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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Today we lost a great Canadian...

A few years ago I wrote of the Canadians that I thought were a few of those that personified the true character of Canada. Four of the five I wrote about have been dead for many years. One though, was alive at the time of my musings. 

Today he died.

I never got to meet the man. I am saddened by that. I was never able to thank him for the joy he brought to my life. But I'm sure he brought similar joy to many Canadians, both young and old; those born here, those that traveled miles to be here. I was never able to tell him that my sense of being Canadian was built upon the stories he told, the adventures he shared, the beauty of this country that were expressed by his words.

Farley Mowat died today.

Farley Mowat's Canada is my Canada.

Every Canadian should read his works. It should be demanded upon every new Canadian that citizenship should not be rewarded upon them unless they have read his works. 

Canada only exists because of the spirit that Farley Mowat personified.

Without Farley Mowat, Canada's character and personality would be less.

My Canada is Farley Mowat's Canada. My Canada is "Owls in the Family," "Lost in the Barrens, "A Whale for the Killing," and "Never Cry Wolf."

Tomorrow, when I awake, no bird will sing...       


Friday, March 28, 2014





"A just weight and balance are the Lord's..."




Mama told me when I was young Come sit beside me, my only son And listen closely to what I say. And if you do this It will help you some sunny day. Take your time... Don't live too fast, Troubles will come and they will pass. Go find a woman and you'll find love, And don't forget son, There is someone up above.

[Chorus:]
And be a simple kind of man. Be something you love and understand. Be a simple kind of man. Won't you do this for me son, If you can? Forget your lust for the rich man's gold All that you need is in your soul, And you can do this if you try. All that I want for you my son, Is to be satisfied.
[Chorus]

Boy, don't you worry. You'll find yourself. Follow you heart, and nothing else. You can do this, if you try. All that I want for you my son, is to be satisfied.


On our path through life we strive, we strive for many things. Right now, I'm striving for balance. An even keel. A comfortable bed. Solitude from the masses in my personal time... Regularity. Not routine but balance. I need to be at peace with myself for the next adventure. Simplicity...

But finding balance in a world with so many distractions can often become quite the conundrum.

In my attempt to find balance I do as much as I can in my free time. One of the things I did last month was visit the Toronto Sportsman Show. This visit though disturbed the balance. I went in with high expectations that soon were quashed! It is no longer the "show" that Dad and I attended so many years ago! It isn't even the "show" of TWO years ago where I volunteered my time at the NWTF booth.


I had some good conversations with a few people. I even met a friend, a young person looking to get more into the sporting lifestyle. Were he able to attend the shows of my youth I'm sure he would be even MORE enthusiastic!



"The fishers also shall mourn, and all they that cast angle into the brooks shall lament..."


There's one thing though that I absolutely loved about the Sportsman Show of my past...
Grab bags! 









Brown paper lunch bags with simply a price on them. A couple of lures, maybe some hooks and sinkers and a spool of line. And there would be this table of them. $5, $10, or $15 dollars each! Or, grab a brown paper bag and three lures, or three spinner baits for $8 or $10!  

But the weight of the contents, undisclosed, of a brown paper bag often doesn't equal one's expectations!

I don't purchase mystery bags of fishing tackle any more. More often than not, they do not weigh as much as the anticipation. They're off balance!


So, balance. 

Balance is best found in simplicity. Equations and problems are best solved when the numbers are simple.

The "Beatitudes" are simple...
Blessed are the poor, those that mourn, the meek; those that hunger, that thirst. Blessed are the peace makers, the mercifull; Blessed are those that are pure in heart!

These characteristics are simple, but they are not easily obtained!

But, they are worth the effort!

In my journey towards balance, a simple balance, these characteristics will make my bed softer, they will help ease my mind, and each day's grab bag of tackle will weigh more than the initial expectation!

Sinplicity and balance are not convoluted, finding them may be hard work, but the rewards are just
       
   


Tuesday, February 18, 2014


This is for "White Dog"




Another Facebook post prompts another blog entry...





Here's what a friend posted this morning;

"Another 10cm of snow last night what's that about 1000cm for the winter !! I'm done with winter it can leave now !!!!!"

