Sunday, 22 November 2020


Does it help that I went shopping at the Red Barn at 7:30 and boiled and grated 6 eggs and cut up apples for sauce and cooked a piece of cod for Zara?

 And roasted red peppers to go into the hummus I'm making.

And did a load of laundry.

Does it help?

No, this frantic busyness doesn't help.

It just makes me more exhausted.

Nothing helps my sadness at the passing of my beautiful dear niece. 

Nothing fills the hole in my heart. 

All of our shared texts are still on my phone.

Photographs of her are on my computer screen.

All I can do is breathe. And, to remember.  

And leave all the tasks I started this morning, undone.

And go for a walk to the beach.

Andrea, you live in my heart forever.

May her memory be for a blessing.

Friday, 6 November 2020


 Two weeks ago something happened that is gradually changing my life. More accurately, I am noticing   ways in which I have structured my days, especially during these challenging times, and I'm making subtle changes.

Zara, a nine-year old rescue cat, with her calico coat feeling like silk, was delivered to us in a pet carrier on November 25th.  In a series of happenings, remarkable and auspicious, caring and persistent, she found her way into our home and into our hearts.

We always had cats when we lived in the Cowichan Valley and all of these lived outdoors, spending time with us in our gardens or on the deck. Now we live in Victoria on a busy street.  I have seen cats die as they darted across the street, so Zara needs to remain indoors.

When I sit down, Zara often leaps onto my lap. I am learning to allow myself to sit quietly, stroking her face and neck.  My rushing to do something or other, disappears.  Well, not completely, but the urgency does.

The laundry can rest in the washing machine for 1/2 hour before I transfer it to the dryer. 

 (It's sitting there now!) 

Sitting by the door leading to the basement, Zara waits patiently for Brian to open the door so she can explore a cluttered and varied world. After 10 or 15 minutes she is ready to come upstairs and find a place to rest.  Maybe have a mouthful of food first.

It makes me smile, as gramps used to take our grandkids downstairs to make things and, this year, to play a rowdy game of conkers.  In this game from Brian's youth, each person has a horse chestnut attached to a string and, simply put, the gamers try in turn to destroy their opponents' chestnuts.

After coming upstairs this morning, Zara headed to a warming patch of sunlight streaming through the window onto Brian's bed.  As the light shifts it is likely she will shift as well.

Another learning for me. Twofold really. To look at the urgency I assign to non-urgent matters. The" I must do this today" refrain.  Do I really?  I've got to make my bed first thing in the morning! Do I really have to?

 Instead, I may sit by the fire for a while. Or, sit quietly and meditatively create dry needle-felted rocks  and bowls. 

(As an aside: Zara has come downstairs to sit in a patch of sunlight on the living room floor.)

Animals spend their time "being", not looking ahead. 

Zara doesn't worry about how she appears to others. Yesterday she leapt onto my friend's lap, never assuming that she wouldn't be welcomed. 

Am I that confident of acceptance?  

I'm learning to have around me people whom I trust and care about and to keep the negative chatter in the very deep background. And sometimes I forget. 

And, Zara is here to remind me.

And as her student, I'm reclaiming the joy of self-nourishment. And, when I forget, watching this beautiful calico, reminds me.