Showing posts from June, 2022

It's a Lot

And by "it," I mean many things.  What do I do when it's a lot?  A pretty evening sky. A few things. I do my work, for starters. Yes, it's hard to focus. But I'm lucky to do what I do under the few constraints I have.  Some pretty yellow flowers. I do active looking. I look for pretty things, for things that inspire gratitude, for things that restore my faith in other people. For example, I look for people being nice to each other.  Some pretty wild roses. I do targeted actions. Yes, voting. Yes, donating. Yes, engaging gently with others. And learning--how Supreme Courts work in two different countries, different approaches to protecting women's rights.  That's it; that's that. That's what I've got these days. Is it enough? For now. For today.  

Moon, Solstice, or Aurora?

When I woke up at 3 a.m. today, I wasn't especially happy to be conscious, but I was curious. What had awakened me? I didn't remember dreams, bad or good.  Then I saw how light the sky was. (Our bedroom blinds don't block everything.)  As I lay there, I reviewed the options. That light in the sky: It could be the moon. It could be the solstice. Or it could be the aurora. I got up and tiptoed to the window to look. Turned out, the sky was just that light at 3 a.m. on June 22 this year. Thanks, solstice!   But as I tried to go back to sleep, I thought about the differences between the moon, the solstice, and the aurora.  The moon is full every (wait for it) month (not exactly, because our measurement systems aren't accurate, but still). The full moon isn't always visible from our bedroom window overnight, but it is visible several times a year. The regularity is comforting, even when we can't see it. The solstice happens twice a year; one in the darkness and one i

When Does Plenty Become Surfeit?

One comment I consistently receive (less so, recently, because eventually I DO learn) on essays, is that I too often posit topics as questions.  For example, I could have titled this post "When Plenty Becomes Surfeit," and written much the same post here.  Asking questions is part of an essay, even when they're not technically phrased as questions. But on reaching the last part of an essay, one of my critique partners said, "I really feel you owe us some answers here -- not 'the' answer, but 'your' answer, even if it's just an answer for now."  Fair enough. But today, I want to linger in the question -- to live here for a while on the page, as I am (perhaps we all are) in "real life." Too much green in spruce and birch? Not sure that's possible. Here are some sample questions I consider regularly. Where is the line between "I am who I am" and "I can happily learn new ways of being in the world"? When does irr

June is Alzheimer('s) and Brain Awareness Month

June is a full month. It's Pride Month, with its celebration of rebellion and joy and love. It's Indigenous History Month, with its celebration of endurance and generosity as Indigenous people share stories we should have learned but haven't yet.  It's also Alzheimer (in Canada) and Alzheimer's (US) and Brain Awareness Month, with its calls to raise awareness of dementia and related diseases, and its ever-hopeful hashtag, #EndAlz. Growing in the wild around here, forget-me-nots. Pff, as if I could. As you may know, I wrote a book about Alzheimer's. It's also about my mother, and my father. It's about our family, inertia, denial. Mistakes and regrets.  And, to be fair, it's about joy, and dogs. Glass on a beach and a set of sheets. Home. It's also about sounds and love, and how they both reverberate through time. I'm glad I wrote it, and I'm so honoured that it has touched many people. You can read more about it here.   Years ago -- nearl

What I’m taking into June

Another dose of COVID vax A drain strainer for the bathtub, shaped like a starfish, that works a treat (strains hair, lets water through). A pair of houseshoes in a larger size (my big toes are ecstatic). Some Penguin Classic clothbound versions of Jane Austen titles (I’m still missing Emma SO FAR), each of which has an updated introduction, and I’m LOVING them. Loving the hardcover clothbound Penguin Classic versions of Jane Austen's novels  A new, perhaps slightly strange, interest in Beowulf translations and a specific re-envisioning that reconsiders love and monsters  A bunch of photos through rainy windows, to say nothing of photos of a squirrel (or several?) at our old bird feeder  A squirrel atop a bird feeder, snacking A writing conference registration, a writing group commitment, and the prospect of being with other writers, maybe even in the flesh. The energy of writing to elected officials even though I know they’re indifferent at best and likely actively working against