Monday, March 20, 2023

A balancing act

Today's the day the Earth does its twice-a-year balancing act. Earlier this afternoon, we experienced the vernal equinox, that special event that marks (for those of us in the Northern hemisphere) the beginning of spring.  

But that isn't the only balance I'm thinking about. For one thing, a number of banks seem a little shaky these days -- even ones in Switzerland, traditionally the most secure (and quiet) banks in the world. It wasn't long ago, though I can't put my finger on where (maybe in a film I saw?) but I heard a line that really resonated: "It suddenly struck them; they couldn't eat money." Which leads me to thoughts about the balance we need when we think about 'developing' farm lands for industrial use. Huh?!

Today also marks the day when China's Xi and Vladimir Putin are meeting in Moscow. It's hard for me to think that much good will come of this. Super-power meets super-power, but it looks more like power-over-others than any kind of balance. 

And the one that faces all of us, today's report from the UN on just how urgently we all need to act to save ourselves from the worst effects of climate change. 

It seems just about the only balance is the one the planet marked today, achieving that perfect angle where day and night are equal. 

As for all those other kinds of balance I keep hoping for, I guess my local graffiti artists say it best: Dream. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

And the winner is...

What's the best thing about a film festival? Besides all those hours spent in the magical darkness of a cinema, maybe the popcorn. 

As a lead-in to this year's Oscars, we went on a road trip to partake in a film festival. (The lengths -- and kilometres -- some people will go to in the name of seeing a bunch of movies!)

Though I must admit that the festival's theme of resilience meant we saw some pretty hard-to-watch and overall depressing films, I don't regret for a minute that we went. 

One of the hardest for me to watch was Decision to Leave mainly because I'd just finished reading a book that was all about police procedures, and here I was stuck in the same loop again. Even tougher was the grindingly sad film set in Ukraine, Klondike, definitely not about the gold rush, but about Russia's 2014 seizure of Crimea. 

The one I appreciated the most was Rebellion, a documentary about the group Extinction Rebellion and their protests in London, England. Powerful stuff about dedicated, courageous folks -- and not without a sense of humour, an element I appreciated. 

By week's end it was time for the Academy Awards, and although I thought too many awards went to a single film (another time, another discussion), it was wonderful to see Canadian director Daniel Roher win for his documentary on one of the heroes of our time, Alexei Navalny. The other moment of special pride was when Sarah Polley won the award for adapted screenplay (from Marion Toews' novel, Women Talking). 

For now, I'll have to be happy seeing what films I can at my local cinema or on TV, and I suppose I can console myself knowing the popcorn's a whole lot cheaper here at home. 

Saturday, March 04, 2023


I can't help but feel sorry for the brave little bulbs that keep thinking it's supposed to be spring. They rise a few inches, and then they get dumped on. Snow, snow, and more snow. That's the kind of February and (so far) March it's been. Earlier today there were a few flakes, but when they stopped, I dashed out on a few errands. Wherever I went, people asked me (I seem to have that kind of face -- people talk to me) what the weather was doing. Every one of them expressed relief when I said that the snow had stopped. And maybe they just heard the relief in my own voice when I told them. 

Whatever, today is supposed to be the day that we all 'march forth' towards whatever goal or cause we may bear in mind. I like that one of the things we're supposed to do today is to try something new, especially something we've always wanted to do, but haven't got around to trying. 

So, will this be the day I start looking for online lessons so I can learn to play something beyond one-finger 'Mary had a little lamb' on my little electronic keyboard? Or do I need to think about something more exotic, more difficult? Or should I just knuckle down and finish one of my many unfinished projects. 

If resilience is something I can learn from the bulbs out front, it's probably something I can apply to my own daily life. 

As the date suggests, onward!

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Hope in the face of horror

As we approach tomorrow's hideous anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, I am prompted to do something I don't usually do by posting a poem of my own. 

This also happens to be Freedom to Read Week, so I've been thinking about freedom -- as well as loss thereof, the situation now in far too many countries. Journalists and protesters are being executed in Iran; their colleagues in Russia are disappearing or being sent to prison

Thankfully, I remain free to write and publish here in Canada. My poem was included in a collection called Poems in Response to Peril. Proceeds of sales of the anthology go to funds in support of Ukraine. And yes, I am hoping for a resolution to the hideous events that continue across the globe.  

Finding hope

This morning I am feeding the birds, replenishing

supplies in the little cracked saucer, the one that’s sheltered

on the window ledge all winter again.


I’m filling it with seeds, still tight in their shells,

ones I hope the birds will disperse, carrying them

far and beyond—sunflowers that will rise up


from the broken earth. I am putting my faith

in their sturdy resilience, counting on them to grow tall

and turn their golden faces to the sun.


Thursday, February 16, 2023

Which way from here?

Once again, I am posting about a small celebration -- this time it's a blogiversary, and a fairly big one at that. Seventeen years, an amount of time that boggles my mind. Where all have I been since then? The sign maybe says it. Nowhere, but now here... 

I started writing here as a way of establishing a bit of an online presence. At least that's what the workshop I attended proposed itself as -- starting a blog as an entry point to the world of the Internet. 

Since then, it appears that I've written a post here 1,199 times. So I guess that makes this number 1,200. That's a number that makes me happy, as twelve has always been my favourite number. I even have a poem about it in one of my books

Where exactly I go from here (with this, or for that matter, with a number of other possibilities) remains to be seen. I hope that some of you will continue to stick around. 

Monday, February 06, 2023


...the groundhog gets it wrong. At least that's what I'm hoping must have happened last week on the 2nd when the critter must have seen his shadow in all that sunshine. According to lore, if he sees his shadow, winter is supposed to linger for another six weeks. But I'm saying NO to that. 

Small testament to spring though it may seem, I take heart from seeing the bulbs pushing their bright green heads up through the soil. And I love how they are so forgiving of my bad habits as a gardener, leaving all that stringy debris from last season still there. 

Soon I expect it will be warm enough for me to want to get out there with a clipper and some digging tools, and maybe then it will be prettied up enough for those anticipated flowers to burst into my bloom. 

Friday, January 27, 2023

Once upon a time...and now

It was not so many years ago that the word 'gay' was a synonym for 'happy' or 'carefree' or even 'frivolous' -- as in the 1934 film, The Gay Divorcee. Yet even that title involved some controversy, as it was originally called Gay Divorce, but divorce was then considered too serious a topic (or was deemed so by the notorious Hays Office) to have such a flighty name. Ahem. 

It was only by the 1960s that attitudes were opening up enough that the world we now know as LGBTQ+ would be called 'gay'

It seems bizarre to me that there are still places in the world where it is a criminal offense to be gay, that there are still countries where one can be sentenced to death over one's preference of sexual partner. 

So it was with great relief and joy that I saw the announcement from the pope (who's often referred to as 'the rock' upon which the Church is built) relaxing the Catholic Church's longstanding attitude toward gays. Yes, Francis still claims such activity is a sin, but then I suppose his job requires that much as this small step towards sanity. 

And I can't help but think he had to wait for the death of his predecessor, Benedict, to even be able to say what he has, because really, 'saving the world from homosexuality' as equivalent to 'saving the rainforests'? Not on my watch. 

Maybe the good news about the New Lunar Year, with all of its positive predictions really is true. I'm certainly hoping so.