On the Evolution of My Condition

There is the winter night when, while asleep, I sweat so much the sheets are drenched, as if they have been left out in the rain…Another night after dinner I doze off, the dog asleep on my feet….Most startling of all, today I discovered a new warning on a medication that I have been taking daily for years. Tiny print on a yellow sticker affixed to the prescription label warns Call your doctor immediately if you have mental mood changes like confusion, new/worsening feelings of sadness/fear, thoughts of suicide, or unusual behaviour. What has changed? Why has no one ever mentioned these side effects before? Or have I just failed to see them? Continue reading On the Evolution of My Condition

The Silence of the Songbirds

How can we attend to what we have not noticed? It took a week or ten days for the strangeness of the silence that surrounded us as we walked in the forest to become audible, to realize that it was not what we were hearing but what we were not hearing that was what was important. The realization didn’t come all at once. Continue reading The Silence of the Songbirds

“All land is sacred:” Another kind of remembrance

These are the things I want to remember this Remembrance Day: everything that is alive that impresses itself on my senses, not the celebratory stories of European wars and muscular bravery, the pomp and pride that says “Look what we did; this land is our land; war is sacrifice is glory.” What terrible stewards and guests we colonials have been and go on being; even when we think we’re at peace we wage war on other beings, wrecking and murdering, fissuring the earth and all of its resources in the name of conquest, ownership, profit and, ironically, “survival”–a survival that is ever more clearly on its way to choking us all. Our noisy honking drowns out the very voices to which we need to listen. Truly I do not want to study war anymore, neither on this day nor any other; its racket, its glorious tales of the seizure of territories, is not where we most need to hone what Toni Morrison, in Beloved, called our “rememories,” or remembrance of memories right now. Continue reading “All land is sacred:” Another kind of remembrance

Running out into the rain: Remembering Bill Readings (1960-1994)

It has been twenty-five years since my friend Bill Readings died in an iced-up airplane that plummeted to earth in an Indiana soybean field. Twenty-five years since a phone call that Halloween night cancelled dinner plans, and turned our Montreal party into mourning. Twenty-five years since the world changed. Continue reading Running out into the rain: Remembering Bill Readings (1960-1994)