Take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow

—Bob Dylan

Finding Meaning

What Do You See?

Close Calls

A black bear and her cubs dart in front of our car as we travel 80 kilometres per hour down the road. Mama and one cub make it to the woods on the other side. Frightened by our fast approach, two other cubs turn back hurriedly from the road. Will they later make a safe crossing and be reunited? I warn oncoming cars by flashing my high beams. I keep going.

At the cottage I take wood from the woodpile and return to the fire pit. Then, there is a thundering crash as though the woodpile has toppled, Jenga style. “What was that?!” you rush over and say. Heading back, we discover a 100 pound tree limb that has fallen directly over the spot where I had—only a moment before—been innocently gathering wood.

We’re driving home and my headlights do a poor job of lighting the darkened road. We’re listening to “Carmina Burana: Introduction” from The Doors soundtrack. There’s something on the road. I swerve to avoid a large raccoon “sleeping” in my lane. I’m grateful that my last words on earth won’t be, “Oh crap!” (This story will be re-enacted with growing enthusiasm well past bedtime and remembered again first thing in the morning. No doubt to be relayed animatedly during sharing time at school.)

You should know that at yoga last Thursday I selected an angel card from a crystal bowl that said, “Angel Michael blesses you with safety.” With all of these close calls yesterday I seriously have to wonder.

Oh, and I found this impressive mushroom that I think might be the psychoactive Amanita muscaria. Which is funny because while I was photographing it I was thinking of that caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland atop a giant mushroom puffing on a hookah encouraging Alice to eat it...

Forgive Me

“I have no excuse for being so rude. I guess mothers are human. I hope you will forgive me.

A few years ago I shredded the majority of personal letters that I have received over the years (along with burning all the diaries that I have kept since I was a child). I did this mainly because it makes me sad to reminisce. Also, I don’t want to leave my personal belongings for anyone else to sort through when I’m gone.

There were some things that I was unable to part with though. One, a touching letter of apology from my mother. As my mother’s dementia has progressed, I am no longer able to communicate adequately with her. She is mostly silent now. When I call, I can hear her breathing on the telephone line. After a moment or two, she will say, “I’m sorry. I don’t know what to say.” Like the stars in the night sky at dawn, she is fading. I miss her terribly. This card from years ago reminds me of all that is brave and good about my mother.

Mom once confessed to me that she wished she were more creative. That she could knit, for example, and make something beautiful to be remembered by. To encourage her, I sent a letter reminding her of the eight, healthy children that she has successfully raised. How we have all turned out to be thoughtful and loving people. Like so many of us though, she felt she had to do something to be worthwhile. It saddens me that she doubted herself. I remember all the ways that she showed me she cared—she wrote/telephoned often, sent along helpful and useful gifts, and showed interest in the minutiae of my life. Most notably, she was not too proud or fearful to admit when she was wrong. She was sorry when she felt that she had harmed me. She wrote a letter to ask for my forgiveness, (which was a given!). I love and admire her deeply for that.

Why Dream?

Lake Huron

A genuine smile, a warm breeze, wildflowers, bumblebees, 
the changing light on the water 

Why dream when its the simplest things that bring pleasure?

The Truth

There is a lot of emotion behind these words:
Things are almost never as they seem.

Love & Appreciation

“Somehow everything I’d learned about life pointed to an idea that to receive something you had to earn it. I’d never thought of myself as a tree, a graceful being visited by songbird, starlight, and rain, and which people love for itself, not for what it does or how smart it is, or how indispensable.”

—Kathleen Winter, Boundless (2014)     

Heart Scents

  • Cinnamon soap with organic shea butter
  • Pure beeswax candles
  • Hazelnut Zimmer loose tea (rooibos, caramel pieces, hazelnut brittle, vanilla pieces, marigold flowers)
  • Honest Leaf detox tea (milk thistle, organic peppermint, couch grass root, organic fennel seed, dandelion root, burdock root, organic lemon grass & lemon grass oil)
  • Toasted almond tea (apple chunks, cinnamon, almonds, red beet pieces)
  • Daisy heart card by Avanti (FSC certified paper) x

Little Gifts

When I held her close, I could feel her heartbeat. 
Her hair smelled of wildflowers and moss.

Sunset at the Café

A boisterous wind roughly played with the new leaves on the trees today. I heard that it might snow. I’m sitting by the glowing embers of the faux logs in the fireplace at the café. The sun is settinga magenta sky with a few highlighted orange cumulus clouds. I haven’t seen such a colourful sky in a long while.

I brought a novel to read, but I can’t get into it. What makes a book good? It’s hard to put your finger on it. Voice, vocabulary, style. It’s magical when it all comes together. Earlier in the week, I read ’70s singer Rita Coolidge’s memoir and I found it disappointing. Her recollections meander, creating a choppy writing style that is grating. And although I’m sure it was not her intention, the numerous racial references she makes are often stereotypical and insulting. The reviews for Delta Lady have been positive though, which I find puzzling.