Well, I'm quite sure, that not withstanding the ever so slight exaggeration, many of us have similar thoughts! It's been quite the winter! An early start, much snow, and the plummeting temperatures have made this season one for the record books, a test of patience and of resources. 


It's not over...

If one were to personify this winter, this season seems to be a bully! Muscling its way into the year, forcing autumn off the playground; taking away our joys, compelling us with mean-spiritedness to seek shelter from its cutting winds... and causing us to tremble. Trembling not from fear, but from its icy touch!

  


As a child I suffered bullying, most of us did. I despised, maybe even hated those schoolyard thugs! But I was given some resources to deal with them, and some thoughts about my loathings. 

One day, after a run-in with a local goon, my Mum said to me that someone, probably their mother, loves that person for some reason or another. She told me to look for that reason. So I did. That was a great piece of advice for a twelve-year-old! My hatred soon turned to feeling sorrowful for the bully. 


After having aged, gained experience and having met many scores of people throughout the world; one in ten being a sociopath, one in maybe a hundred a psychopath; I've learned that not all bullies are even loved by their mothers! In fact, some mothers hate themselves for having created such a bully!


But we do learn lessons from bullying. A lot of our social skills can be attributed to bullying; we learn tact, patience, we even discover navigation! How to navigate a conversation so as not to rub a bully the wrong way, and in the worst case scenario, how to get home via a different route and avoid the bully altogether.


In my case though, I also learnt compassion. 

But this winter has been such a bully! And the only way I can think of dealing with it is by using my Mum's words... But paraphrased... 

Winter's mother loves winter!

Mother Nature truly loves Winter! Mother Nature sees that Winter's harsh words and heavy handedness are not because Winter isn't caring or thoughtless. It's because Winter is not capable of acting in any other way. Mother Nature has given Winter the task of cleaning up after Summer and Fall, and to protect Spring's sleep. Winter will withdraw its heavy hand and icy stare from all the others in the forest when Spring is ready to awaken from that deep slumber. 

So how am I going to deal with winter? 

You cannot talk to Winter.

My feelings are inconsequential; Winter cares not for me.


I haven't the financial resources to steer clear of Winter. So navigation means I must walk and drive with care.



So I will look for those reasons that Mother Nature loves Winter so much. I will look for Winter's saving graces. I will find, and  appreciate Winter's effectiveness, Winter's contribution, Winter's... BEAUTY!

One last word on winter...

"Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth fruit." 

St. John the Apostle, Chapter 15, verse 2, KJV 





If White Dog is still with us, St. John's words will always be in her mouth...









  





Sunday, February 16, 2014




Discovery...

I discovered an unusual website yesterday. It intrigued me. So I wandered around a little on it.

My path to it was a little whimsical, yet also a bit melancholy; Somewhat reflective of my mindset, present mood, and the attitude I find myself gripped by at this time. 

We'll start with one odd, obscure, little word...

Basorexia.


(n.) The overwhelming desire to kiss.

Comical in a sense, yet pathological in another.


The word piqued my curiosity though. I suffer from it, I admit that. But not because I have to kiss, but because of who I want to kiss! 



Yes, Aimee sent me the word; my closest companion, love of my life, dearest friend!

So, back to this winding digital path. From there I found the word "sonder." From there...

Vemodalen...

And THEN, liberosis!

They're all interesting words. Liberosis though is the only one which I would have been able to define, at least to a point. It's an interesting word. It's roots are easily researched, defined and underscored.

Liber and osis.

Osis is of course a functional disease or condition.

Liber finds its origins in the classic-romantic languages, English not being one of them!

Liber; freedom, French. Libre; balance, Spanish.

The symbol for the English pound is an L, crossed; balance. Of course we have the zodiac sign of Libra or the Balances.

"L"a symbol of balance or, better yet, equality... and value.


So my strange delving took me to this definition;

Liberosis;





  The fear of losing one's freedom because the cares of this world seem too daunting...


I'm a walker, a hunter, a gatherer, a wanderer and traveler. I always look forward, backward AND from side to side. As I walk I also take photos. I take lots of photos. I have files and files of photos on my computer. I have albums and boxes filled with prints, negs and slides! I hope each new image will capture something new, something memorable, something unique. But quite often this is not the case!

