Saturday, August 31, 2013

this morning

the morning opens with silence.

the sort of silence that says so much more is going on than meets the eye.
simple things.
quiet things.

lovely things

Friday, August 30, 2013


the morning sky is opening up somewhere above the shroud of mist that has settled over the trees ...

this view from my back porch . . . . 

Thursday, August 29, 2013


somewhere southwest of peterborough - we were sort of lost (!) - this stunning tree says as quietly as can be "i've got to change" . . . .

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

disappearing into distant hills

there is
in the sight of a road
disappearing into distant hills
something of the lure
of magic

of mystery

of the possibility of fulfilling
the unfulfilled wish
of childhood
to keep on going
with no regard for the practicalities of life

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


crossing a bridge
and seeing the wake
of a passing boat

so like life

Monday, August 26, 2013

sometimes in the open

sometimes in the open you look up
where birds go by, or just nothing,
and wait. a dim feeling comes
you were like this once, there was air,
and quiet; it was by a lake, or
maybe a river you were alert
as an otter and were suddenly born
like the evening star into wide
still worlds like this one you have found
again, for a moment, in the open.

william stafford

Sunday, August 25, 2013

good in everything

And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.

william shakespeare

Saturday, August 24, 2013

a farm across a field

through the ample open door of the peaceful country barn,
a sun-lit pasture field, with cattle and horses feeding;
and haze, and vista, and the far horizon, fading away.

walt whitman

Friday, August 23, 2013

this little flute of a reed

little flute

thou hast made me endless, such is thy pleasure. this frail
vessel thou emptiest again and again, and fillest it ever with fresh life.

this little flute of a reed thou hast carried over hills and dales,
and hast breathed through it melodies eternally new.

at the immortal touch of thy hands my little heart loses its limits in
joy and gives birth to utterance ineffable.

thy infinite gifts come to me only on these very small hands of mine.
ages pass, and still thou pourest, and still there is room to fill.

rabindranath tagore

Thursday, August 22, 2013

the sun of grace

"when the heart is open to the sun of grace, we see flowers blossom in their fragrance..." 

the writings of marguerite bourgeoys

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

sacred spaces

i love the colour

and the symmetry

of man-made sacred spaces ...

 these are from a visit we made tuesday morning to the basilique notre-dame de montrĂ©al . . . 
i was last inside this beautiful place forty five years ago!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

the simple extravagance

i love that nature's abundance extends into colour.

Monday, August 19, 2013

well taken care of

an abundance of fruit is appearing on trees and bushes which usually suggests that the animals 
that call this place home for the winter will be well taken care of!!!

i don't want to think about the other part of that equation relating to the severity of the coming winter!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

why i love to ride my bike

a single moment in a day of bike riding.

can you imagine the sum of all the moments in a day of riding if this is just one?!!!!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

remembering my first home

church street, altrincham

afternoon on a hill

i will be the gladdest thing 
   under the sun! 
i will touch a hundred flowers 
   and not pick one. 

i will look at cliffs and clouds 
   with quiet eyes, 
watch the wind bow down the grass, 
   and the grass rise. 

and when lights begin to show 
   up from the town, 
i will mark which must be mine, 
   and then start down! 

edna st. vincent millay

Friday, August 16, 2013


i remember as a boy visiting a place called lymm dam.

a dark green thick pool of water where
(i was told)
several people had drowned.

somehow the shade of green
and the apparent thickness of the water
lent credence to the very real possibility
that the story i was told was
entirey true.

i cannot walk into bodies of water
unless i can see the bottom.

in seeing the bottom
i see my life continuing as i wish it to.

the metaphor extends into my larger life.

i wish to see my feet

in order to know that i will not
leave this place
and before my work is done,

Thursday, August 15, 2013

a something

then veil my too inspecting face
lest such a subtle - shimmering grace
flutter too far for me ...

emily dickinson

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

every day . . . .

