IMG_3263How is it the older I get the less time I seem to have to immerse myself in my interests? I used to listen to music endlessly, would know countless songs. I would practice playing my guitar and sing. I sang all the time.  I would draw for hours, I would write in journals, I read more books. I took long languorous walks.

visited friends, I had them over for dinners often. I grew a vegetable garden.

It’s really pressing on me these days. I feel nearly desperate for it, those times. I feel cloaked and laden and mechanical.


I had written about the familial significance of Surfside in a previous blog and now the week before vacating A48 at Surf Side, the trailer I was renting over the past winter just around the corner from where my parents former beach trailer sits, that has since been taken by my oldest brother and his family, a melancholy has surprised me.  

Suddenly so much more poignant remembering it being the place where one day in May dad left for the hospital in Victoria never thinking – none of us thinking- he’d never be returning to the beach. Bowel cancer swiftly took him.  



This is the place where we scattered his ashes way out past the sand bar that has since become full of coarse beach grass and pale bones of driftwood. 


This is the place where his memorial bench is placed right about where the old fire pit used to be, 30 years ago, before the corporate changes at the park pushed their home back several feet from the beach.IMG_1273

My sister, mom and I


 It’s where we held our last family reunion.This place too, the modest little home that they worked on together to make beautiful over 35 years.  He didn’t have money to leave our mother, or big pensions from a hardworking life as a commercial painter to see her into old age , but he had this place, and it was hers, and it was enough.

Because it was where she felt her best, next to the ocean and under an open sky.

Stephenie & Karrie 135_452

I think of my dad, 11 years gone. I remember him. A gentle, quite, and humble man with the patience of Job mom would say, and it was the truth. And I guess with my leaving here at the end of the month this unexpected rendered heart I feel, it’s as though I’m leaving him too somehow, leaving a life where he was, where they both were last together and happy.

I guess I’m saying good-by and it squeezes my heart.


Flunkies Who Change the World.

And there are many.

Drop outs turned autodidact.

And in fact most are brilliant in their inventions, discoveries, philosophies. Their art, science, mathematics and whatever else they take a keen natural interest in; delving into the meat of their desired topic with vigour and curiosity, loosing themselves in their projects, sidestepping time or social constraints imposed on by the status quo.

These individuals might have been listed less likely to succeed  -if they would’ve remained in school.  They may have had a teacher ask them to withdraw due to poor performance as in Einsteins early educational case.

They somehow know bone deep that traditional education is not going to impel them towards inspired learning. Perhaps they feel they could do better, tailoring their interests and in turn sparking a fire that is perhaps more relevant, meaningful and resonating with a true authenticity for them. It’s easy to look into the backgrounds of many successful people that were either home schooled, or had minimal early traditional schooling and then became entirely self directed in regards to their education.

But what about the rest of us?  Is having an” institutionalized education” ultimately the requirement for success in life?

I read that Julian Assange of Wikileaks fame was kept out of school by his mother due to her belief that school would “inculcate an unhealthy respect for authority in her children and dampen his will to learn.”

I tend to agree with her.

Education begins with a healthy curiosity, a schools original purpose is to provide the arena and resources to explore that curiosity. But how can an institution possibly address and cater to so many individual interests in a class room setting- unless there is a standardized, one size fits all regime for all to follow.

I could never comprehend a system that keeps young, energized individuals penned indoors in rows of hard, uncomfortable seats to spend endless hours ( well it seems endless when you’re  7) listening to an uninspired adult talk. There is little engagement in the relevancy of the topic and where, as young individuals, do they fit in to this dull or complicated subject the teacher is attempting relate. This is where I believe the educational system can fail us- has failed us, there is a lack of connectivity in what is being taught. What does this thing being taught have to do with me and how does it fit into my experience?
Where there is interest then learning naturally takes place. When we are drawn to something we automatically begin to research and explore, become curious about. That is true education, being emotionally charged about something is a strong enforcer to information being retained. For true learning to be achieved.

Is the educational system training students to be non thinkers, to not push boundaries of argument and opinion? To sit still and only do the exercises? To follow? Creation comes from a fluid, free mind- it’s where ideas spring from. Hard to allow this when insulated in a regimental system.

Watch very young children at an activity, they are free of time frame constraints and judgments on performance. They take their necessary time to figure a thing out, and there I believe is where we lost site of what education truly is- the drawing out from within an innate curiosity of the world around us to explore and experience  at our leisure.

I need to inject a short story here my mother told me of her school days in Cardston Alberta. They had a new teacher this one year, after enduring past teachers that were overly strict and outwardly condescending to the students. The first task of the day from this new male teacher was to scrape off all the white paint that covered all the schoolroom windows. He voiced his irritation to the class in regard to the previous teachers who had decided this was the only way to force the students concentration by keeping them from looking out the windows and daydreaming. Heaven forbid.

 That act made a meaningful impression on her for the simple fact that after 88 years she recalls that day vividly.

It’s not my intention to entirely debunk the educational system,  but when we consider that a student has several study topics thrust at them each day to absorb and then are called upon to regurgitate correct answers on queue to meet a set curriculum standard there is this half-hearted, half focused attempt to meet those requirements only because the student must, and in most cases, not because they desire it. Of course there are exceptions with some students doing just fine in the system, but not a majority I would venture.

Also shouldn’t it be that where there is an educational system in place shouldn’t it be based on complete equality in the quality of resources and equipment for all in attendance? It happens too often that the new school being built in a new neighborhood might for instance have a beautiful computer library/study area, and the old school in a depressed neighborhood has to make do with fewer and nearly obsolete computers in a under-heated portable classroom setting.

Teaching too is truly a gifted occupation. Not everyone can do it. Simply because they received a teachers certificate does it mean they have the talent to affect a love of learning on an individual. Many are overworked from overcrowded classrooms and bogged down with school politics and in need of a recharging sabbatical. Many don’t really care.

All school environments have the capabilities to ignite a passion for learning, but maybe most times it is the post secondary environment that can maybe open everything up for the student- why? Because the subjects are their choice of interest, they are mentally and emotionally engaged, they have more freedom within the class structure, are expected to have and voice opinions, are allowed and maybe encouraged to challenge the ideas of the Professor. There is encouragement to think independently.

They just have to survive the prior 12 years to get there without already have been beaten into submission.

A bit of a rant I know.