Waving

On some of my walks along the gravel of Old Victoria Road, I come upon a swath of tall grass that stretches for two hundred metres. The tips rise above me.

As the breeze blows, the assembled beings awaken and sway together to a song unknown to me. There’s a sweet flow here – each strand bending to be with its neighbour. It’s a loving togetherness, not a forced squishing. And the rhythm in front of my eyes continues way to the left and to the right. The field of grass is alive.

I wonder what they’re thinking … these towering ones. Are they happy with their lot? Do they enjoy the red-winged blackbirds who nestle within? Do they worry that they’re not bright green? (I doubt it.)

As I stand before them, it seems that all eyes are on me. Are they waiting for me to say something? Can I let go and allow words to emerge from my mouth, without care?

And what is their message to me? I need to be still, waiting amid the breeze, for wisdom to come calling.

I have friends on Old Victoria Road.

Faces

I enjoy sitting in my den, looking over to my bookcase. You’ll be happy to know that I’ve arranged things. If I sit on the left cushion of the loveseat, many eyes are aimed right at me. I hope you can enlarge the photo to see what I mean. There’s a marble sculpture of a man and woman who aren’t really looking my way, but apart from that …

In no particular order, you’re likely to find two Buddhas, two lizards, two native American women, a snowy owl, a cyclist, a Senegalese goddess of fertility, a laughing wooden face, a downcast stone face, Jody and me on our wedding day, Jody at a tiny restaurant in Quebec City, two little kids under an umbrella, an owl with wings spread wide, me at a community dinner in Belmont, my nephew Jaxon’s grad picture, a jovial black kid, the haunting image of a sad peasant girl in 1885, and the Sun.

All meeting my eyes. All saying “Hello”. There is magic on this cushion. I feel radiation coming my way. I am being included in so many lives. Across time and space, we are together.

Eros and Agapé

I like reading about love because love is the most important part of my life.  In a book written by Ilia Delio, she and Teilhard de Chardin had immense things to say on the subject.  I wrote stuff down and now I can’t remember who said what.  Oh well … it was one of them.

When people hear the word “eros”, they tend to think of sex, as in “erotic”.  I see sexuality as an immense gift, meant to be thoroughly enjoyed.  But love as eros – is that what we’re talking about here?

The energy of eros is to accumulate for ourselves what we find valuable.

Eros is that ineffable longing that stretches beyond oneself for the sake of oneself.

I don’t know about you, but “me first” doesn’t sound like love to me.  It sounds like possessing someone, keeping them in a box, staying around as long as they meet your needs.

Love is the fire that breathes life into matter and unifies elements center to center.

Love is the fragrance that makes them hasten together and leads them, freely and passionately, along their road of unity.

That sounds much better.  You and me, creating something remarkable together.  That’s the world I want to live in.  It’s called agapé.

Agapé is love unconditioned, spontaneous, unmotivated.  It’s love indifferent to any type of reward or reciprocity.

A person spending himself freely and carelessly for the other person

The unconditional willing of the good

So … I have countless opportunities to pour love into you.  To want you to have a delightful life.  And in my better moments, it doesn’t matter what you do in return.

Friend and friend
Sister and brother
Parent and child
Grandparent and grandchild
Lover and lover

All different … but deeply the same

Just love
It is enough

Two Questions

I like questions.  The really good ones are far more interesting than quick answers.  Watching the science of coronavirus unfold, I’m fascinated as I see intelligent public health officials leaning towards “I don’t know” on the knowing/not knowing spectrum.  Some things are mysterious.

I like the question “Who am I?”  I’ve felt into it for decades, knowing that cool answers are far beyond the realms of occupation, gender, age, physical appearance and even personality.  How about that?  A question whose answer remains elusive after all these years.

And sometimes I’m even more deeply lost in a question.  Two of them have enthralled me ever since I was in diapers (okay … not quite).  The first one seems very strange.  The second one infinite.

How did I get in here?

