gave chase, each desperately seeking lunch from the fish scraps that were being thrown from your hands.

A final leap, I was there, at the wharf, to greet your return. I remember how the land-wash had this tinge of salt and the watery shoreline was like looking at glass. My reflection momentarily stared back, glistened in the hot morning sun and slowly distorted as your red and yellow punt made its approach. I was nine-ish, playing some made-up game while flicking sea snails back into the ocean, starting their long journey all over again…boyish thrills. As I stood there awaiting your accent, you handed me a rope to tether the boat long enough for the daily catch to be thrown ashore. It wasn’t a good knot, good enough, I wasn’t very good at that. You’d always finish the job anyway, just before mooring the dory to her rightful place once again, anchored just far enough, wading adrift until next time. Oh, how I remember the sun so bright, high in the sky, early that morn, just like today…when I thought of you.

Miss you Pop.

Nick of Time

I’ve made it to tibbs eve, the shopping is done, it’s snowing outside and I just poured a drink-Merry Christmas everybody.  People were hustling and bustling at the malls,traffic created some white knuckled moments, and there’s a turkey keeping my fridge door from shutting all the way, all sure signs that Santa is soon coming to town.  Everyone I saw tonight looked relatively happy as they buzzed around putting final touches on the last of their holiday lists.  Sales at every turn, “excuse me” was the phrase of choice and I even passed a lineup of cheerful kids waiting for a photo op with the man in red himself all just in the “nick”of time.

There’s so much that needs to be done before the big day and it’s only now that I got the opportunity to make a blog post and ironically also in the nick of time.  I had to make some sort of post for the conditions are all there.   There’s a blizzard outside, the tree is beautiful with all those lights, gifts are being wrapped and christmas music has created the perfect atmosphere for me to write.  An atmosphere that makes me think back on old times trying to recall some of the things that I did as a kid to celebrate the day before the eve of Christmas.  Memories of happy times and how for that one time of year family was first, food was plentiful and the world seems to stop, even if for a few short days.

People are winding down their workloads, shutting off their lights and punching out for some well deserved quality time with family and friends.  Gathering together and enjoying each other as much as possible, eating, drinking and just creating special moments with the people we love, I love this time of year.  Life throws so much at us, it allows us to become distracted from what matters the most.  To get time like this to forget all that and just focus on our closest bff’s and the kinfolk are times to be celebrated-embrace it.  My grandmother loved Christmas, she loved people and with her, there was no such thing as too many, everybody was welcomed no matter what.  She was in her glee when there was a constant roar in of conversation in the kitchen and drink of whiskey in her hand, that smirk on her face when you questioned what was in her glass would guarantee to make your heart smile.

Miss somebody? Christmas is famous for that as well unfortunately, this time of year can remind us of that void in our lives but that’s ok  because we need that too.  Sure it sucks reminiscing about a time that no longer includes a certain someone, but for the time that they were around I bet there are some unforgettable Christmases that were spent together.  I miss my grandparents, my uncles and friends a lot at Christmas time but thinking about them also makes me feel at peace with the fact that are gone but am reassured that they will never be forgotten.  They will be forever a part of me and this time of the year brings that out the most.

Like I said, it’s the day before Christmas eve and I’m sure there are traditions that you’re recreating right now with the people you love and spend time with.  Card games, marathon gift wrapping, and shed parties are only examples of all that tends to happen on a day like today.  One example I guess is the last minute shopping tradition, the one that I was a part of earlier, well, at least I know that I am not the only one, it’s not on purpose I promise.  Any traditions you keep? Anything that has to happen for you or Christmas just don’t seem the same?

The weather is horrible too, Santa’s sleigh would have come in handy on night like tonight.  That said, now that I’m inside looking at the snowfall, it does give me a very festive feeling inside.  I have always wanted to have snow on Christmas, it just doesn’t have that same feel to it without a slight dusting of the white stuff.  I went for a walk a few nights ago and the snow had just fallen and  you know, with the Christmas lights it  completely made me feel all nostalgic.  I couldn’t help but think about what it was like for me as a kid when I too was going to bed early and hoping I was good enough to make the nice list and Santa was going to bring me that GT Snowracer I wanted so badly this one year.  Last week my little nephew was visiting us (he’s three) and I got the chance to see  a glimpse of what Christmas means to a kid whose enchanted by the spirit of the holidays and it showed me once again that is truly all about the kids.

So I leave you with a wish of a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, I thank you all for reading my blog, I appreciate every view, like and follow.  I started this blog not knowing if I would be this far invested but I am starting to realize that I enjoy sharing with you my thoughts and feelings about the world around me.  Have a safe holiday and all the best in the 2017.

Merry Christmas

Ash

 

I Miss the Shot

I went for walk a couple days ago and spent a little time in the basketball court, the air was brisk, the sun beaming down, just the perfect conditions for a pickup game.  Both the basketball court and tennis court  were free at the time, a sight like that in my youth would be like finding a dollar each time you looked down, pure win.  Growing up I lived on the court where I played basketball, tennis, a lot of volleyball and well hockey was just a staple and a given growing up in small town Newfoundland, Canada.  Sports like those were a constant in my life and a constant in the lives of my friends, we all had the same passion for high school sports with a camaraderie that still exists today.  Certainly, we have all moved on with ours lives but if we happen to run into each other today we immediately start reminiscing of missed shots, long car rides and that time we all got in trouble for someone stealing a Crash Test Dummies CD.  Sports did that for me, it provided some of the best years of my life and I think every young boy and girl should get a chance to play something and challenge themselves while they make friends doing it.

