Sunday, January 24, 2016

For Me, December 2nd is Jay Keddy Day

I drive by Ghost Bike a few times a week. The little white bike stands silently with flowers, photos and notes attached. Cars and trucks rush by. Ghost Bike sits there and calls out to me. I cannot ignore the prompting as it urges me to ponder the meaning of my existence every time I drive by. I am becoming familiar and thankful for Ghost Bike, and at the same time a little bit afraid.

Silent Sentinel

Ghost Bike

Your destiny is to stare me down
To catch my eye and steer my thoughts toward you
As you silently testify
On a narrow gravel strip between
Speeding metal in front, quiet hedgerow behind
A strip too small to call a refuge for the living
Or a safe place for a metallic siren
Such as yourself
Inches from the murderous flow of which I am a part

You are a poignant reminder of life's gamble
"I dare you to try it again," you say.
"I will not so easily be kicked to the sidelines
Made of metal as I am and not flesh and blood,
Nor will I so easily be kicked out of the game
Unlike your precious friend..."

I will remember him.
Innocent, yet kicked out of Life's adventure
In an instant
So rudely and unkindly
So very unexpectedly
So tragically
So violently

We are all left standing in awe
His family, his friends
We circle around your sacred perch
In testimony.

And we feel...

Very helpless
  A little betrayed
    Mostly sad
      Entirely humbled

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

My Kids in New York City, Times Square

I am so proud to be their dad!
Ian, Olivia, Elinor #bestkidsintheworld

Monday, December 28, 2015

Ontario Twitter Storm Watch

Friday, December 04, 2015

School Community, Teaching Community, and Church Family Mourns the Loss of Jay Keddy

This is Jay Keddy. Last Wednesday, December 2, he was hit by a truck while riding his bike home from work. The accident happened on the Claremont Access. I am humbled and sad. Mystified. Baffled.

Apparently, despite attempts to revive him at the scene, it seems that Jay never recovered consciousness. He must have been thrown from his bike, hit his head really hard, or God forbid he was run over. He may have died instantly. I don't know. Maybe he fell into the path of the truck. Nevertheless it seems like a cruel way for this kind and caring man's life to end: flung to the pavement and left for dead. The driver of the vehicle didn't stop; perhaps was not aware that anything had happened? I don't know. Others showed up and tried to help.

The whole thing just seems like a freak accident. A twist of fate. An uncommon and unjust blip in the universe.

As I get older, I am less surprised by strange turns of events like this. There is less rhyme and reason than we want there to be in the world. The entire creation is an experiment in random expressions of beauty and ugliness, joy and sorrow, order and chaos.

Jay was my teaching colleague at Viscount Montgomery. He was a man whom I would call my friend, with whom I had shared many a conversation, and with whom I shared many values and things in common. Now in glory, whatever that is. He trusted in God, he trusted in the Universe. He has now been swallowed back into creation. I feel the loss.

Jay was 53. Just a year younger than me. A week before this event he sat and dined with Brenda, Ian, Olivia at the HWETL Awards banquet. They were finished their music set, and Jay made sure that they got a table and food and were taken care of.

When my family was on holiday down east, we were touring Louisburg, and lo and behold who should be there on the same day as us: Jay Keddy and his family! We had been inspired to show our kids every corner of Canada, and he shared that same ideal. We always thought that was kind of funny.

Jay had stayed late at Prince of Wales School to watch the school volleyball team and cheer them on. He taught kindergarten there. He was on the road in the dark, simply because he had cared about his school community.

Jay was a man who seemed incapable of having a mean thought or holding a grudge. He was 100% determined to get busy doing good in whatever way he could. He was a man who put actions behind his words, who made things happen, who took the jobs that nobody else wanted. He managed our HWETL Benevolent Fund. He managed the annual awarding of bursaries. He ran for office. He volunteered as a workplace steward. He led committees at his church. There is nobody else that I can think of who represents the idea of "100% all-in."

Jay was a tireless idealist who always had something to say about what we could be doing to improve the situation for someone else. He didn't hold his ideas in, to the point of wearing out the ears of those of us who were less gung-ho about the force of doing good. But nobody ever complained because we knew in our hearts that Jay was a good man through and through.

A man incapable of ill-will or laziness.

Good-bye Jay Keddy. You will be missed for a long, long time.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Packing Up Our Family Home Of 45 Years

Three Photos, Three Thoughts

This is the view out my back window today, November 1, 2015. This poplar tree gives me a good feeling every time I look at it. It is the descendant of a tree we brought in our car from Sudbury about 20 years ago. The little sapling grew to be about a foot in diameter, but we removed it because it was too close to the deck. Happily, there was a self-planted seedling growing nearby in our garden. We carefully rooted the seedling and it has taken off over the past 10 years. This tree gives shade to our back deck in the pre-noon summer sun. The yellow is a total bonus this year!

This is the view looking west on Highway 5 in east Oakville this morning at about 7:30 AM. An absolutely beautiful fall morning. I had just completed my first customer run with Airways Transit and was returning to base via an alternate route. They want drivers to be familiar with all of the ways to get in and out of Pearson.

This is what the corner of our kitchen window looks like rotated and cropped. What an interesting study in lines, repetition and light!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Video Huntley Street

Dilbert and Post-Retirement Thoughts

Yeah. That's about it. When you consider the millions of people who have gone before, and even the thousands of people who would be my own ancestors, you have to accept that each person, as important as they thought they were in the grand scheme of things, was actually just a drop in the vast ocean of humanitiy.

My life is, in some complex way, an outgrowth of hundreds of gene pools combined, and an infinite array of social and historical forces. Combine all that with a huge degree of randomness and happenstance leading up to my conception and birth, and you get something that is almost completely unlikely, and definitely not possible to repeat again.

And yet, if I hadn't been here, would the world have been so much different? Well, I can say with certainty that my children would think so! No. They wouldn't even exist. My wife would have a different life entirely. This house I'm sitting in would look completely different. All of those students I've taught would have had a different music teacher. And so on.

But even when I consider how much of a "dent" my life has made in the cosmos, I have to admit that it is still of very, very little signficance overall. The sun would have gone on to rise without me. The tide would have come in without me. All my school buddies and lifelong acquaintances would still be here. The closer they would have been to me, the greater would be the noticeable difference without me. Like waves in a pond, the water is less agitated the farther away from the thrown stone.

Yes, there is a need to be able to look at one's entire life and say, fuck it. In the end it doesn't really matter one way or another in the grand sceheme of things. I can waste a lot of time and worry thinking about things that I can't change, or running around trying to make my life better by doing this, that, or the other. Truth is, I am what I am right now. This is 100% me. All of my potential and creative spark is present now. Nothing is missing. Nothing more to become and nothing to be shaken off.

Post-retirement Thoughts