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 […]

8 March

If I were a writer in Cuba

Posted in Books, Reflections, Travel

I often pondered this question when I was in Cuba. While there, I was able to attend the 24th International Festival of the Book in Havana, one of the largest book festivals in Latin America, founded in 1982. For ten days, the city diverts buses from their regular commuter routes to transport thousands of Haberneros to the […]

28 February

The doors of La Habana Vieja

Posted in Travel

I’ve just returned from two weeks in Cuba. What struck me first were the doors. Most are from the colonial period. Huge, double doors, sometimes wide, sometimes narrow, often about 15-feet high. Solid magohany. Sometimes they haven’t been painted in a long, long time. Sometimes the aprons of the walls out front or inside (like those along the staircase in this […]

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 […]

21 September

Fall Equinox 2014: Gathering the Harvest

Posted in Uncategorized

The harvest doesn’t always come in on time or the way we have planned it. The crop may not be a bumper or the prices may be down. The grain heads may have dried out early with the heat or were hailed out or eaten by grasshoppers. Some years, the harvest may not come in […]

9 September

Being. Sick.

Posted in Uncategorized

There is a giant chalkboard in our neighbourhood at the corner of 95 Street and 103A Avenue, right over a community garden that stands on what once was the House of Refuge Mission, which burned down about a year ago in a series of fires. The place used to minister to the homeless and still does. […]

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, […]

28 July

Letter from Sage Hill

Posted in Books, Food, Reflections

Well, from the Sage Hill Writing Experience actually. As Philip Adams, the Executive Director, likes to joke, the name sounds like something cooked up by a bunch of hippies sitting around a circle smoking their favourite leaf. And may have been, but it is an experience. First there’s the people: the writers who come here […]

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 June

When the Rain Stops Falling

Posted in Books, Reflections

Last weekend I went to see When the Rain Stops Falling, a play by an Australian, Andrew Bovell. It was mounted by the U of A Studio Theatre, whose productions I have always found daring and top-notch. One of the opening scenes sent a shiver through me.  The year is 2039. It’s the middle of a storm, […]

7 May


Posted in Books, Reflections

I spent my lunch hour today listening to a podcast panel discussion on George Elliot’s masterpiece, Middlemarch, first published in 1871. The panel of Elliot scholars, all women, were interviewed by Eleanor Wachtel on CBC Radio months back. I can identify with the young women in Middlemarch who hold a fierce idealism about marriage and family and […]

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 […]

31 March

Truth and Reconciliation

Posted in News, Reflections

I spent part of my weekend at the Edmonton National Event for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I had heard about the commission but was skeptical about its purpose before I went. After an hour in a sharing circle, I realized I was witnessing a powerful historical event. First, second, and third generation survivors: Cree, […]

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 […]