Winter Sunsets, This Mortal Coil, and Being Stubborn


Today I tried to get to the beach in time to photograph the blazing sunset, but I was delayed by laundry, taking out the garbage, and buying groceries — all the mundane stuff that’s been waiting impatiently for me for weeks. I was about 10 minutes too late in reaching Mimico to capture the big orange ball. But it’s a very good sign I’m grabbing the camera while doing errands. Very encouraging, indeed.

Lake Ontario, from Mimico (Toronto)

Last week did not go by without me thinking about my friend Arliin, who left this mortal coil unexpectedly in the early hours of January 3, 2008. I think about her often because I adopted her two cats, Xena and Beano, from the shelter where they were taken by Animal Control when she was found, in her apartment, without vital signs. We spent New Year’s Day together, she went to the work the next day, and sometime that night her heart stopped. The toxicology report took nine months, but it showed exactly what I expected: nothing. Arliin wasn’t ill, nor did she take medication. She was safety-conscious and didn’t participate in high-risk sports. (Although, cycling all year round in Toronto might qualify.) She wasn’t in an accident, she wasn’t the victim of a crime. Other than working too much, she lived well. She was healthy and took care of herself. But her heart just stopped beating and nobody knows why.

Lake Ontario, from Mimico (Toronto)

In the past three years since Arliin’s passing, I’ve rewound the conversations we had about work, hobbies, and day-to-day living. In the first week of January when people are talking about their New Year resolutions, I think about Arliin and don’t make any New Year resolutions — I feel mortal and I just want to survive the year. There are just as many ways to die as there are to live, but the difference is I have full control in the latter and not so much in the former. I want to live in such a way that when I shuffle off this mortal coil, I’ll have something to show for it. How would my life be described? “She worked a lot.”–??

I know my photography will outlive me. My websites will outlive me. My correspondence with others, words, ideas, comments, and ramblings on the internet will outlive me. I don’t have to worry about Facebook, Beano will live on there. He’s 16 now, his Facebook profile will certainly outlive him. People think it’s morbid to think about dying, but I can’t think of a better motivator for living well than to think of the alternative, do you? We know our days are numbered, but we just don’t know what the number is. Do I want to know? No. So I’d better get cracking with the living part, right?

Lake Ontario, from Mimico (Toronto)

Which brings me to the ‘being stubborn’ part. Being stubborn has been instrumental in keeping me alive these 38 years, I am quite certain. Well, the last 30-some, maybe. That plus barrels of luck and possibly genetics, too. Being stubborn has helped me put one foot in front of the other and stay the course of my convictions. But I’ve been stubborn about some things last year that I might ease up on this year.

For one thing, I said on Twitter that I am actually going to make an effort to go on a bona fide date this year, even if it’s just one. I have 355 days left to do it. Can I do it?

I wasn’t being stubborn about refusing to go on a date, I’ve been stubborn in 2010 about honing my craft(s), as it were. I didn’t go on a single date last year. I had a lot of fun, but none of the romantic variety. Most (?) of it is because I have a total lack of interest in online dating. The very thought of creating an online profile for the purpose of dating is about as appealing as a poke in the eye turns me off. I haven’t done it in years, and I will continue to be stubborn about that. I meet new people all the time and strike up conversations with strangers on a regular basis, but usually as a photographer. I figure it’s just a matter of time before I’ll meet someone and fall in “serious like” with him, and just maybe it will happen in 2011.

Lake Ontario, from Mimico (Toronto)

Gail at Large
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Gail at Large

Canadian freelance photographer on 4th expat adventure. Previously: USA, Scotland, and Australia. Portugal became home in late 2013.

Blogging daily for nearly 14 years. With 5,600+ posts across 97 categories, there is something here for everyone, especially travel photography.

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or Google+.
Gail at Large
Also here

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3 thoughts on “Winter Sunsets, This Mortal Coil, and Being Stubborn

  1. I hear-tell there are other ways to meet people besides the online world. In fact, I’ve only ever dated one person from the online world; all the rest have come the good old fashioned organic way, meeting through people or randomly, or even in one case, a cosmically-improbable ad in the Georgia Straight’s ‘I Saw You’ section.

    Best of luck lady, however you choose to pursue your goal!

  2. “To put to rout all that was not life; and not, when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived.” — Henry David Thoreau

    Thinking about death is not morbid. It lights a fire by which you can truly see. “Memento mori

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