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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

 

uncle


Arno and rose, originally uploaded by plastictaxi.

Whenever I have had the chance lately, I have passed through Berlin to see my uncle. This past month I was in Sweden on the way home and spent a day (I couldn't stay longer). We walked for an hour around a little lake where he sometimes jogs, then drove to another spot, in Wannsee, where a trail follows the Havel river. After another hour and a half we had coffee and came home. That was all the walking uncle Arno was good for -- he is down to about 80% of his normal lung capacity since losing a chunk of a lung to cancer. His recovery is very good -- he is on track to recover almost 100% of his capacity. But it takes time, of course.

He says he came to a decision while in recovery. A decision to live. Funny how we have to decide such things, but it's true, we do. Otherwise we coast along and several years later wonder what it is we've been doing. I find myself thinking that I am waiting for life to begin, that this week I am busy with a few things, but next week, or the week after, I will do the things I have been putting off for a while (a month, a year, a decade...). That story I want to write, that picture I want to compose, that chair I've been designing in my head, that row of plants in the garden, the renewed commitment to my lover...

And I was walking past a soon-to-be-developed chunk of land in Toronto today, thinking that we do the same thing here to this city we live in. Put up a few buildings in isolation from the neighbourhoods around them, hoping that somehow it will turn into a place for people that works. But it turns into a whateverland with no place to do groceries and a great view of train tracks, a cellphone tower, and a soap factory. As if someone with a sense of heart will come along later and turn it into the place we really wanted but didn't have the time to set up properly when we were doing it.

I think Arno's come to a new understanding of himself. Maybe us, too.


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