"every day I see or hear something that more or less kills me with delight ....." 

mary oliver

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


they come into our lives

passing across our line of vision

or following us
settling at our sides

holding their space
and just as suddenly


Monday, August 12, 2013

raft of hay

you still recall, sometimes, the old barn on your
great-grandfather's farm, a place you visited once,
and went into, all alone, while the grownups sat and
talked in the house.
it was empty, or almost. wisps of hay covered the floor,
and some wasps sang at the windows, and maybe there was
a strange fluttering bird high above, disturbed, hoo-ing
a little and staring down from a messy ledge with wild,
binocular eyes.
mostly, though, it smelled of milk, and the patience of
animals; the give-offs of the body were still in the air,
a vague ammonia, not unpleasant.
mostly, though, it was restful and secret, the roof high
up and arched, the boards unpainted and plain.
you could have stayed there forever, a small child in a corner,
on the last raft of hay, dazzled by so much space that seemed
empty, but wasn't.
then--you still remember--you felt the rap of hunger--it was
noon--and you turned from that twilight dream and hurried back
to the house, where the table was set, where an uncle patted you
on the shoulder for welcome, and there was your place at the table.

excerpted from "flare"    mary oliver

Sunday, August 11, 2013

work worth waking to and falling asleep after

the day ends as it begins - in a glory of colour and light - and then also in hushed surroundings redolent with soft laughter, glimpses of a world entirely present in a moment . . . gifts . . . the simple joys of love, kindness, care, goodness . . . i take none of this for granted, merely reporting to you that it is all present . . . it is all possible . . . it does require work to welcome it all . . . noble honest work.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

watch, now

“hello, sun in my face. hello you who made the morning and spread it over the, now, how i start the day in happiness, in kindness.”

mary oliver

Friday, August 9, 2013

a very tiny paintbrush

with a very tiny paintbrush
has begun
in the local hedgerows . . . .

Thursday, August 8, 2013

summer storm

i don't know
if there is much of anything
more thrilling
more energizing

than watching
and listening to
and feeling
a summer storm
from your porch . . . . 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

swamp life

“crossing the Swamp"

here is the endless
wet thick
cosmos, the center
of everything—the nugget
of dense sap, branching
vines, the dark burred
faintly belching
bogs. here
is swamp, here
is struggle,
pathless, seamless,
peerless mud. my bones
knock together at the pale
joints, trying
for foothold, fingerhold,
mindhold over
such slick crossings, deep
hipholes, hummocks
that sink silently
into the black, slack
earthsoup. i feel
not wet so much as
painted and glittered
with the fat grassy
mires, the rich
and succulent marrows
of earth—a poor
dry stick given
one more chance by the whims
of swamp water—a bough
that still, after all these years,
could take root,
sprout, branch out, bud—
make of its life a breathing
palace of leaves.”

mary oliver

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

the return of ride for africycle

i arrived home last night from this year's ride for africycle. the seventh iteration of this ride and my fourth. we had an excellent time eating superb food, drinking very lovely wines, and having more fun than you can imagine.

we biked three hundred and forty kilometres in three days through wooded lanes, up and down massive rolling hills, and along the most beautiful quiet laneways you'll ever see. we met really good people.

over the next few days i'll post the stories and pictures of the ride.

this is one of my favourite moments, in the northumberland hills ....

Monday, August 5, 2013

the fifty seventh lap of the sun

fifty six

on this, the day when my friends and family reflect back on my emergence into this world, i wish to express my ongoing gratitude to my mum who carried me around for nine months and then carried much of the weight (for better and sometimes decidely for the worse) of my personal presence 
to this very moment!

i also wish to express my gratitude to my dad, my aunt, my children, and my brother, each of whom have played  such a powerul part in enlightening and educating me in the ways that honest and good people do without really trying!!!

finally i would like to thank my many friends and students who have brought me to this moment, a much richer and more fulfilled person than i would have been had i not had the tremendous fortune to cross paths with you.

i thankyou all deeply

Sunday, August 4, 2013

ride for africycle 7.0 has left the building!

i am off on a three day fundraising ride for africycle.

if you would like to sponsor my ride then please go here for more information.

thanks very much!


Saturday, August 3, 2013

these are the evenings

these are the evenings
when everything
is so entirely clear
that i laugh out loud
for my fortune
i might add
over time
and honestly
free of condition
and expectation
as i was given
and everything
in one basket
and worked
to reconcile
the nothingness
and the everythingness
into something
i could comfortably
refer to as 
"my life"
a place in which i live
and call myself
my self
as if i was not something other than that
as if i am entirely real

Friday, August 2, 2013


early august seems ... well, early for this to be happening!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

the shadow of a shadow of your love

what is the body?
that shadow of a shadow of your love,
that somehow contains the entire universe.