Wednesday, June 9, 2010

swing out

Summer is just around the corner. I'm taking the next 21 days to set the bit, habitwise. Hobbit and rabbit wise too. Moving and writing, sorting and purging, making way for crickets, sand and stars.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I was cleaning out monkeyboy's backpack this afternoon and underneath the NoFrills bag full of wet bathing suit and towel, crusty lunchbag and the collection of Sacred Scraps of Paper and Pebbles I unearthed a little notebook. It was the middle third of a cut up exercise book. There was only one thing written in it, on the first page and it was this:

"ToDay anD Every Day from now On Lets live in a way that Let's us find Powems."

YESSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!! Let's do it!!!!!!!!!!!

I was only slightly disappointed to discover that monkeyboy hadn't come up with this on his own but I want to thank his teacher who sent it into his little brain and down his arm. I want to thank her in a big way.

Friday, April 2, 2010


This is the lonely first half of a pair of bunny slippers I am crocheting for my sister-in-law. I thought a snack might distract it from its singular existence.
I have always loved Easter. When I mentioned this to one of the other moms in the parking lot at the daycare, she seemed mystified. I could understand her disconnect. After all, what is there for a modern, secular person to love about Easter? Chocolate, ham, pots of tulips, bunnies, chicks, eggs, pastels? Yes, all of these things figured in my childhood experiences of Easter but these are not the only things I am nostalgic for. I was interested and moved by all of the church business of Holy Week: the palms, the supper, the passion, the joy at the end of it. My aunt would always come for the weekend and she brought with her attention and interest and left the scent of Anais Anais on my quilt. My mother always did a lot of special cooking around Easter. She always made eggy, braided Ukrainian breads and, once, sweet bun bunnies with icing. We ate the bunnies for breakfast with Champagne and orange juice. Our decadence was interrupted by the cat, bringing us a freshly killed mouse. For a few years she made Laura Secord style eggs, sugary fudgey on the inside and chocolate coated with our initial iced on top.
This bunny slipper picture reminded me of a certain quality to the light on Easter morning. I always tried to wake up early before everyone else and creep downstairs, following a trail of Smarties. One morning I woke up early enough to read finish the second half of The Stray, which had several great maps and a sad and mysterious ending. I remember once quietly singing Lord of the Dance to the rising sun. The melody is the same as the Shaker hymn Simple Gifts. I still love it. It always makes me feel that Easter feeling again, when I was awake and alone with the sun coming up, my family around me safe and sleeping and good food on the way.

Tis a gift to be simple tis a gift to be free
Tis a gift to come down where you ought to be
And when you find yourself in the place just right
It will be in the valley of love and delight.

Dance, dance wherever you may be
I am the lord of the dance, said he
And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be
I will lead you all in the dance, said he.

See? Joy. Whatever spring rite you've got going on, I hope you feel it too.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

don't be a fool

April is almost upon me and I feel restless. Too bad there is no spring thaw a happenin'. With hardly any snowfall this winter there is nothing left to thaw. No river of ice to break up with a rifle crack. Is this how people who live in the temperate climes feel when spring comes, a bland easing in to a greener time? I don't think I like it. I heard the birds singing when I went out this morning and I liked that very much. I must have been missing them (the birds) because the window ledge in front of my computer desk is full of birds. My friend Becky, a pro-fessional bird girl, spotted no less than eight birds here:

I also got this very fantastic bike for only $35 at the Bibles for Missions thrift shop over the March Break. Jack also got a bike there for 5 bucks! (This thrift store is awesome. I nearly bought a fifties lace wedding gown for ten dollars but I knew there was no way i was going to fit into it - it had a teeny tiny waist - and it was still way too long for Sal. ) When I was loading this very heavy bike into the back of my car to take it home, I had visions of pedaling this baby down to the market and returning home with a basket full of bread and roses. At the time, I was ignoring the reality of the long steep hill that leads back up to our house from the market. And the singular nature of the gears. I took a spin around the block with Jack and was shocked to discover what felt like an intense grade on the last stretch coming up to our house. While walking, this incline was almost imperceptible but trying to pedal 50 pounds of British steel up it gave it a whole new seriousness. Smith took it for a spin next and promptly broke the chain by attempting to switch gears (folly). But I am still in love with this bike. It makes me happy to see it every time we pull into the driveway. I may even get the chain fixed before the snow falls again.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

in-depth reporting

In the interest of being totally literal and unimaginative, this week's posts will be a series chronicling the mess on my desk. The Mess of Pottage. It's January, my brain is frozen. Or perhaps I am hoping to divine some deeper message (besides "clean up and get organized) lurking in the chaos. Like listening for patterns in white noise or reading tea leaves.

So, here goes.
Today the current items litter my desk:
  • my monitor, keyboard and mouse as well as my old laptop (including power adaptor, mouse and portable hard drive), dazzle card, digital cam (batteries are dead) and cell phone(also needs re-charging), a solar powered calculator and a camera tripod,
  • Smith's keys
  • a 3 inch Eve toy with replacement arm and tiny plastic boot with plant growing out of it, a small rubber cheetah and a Lego wizard (to keep the bogons away)
  • a bristle hairbrush,
  • a smooth stone from French Beach
  • a letter and photos from my mother-in-law
  • 3 Alice Munro books of which I have double copies (Friend of My Youth, Runaway and Away from Her if anybody needs 'em)
  • a printout of a Georgian Bay cottage which the owner refused to rent to me
  • the most recent issue of Professionally Speaking magazine open to the page about Olympic lesson plans
  • a construction paper circlet, made by Jack
  • a ball of fuzzy green synthetic wool with tiny balls of colour threaded along it, a clear plastic purse handle
  • a Christmas package awaiting delivery (still)
  • a map of Montreal
  • a pile of Bermuda sea glass wrapped in paper towel
  • 2 pieces of unopened mail (bills)
  • an empty eggshell blue coffee mug, an empty tea mug, an empty oatmeal bowl and spoon
  • a green blown glass sea-urchin paperweight
  • a travel-sized packet of tissues
  • a box of Curious George bandaids and a birthday party invitation (Come PARTY like an ALIEN!),
  • a lab test requisition form (for Jack) and two stool test kits with instructions
  • Bernstein's Reverse Dictionary ("mess, confused condition: MARE'S NEST") in which I found my own handwritten copy of this passage from Annie Dillard's The Living:

"Swing out", the voices said in the darkness.
"Push from the platform, and when you're all the way out, let go."
When? he thought. Where?
The heavy rope pulled at him. He carried it to the platform edge. He hitched up the knot and launched out. As he swung through the air, trembling, he saw the blackness give way below, like a parting of clouds, to a deep patch of stars on the ground. It was the pond, he hoped, the hole in the woods reflecting the sky. He judged the instant and let go; he flung himself loose into the stars.

There you have it: my life in 6 square feet.