Thursday, March 30, 2017


The sentence glared at me from the screen. “Before you can submit your taxes electronically, you must first verify your identity with the Federal Government. In the box below, write the amount of your income from line 22 of your previous year’s tax return.”  A flush of doubt overcame me, a plumb line dropped to uncertainty, and checked my files. I emailed the accountant. Somehow, in my frenetic and emotional departure from Cambodia in the first three months of 2016, I completely forgot to file my taxes for 2015.

It has now been a year since I left the Kingdom. In some moments, the weeks and months feel eternal. Then again, I think that the New Year could not have been 3 months ago. I measure time in journals, short bits of chronicles around daily life, lists of worries and resolutions, reassurances and debriefs, snapshot paragraphs of daily life.
2016 in a couple of books

In 2010, when I was cleaning out the big box of journals, I finally sat down and chronicled the space between 1989 and 1996. Those years I spent time in seasons, moving along as a migrant worker following the fruitful fields of the seasonal tourism business. I did not measure my days through birthdays or anniversaries, but instead in activities, landscapes and ecosystems. Jobs. Friends.

The time now also marks nearly a year since seeing my good friend from Cambodia at her parent’s home in British Columbia. I’d helped her access the hospital's radiologist when she felt another lump and panicked. It was not good news. She packed her bags and left. Months later, as I was on my way home from Sydney and I could use my Alaska Air miles, I lofted an idea for a visit and she was happy to see me. She picked me up, we had a couple of drinks that night and went to bed early.

The night's sleep progressed into mid-morning. We took a short walk to the rocky sea shore and she rested on a bench in the bright sun,looking out on a familiar landscape of dark green spruce, blue sea, and gray rocks. I was jet-lagged to the nth degree. She was fatigued from the endless battle with cancer, her local Doctor’s dickheadedness and the daily travails of hair loss and treatments. We had 2 good days: some shopping, a lunch, treatments, cannabis purchase. I drove her around. We didn’t talk about it then. I hoped it was not inevitable, but the odds seemed impossible. I mustered hope for her. We messaged and talked a few times over the winter, the last time regaling a sketchy Vitamin C infusion treatment during her holiday in Mexico with her sweetheart. She left us this week.

Who’s to know how fast the time will go when we will have so few moments left?  These current months are going by so quickly and yet so slowly. I’m torn between embracing each precious moment when outside moving in Nature, and then wishing moments would be over when vacuuming, or witnessing an argument, or bothered by the circular anxiety of insomnia.

Each one has its own timeline, the journey of our life in all its creative manifestations, twists and turns, times to speed up and other times to go slow.  Stephen Hawking, in an article about Time Travel, wrote, To see what that means, let's imagine we're doing a bit of normal, everyday car travel. Drive in a straight line and you're travelling in one dimension. Turn right or left and you add the second dimension. Drive up or down a twisty mountain road and that adds height, so that's travelling in all three dimensions. But how on Earth do we travel in time? How do we find a path through the fourth dimension?"  He concludes talking about wormholes, ripples and wrinkles in time that exist all around us in microcosmic ways.  About the wonder of the Universe.  Safe travels beyond my friend.

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