Tuesday, August 28, 2012

An update on our recent visitor, sadly he could not be saved and passed away.
Be free, my brief friend, fly away into the sun.

Crows, by Mary Oliver

From a single
grain they have
When you look
in the eyes of
you have seen
them all.

At the edges of
they pick at limp
They are
anything but

Or they fly out
over corn
like pellets of
black fire,
like overlords.

Crow is crow,
you say.
What else is
there to say?
Drive down any

take a train or
an airplane
across the
world, leave
your old life

die and be born
wherever you
they’ll be there

glossy and
The deep
muscle of the

Monday, August 27, 2012

Our visitor

We had an unexpected visitor Monday night. The Mutt was out in the yard and alerted me to his presence. At first, I wasn't sure what was going on, and was a bit spooked. But once I saw him sitting there, on the ground, struggling to move away from me, I knew I had to do something to help him. Immediately, I put the Mutt in the house and called Jim out to help me.

Who was this injured, mystery guest? A beautiful visitor from the sky, a crow. There he sat, staring back at me and Jim and trying to scoot away. It was obvious that this bird could not fly as he was having trouble just hopping. I know we have a very reputable wildlife rehab centre here, so I called them right away. The lady who answered the phone said she was leaving work in just a few minutes and if we could get him into a box, she would come and pick him up. I assured her we could and that would look after him until she arrived.

Jim went and grabbed a chair and parked himself about 5 feet from the bird in black. I went to find a box and a sheet to use to catch him. When I came back out, Jim was still sitting there talking to the bird. One of the things I really enjoy about Jim, is his compassion towards animals. Whenever we see an animal squished on the side of the road, he always reminds me to say a prayer for them. He is such a softy and I love him for it!

The poor bird was desperate to avoid us but was unable to do much more than hop a few feet away and stare at a tree stump. I told him how handsome he was and that he shouldn't worry because help was on its way. He really was quite stunning, his feathers were many shades of blue and black and purple. It's not often that you have the opportunity to look into a crow's eyes and its not something I will soon forget.

The rehab centre employee finally arrived and I explained that I thought he may have been shot with a BB gun. She said they would look after him and that if his injuries could be repaired they would like to release him back into my yard. Apparently, crows have very complex family structures, including cousins and aunts and uncles. Of course I told her we would love to see that happen. I'll have to call them Tuesday and see what was wrong with him and how he is doing. I hope they can fix him up and get him on the mend, he's a brave bird.

I have always loved crows and make it a point to greet them when I see them. If I had to be a bird, I would be a crow. They always make everything seem like a party, even if they are just eating some garbage!

Friday, August 24, 2012


The path that I am currently on is one that has been building for years. Recently, I was telling a friend that, from the ages of 18 to about 34, I spent more years in therapy than not. Years well spent. And still every day is a journey to me becoming a more patient and forgiving person. Every day I make conscious choices about how I will react to the world around me. Every day I find myself reflecting on how I felt and what I did. Some days are better than others, but, to paraphrase Socrates, is an unexamined life worth living?

I started this blog as an attempt to chronicle my quest to live a more mindful life. It isn't easy to turn the darkness into light, but it is oh so worth it. You have to be alert and be aware of every little thing. Sometimes the light is so bright it blinds you and sometimes it is so dim you can scarcely see it.

I had a dream, a while back, where I was at work and the power went out. I was alone with all these dogs and, for some reason, I was terrified. I remember screaming for help and pleading for the lights to go back on. In the midst of the chaos I yelled out "the light is coming from inside you" over and over. And of course, then I woke up. In that dream the truth was revealed to me. The answer to the questions that plague me appeared and it came from my own lips.

I have a long way to go and I am happy to be traveling, even happier to know that I am not alone on this voyage. Best of all, I was given good directions:

Sometimes, when it is the darkest you have to remember that the light is coming from within yourself.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pen and Ink

Last night, as I lay in bed, some thoughts that have been rolling around my brain gelled together. I rolled over and grabbed the small memo pad and pen that I keep stashed for moments like this. I didn't want to turn the light on and wake Jim up, so I tried to write carefully and penned a few pages. I had planned on grabbing my notebook this morning and writing up a draft during nap-time at work, but I forgot it on the nightstand.

Imagine my surprise when I grabbed the pad and flipped it open and found just five words instead of three pages. For a moment I thought perhaps I had dreamed the whole incident, as I have been having strange dreams lately (Bill Clinton made an appearance recently). But no, the evidence was there, the beginning of my train of thought, "The journey I am currently..." and then my pen ran out of ink.

How could this have happened? This was the preface to a best-seller and now the words are gone. Straight from the pen, onto the paper and into the universe; invisible thoughts about life and light flowing out into the night.

I'll have to try again, this is something I have been mulling over for a few weeks now. I know it's in there waiting to come out. Tonight, I will make sure the pen has ink.

The sunset holds a promise.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Morning Light

For many years I have been a faithful public radio listener (good liberal that I am), NPR while I lived in the states and now CBC. I also used to watch a lot of CNN, too much perhaps. I suppose I believed that it made me smart or well-rounded. I took pride in being at the top of the news cycle. And I married a man who is devoted to local news, he watches close to two hours of local news daily on TV. It was getting to be a bit much.
Recently, I made the switch to CBC2, which is CBC's music station. They play a very eclectic mix of current singer-songwriters (with great classic artists mixed in) during the morning and afternoon drive times. Mid-day they play classical music which reminds of my Sunday mornings at my dad's house.

Listening to music in the mornings creates a calmer me. I find I am more relaxed on my way to work and pay more attention to my surroundings; noticing a rabbit racing across someone's yard or the beautiful sunrise. It is a much more pleasant way to start my day.

