?Happy Holidays? – Reflection by the Water

Biintigen miinawaa, Welcome again,

Well, this song release is a surprise for you and for me. I didn’t expect to randomly write a song exactly two weeks ago with an amazingly wonderful, kind, generous human being, let alone record it, have it produced and a video to boot… yet here it is.

I think this goes back to (for me anyway) to what does it mean to bring, have and share happiness over the holidays. The other day on one of our daily walks, my 6 year old son said, “You know mom, I remember you told me Christmas wasn’t about the gifts. You are right, it’s about family, right?” He is right, sorta…. and I was a super happy mom with his connection to self at that point.

The next couple of paragraphs will be dark, but please, I implore you to keep reading.

As an adult, I think it means more than just family. It’s about kindness, opening your heart, being there for so many others. Understanding that the holidays isn’t always the best time for others. Covid aside, often it’s the hardest time for some. I know so many people who lost a loved one, this year alone, very close to the holiday season. This season may never be a happy time for them again, or it may take many years to find joy in this “joyous” season. For some, they may know it will be their last Holiday season, and so it becomes bittersweet for them – a time to enjoy this last Christmas, but knowing it will be the last time they see their loved ones during this time. Others have no one to share the season with, and thus it becomes a lonely, lonely time. Some do not have the means to bring the joy of the holidays to their families – money for the gifts their children want, not able to provide the food they would like to provide or maybe struggling with addictions that make it hard for them and their family to enjoy the holiday season. Others maybe do not have great holiday experiences, and it really just brings up sad and potentially traumatic memories.

So, it isn’t all sparkly lights, tinsel, gifts under the tree, singing songs, eating turkey (or whatever the traditional food is for you…) but a time of struggle to get through the season. So, we need to be mindful that we are cognizant that others may not share that joy, or even be in a place where they can share this joy. However, it doesn’t mean we can’t be kind, and share happiness in other ways, or support without tying a Christmas theme to it.

So, back to this song…. I thought today would be a good day to share this song as it is about feeling strength in water, about being present in the moment near the one thing we are all connected to, every single human being… connection to water.

Three weeks ago, my office co-worker, Carole Leroux, was hoping to engage Dave in some holiday fun, so we could all book some Days with Dave. So, really, the song wouldn’t exist without her, so really she is the spark behind the song. She truly has such a big heart, selfless, and always thinking about how to make those around her smile. So she sent a work email came out asking if any of our schools (I work for a school board) or staff wanted to take some time to share some holiday cheer with the former Education Director, David Tamblyn.  Dave was a pretty awesome leader, and left a significant, positive mark in the history of the school board, so we wanted to bring him into some of the holiday happiness. I work in the office, so at first I thought I really had nothing to offer. He was virtually invited to school concerts, online trivia games and a few other really amazing, heart warming activities led by staff and schools. Then, as I thought about my personal connection to Dave, I thought, Huh, this man encouraged me to get back into education, and I have loved the move. He had a drastic impact on my life, bringing me back into the world of children, and on an unexpected path in my life due to his belief in me. Not sure if he knows how much impact he had on my little life, but it was profound and life altering.

So, I thought… what gifts do I have that would actually work here? Music! He knows I love to write and sing, so I thought, what the heck! I’ll ask him if he wants to write a song with me. I wasn’t sure if he’d want to, but asked anyway, and low and behold! he did! On December 10th, he came to my office, and I grabbed my VERY out of tune guitar and we wrote this song.

Now about the song…. I asked Dave what he was hoping to write, if he had ideas already. I was almost expecting an upbeat tune, or maybe a Christmas Carol, but he wanted to write about the infinite connection to water, specifically Lake Superior, but water in any case. (I was super thrilled with this as I’m not an upbeat song writer at all!) Dave was so amazing with his ability to use words in magical ways, which I wasn’t expecting at all! I had no idea, really. We talked about the human connection to water – we all started in water, the womb of our mothers, and there, in that safety we developed into the humans we became as we entered the world. We all still need water to live, but it goes much deeper than that physical need to live. How many of you reading this sit on the shore of a body of water to just think, meditate, lose yourself, cry, calm yourself, enjoy stolen moments with a loved one, gather, or just be? I know I do.