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I remember the first time that I made a high school team, it was volleyball.  I had signed up using the clipboard signup sheet that was always hanging from the coaches door, dangling from an old piece of wool that someone must have brought from art class.  For the three days that followed I kept dragging myself to tryouts, each day at 3:15, all intimidated, nervous and unsure that I had what it took.  To make matters worst my best friend had actually backed out the day of, so I was really swimming in the deep end now with most of the team consisting of the whole ninth grade, a grade up on me and I was only familiar with a couple of the guys.  By the time the last tryout was finished I did get to know everybody but as a consequence to that I then learned that there were only a few open spots so I didn’t really get my hopes up.  The two days between the last tryout and knowing if I had made the team were brutal, the suspense nearly killed me.

The day had finally came, the team had been picked and we were to be notified by the coach personally if we had indeed made it, if he dropped by the classroom that would be a good thing.  It was pushing 3:00 on a Thursday afternoon when there was a knock on the door, it was coach, I immediately started to try to read his lips.  I couldn’t make out what he was saying  to the homeroom teacher but after what felt like an eternity he finally addressed the class and spoke three names, just three and those name were “Paul, Paul and Ashley”.  Never had my name ever sounded so soothing to my ears, I was instantly relieved, all that hard work had paid off and I was now part of an actual team. (true story see below)

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High school for me just kind of happened and I believe sports had a lot to do with that, I kept good grades, actually my grandmother deserves the most credit for that but playing sports was more like a luxury for me and being a good student allowed me that luxury.  I see kids playing sports all the time, they’re fun to watch, there’s too much negativity in the world so we need more of the small things and we can find that in our kids.  We watch them as they walk in our own foot steps and we vicariously start living through their success because you can relate to how genuinely happy they are playing a sport they love.  A few years ago my daughter actually took up sports for awhile, she called one day to tell me she had made the volleyball team, I was so proud, and she was doing on her own merit.  I remember barely containing myself hanging on her every word, I was a proud dad, it was indeed  a moment (sniff).  Although she moved on from sports as some kids do, she did get the chance to experience sports on a team level, she had some fun and created bonds for life.

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Speaking of bonds, playing outside as a kid was how I met most of my friends, we played hockey on the street all the time.  There was my friend Colin, one time he must have taken a full 30 minutes to get suited up in our makeshift goalie gear only to then take a rock to the lip on the first shot, he was done.  Oh yeah, a guy by the name of Corey who had a the heart of a Stanley Cup champion, he loved road hockey.  There were moments of my life where shooting a few hoops was a way to talk it out with a buddy, or maybe we’d make plans for the next day with a few jump shots before we called it a night.  I remember walking home as a teenager from a school dance with a close friend of mine Willie, who has since passed on, sometimes we would shoot hoops until the sun came up, just chatting it up while taking layups on a dimly lite basketball net.  I’ll never forget that, and I will never forget him, he was a good friend.

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When I was a kid I would visit my dad for a couple months of the summer, his sport was tennis which then became our sport.  He would bring me to the local tennis club and kick my ass up and down that court each match we played but I kept wanting more, some day I’d beat him, it was happening.  Every morning and again that same evening I’d battle my father back and forth trying to anticipate his next move, closing the gap and finally getting close enough where I might pull it off.  We played all summer one year barely missing a day.  I enjoyed that time with my father, for the first time in my life I felt we had connected through sport and for those tiny moments nothing else mattered.  We bonded a lot that summer and I learned more and more about him as we continued to play.  It was like we were getting to know each other on a different level and I am just now looking back realizing how happy I was.   He did a great job pushing me to my limits and taught me the lesson of being humble, I learned how to lose and I learned how to win.  I have him to thank for that, he showed me that you can be good but there will always be someone who could be better, so try your best every time and make sure to have fun.

That’s the thing about sports, they bring people together, they teach us a lot about ourselves.   Not only does sports help us physically and keep us healthy but it can be very helpful mentally as well.  Physical activity can help with stress, you’d be surprised how good you would feel by just getting outside and tossing the ball around.  I always look for opportunities to get outside with the nephews and nieces when they visit and they love it, there’s nothing like chasing the kids around the  yard and teaching them the concept of a game.

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Standing there at that moment and looking in at the empty court I couldn’t quite stop but think of the days where courts like the one before me would have been a forwarding address for me at one point in my life.  Take advantage of those moments as often as you can, time flies by so fast so have fun as much as possible.  Get out there and kick the ball around, walk to the park and shoot some hoops.  Go ahead and put your household title on the line and challenge the kids to a game of horse with the loser getting the dreaded dish duty.

 

 

Broken Wall of Color

(Old poem I wrote while staring across from my office window in 2006 at of a graffiti-filled wall)

By: Ash Douglas

Broken wall of color,
how the years have left you behind.

I see your every crack,
I see your every line.

Someone has painted you a picture,
Oh how very humble.

Now you sit and watch the world,
As the banks beneath you crumble.

No one seems to notice how long that it has been,
How long you have sloped how long you have leaned.

But has I gaze out my window each and every day,
I know it will it won’t be long  before you fall away.

For years you did your job and time is not your friend,
Broken wall of color, when did you begin?