The other night I dreamt of being on an airport conveyor belt. I was the luggage moving on an endless carousel. It was nothing like a giggly ride with a grandchild on an amusement park merry-go-round either: No hurdy-gurdy music in this dream. No Sir! No one came to pick me up and take me home. Eventually I was consigned to the ‘Lost’ kiosk. Woe was me.
I’ve been on many a conveyance in my lifetime, some taking me places that were familiar, others thrilling me with adventure as I anticipated a new destination at the trip’s terminus. The mode of transportation from A to B sometimes is the trip itself. I liked ski hill tow ropes in that way, getting to the top was a challenge and half the fun. The moving sidewalks in airports make me feel like a kid again, as do escalators. I’ve felt the power of the wind, propelling me forward, on sailboats and sailboards. There is joy and companionship found while riding on a horse’s back. I once felt euphoria as I gripped the dorsal fin of a dolphin and was conveyed from one end of a pool to another. Street cars in San Fransisco and Oslo, a small gauge train in Peru and subways in London and Toronto have all filled me with awe and gratitude that such things exist, seemingly just for me.
I wonder what subconscious message, in that piece of lost luggage, is being conveyed to me. The way that I communicate is equally as important as the words that I choose to use. When I talk intimately to my partner I trust that the message I want to convey is never in doubt. Yet, most of us can name an occasion when our words have not measured up to the feelings we have wished to express. Sometimes we can’t be blamed completely for mixed messages. The listener is also responsible for checking to see if the topic is still on track. Relationships can get derailed even among the best travelling partners when one person takes the toll road while the other takes the road less travelled. I’ve met couples who seem unable to convey their feelings in words, much like the characters Tevye & Golde from the classic musical ‘Fiddler on the Roof’. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_y9F5St4j0
Through word and especially action, we must convey to the people in our village what is most important to us. It’s risky business to let others see who we are. It may seem unnecessary to tell others how we feel about them. It’s easier to not engage, But when I hold things in I don’t feel right. I feel like an opportunity to show who I am has been missed. Like that piece of luggage in my dream, I feel like I’m not being picked up, like I’m not important enough to matter.
When you share yourself with another, you are sharing a ride on a magic carpet. It’s a trip neither of you will ever forget.
I went to a funeral gathering to honour a champion of our community. It was my first outing involving a collective in a long time due to Covid19 restrictions. The crowd spilled out from the community hall into the adjacent garden where extra chairs and a PA system had been set up so the speakers could be easily heard. It was an event of a lifetime.
The deceased was a lady who had become one of my first friends since retirement. My wife and I would often see her taking an active role in our city. She would always smile as she told her latest news and thoughts. Over my lifetime I have met few who have shown such grace and citizenship. She led by action and demonstrated how an individual can make a difference.
My young niece wants some tips regarding retirement plans. She is focussed on keeping her working lifetime as short as possible. Unlike many in my generation who have spent a lifetime waiting to finally do those dreamed of things, this hard working woman wants to build that future now.
Most of us give our labour with a hope that we can emerge in a better place, with a goal accomplished. Watching athletes compete at the Olympic Games this summer I’m reminded that sometimes the best laid plans sometimes must be deferred. These games were postponed for a year which disturbed the competitors’ schedules, likely causing angst over lifetime achievement plans. When earlier Olympics were boycotted by some countries I remember feeling empathy for those crushed by the reality of years spent training to get in peak form only to be thwarted by a government’s decree. Some may have lost lifesavings in the endeavour. I’m happy to see some of my tax dollars being used as a lifeline to support these determined individuals.
Somethings can be described as lifetime events such as the birth of a child, a death, a career achievement, a sporting medal or an election victory. Imagine the feeling you must have if you are credited with being someone’s lifesaver. We can claim responsibility for some singular lifetime moments yet not all momentous occasions are entirely in our hands. Recently a town close to me had a record breaking heat wave. It was reported as a ‘Once in a Lifetime’ weather event. As a kid these phenomenon might have been called a ‘freak of nature’. Now, as a people, we are realizing that many of these weather anomalies are very much of our own making.
An ad on television added to my train of thought. “Buy a lottery ticket and all your dreams may come true.” boasted the promoter. My niece wouldn’t rely on that advice. My deceased friend saw value in human currency to find a lifetime full of rewards. Luck or misfortune can sometimes sit beside you at life’s card table. Sometimes you’d be wise to walk away to play a different game. In the long game of a lifetime, a dream come true is a yearning that has been answered.
Coronavirus disruption has meant cancelling the summer Olympics. To some it was inevitable, though the International Olympic Committee held back their decision until the situation became impossible to ignore. Canadian athletes were first to boldly state that they would not participate. Officially the 2020 event has been postponed yet will still keep the brand of this year as a message of hope.
The Olympics captures the value of sport in our lives. As a part of worldwide culture it is equal to artistic pursuits. Humans become more complete when they compete, using their bodies to go higher, get stronger and go faster. This reality of humanity is expressed so well in the symbols of the Olympics, for example the rings of the five colours found in the flags of the nations of the world. We speak of gold medal performances. We give tribute to those in other areas of life who make olympian contributions. We encourage children to have olympic-sized dreams.
I had dreams of attending the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972 with a German born friend. A short four years later I was employed and married, with my first child on the way when the Olympics came to Montreal in 1976. I remember some company producing a series of small guidebooks which I bound and kept for a while as a keepsake. They contained records of all the Olympic games and some cool individual profiles of several remarkable athletes. It was handy on my bookshelf to use when I watched subsequent games on television with my three young boys. I love how art and sport can mingle at these events. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAFhNobJABU. Devotion, obsession, desire, compulsion, commitment; these are some words that might be used to express the sense of calling one must have to rise to Olympian stature. I admire that quest to the extent that I can tear up while watching a record breaking performance during summer or winter Olympic telecasts.
Controversies attached to the Olympic system due to the imbalance of power, the IOC structure, financial inequities or political manipulations can result in games being criticized. I grew up learning of the ideals of ancient Greece and Mount Olympus where the first athletes were awarded laurel wreaths in honour of their victories. I love the spiritual intent to support friendship, respect and excellence and the motto Citius, Altius, Fortius, proposed by Pierre de Coubertin upon the creation of the IOC and the modern games in 1894. A strong message of peace can be found in the doctrines of Olympism. So it is more than sport. It is a way of thinking and acting. I choose to follow that dream.
The Olympics will be missed in the summer of 2020. Athletes will continue to work toward personal goals. Qualifying events will be staged. Once the threat of Corvid19 has passed we will again congregate in stadiums and arenas to cheer for our favourite heroes. We will share in the realization of impossible dreams. We humans will continue to strive to be the best we can be.