21 September

Fall Equinox 2017: Music and Prophecies

I have an image of my child self that I often call to mind. I am probably 10 or 11 years old; it is the 1960s. I am sitting between our family kitchen and living room, my back against the door jamb, my knees pulled up in front of me, listening to the radio that […]

20 June

Summer 2017: Healing Leaves 150

And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. Rev. 22:2 A few weeks ago on a CBC Ideas podcast, How Art Shapes History, the moderator asked a panel of artists: What makes a nation? Christi Belcourt, a Michif (Métis) visual artist, pointed out that this land we call Canada is […]

19 March

The Hope of Spring 2017

Coming home on the bus in the middle of February, deep in the last cold snap of winter, I sat beside an elderly woman who swore she could smell the Athabasca Glacier, all the way from the Columbia Icefields. She could smell it on the west wind, that very day. She had been there once. […]

20 December

Midwinter Passage 2016

Some mornings on my walk to work, if the traffic lights are right, I take a shortcut through the Quarters up The Armature pedestrian mall. When I cross over 103A Avenue at 96th Street, I pass two bronze figures on either side of the mall, I sometimes call The Coyote Men.+ You might call them […]

21 September

Fall Equinox 2016

Enjoy the trees blowing in the wind while reading a book on the couch, my favorite thing. Those were the parting words of the owner who last lived in my condo. I too enjoy the sound of the leaves in the wind. I notice them more in the fall, maybe because the leaves are crisper […]

19 June

Midsummer’s Eve 2016

On my route along 92nd street, past the Mother Teresa School, under the elm clad arches of 104th Avenue, along the wild gardens of Boyle Street plaza, the sunken hidden garden by the courthouse, through the piazza fronting city hall. Past the robin’s urgent mating yodel, the see-sawed whistle of the house finch, the white-throated […]

19 March

Spring Equinox 2016

Posted in Seasonal Messages

January 23rd I came home from my usual Saturday morning run to the Downtown Farmer’s Market to commotion in the front lobby of my condo complex. Water was ankle deep on the main floor; someone was trying to find the key to the utility room so that we could turn the water off. We didn’t […]

21 December

Winter Solstice 2015

One endearment of this season, is how it lays bare to view all that is hidden. The sunken garden I pass in the centre of Edmonton that most would never see in summer, shrouded as it is in pine, basswood, and maple, now stands open to the light. The night sky stands just as revealed. […]

22 September

Fall Migration 2015

Posted in Seasonal Messages

When I was in Banff this August, every afternoon about three o’clock, the birds seemed to crash from the skies to feed in the woods near the studio where I was writing. About an hour later they would lift off again. Small birds most of them, some quite oddly located but that’s how it is […]

20 June

Summer Solstice 2015

Posted in Seasonal Messages

I find myself watching the trees this year, the trees in the courtyard where I live, the trees along the streets and avenues of the City, the trees in the river valley, wild and feral, native and planted. One evening while cooking my supper, I take down my binoculars and look for the baby robin […]

19 March

Spring Solstice 2015

Posted in Seasonal Messages

This time of year The sun rising on my walk to work. Skipping through puddles. Me slip-sliding, sometimes tripping. The streets running with water. The river breaking up, the swans low overhead. The souls. In a hospital room somewhere, someone is dying. Snow storm and robin song. It’s always the same metamorphosis. I pick my […]

31 January

Brighid’s Wheel: The Perpetual Fire

This past Wednesday I saw my doctor for my annual physical. Last year at this time my blood pressure was 80/60. I had been feeling the fatigue for months and would for many more. This January my blood pressure was back to 104/72, normal for me. I had always had low blood pressure, but never […]

21 December

The Winter Garden 2014

Recently I read the first volume in a series of books by the Norwegian author, Karl Ove Knausgaard, called My Struggle. It’s about the struggle of an ordinary man, and though we don’t often speak this way to one another, the book reads like the struggle of everyman/everywoman to come to terms with human suffering. About […]

11 August

Dog Days

Posted in Food, Seasonal Messages

The Romans called this time, the Dog Days of Summer, beginning July 24th and ending August 24th. Dog, after Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, which in ancient times would rise, like Venus, with the morning sun.  A season of super moons and harvest moons, languid days of heat and restless nights. Being a foodie of sorts, […]

21 June

The Longest Day: 2014

Posted in Seasonal Messages

Last weekend I took myself into the river valley, though I thought I had a thousand things to do: duties, commitments, chores. No, into the river valley I went on my trusty bike, down the wooden staircase at the end of 92 Street, down into my soul, a forgotten part of the city, past someone’s […]

1 May

May Day

Posted in Seasonal Messages

On my walk to work, I always pass the Mother Teresa School in Boyle Street. Yesterday morning, before eight, I noticed children out on the swings, slides, and monkey bars swooping and diving like a flock of small birds just back from wherever they go in winter. It was warm enough. And this morning the catkins on all […]

19 April

Beckett: the Egg and the Stranger

A few years ago,  when I was going through a difficult patch in my  life, during a shoulder season like now, not-winter, not-summer, I was hailed one evening by a voice from behind a small drift, with a shopping cart parked in front. It was close to the end of November, but above zero that day and […]

19 March

Spring Equinox Eve 2014

I am neither Persian nor Ukranian but I am curious, and I have found that curiosity is one of the best passports you can have for travelling into another culture or, indeed, another world. Years ago a friend gave me three pysanky, Ukranian Easter eggs. The practice is called pysanky or writing because the symbols are […]

8 March

Stay Attached to the Tree

I met Iftikhar in one of my project management courses last year. He’s a policy “wonk,” with an honours degree from York University and a Master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from a prestigious institute in Sweden. He speaks fluent, even eloquent English, Urdu, Arabic, among other languages, and like so many new Canadians, […]

20 December

A Thousand and One Doors

A Thousand and One Doors

  Lately, I’ve been reading The Arabian Nights, or what has been traditionally called The Thousand and One Nights, translated by Husain Haddawy from a 14th century Syrian manuscript, the oldest there is. Haddawy grew up hearing the Nights around his grandmother’s hearth on long winter nights in Baghdad. The book could easily be called The Thousand and One Doors. Doors open: […]