Thursday, 29 October 2015


The light called me to the beach this morning.

I went, knowing there were few days left till winter.

Knowing the best of the fall colours were past.

Perfection wasn't what I wanted.

What was I looking for?

The wind. The light. The gulls and the spray.

A small group gathered to say goodbye to one they loved. They huddled close against the wind, below the bluff. A gull above. Gliding.

We gather against the wind, all of us here, we cling to one another.

The mourners burned incense. They scattered flowers and fruit at the border of two worlds. Waves accepted the offerings, carried what was given to a place we cannot follow.

The gulls and the light and the fading colour.

Gusts animate the sand. Alive, shifting. Blowing away from me.

And the gulls. I've been blind to their beauty. Look, look.

What could be commonplace here? They turn to face the wind. Dig in.

Have you seen sunlight illuminate their bones?

Geese push into formation.

The gull flies.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Love the One You’re With

Sometimes I am blind to the beauty in my city. All of us humming along, lives unfolding in ways we want and ways that surprise us, even devastate us. The way we live here in the city, side by side, intimately affecting each other yet not even looking into each other’s eyes, can feel alienating. And yet when you do look, you feel, and life unfolds before you, mysterious and poignant, raucous, reckless, heartbreaking and humbling.

There’s a powerful beauty in the human landscape here, yet I sometimes berate my city for being so big, for the incessant construction, for the car culture and crazy drivers, for the way the city swallows time when you try to traverse it.

There are days when the city closes in. I long for a horizon uninterrupted by anything made by human hands. That is when, in this city, I must go down. Because below it all are the often overlooked places that, when you make time for them, when you remember to enter them, hold the power to restore. And I don’t mean the subway system! ; )


Mine is a city of ravines. Its geography requires us to go down into nature, descend into it, like a memory of what this land was before us.

We dip into the ravines where the rivers of old still run, a shadow of their former selves, but still moving sacredly along ancient pathways to the Great Lake. Walk there and the city falls away as we fall into nature.

It’s like a metaphor for who we are. Our exterior selves, like the city, can be bright and shiny, or hard edged and worn down, a million different faces and facades. Sometimes we present our authentic selves, but not always. Often we present what is presentable. What else can we do?

But below these surfaces we so carefully manufacture is something so precious—our essential nature, which, like the ravines of this city, offer such breathtaking beauty. A beauty that is exactly right just as it is.

It seems a powerful reminder to, like the song says, love the one we’re with—which in the end is our Self.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Being Quiet

We need quiet to hear ourselves—our deeper selves.

In the cacophony of city life my mind makes plenty of noise—I hear my anger, frustrations, worries. Laughter and loving thoughts, too, but it all flashes like a series of brilliant reflections—thoughts into emotions, and on into moods and actions without “me” being aware of the originating thought, the original source of light.
That’s when a sense of un-ease sets in. And I get quiet here, in the virtual space of this blog, because I have nothing meaningful to share. And, truth be told, I might just be afraid to slow down enough and hear what I really feel underneath the noise.

There is an antidote to this.

I know what needs to be incorporated into daily city life to calm my heart and mind—it’s meditation, writing, making space for the inner voice to be heard.

But I’ve been reminded lately of something else that works, and with very little effort on my part.

It is going to nature, sitting with the elements—air, water, earth and fire. I don’t even have to do anything there. I can sit on a rock, lean on a tree, walk like a zombie on a forest path. And when I come out of nature I am grounded. Nature has grounded me—I did nothing but Be. Nature did all the work.

I feel peace. I see beauty. I am connected to this lovely planet. Touched by its grace.

To me, that is prayer. Simply go to your God and Be. Since my understanding of God/Source/Creator is indivisible from Nature—the wind, waves, sky, stone, tree—I need only present myself to Her to be soothed.

Then I hear myself again, or I hear something that is more than myself. Is there really any difference?

Thursday, 8 May 2014


All moments lead to now.

Last Saturday, I saw this sunset over Lake Huron.

It is impossible to see such a thing and not be grateful for every moment that led to this witnessing. I mean every moment of my life—the ones I’ve celebrated and those I’ve resented and railed against. Each of those moments led to my witnessing this miracle. So I am grateful for each and every one of them. So grateful to be in this body and see such sights. I acknowledge the immense privilege.

It is enough.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The Longest Winter

What a good winter it has been for hibernation. If I’d had the option to curl, snout to tail, into a little ball back in September and slept and dreamt away the season, would I have?

Perhaps, but I know how the old stories go. There must be long winters, hard and cold, in every heroine’s tale. Times when the sun doesn’t warm and sets quickly. Times when although we can see the beauty that is every day before us, we can’t feel the beauty. The realization takes us by surprise, and it frightens us, and perhaps adds a chilling layer of longing. The longing to feel again.

But after every winter the light does come back, slanting into our rooms at a new angle and illuminating what was there all along in a way we haven’t seen before. Suddenly we feel a stirring again. A stirring toward something, that unnameable thing we know and don’t know.

The light shifts again, so quickly, and the feeling passes. The days are still short, but lengthening.

But the reminder of the “something else,” of the “something that calls to us” has washed over us and we are not the same. Something inside has quickened and we must tend to it.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

About a Bird

The bird is behind the crabapple, to the right of the spruce.

The spruce is sparse of needles and grows crookedly.
Not enough light,
not enough space.

This summer a nest fell from the maple. 

A wonder.

I brought it inside to admire. 
I put it in under a dome of glass.
It became a dead thing
in a museum.
I did that.

I found the bird after lunch, also dead.


The light in autumn is false.
It comes at a slant and casts long shadows that weren’t there in summer.
It makes mirrors of windows.

Birds fly into windows.

These are facts I tell myself.


I dig the hole in the back garden,
behind the crabapple, to the right of the spruce, 
near another bird I buried long ago,
and a baby rabbit found by the back gate in the spring.


The nest is small.
A strip of birch bark spirals down from its tangle of grey twigs.
When I bring it outside, the breeze takes up the strand like a prayer flag.

I lift the bird.
I want to hurry
but I make myself slow.
I feel the still breast.
No frightened, fluttering heart.
I feel the soft yet solid body.
Its oval shape fills my cupped palm. 
I feel its mass.

I look for wounds,
such as a cat might make.
Or a window. 

No blood. One leg awkwardly bent.

What does it mean?

I rest the body into the nest.

The bird would not have lain so.
It would have sat up, tiny legs tucked under its white tummy.

I place the nest into a brown bag.

I need to use the bag.

A temporary buffer between the elements.
Between earth and sky.
Between what flew through today’s cloudless dawn and what lies below.
Between wings that parted the wind and the gravity of a grave.
Do you see?

I put the bag into the hole. I do not pause.

I shovel on the displaced dirt.

The whole is covered.

I put the shovel away.
I walk into the house.
I wash my hands.