Lenses and Ladders

Lenses and Ladders

I spent one day last week tidying our bookshelves because they needed it. They were a jumbly, unstable mess of books and papers, everything balanced horizontally and pushed in the wrong spaces. The poetry shelf threatened to collapse. The travel books had found their far-flung ways everywhere, appropriately enough, and the novels were on the march.

The Gift of Welcoming

The Gift of Welcoming

When I write my column The Messy Table, I focus on identifying and shaping spirituality within my family. That was also the subject of “The Spiritually Vibrant Household,” a Barna Group webcast last month in which they introduced their new study, Households of Faith. Their aim was to share new research on the rituals and relationships that turn a home into a sacred space, asking the question: what does a spiritually vibrant household look like today?

Learning to Read

Learning to Read

About six months ago, I joined a writers’ workshop. Though I’ve been writing for years, I haven’t been plugged into a committed local writing community since university. Writing has been my quiet work, my solitary sport, and my own way of trying to make the world make sense. But wheels turn and, with last year’s publication of my collection of short fiction and my upcoming novel this spring, I felt like I needed to settle in and make some writerly friends.

Two Trees

Two Trees

Last week, I poked around a museum that I used to know well. When I lived nearby, I would drop in regularly, but it has been a while and it was nice to be back. I visited my old familiar favourites and enjoyed exploring the recently renovated galleries, but most memorable was a large wool tapestry of a snowy landscape. It hung on a pale stone wall in an empty internal courtyard, looking like a wintry window opening on a snowy field. A large, leafless tree occupied the centre of the woven image, its bare branches reaching in all directions. Fence lines cross the field and a figure hunches against the cold, but walks with purpose. It looked almost photorealistic, and perfectly composed – the balance between the dark bark, the figure and the openness of snow and sky. An evocative image of early winter.