The “here” I’m talking about is this particular human body.  I seem to be inside this basket of flesh and associated structures.  I turn my head to look at something and I swear that I’m behind those eyes, searching for the next new thing.  But why?  How come I’m not inside my neighbour or the host I see on the evening news?  Did someone flick a magic switch and insert me into this body?

Could it be that I’m not really inside this fleshed-out skeleton?  I see a tree out the window.  Why am I not embedded within those branches instead of in this shape that’s sitting on the couch?  Maybe all this interior viewpointing is a mirage.  Perhaps I’m inside you when I gaze into “your” eyes.

Hmm.  I’m getting confused again.  I feel so localized inside this head and chest, but could it be that I’m … everywhere?

However, if I’m willing to accept the consensual wisdom that I’m in this body, may I ask a simple question?  Who put me in here?

***

Okay.  Enough of that.  Time for question number two:

Does the universe end?

I look around at things.  Take that tree for instance.  I’m staring at it now.  No leaves yet so the branches are in sharp relief.  The wooden parts are “tree”.  The spaces around the wooden parts – grass and sky – are “not tree”.  Same with me when I look in the mirror.  I see Bruce and the shower curtain behind.  That curtain is clearly “not Bruce”.  There’s a point where I end.

Seems clear enough.  But what about the universe?  Does it end somewhere?  If so, what’s outside of the universe?!  The question stops my mind.  It throws me into a spasm of “Where am I?  Where are we?”  Doesn’t everything have to end somewhere?  (I don’t know.)

***

Woh.  Too much thinking.  Too many explosions inside wherever I am.  Maybe I should just hunker down with a Captain America movie … and a hot chocolate.  Much simpler.

 

Green and Brown

Green

It was a TV commercial yesterday, featuring a wildly enthusiastic advocate of lawn maintenance.  Happily, three types of grass seed are available to the discriminating customer:

Tough for a strong, resilient lawn!
Relaxed 
– for a healthy lawn that takes less effort
Awesome 
– for your greenest, thickest lawn (worthy of a trophy)

We are left with a question for the ages:  What kind of lawn do you want?

Brown

Toubacouta, Senegal.  Yes, I saw grass there … clumps of long, wispy dryness.  The land was beige, without the extravagance of neon.  The soccer fields were made of the same.  Clouds of dust were sent aloft by the wind.  The only brilliant green I remember was in the women’s luscious dresses.

Is there a better/worse here?
If so, could it be different than what Western eyes see?

Stuck

Twenty years ago, Jody and I bought a Bowflex – a strength training machine that’s very cool.  We used it for awhile and then discovered the social pleasures of a gym.  So it came to be that we had a dust-gathering sculpture in the basement.  Four years ago, I moved to Belmont and brought the beast with me.  It had long ago ceased to be alive in my soul.

I love working out at GoodLife Fitness – both my trainer Tony and the elliptical are good friends.  But that shut down weeks ago and I started sneaking glances at Mr. Bowflex.

Today I was down there, getting reacquainted and relearning all sorts of exercises.  There was a healthy glow, inside and out.  And then …

Meow!

Hmm.  Did I hear that right?  I turned toward the sound and there sitting in the window well was a cat.  A lovely speckled brown soul with eyes that were entering mine.  Our contact lingered, with a touch of sadness in both directions.

Through the glass was another being, one who no doubt couldn’t climb the smooth sides to safety.  And the leap would have been three feet.  Memories flashed to Jody’s and my home in Union and how I’d rescued a raccoon from a similar window well by propping a board down there.  Eventually the masked one had climbed out.

Now I live in a detached condo with no outside maintenance responsibilities.  And hence no boards.  I searched the garage for a solution and found a big square of stiff cardboard that would fit in the hole.  I went outside, shared a few moments with the captive and plunked the square down there, at a good climbing angle.

