Begin - by Alice Ping Yee Ho

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featuring the Oakville Choir for Children and Youth

Begin, begin, begin…

This lake, like others, was dug out

Grinding, grinding, scouring, scouring

Glacial ice grinding South - scouring weak Silurian stone

an arctic tsunami - leaving only the backbone of the escarpment

Canadian Shield and broken tumble of kames in its retreat

Begin, begin, begin...

glacial, glacial, glacial...

rebound, rebound, rebound…

Shimmering waters…


Give or take a geologic blink

and now, a girl on Holocene shores

measure the distance - her to here.

Fifty four…

fifty four kilometres as the crow flies,

the herring gull, the cormorant with dried wings.

Sixty-four against the current.

Three point two kilometres an hour.

Slower than a winter housefly bumbling against your window.

This might be finished

this might be finished tomorrow

Stroke, roll, turn, glide ….

breast-stroke, front-crawl, glide, slide

butterfly, dolphin kick, tumble turn, body roll…

She inhales, wishes for the bones of a bird

a pigeon’s honing for home…

Small arms become wings, beating the jagged lake.

She’ll make the decision over and over

Nothing is a miracle or happens only once

Begin, begin, begin...

text by Tanis Rideout

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