Showing posts from 2020

Morning Walks Past an Empty House

For at least a year, I've watched the empty house, as slowly, slowly, its long-neglected yard endured pruning. I'd grown used to bending beneath the overgrowth that protruded over the path I walked.On weekends or on weeks off, someone worked. Tangled branches were lopped off, then bound like prisoners against escape, and laid on the curbside for pick-up.I imagined equal time given to the inside rooms, an emptying of signs of a parent's lifetime, treasures uncovered amid messy piles of paper and cluttered drawers. There is no rushing such things.I met the daughter once, as she worked in the yard for a week, I think her name was Pat, or Pam, maybe. I never saw her again, but I've admired her tireless and relentless commitment, judging by the progress steadily made. An electric light shining inside the house gives an occasional sign of her presence. Sometimes a lone light burning forgotten in the garage keeps sentinel watch.One morning, though, as I pass the empty house, …

Morning Walk

My feet carry me, striding out at first, strong, swift and purposeful on my early morning walk. But I am a distracted walker. I notice so many things within minutes that I slow to look closer, then to squat and gaze and wonder: at the glow of lamps on a porch; the lines of leaded window-panes; even the indefinable “sense” of a household asleep behind closed blinds. Light dances with shadow on a sloping bank of wild grasses and flowers. Already I am both captivated and trying to capture what I see if I can. I pass a wooden porch attached to an old home, and the morning light catches its peeling rafters. How many people have sat beneath them, I wonder? Who were they? I imagine visiting friends, sharing confidences and laughter, children on their haunches, lips slack, absorbed in their imaginary world of play. This morning a wiry woman hunches over, legs crossed, elbows on knees, looking deep in thought, smoking what I guess is her first cigarette of the day. The smoke wafts its way into…

Morning Walk

Eyes wide open I walked; but phone resolutely tucked away, for the purpose of my walk is to be "with God," not clicking away, like a distracted tourist. But aren't I a tourist? Here on earth, we all visit for a relatively short time, and shouldn't we pay attention? And so I did, and noticed seeds, and thought of the rhythm of arriving plump with purpose and possibility in this world, and then seeding "our ground" before we leave. And then, back home, I peered from behind a mug of steaming and strong black coffee, at a page of poetry. And Mary Oliver spoke to me her thoughts: "For it is precisely how I feel, who have inherited not measurable wealth but, as we all do who care for it, that immeasurable fund of thoughts and ideas, from writers and thinkers long ago gone into the ground--and, inseparable from those wisdoms because DEMANDED by them, the responsibility to live thoughtfully and intelligently. To enjoy, to question--never to assume, or trample...…

Morning Walk

My morning walk with God is like the pastry of my day. Once you have the perfect foundation laid, whatever fills it will create a beautiful thing.

Morning Walk

I walk the chattering, chirping morning village that smells as green and fresh as the day it's waking up to. I am an arrow: pointed; focused; sharp; thrust strongly; my feathers sleek, propelled by the hand of God towards his mark for this good day.

Contagious Thoughts 5

I walked through our village this summer evening, listening to the rustle and whisper in the treetops--the delicate leafy applause that seems spontaneous, as though an unseen hand or the trees themselves are giving their branches a gentle shake.The world is “opening up,” and this is the first weekend where we may gather in circles of chosen friends and family members. The village hummed with groups of people in backyards, and front lawns, revelling in the sudden delight of those beyond their immediate household.It was after attending church on March 15 that I stopped at a grocery store for a few last-minute necessities. Everywhere store shelves were suddenly empty of pasta, cereals, all kinds of dry goods, and especially paper goods like toilet rolls. It felt as though a storm was on the way and we were battening down the hatches!For several weeks, we've followed the instructions of government officials to stay home unless we had an urgent need. We soon became familiar with the ma…

Contagious Thoughts 4

For the first time in two months, we made what felt like our maiden voyage to Costco-in-the-age-of. COVID-19. I set my alarm to get up early, being warned by a friend to get there at 7.40 for the 8.00 a.m. opening for “Seniors Hour.”Paul dropped me off with my bags at the door and went to wait for me in the car.