Ten minutes later, the kitty hadn’t stirred and I realized that the cardboard didn’t provide much grip for escaping.  So back to the garage, where a fabric hammock was my next solution.  Far better gripping there, and it was longer.  I wedged one end in a corner, while the other poked above the lip of the well.  Yes … that’ll work.  Any self-respecting cat should have no problem scurrying out of the hole.

Ten minutes later, my friend was curled up under the rolled hammock, with nary the twitch of a muscle.  (Sigh)

Bruce, you have to go down there and pull him out.  Sadly, my next thought was not of kindness and heroism, but of getting bitten by a dog in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Okay, but you still have to do it.  You couldn’t live with yourself if you let another being die in a hole.  So true.  Be just a wee bit heroic, dear one.

I obsessed about being bitten and how to protect myself from that.  I put on heavy clothes and a heavy coat and thought of my hands.  In the spirit of supreme protection, I pulled on a pair of gardening gloves that had some rubber coating on the palms, supposedly to prevent the ravages of thorns.  Good, but I want more.  So I put on my winter mittens over that.  Surely no feline teeth could puncture me through such sturdy layers.  (I made a note not to tell anyone about those fashion choices but clearly I’ve forgotten that advice.)

Girding my loins, I removed the mass of hammock and contemplated replacing it with … me!  Kitty was making that soft eye contact again.  My heart melted and my skin contracted.  One swift movement, Bruce – down, grab, throw!

And so I did.  Kitty tried to escape my clutch but I was supremely fast.  I grabbed her around the midsection with the offending teeth going in the opposite direction.  I swung around and launched her over the grass.  She landed on her feet and raced around the corner of the building.  The deed was done.

I am kind
I am scared
Both mostly … I am kind

Fare thee well, little one

It Shouldn’t Be The Way It Is

It was about 1:30 pm today.  I was dead tired.

What’s wrong with you?  You had seven hours’ sleep.

I spent part of the morning wandering patiently from store to store, gathering my necessaries.  Then I was on a lovely Zoom call with twenty-four souls from the Evolutionary Collective.

You should be enlivened by the EC call, not stupefied.

Exhaustion continued.

It’s time to meditate.  Get yourself together and do it.

My bed was calling me.  I pulled back the covers in preparation for a glorious immersion.

No!  Sleeping now will mess up all your rhythms.

Under the comforter … waiting for comfort.

!!! … !! … ! … zzz …

Recently my eyes opened.  The watch said 2:47.  I’m a little renewed, and still dozey.  Happily, the italics voice has quietened.  For the last few days, though, it’s been speaking its mind:

There shouldn’t be a coronavirus.

I shouldn’t be cooped up so much.

I should be sitting at the bar at Boston Pizza, enjoying my nachos and beer while watching large-screen sports.

I should be gearing up to watch my beloved tennis on TV … the French Open in May.

I should be enjoying the presence of the Grade 5/6 kids at the school where I volunteer.

I should be blissfully married, not gazing at the photo of Jodiette on the wall.

I should be an alumnus of the Tour du Canada – a cross-country bicycle ride.

I should be 25 … 30 tops.

I should have kids, and grandkids.

I should be a former Olympic athlete.

Etcetera …

***

What’s true is that I’m well and happy, exploring consciousness with friends, living with a wide-open heart, and knowing that I’ve contributed to the lives of hundreds of children.  It is enough.

 

How Does Change Happen?

It was a few days ago.  I was out and about, in Belmont and in the country on my almost daily walk.  It was cold.

As I turned west on Borden Ave. heading out towards the fields, a headwind blasted my skin.  Toque on, hood tied tight.  The left right, left right of the moment turned into a slog.  And then the snows descended … or better said, they were pretty much horizontal.  As Borden Ave. magically morphed into Glanworth Drive, my black coat was also transforming – into white.  Pebbles of snow/ice massaged my forehead.

About two kilometres later, I turned north on Old Victoria Road, a gravel surface.  There were clicks on the side of my hood but my skin was spared the fury of it all.  It’s not far at all to the pavement of Manning Drive, and a couple of hundred metres before the intersection, the sun came out.  The slopey edge of the asphalt shone brightly.  Very cool.

