Come To the Edge, he said…Guillaume Apollinaire

The Edge

You can click on the banner photo to see it in full. And yes, that is my wild and lovable daughter, hanging off The Edge in New York City this past weekend. She dragged her teenage kids and cousins up the tallest outdoor skydeck for a better view. Haha. Since today is her birthday, I decided to start with her.

“Edge is the highest outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere, located at 30 Hudson Yards, with a one-of-a-kind design. It’s suspended in mid-air, giving you the feeling of floating in the sky with 360-degree views you can’t get anywhere else. Look 100 stories down… lean out over the city on angled glass walls and sip champagne in the sky.”

Also

“Edge at Hudson Yards and Discovery Education are catalyzing hands-on, experiential teaching and learning by giving classrooms nationwide a virtual pass to the neighbourhood of the future… we inspire students to take action while supporting underserved communities with access to engaging digital educational resources for grades 4-12… students see how big ideas and cutting-edge technology can be combined to improve lives and revolutionize communities.”

Here is a short summary from my grandson: “It was great. Our hands were freezing, and it was very, very scary.”

Trying New Things

I guess today’s blog post will be about trying new things, stretching ourselves, and taking risks while not being reckless. Be clear that I am not suggesting you all go out and climb the tallest building or mountain or cross the Atlantic in a rowboat. In fact, I am never suggesting that all of you do anything in particular. Except…

I do recommend trying/learning new things.

Truth is that life is short. What do you really have to lose by putting it out there – who you are and what you want to do or be? You may try something new and fail. Guess what?  Failure is always part of the package when we try new things and being willing to risk failure is a passport to living fully.

According to Anthony Frost (whom I don’t know), “The hardest thing to learn is not how to juggle but how to let the balls drop.”

I think Frost is on to something. We are conditioned to get it right, and we become fearful of making mistakes. Obviously, if the mistake means fatality, I would think again, but most times, the mistake doesn’t mean being eaten by the sabre-toothed tiger.

The rest of the poem

“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, we’re afraid!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, We will fall!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
And so they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.”

― Guillaume Apollinaire

When my Mother turned 65, she began a practice of learning something new every year.

  • The first year was weaving, learning about design, yarns, and looms.
  • At 75, she was swimming not for pleasure but to improve her arthritis. Although she had been terrified of drowning since childhood, she took lessons, and after a year, she could swim, which significantly reduced her arthritic pain.
  • At 80, it was painting, primarily watercolour. After her beloved son-in-law died suddenly from melanoma, watercolour classes helped her navigate this new territory and brought her joy.
  • At 91, she went up in a hot air balloon for my 65th (she had to fly from Vancouver Island to Ottawa to do this)
  • At 92, she bought her first iPad and signed up for a 16-week program for seniors at the library. When it ended, she was the only one left.
  • At 97, it was her first marathon, where she walked 10k with 45 of her family members. This was in Halifax and required another coast-to-coast flight.
  • At 98, she learned to knit so she could make Harry Potter scarfs for all of her great-grandchildren and some of her great-nieces and nephews.  It is important to add that she learned to knit on YouTube, and the first scarf for her oldest great-grandchild had to be pulled apart and restarted 18 times.
  • At 100, she learned to use Zoom and other video conferencing apps. Thus, we could celebrate her 100th birthday at a cross-continent Zoom party. Because of Covid, the inperson celebration had to be cancelled.
  • At 100 yrs. And three months she learned how to say goodbye to her beloved family for the last time. And to somehow turn it into a celebration of love and life.

“You are never too old to learn new things,” was her mantra.

Learning new things is fundamental to living well with or without illness.

It looks like I am writing about my family today. My daughter has inherited many of her grandmother’s wonderful traits, and since I have just returned from her family birthday dinner, my heart has also turned to my mother. And that makes me think of a dear friend’s beloved Mother, who died on Sunday and who could be counted on to also say YES to experiencing and learning new things.

So, I decided to try something new today. Besides the childhood lasagna that my daughter wanted for dinner, I also made a new recipe for a mushroom lasagna that proved to be a little stressful yet turned out to be a keeper. Yeah! It could have been otherwise. I do test kitchen every now and then, and I have both flops and keepers.

