Fall Equinox 2018: The Stillpoint

Posted on Sep 22, 2018 in Nature, News, Reflections, Seasonal Messages

I walk to work every day, zig-zagging, cross-stepping as-the-crow-flies, in a beeline from my place in Boyle Street, on through downtown Edmonton. This year some of the route has changed as my own life has changed. Work has moved and my role with it; I have to walk a little farther than I used to. But there are stillpoints along the way. Vistas, soundscapes, and living creatures. Some are predictable, some surprise and then disappear. Those last I call angels. Stillpoints, all, because they stop me in my tracks, because they bring me out of my head and into the present moment.

One of my favourites is a window at the corner of 105A Avenue and 93 Street, a window that beckons in early morning, spring, summer, fall or winter. A window whose season never ends flanked by a red steel door and a Manitoba Maple probably as old as the neighbourhood, thick at the trunk and gnarled; the leaves this time of year moving slowly from green to gold. The beckoning window looks east and is filled with plants: a spider plants, a prayer plant, plants I don’t even know the names of. Behind the window sits a filing cabinet, a book shelf, and a desk topped with piles of paper. In the next cavernous room, behind other windows and under high ceilings, men stand at work benches, hunched over machines. The green window follows me down the block, caught in my mind in a maze of brick and steel and grease.

Many times in the six years I’ve walked the route, I’ve wondered who tends the plants. I’ve speculated. A woman obviously. I’m not sure why I would be so confident of that. A woman with her own office. A woman among a sea of men. The bookkeeper? Human Resources? The site nurse? A manager? I had never laid eyes on her. Until this week.

Friday morning she was there, framed, red-haired, in the window, smiling, watering her green plants as outside the snow fell lightly to the ground. Thank you, I wanted to say, in a world so out of balance with time and with the material, a world filled with violence masquerading as truth, for continuing to pay attention to some of the simplest, the most real, processes of being.


  1. Kate Quinn
    September 22, 2018

    Beautiful, thanks! So glad you saw the woman watering her plants, in a sea of men, in the midst of snow outside. Gratitude.

  2. Annis
    September 23, 2018

    Just lovely Audrey – thank you for sharing that bit of morning magic!

  3. Betty Jane Hegerat
    September 23, 2018

    Thank you for this on a cold wet morning, Audrey. Blessed be the woman in the window and green plants.

  4. Cheryl Croucher
    September 23, 2018

    Audrey, I always marvel at how you observe the miraculous in the mundane.

  5. Jano Thibodeau
    September 23, 2018

    In the rain here in Nanaimo, rain so welcome after months of only drops of water on the dry land and you in Edmonton transformation of rain into snow flakes ~ the process of transformation continues on becoming in humans, plants, flowers, colors change, new thoughts, chaos and order alive for billions of years, the milky way speaks of light and black holes … yes, Audrey, I say, I am so grateful for you to have brought your experiences into my morning reflections ~jano

  6. Mary Nelson
    September 23, 2018

    Dear Audrey,
    I look forward to your quarterly greetings and, as usual, this one pleases me no end. Your words about the image of the window filled with plants (and I’d forgotten all about Prayer Plants) filled my mind with an image all my own. Thanks. How lovely that you got to greet the woman tending her little green forest in that mechanized world. What a blessing you both are, she for creating it, and you for sharing it.

  7. Audrey Whitson
    September 23, 2018

    Thank you all for walking with me.

  8. Linda Bumstead
    September 23, 2018

    Hi Audrey,
    I enjoyed your insightful post very much. I love the way you celebrate the seasons and your immediate surroundings while on your daily walk.

  9. Audrey Brooks
    September 23, 2018

    Your words remind me of how I often look for the same landmarks when I am out walking, such as old houses and trees that seem always to have been there. When I drove down 109th over the High Level bridge this morning on my way to hear Nasa Adam read her poetry at the Westwood Unitarian church, I was shocked to see that Knox United church just disappeared from its site. I knew it was to be demolished, but it seems a sacrilege to eliminate it from the city landscape. I never stopped being touched by that big window in the front which was a beacon of light from within and without the church. I spoke at that church a couple of times. It was always just something to look out toward the window from the pulpit.
    Last week it was there, this week it is gone. It is as if a piece of history just dropped off the map. There was a security in that building that was a bellwether in my life.

  10. Pearl Gregor
    September 24, 2018

    The plant woman. Audrey, what a delightful image! In the midst of a sea of men and the mundane of violence in normal dress.

    Hildegard of Bingen was such a woman over 800 years ago. An Earth Woman who knew Divine immanence. I wonder, Audrey, did you know her? Back then before the enlightenment brought something called rational? Did you know her framed by the Anchorage walls dispensing advice to the many who came seeking her wisdom, healing and prayers? Hildegard knew the violence of the Middle Ages much as women today know the violence of the machine age. And yet, she too framed her world in plants.

    I returned from Bingen last night and awoke to see the snow still clinging to drooping sunflowers alongside the morning glory while tiny birds flit about in joyous dance. They know we must die to rebirth. The snow brought the most welcome moisture to a parched pasture, a falling dugout and browning mugo pine. The snow moistened my soul to know yet again its natural cycle.
    Blessed be.

    • Audrey Whitson
      September 24, 2018

      Hildegard: She was and is a force and the quintessential Green Woman. Thank you for reminding us of her. For those who are interested in learning more, here’s a start: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hildegard_of_Bingen

  11. Henny Flinterman Vroege
    October 9, 2018

    Hi, Audrey: I always appreciate your quarterly messages! I, too, walk, and often the same route. I look forward to seeing the seasonal changes in the neighbourhood (the large magnolia bushes in the spring are especially wonderful to look forward to). The cats here are friendly, and this morning there was a crow paying attention to me for a while. The trees have started to change into their many colours – so wonderful to see them change from the top down. Blessings and love to you.