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Contrapposto II, 16 x 20 In my thirties, when I was going through a difficult time, I took my first yoga class. The class was at a remarkable log building retreat in deep Lanark. The "yoga studio" had a burning woodstove and after every class we had a hot tub under the heavens, every curl on my head frozen. The novelty for me wasn't the yoga, but the last "shape". Shivasana, corpse pose. Structured non-doing was crazy to me. Against my rules. It turned my central nervous system upside down. Radical. And synonymous with bursting into tears. Because of…. more things than I could count. At the end of the class the teacher, Daniel of the Dreadlocks, would cover me a in a soft plaid blanket and t

Cracked Bowls, Empty Bowls

Acceptance, 14 x 14 I have a friend Chloe. Chloe doesn’t take up a lot of space in the world. She has curly reddish hair, light blue eyes, a pointed nose, freckles all over her body and a gentleness that is striking. Sometimes she is just awkward and shy. She isn’t on social media. She is a single mother to two kids. She works a grief counselor in a long-term rehabilitation centre. She works with nuns. She leaves spaces in the conversation. Although she doesn't have much money, she has nice pottery. I love going into her slanted bathroom. There are always poetry books. Not for display but because she reads them. There will be handmade soap with flowers or oatmeal in it. Chloe has lived simpl

All Flavours of Humility

“Hanns is dying,” said my friend Cath. “What kind of dying?” I asked. “Dying, dying.” She responded. My defensive response followed years of my mother dying, an ongoing guilt about her imminent death which repeated itself countless times. When someone is dying, the rule is you go. Relatives, close friends, well that is a no brainer. So is the wider circle. I presume that folks I barely know have no wish to see me in their dying days. But what about that ambiguous circle of folks one hasn’t spoken with in twenty years? Who you care about, but also you haven’t really made space for in 20 years? Cath assured me: Hanns is the consummate extrovert. He would love to see you. It won’t be weird. ***

Released

It shocks me that I was once a figure skater. I laugh to think I even won some medals. The 1970s figure skating world featured a musical repertoire that was unspeakably appalling. Some tinny perversions of the waltz I have not heard since. Life’s pleasures, skating, dancing, playing music, swimming, skiing, are introduced to kids exclusively in the context of competition. Sometimes that provides a lifelong connection with a sport or instrument. Sometimes it leads us to turn our backs on something that otherwise might have provided solace. I remember swimming on Georgian Bay as a kid. I swam all day during the summers. The best was rough water, getting hammered by the waves, swimming from sho

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