Now, Dave and I have very different views in some context with water. From the Indigenous point of view, water is spiritual, and as women, we are stewards of the water; from his point of view, it was… well, listen to the lyrics in the song and you will get his point of view more clearly than anything I can articulate it here. We all gain peace, calm, understanding, strength or something else from water. I’m sure you have your own infinite connection to water too which I would love to hear about if you felt like sharing (my email is at the bottom of this blog).

Well, within an hour, we had a song. He said he wanted a video and I really thought after writing a good song, we should see about getting this song done. Now, Dave has an amazingly talented brother, Ian Tamblyn (https://www.iantamblyn.com/) who we really wanted to involve, but sadly, Ian and I couldn’t line up our schedules as we are both insanely busy, but I highly recommend checking out his music… truly a Canadian treasure in the music world. So, I asked my long time friend, engineer, co-producer and guitar player, Jordan Elcheson, if he would have time to get this song into pro form for us quickly. Within a matter of a few days, Jordan had a beautiful bed track, made space for me to come get the vocals done, and produced the song into what I would like to think is a gem of a song (possibly biased…). I can not thank Jordan enough for his brilliance, kindness and vision with this song; he caught its spirit… and you know why? I know that Jordan loves the lake too.

Well… the video was the next hurtle. While Jordan was busily creating the bed track, I reached out to some of my amazing work buddies; Stephen Wilson (Principal of a High School), Melissa Bianco (works in the office with me), and Deana Renaud (works in the office with me, and p.s. has the most brilliant blog you should ALL take the time to check out if you love nature! https://gettinglostonthe49th.wordpress.com/). All three of these beyond amazing co-workers know Dave, but equally as important, have this strong affinity to the water, this amazing Lake Superior where we are all so lucky to call home along its North Shore, even though we live hours apart along this vast shore. They all very quickly sent me some amazing footage and pictures to create the video. Now, I do NOT claim to be a great video maker, but I did my best and truly hope I have shown the beauty in the video that they originally captured in their videos and photos. I hope I captured the magic that Stephen felt when he took the videos… not knowing they would end up in this song, and whatever comfort they brought him (and likely his beautiful little girl and family!), I truly hope they bring to you too. Deana with her amazing photography, you can see how kind and connected she is as a human being, her heart bigger than anything I can even imagine, and Melissa with her selflessness, gentle spirit, kindred connection the water and world around her… I am beyond lucky to have all these people in my life – Jordan, Dave, Stephen, Deana and Melissa.

So, now back to how this song and this holiday post connect… We all need something, especially over holidays. I feel that this song takes the stress of being in the holiday mood, and just lets us “be”. As one of Dave’s lyrics say, “rest in the moments as they come.” Feel the strength of the water, the gentle caressing sound of the powerful waves, the reflections of self, spirit, time, strength, forgiveness, hope, sadness…. be what you need to be, feel what you need to feel while you let her sounds calm your heart and soul.

So for Christmas, I give you…. no… WE give you this song. It’s ok not to be ok, it’s ok to need silence through the roar of the waves, it’s ok to cry if that is what you need to do. This song isn’t about Christmas, it’s about being a human being… and knowing it’s ok to “rest in the moments as they come.”.

This is NOT a Christmas gift, but just a gift from us to all of you. And as we all hustle and bustle this season, stress in the kitchen, watch wrapping paper get torn open, and watching the twinkle of the kids as they think of ways to try and see Santa, remember to be kind to everyone…. EVERYONE… especially those who may not be in the most Christmasy mood. Don’t worry about bringing them “Christmas spirit” but try and bring them, and each other, some human spirit over the holiday.

I send love to each and everyone of you…

Miigwech (Thank-you) for taking the time to read and listen to the song.

Miinawaa kiwaapaamin (See you again later)….