Hidden From View

I plan to scare you.

The peaty heavy smell of earth invades my nostrils as I kneel on the uneven mound of potatoes. My heart thumps in my chest as I wait on high alert for any sound. I am hiding in the potato bin; a three-foot square space in the basement tucked underneath the landing for the staircase. Rough milled boards framed the cramped bin and a faded split curtain hung down to cover the darkened hole. Thankfully, the storage space was half empty making it the perfect hideout.

Shifting from the uncomfortable hardness of irregular potatoes under my legs, I reach up and adjust the curtain slightly so I can see. I swallow hard. Our bare bones basement displays deep dark shadows beyond my hidey-hole; the furnace and hot water tank huddle together in the centre of the open area; hulking blobs of darkness with odd angled appendages. Extension cords dangled unevenly from the floor joist ceiling resembling empty nooses in the dim light. I lean out further between the drooping drapes and glance towards the outer stringer of the stairs listening intently. I hear water running down the drain pipe from the upstairs bathroom. She would be coming soon. A tiny spider web bows down from the edge of the top stair and I try not to think about the number of spiders that are alongside me now.

Footfalls pound above my head on the landing and I jerk back inside my lightless place. An evil grin slid across my face. My sister was coming. She shared a downstairs bedroom with me, and it was the single finished room at the farthest corner of this space. The treads on the lower steps squeak. I supress a giggle of anticipation and my muscles tense in preparation. I hear her step to the cement and a soft pattering of socked feet nears my hiding place. I explode through the curtains toward her like a feral Jack-in-the-box and scream, “Blahhh!”

She shrieks stumbling back, eyes wide, whites showing brightly against her raven hair which flies across her face. The terror I witness in that split-second fills me up and I burst out into pure laughter.

She may have smacked me once or twice but it was a mere pittance of a punishment for what I had received from her. And you might think, ‘well, that’s a pretty normal thing to do as a child,’ and I would agree. But truth be told, I didn’t do it just once, as a matter of fact, I constantly searched for the opportunity to frighten not only my older sister, but most of my family and many others, by jumping out at unexpected times, or hiding under beds to grab feet, or by pretending I had been possessed by an evil spirit to terrorize my younger sister. It was very nearly a diabolical obsession, and I’ve only recently come to understand that there was something much deeper than simply experiencing the fun of scaring people that compelled me. It was the incredibly satisfying feeling of having complete power and control over another person, even if it was only a fleeting moment or two. In those few seconds those people were mine.

Now, in my defence, I was raised in the days when children were to be seen and not heard, children were not allowed to display too much anger or too much sorrow, and most importantly children were not allowed to disagree. Looking back on my childhood, I understand my excessive Jack-in-the-box behaviour was my attempt to gain some manner of control over my life through fear. And on that note, you should know, I rarely try to scare people these days, especially the elderly. And yet, in an effort to maintain full disclosure, I do confess to enlisting my husbands help in tethering a life-sized fake skeleton to the bottom rungs of our neighbours dock, so that when they brought it up to shore for the winter they had a little scare.

Fear, you see, is a powerful mechanism to gain control. I kept scaring people because it gave me a sense of power. Today, I see main stream media and government playing the Jack-in-the box game. Cases, cases, cases; run and hide. Case numbers are not deaths, and according to Canadian Statistics there were no more deaths in 2020 than any other year, and our hospitals have always been challenged during the winter season. Now ask yourself this— if the people in control truly had your best interests at heart would they be promoting fear or calming reassurance? What do you think your response would be if they said, “Stay calm my dear Canadians, lets look at the facts— actual government data.” https://www.jccf.ca/government-data-shows-lockdowns-more-deadly-than-covid-19/

I see you

September 2009 to March 2010-7

The expression, may you live in interesting times, seems to be the theme of 2020. According to Wikipedia the expression is an English translation of a traditional Chinese curse. While we might consider peaceful and predictable times uninteresting, they are also free from harmful events. Interesting times implies a degree of uncertainty, and at its worst danger. These days many of us find ourselves questioning our ability to hold our lives together while the ground beneath our feet feels unreliable. So, although I am not a religious person, I do follow a spiritual path and I often pray these days. I pray for an end to the uncertainty,  I pray  for a way to heal the division between peoples hearts and minds, and I pray for a way to make a difference. It is then, in the hollowest of moments, that I contemplate,  “But who am I, but one to make a difference?” And then I look out into the crowd of many, and I see you— your vacant eyes and slumped shoulders burdened by the weight of our worlds affairs. My eyes mirror the weariness in you and the chronic state of collapsed joy.

My point is, just in case you missed the enormous needle bearing down on you, is that it’s easy to be led astray by the events we are experiencing today which make us feel incapacitated and caught. I know I often find myself descending into an emotional pit,  which either delves into the darkness of anger where I soon find myself throwing F-bombs like Rambo throws grenades, or I fall into a frozen state of fear bracing for some sort of cataclysmic conclusion, only able to breath in the barest of whispers. In either situation, I am suddenly as powerless and as ineffectual as a streetlight with its bulb blown out. At times I feel less than one and yet I still wish to help.

It is then, in the darkness of my thoughts that I ask again, “Who am I but one to make a difference?” After waiting a few minutes, I admit to feeling slightly disappointed in the Universe,  a little alien zipping down from the sky to share its bit of knowledge would have been nice, or at least the half expected booming Godly voice with an explanation to my query. But no— silence was the answer. Not one to give up so easily, I make myself comfortable, by listening to inspirational binaural beats and meditating. Eventually an answer formed in my mind, “One of anything is a whole. It is not a fraction or a half hearted effort, one is a complete structure within itself. One has the capability of becoming more.” And although that answer felt satisfying to me, I searched further yet, and came across Britannica.com stating, ‘At the most basic of religious thoughts, the most perfect number was one, for by advancing from zero to one, men believed they proceeded from non-existence to existence. Moreover, all other whole numbers were regarded multiples of one, representative of the Creator.’ From that, a simple conclusion sprang into my mind, we are one of many, and at the same time simply one. Therefore, we all represent the ability to connect, to collaborate and to bring about the change we wish to see. One is the beginning, do what you can where you stand. Shine bright.