Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Favour the Familiar/DONNA MANN

I favour the familiar for many reasons and one of them is that I do not expect to recognize it by my last impression. Even though I have a previous picture tucked away in the depth of memory, I am pleasantly surprised at new dimensions, colour and texture when I revisit the familiar.  I could use this opening sentence reflecting on relationships, writing, gardening or buying a car, but in this blog, I want to explore the thought in terms of experience.

Summer is camping season for us. Doug loves to drive and I am content sitting in the passenger seat and taking pictures. It's also a time when we see our province in different seasons - sometimes before the winter wheat breaks through the ground, or after the leaves have fallen and many times between. I particularly like to go to Manitoulan Island and live on island-time. However, I think I could go stand on the banks of the Grand River and remember the rush and roar of the Fraser River in British Columbia, even though they are different kinds of rivers. Somehow, there is a satisfaction in drawing from the views and sceneries in local areas. Although we have travelled across the ocean several times, been to Australia and Alaska, crossed Canada from shore to shore more than once, I favour the familiar and ordinary in driving by something I know like the back of your hand, and seeing a difference from the last time I saw it.

I wonder how this relates to relationships and to healing and feelings of serenity, much needed in a stressful world. I sense that the familiar is therapeutic and even beneficial. Take a farmer for example who has left the farm and moved to a nursing home. Think of the peace and satisfaction he would feel in seeing the earth freshly ploughed and the sea gulls flying back and forth, diving for that worm. Think of the memories that a windmill standing isolated in the middle of a wheat field might raise. Or the pleasures of seeing a child walk through a field with a fishing pole over his shoulder.

We live next door to the house my Grandma and Grandpa owned. As I sit on our deck I see the huge Spruce tree I played under in the 40s. I see the same trees that keep the 85-foot drop to the Irwin River safe from our curiosity and provide a sense of wonder as they ‘clap their hands’ in response to the wind. I look across the village block from end to end and see lawns touch each other, as through the years the neighbours haven’t erected fences. The familiar: peaceful, contentment and good for the soul

“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands (Isaiah 55:12).


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Peter Black said...

Thanks Donna for this evocative, wistful post. Your thoughts prompted some personal harking back, and they also confirm my experience over the years of chatting with elderly folk in their homes and hospital rooms and residential care settings. The changing seasons, birds and critters on window ledges, and trees and flower beds in their present world, delight and transport them to familiar scenes from their past. ~~+~~

Donna Mann said...

Absolutely! Some times the best medicine. Thanks for your comments.

Glynis said...

I love the trees 'clapping their hands' visual. Nicely written Donna and reflective about the familiar.

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