Hello Traveller

I’m sitting in my comfy meditation chair after a long period of quiet.  Right in front of me is my big bed, with its bedspread of splashy colours.  Beyond is a large window looking out on the backyard, with its recently planted deciduous tree – about 12 feet tall.  Then the land slopes down to a farmer’s field.  Maybe 400 metres away is a creek with a series of trees standing guard, their branches bare.  After that is a field which climbs toward the horizon, with Harrietsville Drive flowing left to right way back there near the end of the world.

And I reflect.

Before I started meditating, I took off my clothes and put on my red housecoat.  Those clothes are piled on the bed, helter skelter.  I look at the pile and realize that they’re my clothes, a symbol of Bruce now divorced from the body.  But I see me there.  I think of all the garments I’ve worn in my life, and I smile.  It’s nice to have remembrances of me.  They help me love myself in the moment.  Sometimes I need reminders that I’m a good person.

Outside of the window but unseen from my current angle are two bird feeders.  A flash of wing often crosses my field of vision and some birdies take turns clinging to the branches of the tree.  Then again, the tree is often birdless … such as right now.  I want my friends to show up, so I can enjoy them.  I sense that a few of them are at the feeders, just beyond my sight, but somehow that’s not good enough.  I want them to be with me.

Way out there on Harrietsville Drive, a car is roaming left to right.  “Hello, traveller.  I hope you’re happy.  Thanks for coming by.”  Too soon, the car disappears behind my bedroom wall.  I long for another to take its place.  A right-to-lefter would be just as fine.

Right now, there’s no vehicle on the horizon.  I feel an odd pain about that.  But I look at the trees by the creek and see that their branches are waving at me.  “Hello, dear trees.”  Unlike the birds and the cars, they’re not going anywhere.  Come the spring, however, their leaves will disguise the waving.

So at times there is no waving, no birdies and no humans in their cozy cars.  And that’s okay.  Part of the rhythm of things.  And I know they’ll be back.


It’s a word that has never been sent my way.  Jody and I didn’t have any children.  That’s one of only two regrets I have in life:  Her early death at 54 is the other.

When I’m out there in the world, I often hear a kid call the man beside him or her “Dad”, and a little bit of me winces.  Oh, to sit on the couch with my son or daughter, watching TV, eating popcorn and chatting about the events of the day.  But it’s not to be (this time around anyway).

I love volunteering in the Grade 5/6 class and sometimes imagine that I’m dad (or more accurately grandpa).  I’ve had many fine conversations with kids, and I like to think that I’ve made an impact on many of them, but at the end of the day they go to their homes and I go to mine.  And that’s okay.  At least we get to talk some on the days when I show up at their school.

Yesterday, the class was on a field trip to a conservation area – a well-treed park surrounded by farmland.  We had fun, especially the geocaching experience, where we used our handheld GPS units to find spots in the woods where tiny treasures were hidden in Tupperware containers.  Our group found one about six feet above the ground in the crotch of a tree.

When it was time to get on the bus for the return trip to school, a Grade 5 kid asked me to sit with her.  I’ll call her Sarah.  We talked about the day we spent exploring both technology and nature.  We talked about the training I’m doing to get ready for my bicycle ride across Canada this summer.  Her assessment of the hours I spend on the elliptical at the gym?  “Crazy!”  Well, maybe I am, but I’m going to be fit enough to traverse my country, starting in June.

Sarah is a hockey player.  This winter, I’ve gone to a few games featuring kids from school, but I’d never seen her team play.  “Next year, I’ll come to a game of yours.”  She smiled.

Apparently, Jayne, the teacher, plays a game with the kids just before lunch every Friday.  Sarah asked me if I’d come to volunteer some Friday morning so I could play too.  I said yes, and was very pleased that she invited me.

Getting off the bus, Sarah wanted to know which car was mine.  “That red one over there – Scarlet.”  She seemed amused that I named my cars.  For me, it’s always felt like a natural thing to do.

These kids spend some time with me and then next year they’ll be off on new adventures.  Elementary school turns into high school turns into whatever’s next.  They’re building their lives, step by step.  Even though my time with them will be brief, I’m happy that I get to have moments like a simple bus ride back to school.

On last fall’s meditation retreat, one of the teachers said “When you’re in the presence of one of life’s wholesome moments … Don’t miss it!”  So true.  May we all be awake to the people who come our way, whether they’re 10 or 82.


Dive Deep

I met a woman today, plus her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter.  I won’t give you details except that she had dancing eyes and a lovely smile.

