What a book  can do

What a book can do

Each of these books fostered my empathy for those who are different from me. My neighbourhood is expanding; so is yours. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Nothing that we despise in the other man is entirely absent from ourselves. We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or don’t do, and more in light of what they suffer.”

Happy New Year to me and you

Happy New Year to me and you

Analyst Gwynne Dyer took the opposite approach, assessing our current global state. No wars in Asia or the Americas, and Ukraine the only trouble spot in Europe. Forty of 50 African nations relatively stable. The Middle East is a powder keg, he conceded, but the majority of earth’s peoples are living in areas without armed conflict. He proclaimed 2015 a good year.

Happy New Year to me and you

Happy New Year to me and you

Analyst Gwynne Dyer took the opposite approach, assessing our current global state. No wars in Asia or the Americas, and Ukraine the only trouble spot in Europe. Forty of 50 African nations relatively stable. The Middle East is a powder keg, he conceded, but the majority of earth’s peoples are living in areas without armed conflict. He proclaimed 2015 a good year.

Hospital  morality plays

Hospital morality plays

In November I had an overnight hospital stay (I’m fine, nothing serious, thanks for asking.) By evening visiting hours, my light was already dimmed for the night, my curtain partially drawn. After a very early surgery that morning, I was ready for sleep. But instead, inescapably, I was front row centre to a discomfiting succession of spectacles. And an applause-worthy finale!

Remembering

Remembering

Recently I read, back to back, three very different books about WWII: Eric Metaxas’s Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption and Anthony Doerr’s 2014 Pulitzer Prize-winner, All the Light We Cannot See.

Clean-up jobs

Clean-up jobs

It was freeing to toss out damp magazines, kids’ toys and the ridiculous amount of Christmas paraphernalia I had collected over the years. Perhaps it’s my age, or an evolving eco-responsibility, but I’m increasingly unwilling to fill up my life with things. I don’t want to be responsible for the nautical lamp that belonged to Mark’s grandfather. I don’t want to imbue with unwarranted nostalgia the needlepoint and crewel work I did in my 20s. Simplicity has a growing allure.

Echoes of Eden,  whispers of Paradise

Echoes of Eden, whispers of Paradise

By the time you read this, I’ll be almost recuperated from two months of extreme gardening. Last fall we left for Florida without accomplishing much cleanup, so this past April consisted of endless days of raking leaves and clearing debris. May was all about weeding, planting and pruning. But June is sheer gratification. Time to sit back and marvel.