Midsummer’s Eve 2016

Posted on Jun 19, 2016 in Photos, Reflections, Seasonal Messages


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 sparrow’s O Canada Canada Canada, the chickadees Summer’s coming summer’s coming, the yellow warblers sweet sweet shredded wheat. Past all these, the calls, the hurry, the frenzy of spring have calmed to a steady hum, a conversation of clicks and clacks, of clucks, murmurs, or a simple chirp. Even the humans have quieted, the traffic thinned in the downtown core. This is the conversation of summer.

Lately I’ve been purposely stopping to listen to the quiet, to feel the warmth of the wind in my hair, to look at the wild roses blooming in the city on my way to work. (Have you noticed how pink the blossoms are when they first come out?) I go into the office buoyed by these small glimpses of joy, more generous-hearted, more at peace with whatever the day might throw me. I try in small ways to keep stopping and feeling. To look up from my computer screen and out my window for twenty seconds at a time. (Because it’s good for your eyes too.) But it’s hard to look at one thing for twenty seconds without wanting to fill the mind with some thought, something I must remember, some sentence I should write down, some phone call I should make. And when I get home, it’s sometimes hard to sit on my lovely new patio and simply look at the green, green courtyard and hear the wind in the poplars without reading or writing or rushing off to my next commitment. It’s sometimes hard to just be in my breath and breathe and breathe until the enough becomes clear. Yet, I’m convinced this is how the well of love is fed and so I keep trying and will keep trying to practice this open-heartedness to beauty that opens up my life.

About a week ago the daughter of an old friend of mine died of cancer. Joanna was 33 years old, smart, passionate, and full of life. A small tumour on her tongue eventually took over her body. From diagnosis to death was less than a year. She was just coming into the summer of her life, but in many ways it seems she was wise beyond her years. After the celebration of her passing on Saturday, I came away with this: the challenge is love. For Joanna that meant a constant curiosity about the world around her and the world inside her. She was always listening.


  1. Mary Barrett
    June 19, 2016

    Wonderful words Audrey – as usual. I’m also glad to hear birdsong

  2. Anita Jenkins
    June 20, 2016

    Hmm. You know me, Audrey. I like my monkey mind and have no plans to stop and smell the roses. But it was interesting to read your description of that walk downtown, the one I also take on a regular basis. I love our hood.

    • Audrey
      June 20, 2016

      Ha, Monkey Mind! You looked:) I love our neighbourhood too.

  3. Jenine Safioles
    June 20, 2016

    Thank you Audrey.

  4. Allison Kydd
    June 20, 2016

    Dear Audrey,
    Reading you message was a lovely way to celebrate the solstice. The photo is gorgeous, and I recognized the bird songs. I did notice you didn’t include grackles (perhaps they were the “clicks” and “clacks”).
    I spent a good part of the afternoon in the garden and I love all the bird songs except that of the grackles. Working in the garden is my compromise—both smelling the roses (yesterday I discovered the first open blossom on my Cuthbert Grant; Winnipeg Parks has been glorious for over a week, neither too much damaged by tent caterpillars it seems) and accomplishing something, Anita.
    This morning, I hope Kevin will also take time to sit on the deck, as we finish our after breakfast coffee.

    • Mary Nelson
      June 20, 2016

      Dear Audrey,
      Thank you for bringing a bit pf peace into my life. I’ve had back-to-back company, all very enjoyable, and am waiting for my laminate flooring to be replaced due to a water value leak, and so it is good to be reminded the loving world is there to relieve the stresses, and bring joy to the forefront. The hummingbirds are at the feeder, the dark blue clematis is shouting, glory! and I am slowing down. Happy Solstice. Blessed be, Mary

    • Audrey
      June 25, 2016

      Actually, Allison, there are no grackles in my neighbourhood and I do know what they are. Perhaps in other parts of the city, but I’ve usually seen them out in the country. Thank you for sharing your roses with us.

  5. Pearl Gregor
    June 20, 2016

    Hello, Audrey. I love the springtime. My farm yard is bursting with birds, calves, trees and flowers. And, the Great Mother has blessed us this month of Gaia with rain! And, now, June seriously bursts! And the barn swallows inhabit several boxes in various parts of the yard. One pair of robins looks at me from the top 2 x 4 whenever I open the garden shed door., Another makes me take a step back to watch as she flies out of her nest in the Hops Vine over the water barrell! And hummingbirds! Well, nests in several lilac bushes.

    And I listen and I am looking for June song!

    • Audrey
      June 20, 2016

      Wow wow wow! The world is full. Summer at its best. Still a few hours left in this longest day:)

  6. Linda Bumstead
    June 21, 2016

    You put words to the feelings I have about my own neighborhood in summer. I purposely walk by all the lovely spots, church gardens, roses on the river bank and flowering yards. I, too, find it hard to still my mind but I want to take in the beauty of summer and find peace in it.

  7. Annis K
    June 25, 2016

    Lovely images came to my mind as I read your beautiful descriptions of a day Audrey! Thank you for sharing – you always say just the right thing.