Got 'til it's Gone

Last week a century tree was cut down across the street from me. An older gentleman from down the street came to watch as the crew dismantled it branch by branch. The stump was all that was left as he sauntered by commenting “ It took 100 years to grow and only an hour and it’s all gone.”

You never know what to expect but we get into routines and patterns that numb us from the unexpected. We carry on tending to our responsibilities and wants/needs subconsciously hoping everything will go as planned. It’s that ‘something’ out of left field that catches us off guard.

This year the world and life as we routinely experience it was caught off guard. We scrambled to understand and protect ourselves from this invasive situation. For most people life hasn’t been the same since the beginning of the year. The uncertainty we face has been experienced by past generations in different events and ways. Anxiety, depression, fear, anger, sadness and many other emotions bubble to the surface.

As time moves forward eventually a solution or resolution comes about. The time passes and we assess what is left and what was experienced. Lessons learned, memories created and now we move to rebuild once again. Our perceptions of what is important has shifted or become even more emboldened.

One can realize the relationships with family, friends and others are far more important than the material side of life. When you have someone by your side you feel a sense of community and comfort. An experience shared is far richer than one alone.

In time we learn to appreciate what is important and also our surroundings. We take solace in our living space and neighbourhoods. There’s a comfort in seeing certain landmarks that have stood for years or decades. Even if it’s just the corner store you used to get freezies at during hot summer days.

When I began Present Past it was all set in motion by searching through old photographs of the city as I remembered it as a kid. Growing up in the 70’s, a trip downtown was an event for me. With my eyes wide open. I would take mental snapshots of the buildings that caught my eye.

Many of those older buildings are gone but I can reflect back through the series. Some I saw growing up and other made an impression on me and I wanted to share the changes. It’s not about being stuck in the past, it’s about appreciation. Those who came before us created a life for themselves with what they had. As generations pass we adapt, build, rebuild and look to advance ourselves. Hopefully preparing so that those who come after will see a future to build on.

Looking back allows you to see how far you’ve come. It can also be comforting to view the journey along the way, the people and places that filled a life.

As we begin to return to a new way of life make sure you have a look around. Notice the changes big and small throughout the city and in your day to day. The one thing to keep in mind is to appreciate what you have when you have it.

“Don’t it always seem to go

That you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.”

                                                                                                             Joni Mitchell