Thanks to Marina at A Beautiful Hue, I had the pleasure of reading The Signature of All Things. Set in the 1800s, this impressive novel was written by Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert. The novel’s memorable heroine is a passionate and brilliant botanist named Alma Whittaker. Of course, the natural world features prominently in this story, which mainly takes place on a wooded estate in Philadelphia. But like all good epic sagas, there’s adventure and romance, too. Travelling under the guise of a botaniste voyageuse, Alma journeys by ship to lush Tahiti where she hopes to find answers about the sensitive and spiritual man that she loves. Gilbert’s obviously an imaginative and clever writer. Regrettably, not all of her books are worth reading, though. Committed, for instance, was terribly tedious.

Another book I enjoyed recently was Gloria Steinem’s My Life on the Road. In the first chapter, Steinem ponders the human desire to move and explore as opposed to remaining in one place. “I wonder if seasonal signals might be programmed into the human brain,” she writes. “After all, we’ve been a migratory species for nearly all our time on earth, and the idea of a settled life is very new. If birds will abandon their young rather than miss the moment to begin a flight of thousands of miles, what migratory signals might our own cells still hold?” Because I’ve always had what my friend Lorae refers to as “itchy feet,” Steinem’s words jumped off the page for me. What if my urge for heading west, say, is in my DNA? If so, why should I feel guilty for having this innate desire? (Writing this, I came across an interesting online article about a dopamine-related gene (DRD4-7R). According to this article, approximately 20 per cent of the population have a variation of this gene, which has been linked with restlessness and curiosity. Because of this correlation, this gene is being dubbed the “wanderlust gene.”)

Well, it’s twilight now. My matcha green tea latte has been reduced to foam. I wonder if anyone else has taken note of the vibrant sunset. As I pack up my things, I contemplate a line from a review that I read on The Signature of All Things: “whether a life lived in the shadows, comprising of a million, small, unnoticed actions, is worth any less than a life of big gestures and public recognition.” Before I get in my car and head home, I look up at the now darkened sky. I notice that the cloudswhether they were appreciated or nothave dissipated in the troposphere gracefully and without a sound.

What Does It Mean

What does it mean…  
that the earth is so beautiful?

And what shall I do about it? 

—Mary Oliver

“Reflections” by Hope Wilson

Reflections by Hope Wilson, acrylic on paper

Only art and music have the power to bring peace.

—Yoko Ono

Bohemian Spirit

for inspiration and assurance

cedar & white sage to cleanse negativity


Perhaps you do not know
how dearly you are loved.

And cannot feel the peace
that emanates from the trees.


I wasn’t satisfied with yesterday’s Valentine photo so I made another attempt this morning. How did I do? Since I was little, I have loved Valentine’s Day. It’s a day to remember your heart and love, which is what I think life’s all about. This February, I wish you the warmth of pure love and the openness to receive that love in whatever form it takes.

Finding Winter

Arrowhead Provincial Park

First Meditate

Untitled by Hope Wilson, acrylic on paper

First meditate, be blissful, then much love will happen of its own accord. Then being with others is beautiful and being alone is also beautiful. Then it is simple, too. You don’t depend on others and you don’t make others dependent on you. Then it is always a friendship, a friendliness. It never becomes a relationship, it is always a relatedness. —Osho

The River Tour, Toronto

Bruce Springsteen fans are the best. Last night at the Air Canada Centre, a packed audience remained almost continuously on their feet for a dopamine-inducing performance. Hands waving in the air, fans sang and danced like I’ve never seen before. Wherever I looked, there were smiling, happy faces. Springsteen evokes a response from his audience similar to that of a Baptist preacher before his congregation. The energy and spirit of his performances with the E Street band are exhilarating and transformative.

Some Highlights
The title track “The River” was made memorable by smart phone flashlights that lit up the ACC like stars. (The modern equivalent to lighters.) I have an aversion to cell phones, but I don’t think anyone would deny that it was a beautiful phenomenon to see all those lights shimmering along with the music.

Springsteen crowd surfing at the ACC.

“Point Blank” live: The intro to this gorgeously arranged version was mesmerizing—the piano, the cymbals. Bruce’s emotional delivery of the lyrics and the harmonies of the band gave me the chills. There was a beautiful organ solo in the middle, too. It may have been the best song of the evening.

“Because the Night”: The song that Bruce gave to Patti Smith. I read Smith’s memoir M Train a couple of months ago so it was synchronistic to hear the song last night. It was empowering to dance and sing along passionately with Bruce, the E Street band, and all the ecstatic fans. “Because the night belongs to lovers / Because the night belongs to us”!

The Encore: My secret wish for this concert was to hear “Badlands.” Check. Another special moment was when Bruce graciously danced with an octogenarian fan to “Dancing in the Dark.”

Final Thoughts: Time is passing, which was made evident by Bruce’s weathered face up on the big screen (as it is from my own middle-aged reflection in the mirror). This humble reminder makes me deeply grateful for magical, music-filled nights such as these.

“The subtext of The River was time, time entering your life and slipping away. And how once you entered your adult life, your clock starts ticking, you have a limited time to do your work, raise your family, and try and do something good.” —Bruce Springsteen