Vemodalen!


That's one sobering word! Especially for a landscape photographer like me.

So then we come back to that second little gem of a word...

Sonder... 



For those in our midst who are "micro managers" or worse, narcissists, this must be a terrible feeling!





Thursday, December 19, 2013


'Tis the season...






It's that time of year again; Christmas, the Holidays and New Year's. 

Traditionally we recognize this season with giving and receiving. The words and phrases echo sentiments like "Hope,"Peace on Earth," "Joy" and "Merriness." It's a time of sharing, twinkling lights and "Good Cheer."


Unfortunately though there doesn't seen to be that much cheer, there are very few peaceful places on earth and a lot of the merriness seems to be found at the bottom of a bottle. As for "Hope," well, there doesn't seem to be much of that either. Few are hopeful for the economy, fewer for the environment, and many hope only for a job. That's not the kind of "Hope" this joyous season should be about!



This season now seems to emphasize materialism, consumerism and the amassing of the newest product, with the best branding on the market.
Worst of all though, this time of year shows a spike in personal depression, relationship breakdowns and most unfortunately, suicide. Society, on a whole, is far less merry and far more contemptuous. Our drive to give and our desire to receive have forced the joy from the season and replaced the hope with despair, and sometimes a longing for it all to just go away! 

  
It's Christmas time, the Holidays, yes, "Holy Days!" They are days set apart from the others to celebrate joy. A spiritual time of year for anyone who has faith, faith in anything. Not just a belief in something, believing is easy, but faith! And having faith can only lead to one thing...

Joy.


Everyone can benefit from a little faith. It's not always the cure for everything that ails us, but it certainly can ease pain, give strength and make our go of it far more bearable. 
Find somethings to have faith in, I've found mine. My days are easier for them. And it gives me joy. And hope... Hope in and for many things...
Good will to all, peace on earth.


Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.






Sunday, September 1, 2013

In light of today's anniversary and the atrocities being committed in Syria, I would like to re-post a blog from 2009.

Today marks 64 years since the Nazis invaded Poland. The "civilized" nations of the world ignored all the signs, or maybe felt it was not their place to stand up to such despicable acts that preceded the invasion. Fortunately Britain did choose the moral high road and a few days later declared war on the Nazi horde. 

A side bar to my American friends: It was over two years before they took a stand against the Nazi brutalization of Europe. Not until their own sovereign turf was threatened by the Axis powers did they opt for action. It only took the sinking of the Lusitania to draw America into WW I. Partial destruction of the Pacific fleet was needed in '41. US isolationism at its best. Something we haven't seen since.

Today though, after watching the events unfold in Syria and the political rhetoric that has ensued, and also watching a re-telling of the events that brought Europe to its knees in supplication for relief, relief from the outrageous brutality of Hitler's war machine, my thoughts turn to an old friend of mine; Paul Grant. This is a small part of his story...




I have an older client by the name of Paul. He has a wonderful story to tell. I need to share it and I hope that he doesn’t mind.

Paul has an absolute positive outlook on life. He is retired from a rewarding career and now travels each year to Europe to photograph trains, waterfalls and interesting architecture. During the warmer months he tries to spend as many days as he can on the Toronto Islands. This summer of course has been so rudely interrupted by the strike. Paul, just like so many other fixed income individuals and families has been adversely affected by this selfish act. Normally, a few times a week Paul would take the Yonge Street subway line to the Island ferry and then spend the day on Centre Island and Ward’s Island.

Paul’s journey started before most of us were born. In 1938, at the age of thirteen, Paul and his older sister moved to England. His father foolishly believed the wave sweeping over Germany and eastern Europe would subside and Paul’s family would soon be reunited. Paul never saw or heard from his mom and dad again.

A year and a few months later the UK Declared war on Germany. Paul and the other teenage boys in his foster home awaited daily for death notices from their homeland. Many arrived, but Paul never received one. His mom and dad simply vanished, never to be seen again. But Paul strived on.

Paul was later to become a British Subject. He has since considered himself to be English and not German. And as a young man he converted to Christianity. Since then an active member in his church.

