A Stone Church

A Stone Church

It was a family long weekend and we headed out of town. They say that in Cornwall, the toe tip of Britain, spring comes early. Maybe we’d find good weather. Sunshine. Warmth. Well, that was optimistic, and we did get soggy, but we also saw fields of daffodils, a church with a cross made of surf boards, and seas of every shade of blue there is. I’d assumed summer sun made the Cornish seas lovely, but it must be the stone instead because even in the rain, the water was incredibly blue.

Cabbage Days

Cabbage Days

February. Who can think warm thoughts in February? It’s bleak, grey and hard to get through, despite its brevity. Margaret Atwood described February in a poem as the “month of despair, with a skewered heart in the centre.” I know what she means; I, too, come from Ottawa. But maybe it’s healthy to remember that poets like to exaggerate. Cold February might be less about grim despair than simply keeping going. In Old English, February was called kale-monath or cabbage month. It’s a month for persistence and daily, ordinary life.

Lighting Candles In Smoky Times
|

Lighting Candles In Smoky Times

A new year and the same old aches. The headlines change, and the photographs are different, but we still watch and worry, adding the names of far-off places to our church prayer lists. This year began with Australia’s massive bush fires. How do we answer? With prayer? Grief? Action? Donations? As with news of any disaster, it can be hard to know where to start. In October, I wrote in my column about trying to find a faithful response to the world’s hard news.

New Year’s Light
|

New Year’s Light

After all the gifts, one more. A new year ahead. A fresh start, if you want that, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t need to change anything. You can just keep going. There are loud voices at this time of year crowing about all the changes we can make. Be stronger, be thinner, be greener, be better. But newness comes with or without our effort. Newness is a gift.

Love Up Close
|

Love Up Close

My mother came to visit. This was a big deal because these days we live five thousand kilometres apart and I hadn’t seen her since I was home last year when my dad died. We email and video-chat fairly regularly, but that isn’t the same. It isn’t face-to-face. She came at the end of September and stayed with us for a month. When I told friends about this visit, they paused, then asked rather deliberately how it “actually” was. A whole month with your mother in your house?

Where is the faith in bad news?

Where is the faith in bad news?

Bad news on the radio. Breakfast on the table. We sit together and drink coffee. Listen. Morning after morning. The news might be local or international and these days, it’s often tense, sometimes shocking so it can be hard to take in. Sometimes we get angry and the kids ask questions that we try to answer, and we try not to rage. Then more bad news: bad decisions, bad outcomes, bad weather on the horizon.

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.