There are so many issues and ideas that the news media bombards us with and these are things that are out of our control. Yet so many people allow the problems of the world to control them. I have been making a conscious effort to be the master of my own thoughts, to write (and in some cases re-write) the narrative of my life, and I can't allow the media to manipulate me.

I don't mean to suggest that I have stuck my head in the sand and lost interest in anything but myself. I have always been interested in world events and politics, I just have to not allow myself to be all-consumed by it. Every day I want to look around and see the beauty around me. Take a look for yourself.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Summertime Blues

A few weekends ago, at the lake, we drove past a field full of yellow flowers. It was a beautiful sight. Jimmy asked me what kind of flowers they were and I responded tansy.  Then I recalled how tansy heralds the height of summer. When it appears and is in full bloom, you know it is all downhill after that and fall is on its way. My interesting tidbit drew groans and everyone agreed that that was a pretty depressing thought and why would I mention it?

Sure enough, this past weekend the flowers weren't as vibrant and some of the foliage has already turned brown. Just as soon as we get comfortable with summer, fall rears its sleepy head and looks around. The evenings have turned cooler and the chorus of complaints is getting louder. But you won't hear any from me. The change in seasons doesn't really bother me anymore. I look forward to all of the seasons and the delights they bring. There are crisp fall nights with warm fires; winter's icy cleanness and beautiful snow and spring's promise of new life. Each season brings me joy in different ways. 

Yesterday, I had to put on a hoodie for the first time in months and I loved it. Warm and cozy and comfortable - how can you go wrong with that? I don't think there is any need to complain about the things we have no control over, it just saps time and energy. And if the weather is your biggest complaint - then consider yourself lucky! I know I am lucky, because I am about to pull a blueberry pie out of the oven.

Tansy is an interesting flower with little 'buttons' for flowers. In spite of the bad news it brings, I think it is quite cheery and besides, it makes an excellent insect repellent!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Vet Stories

Spent the evening at the vet with a sick mutt. One of the joys of having a lab is that they love to eat and get such real joy from doing so. The old mutt decided that today was a good day for a smorgasbord a la garbage. I am usually a very calm and collected person when it comes to that kind of stuff - and the mutt keeps us busy with that kind of stuff - but not tonight. It was all I could do to keep myself together. When the vet finally said that they thought she would be fine and would send her home with some meds, I was so relieved. But when I went to call Jimmy and tell him the news, I just crumbled and  began to sob, in a waiting room full of people. Maybe it was relief? Maybe I am just so afraid of losing her? She is already older than Sophie ever was. I can't explain it. My heart just ached and broke open right there.

But I wasn't alone. There was a two month old kitten with a heart defect, who won't live to be a year old; a dog who had been vomiting sand for two days and another dog (who I knew from work) that had a bot fly larvae in her chest. Good times. The sand dog - who was so sweet - was there with her 'mom' and her 'sister'. The girl looked to be about 10 and was getting really worried about her dog. The mom told her not to cry because then she would cry. I agreed and told her I would cry too - not so far a stretch as I had already done so. We proceeded to tell funny stories of things our dogs have eaten - which kept us all distracted. When the bot fly dog came out and joined us - we all became engrossed with her cuteness and forgot about our problems.

It was such a real moment; strangers bound together listening to one another's stories and offering a sympathetic ear. I'm glad those women and their dogs were there with me tonight, although I'm sure all of us would have preferred to have been home with healthy beasts. I am home now, with a snoring mutt, and hoping that she will pass whatever needs passing.

Bot Fly Baby

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Slowing Down the Brain Train

I realize I have been pretty lax about writing lately, and I am sure many of you were thinking that the newness had worn off of blogging and I had gotten bored with it. Not true. My main problem has been my new smart phone. I've had it just shy of 2 weeks and find it so distracting. What do you mean there's an app for that!? My dear Jimmy was afraid I would become addicted to it and in a way he might be correct - but, in all fairness, I am only addicted to solitaire and picture collage apps!

I have been thinking about what I need to write about, but it is still fairly jumbled up in my head. I was hoping if I gave the concepts enough time that they would sort themselves out, but it seems that isn't going to happen. It's hard to verbalize ideas about sleep and dreams, mostly because my dreams and sleep patterns are a bit convoluted to begin with. As a child, I would fall asleep with a book in my lap and my eyes open - I freaked my parents out more than a few times. Now, as an adult, I have great difficulty falling asleep. In my process to becoming a more mindful person I am realizing how much my thoughts control me, especially at bedtime.

While I lay in bed, listening to Jim sleep, my mind races from thought to thought. I have complete conversations with myself about everything and anything. 'We' talk about things I said during the day and how I could have phrased them better. We'll talk about what I should say in my blog, what excuses I might make for not having written in a week. Then I will have to rehash the wording used in said make-believe excuses. It all gets very complicated and we go round and round for a half hour or more. I just can't seem to get my brain to turn off.

Recently, I have been trying to focus on the visuals inside my head, instead of the words that are bouncing around. It is by no means fool proof but it does help. Every time my brain train begins to race I concentrate on some sort of image - it could be a flower I photographed, or an imaginary vista, or an object from my home. Last night I concentrated on a bit of detail from a quilted wall-hanging I purchased from Maria Wulf. Maria, by the way, is a very talented fiber artist and blogger (you should check her out).

I find this lovely sun quite comforting. It speaks to me of the light I am consciously seeking - my light in the darkness, one might say. I had a very interesting dream the other night about the light, but that will be a story for another day.