But Paul never forgot his roots. And he never missed a chance to help and support someone who had suffered the same losses he had. He met others who had been fortunate enough to escape the Nazis and Stalin but had lost family. And those that needed strength he encouraged.

Unfortunately Paul’s sister was never able to overcome the trauma that engulfed her life when her parents became victims of Europe’s anti-Semitism. Later in life she was admitted to psychiatric hospitals because of this trauma. She was never able to overcome the pain inflicted upon her by the devastation in eastern Europe.

Paul has overcome though. He still lives with the memory of his family destroyed by the Nazis. His mom and dad never heard from after 1938 and his sister who died still traumatized by that loss. Yet he is positive.


In my conversation with him last week he told me that we can all get on with our lives no matter what happens. All we need is faith and a positive attitude.











I haven't talked with Paul in a few years. I hope he's well. I'm quite sure that if he is, and able, he's spent a lot of time this summer on the Toronto Islands, or maybe he's visited Europe again. If he has, and has travelled on the trains he loves so much, I hope the people he meets and journeys with, will be more aware of what is happening in this world than those that travelled those trains some seventy years ago.



Friday, August 16, 2013




I'm quite sure that everyone in society is capable of making some small contribution to their community. Most however lose sight of the original importance and their actions eventually become self-serving. I've seen this in all the volunteer organizations I've belonged to, I've even seen it in myself. Hopefully though, the original motivation continues in some small way and our actions might even have spurred others to selflessly serve their community.

This world we live in can be a harsh place. As society grows it seems that making a worthwhile contribution to those around us becomes an unattainable goal. Consumerism, self-importance and accumulation of goods seem to be the motivators of the day. Self-worth is measured in commodities and property, not personal growth, experience or selfless acts of grace. Spirituality has been replaced by egotism. A pious or meek attitude is now regarded as a sign of weakness.

It now seems as if our society is simply made up of hosts and parasites; no reciprocity, and very few symbiotic relationships. The vast majority believe society owes them. Privileges have become rights and that which was once earned is taken for granted.  And yes, we're all guilty of it.

Why is it that the more we have the less thankful we are, and the more we want? Those with less seem more thankful for what they have; being thankful for small mercies, appreciating each waking moment, being grateful for the sun setting on a peaceful day. When we have little, the small things, the important things, those things of little worldly value are appreciated for what they really are. Waking each morning, a job that pays the bills, a meal at the end of the day and the comfort of a loved one are riches to be counted.

Here's what prompted today's thoughts, and it was a posting on Facebook!




Normally I don't talk of religious matters on a personal level. Most confuse my "religion" with politics and dogma. I view it as spirituality. My religion, or spirituality, stripped down, is belief, faith and hope. And on occasion, reason.  But I'm not one with a propensity to preach. I prefer to express my faith through a pastoral mission. I hope that my actions and reactions express my faith and spiritual values. If those around me express an interest in my motivations I'll share my thoughts. If not, I can at least hope I've had some positive impact on their day.

But these "12 Symptoms of Spiritual Awakening" have prompted me to share a few verses from the Bible. I'm not sure I agree with or adhere to all points, but there are scriptural references that support most. 

Matthew 6:26
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Father in heaven feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
Matthew 6:31
Therefore take no thought, saying,What shall we eat? or,
What shall we drink? Or, Wherewithall shall we be clothed?

Psalms 37:11
But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

Luke 10:36
Which now of these three (Priest, Levite or Samaritan),
thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves, Jesus asks?

Matthew 7:1
Judge not, that ye be not judged.
Matthew 6:34
Take no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.

Matthew 18:21-22
Then came Peter to Jesus, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.  
Jesus Christ was, of course, the most spiritually awakened person to have ever existed. Even if you don't believe Jesus to be our saviour, to be the son of God, but only a man with great insight into human nature, the words he spoke, if followed, would be a great place to start in making this world a better place to live in. His contribution was great, especially if those with ulterior motives would have not twisted his words to suit their own profitability. 
   
A moment of thought for those around us, and small selfless acts of mercy, these would be the first steps in bettering our communities and making a positive contribution to this world we live in.

Luke 6:27-28 & 31
But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
And as ye would that others should do to you, do ye also to them likewise...