Learning new things is important when we are living with illness. What can we do about our own situation, and how can we play an active role in our treatment? Consider taking on the role of discovering the non-medical things that are helpful and available in our communities: creative arts, writing, music, discussion groups, courses, nutrition, exercise, walking groups… so many opportunities. Things you wanted to do if only you had time. Make mistakes. Try again. Consider playfulness a new skill.

Have fun learning for the rest of your days.

As long as you live, keep learning how to live.” Seneca

NOTES

1:) I will bid you goodnight now. It has been a long day, and my bed is calling me.  May we all have a good sleep.

2:) “Love is the answer to most of the questions in our lives,” according to singer Jack Johnson. I wholeheartedly concur.  Better Together by Jack Johnson and Friends, This recording is not the best audio, but I enjoy seeing the sweet faces of the singers in this video. And I love the song.

3:) Possibly something new to allow you to drift off if you read this tonight. Miceal O’Rourke is playing John Fields Nocturne No.1 in E flat Major.

4:) A big happy birthday to my daughter. I am forever grateful and beyond lucky to have YOU (I am sure she will read my blog today haha)  in my daily life. And all my best wishes to each of you in the many corners of the world. I am also beyond lucky to have such wonderful companions here on my blog. With gratitude, Trudy

PS Photos by Gottfried on Gabriola Island and Shelley Asserson in Calgary (taken in Austin, Texas and one of my favourite memories). A family member took the banner photo of my daughter.

 

 

14 replies
  1. Pat Scanlan
    Pat Scanlan says:

    Trudy what an uplifting, loving message tonight. I am extremely grateful for the wonderful stories about your mother. What an inspiration, what a jewel. Trying new things, meeting new friends (at this advanced age) learning how to be open, loving, curious and motivated is such a gift. Thank you for sharing this piece of your life. And a happy birthday to the birth mother. Sometimes we forget the mothers and this day is a joyful day for you as well.

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Hi Pat: What a special note to receive. Thank you!! It is not so often that people have that point of view. It is quite lovely, just like you. Warmly, Trudy

      Reply
  2. Darby Rioux
    Darby Rioux says:

    Dear Trudy,
    Thank you for this affirming story about your daughter and mother. Yes, life is about newness. Whether we are walking or running toward our edge, and delighting in the experience is a challenge and so gratifying.
    Darby

    Reply
  3. Janice+Falls
    Janice+Falls says:

    I am often reminded of what a remarkable role model your mother was/is for you Trudy, and what you model for your children and grandchildren. I so agree about doing and learning new things, and can always use a nudge to step out of my comfort zone. I’m in awe of Meghan’s bravery! 🙂 xoxo

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Hi Janice: I was soooooo lucky to win the mother lottery and have been benefiting ever since. Thanks for your sweet note. Warmly, Trudy

      Reply
  4. Margaret
    Margaret says:

    Trudy, this is so beautiful. Thank you.
    Another favorite Apollinaire quote, which I have to remind myself of again and again, is this:
    “Now and then,
    it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness
    and just be happy.”
    Thank you for making me so happy today and always!!

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Hi Margaret: I don’t know this little quote and I love it. Thank you for this tiny and important message and for your encouraging and kind words to me. Warmly, Trudy

      Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Hi Janet: I love short verses!!And yes, I appreciate what you are telling us in Strategic Plan. I own a few of your books of poetry and I have this poem, on my shelf. Warmly, Trudy

      Reply
  5. Karen Cain
    Karen Cain says:

    Dear Trudy,
    I enjoyed your post so much. Hanging from the edge of a building is certainly hair raising! Strangely, my work as a caregiver also has those moments. As always, you have just exactly the right message for me xx

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Hi Karen: thank you for this lovely note. I appreciate the truth of what you say, ” my work as a caregiver also has those moments.” It has sparked a new idea of how we think, write and talk about caregivers. And this was an excellent message for me to hear, from you. Warmly, Trudy

      Reply
  6. Shelley A.
    Shelley A. says:

    Thanks for sharing my Austin photo, Trudy. I was so lucky to capture that magical “By the Dawn’s Early Light” moment! One of my favourite memories too. Sending warm hugs your way, dear friend.

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      I have the 5 by 7 copy that you gave me many years ago – framed and close by on my desk. So many thanks for capturing that moment. If I were a poet, I could write a beautiful stanza about that morning. Thank you Shelley and warm greetings coming your way, Trudy

      Reply

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