Afterwards I watched myself create future worlds, centred on the dubious possibility of happily-ever-after.  I’m such a funny duck (not sure if it’s funny ha-ha or funny ooo).  But really I don’t mind my own company.  My mind seems to have a mind of its own and I’ve decided to give it free rein.

I want to be with a woman who’s spontaneous and giddy with life, and if I can’t find such a one then I’ll go with a man like that …me!  With those standards, am I willing to be alone if no one of such ilk comes my way?  Yes.

I can’t control how other folks respond to me but I can choose what I put out into the known universe.  So …

Bye bye shy
Bye bye grumpy
Bye bye woe

There.  That feels better

Boogie through my days
Welcome the yays and nays
See who stays

Nothing To Say


I can’t think of a thing.  What would happen if I just sat here and waited?  Guess I’ll find out.


I’m just watching my thoughts … the words that bubble to the surface.  I’ll write them down.


“Where in the world am I going?”  February 26-29 – Toronto.  April 1-15 – Cuba.  June 7-10 – Vancouver.  June 11-19 – Haida Gwaii.


“Why am I going there?”  To meet people, maybe to meet that very special love.  To watch people, in their infinite variety.  To talk to people, to learn about their lives and what makes them “fly”.  To love people, and then let them go.


“What kind of person am I?”  Curious, caring, open, determined, sad, happy.


“What’s important?”  People, including me.


“Will I live a long time?”  I don’t know.  I hope so.  So many moments to sit in.  But maybe I’ll die tomorrow.  It’s been a great life and I know I could happily let go of it (but even more happily enjoy the continuing ride).


“Do I want to be with a woman … to give love and receive love?”  Yes.


“Is that relationship near or far away?”  I don’t know, but it’s coming.  In its own sweet time.


“How come I was never a sports hero?  Or a singing hero?  Or an acting hero?”  I don’t know.  Perhaps none of that is important.  I still want to act but celebrity is not the way I want to contribute.


“Okay.  How exactly do I want to contribute?”  It doesn’t feel like a doing.  It feels like a momentary thing … over and over again.  Just show up in people’s lives and stand there … with love.


“Do I want to keep talking?”  Actually no.  I can’t think of anything to say.

Four Moments

I like moments.  When I pay attention to them, they slow me right down.  And some of them are magical … like these ones:

During my meditation retreat, my job was to stay present with what was happening in the now.  But sometimes I looked forward to next summer, when I’ll be crossing Canada by bicycle with an organization called the Tour du Canada.  Twenty-five of us will roll eastward from Vancouver, BC to St. John’s, Newfoundland.  Registration opened in October, but I was in deep silence then, and had no contact with the outside world.  Before I left for Massachusetts, I e-mailed the staff of the Tour and they assured me that I could register in December.

So a couple of days ago I filled out the form and wrote a cheque.  I had some of Jody’s books to send as well so I went to a post office in London.  There I was, envelope in hand.  I reached out to the postal employee, the paper was transferred to her … and the first step of riding the length of my country was complete.  Inside, I was transfixed.  My outsides handled the details of mailing stuff.  Within, though, time stood still.


Yesterday morning, I was at an elementary school, reciting “Twas The Night Before Christmas”.  As I signed in at the office, I noticed another name -an old friend of mine.  She was substitute teaching for the day.  I found out where her room was, and just before morning recess I walked in.  “Stephanie” was at the desk, hunched over some papers while a French teacher was finishing up a lesson.  I snuck up on her and just stood there.  She looked up, and the biggest smile crossed her face.  Up out of the chair, arms open wide, and we were hugging.  The moment of reunion.

As recess started, I noticed a Grade 7 girl standing near Stephanie and me.  I looked at her.  (Here comes another made up name.)  “Erin?”  She nodded through her smile.  It was the girl I auditioned with in September, for Jake’s Women.  Erin told me that she got the part of Molly and was so disappointed that I wasn’t chosen for Jake.  Her woe flooded me, and again time stood still.  Seeing Erin, I let my sadness come.  We hugged.


Later in the day I was at the workplace of a woman named “Dawn”.  I’ve thought about her many times over the last few months.  As of today, I’ve given away 790 copies of Jodiette:  My Lovely Wife.  Only once did I feel bad about the gift.  After I had left the person, I thought, “She didn’t want the book.  Why didn’t I pay more attention to her body language?”  I’ve lived by the credo “Do no harm” for years, and even more so after the retreat.  The person in question was Dawn.

I was sitting at a table, looking down at my snack, and became aware of someone standing in front of me.  I looked up.  Dawn looked down.  “I read your book this summer.  It really touched me.  Thank you for giving it to me.”

Oh my.  You never know if you’ve truly reached someone.  Until a moment like this.


Momentary snippets of life
May they keep coming