As I turned right onto the smoothness, the shiny blackness of the road was a wonder.  As far as I could see, the glow ran towards Belmont.  The sun was bright and so was the road … everything seemed so alive, so animated.

I basically blew along, with the wind urging me forward.  Something caught my eye on the edge of the road, where the gravel greets the pavement.  Little spots of light grey had emerged, maybe three inches in diameter.  They were dull when seen next to the shine.

Later similar circles began to grace the crown of the road, every twenty metres or so.  Occasionally there’d be a wee dip in the asphalt, and lightness showed there too.

I was approaching the boundary between where I’d been (officially the City of London) and where I was going (the Municipality of Central Elgin).  At the sign, the road switched from pristine smoothness to a mottled tar-and-chip surface, with little stones embedded.  Not really rough but no longer a skating rink.  Suddenly the wetness was dark brown/dark grey.

Over my time on Manning Drive, the spots of light grey slowly expanded.  On a little rise ahead, I couldn’t tell if there was more wetness than dryness.  There seemed to be big patches of both.  When I got closer, I saw that my distance vision was tricking me … the light grey was still in a severe minority.

As the village water tower grew, so did the dullness.  Swaths of dry began sweeping across the road.  The shine was retreating in the sunlight, ever so slowly.  Standing in one spot, I couldn’t see the transition but it was obvious as I walked on.

And then the welcoming sign: “The Village of Belmont, 1961”.  Just a few dips in the asphalt left to embrace the wet.  As I approached the intersection with Main Street, the path beneath me was totally dry.

I stopped.  I smiled.  It was such a privilege to be in the middle of change.  The sun had worked its magic.

Coronacuts

Well, well, well … here it is two days later, not two weeks.  I wonder if my fingers will re-emerge longterm or just sporadically.

***

Delight seems to be in short supply recently, but I experienced some on the CBC News Network telecast yesterday morning.  The topic among the three hosts was hair.  It seems to be growing longer, and beauty salons are out of bounds.

We saw photos of Canadians taking matters into their own hands.  There were poised scissors, bowls atop heads, smiles and a few grimaces.  Heather Hiscox, the anchor, was joined by John Northcott, a commentator, and by Chris Somebody, the weather guy.  John happens to be bald.

Heather: Don’t we all want to be John Northcott right now?  John, share some expert tips with us.

John smiled big time and showed us an old photo from the 80’s of him with a full shock of blond hair.

Chris:  You look better now!

John was looking pretty nostalgic.  In the moment, he was a beaming older fellow nattily dressed in a suit and bow tie.

John:  Certainly an appreciation for those who have cut our hair for all these years.  Sitting in the chair and letting someone do what they know how to do is going to be a welcome return at some point.

Heather:  Chris is lamenting the ski jump on his head.  [He shows us a profile and sweeps his hand through the hairy mass.]  Maybe you want to go and do the Northcott, Chris.

John:  It’s a slippery slope, Chris.  Next it’ll be bow ties.

Huge smiles, giggles and guffaws.  We the audience laughed along with the folks on our screens.  It was therapeutic.  It was what human beings are meant to do.

Nothing To Say

How about that?  I’m at a loss for words.  I sit and sit and sit … and nothing comes.  This has happened several times and I’ve wasted too much mental energy fretting about it.  No thanks.  Grunting my mind to get some sentences to come out just defeats the whole purpose.  I want my thoughts to emerge naturally, like someone is calling them forth.  Sadly, not these days.

The other factor is blunt: I don’t want to write (at least for the last week or so).  There’s no oomph there, no urge to influence or entertain or share.  As odd as that feels, it’s what’s true right now.

Will I come back tomorrow?  Two weeks from now?  In 2021?  I don’t know.  I’m well and happy and not writing.  Simply the way it is.

Cheers to life …