The first thing I saw was a long line of seniors, spaced out like early-birds on a wire. The line stretched way back around the corner of the building. When I thought I had arrived at the end of the line, I had not. It was just the end where the store manager was trying to corral renegade seniors and herd them over to the real end of the line. But he had met the generation of “sit-ins” and protest marches, and they were not to be easily moved, except for me, rule follower that I am. I left my fellow seniors complaining to the manager. I imagined them being dragged away like long-haired hippies, as I marched quickly over to the far end of the line.
When I got to the correct spot,…

Contagious Thoughts 3

There is music in the air of "opening up" the world again, a little at a time, and very carefully. How exciting this is! On Saturday a prescription was waiting for me at our local Shopper's Drug Mart.  Paul drove me there and waited outside like an accomplice in a getaway car! Since I was "going in," I made a list of other items and picked them up, including at long last, a much-needed box of hair colour. I chose with great care, L'Oreal 9N Light Natural Blonde. My dark roots were an inch out-of-the-gate, and not adding value to my appearance one bit! I felt like a kid let out of school as I roamed the aisles, carefully avoiding close proximity with the other humans creeping around the store in the same unnatural manner. When I left the store for my getaway car, clutching my haul of shower gel, body lotion, hair colour, face cream (sigh, okay, I confess, "neck tightening" cream,) a box of cereal, candy bars, and the medication that started this sp…

Contagious Thoughts 2

On this morning's news, we saw that the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the USA stands at 9,653. My mind could only deal with that reality by looking at the last digit in the four-figure statistic--the number "three."

Each of those three was a real person with a system of friends, family and co-workers affected by their death. Three voices will never be heard again, they will never again write, or sing, or call, or touch. I allow my mind to cope with more--almost ten thousand people's unique gifts left this earth with them. The ugliness and brutality of this disease's destruction shocks and breaks my heart.

A giant marches the forest of earth, and humanity scatters before his feet like bugs beneath leafy loam. He doesn't care whom he crushes, what life his steps snuff out, he does not discriminate, there is no weighing of factors.

But of course, we aren't quite as helpless as my imagined bugs. We know that the giant exists, and his steps aren't enti…

Contagious Thoughts

The credit for the title of this blog post goes to my son, Pete. (He also offered, "Things Worth Bringing Up," but we're saving that for a flu pandemic 😊.) 

Here we are, in a boat with everyone else in the world, which we never planned to board. It's good that we're on it because it's a lifeboat, but we still have much to learn about life on board during a global pandemic!

It's been a week of processing the unexpected, and adjusting to a new reality. We have genuine concerns and feel suddenly and utterly vulnerable. Little of this is in our control.

But I woke up today thinking about what I can control.

My friend, Janey, recently shared a quote in a story she wrote, and it gripped me so much that I scribbled it down on a scrap of paper:
How you do anything is how you do everything. Richard Rohr

It's a startling sentence to contemplate when I think of how I have been doing anything and everything this week.
We have come to a sudden full stop. I feel for th…

The Day of Silence

I published this originally on May 20, 2019. I never imagined that less than a year later the world would be coming to a stop, which is why I'm republishing it:

The dream stayed with me all day. It came in the moments before I woke up, right after a dream about forgetting pages with words to songs for our worship team (one of those dreams you get over and over when you have low-level anxiety about something.) The one I am writing about here was different, though, and the feeling of it lingered, In it, the world was utterly silent.

Last weekend we woke up on Sunday morning to a planned hydro shut down for routine maintenance that I'd forgotten about. We had no hot water, no light, NO COFFEE! What I noticed immediately was the silence. We live with many sounds that we don't hear until they're not there. The silence in my dream though, was a complete worldwide silence--I knew that it signified the end of everything as it was the day before on earth.

Everything had stopped…

Joanne's Dream

My friend, Joanne, rang the doorbell at precisely twelve noon. We are walking buddies but hadn't seen one another since January due to busy lives and inclement weather. After such a stretch we were excited to see one another again. We never lack great conversation, but now we had a backlog to catch up on! She even had a new haircut--instead of the longer style in this photo, her pure white hair sported an elegant tapered pixie bob.

Joanne started talking right away as if she couldn't wait--"I just had a vivid dream about you," she said.

In Joanne's dream, my house was full of friends who loved being there so much that they didn't want to go home. It was so crowded and busy that I built a third-floor turret where I could escape when I wanted to have some quiet reflective time! Meanwhile, downstairs, when I went to the kitchen to bake some pies, it was full of people bustling about, and fixing themselves snacks!

Joanne couldn't know that one of my favourite…