The last year

Pain A year ago today, a friend texted me to let me know one of our mutual friends had killed herself. For a long time, she’d been struggling but also deflecting any attempts friends made to find out what was wrong or if they could help. I suppose I wasn’t surprised, but I remember noting…

Reading everywhere

Two things. First, this is not a polemic celebrating the extreme sport of reading and walking at the same time (a sport known also by its adherents simply as “reading”). I am, of course, at least theoretically in favour of this dangerous and endearing activity, having once been one of its greatest long distance athletes. But…

Summer gothic

Everyone becomes unhinged, to some degree, during summer in Toronto, and this has been a particularly bad one. Most of the summer, but especially July and August, were made up of endless, blurring weeks during which the windows could not be opened and the A/C was never turned off; even so, it was often still too…

Paradise

My husband and I recently spent a week in beautiful, temperate, laid back British Columbia–mostly in Victoria, but with a couple days in Vancouver at the end. It was, in a very intense and basic way, a vacation: we had no responsibilities to order our days or curtail our fancies, save to feed ourselves. But…

Silence

Save for one strange and dreamy interlude, my words seem to have all dried up since Columbo died. Everyone and everything went sort of grey and unfocused when we lost him, including a sense of my own place in the world. I knew he was an integral part of the solid and shining family core around…

Perchance to dream

The afflictions of modernity are varied, numerous, and sometimes mysterious; and, I think we can probably all agree, often very, very boring. Such pains are no less serious for all that, however; for example: the neck and back pain resulting from constant connection to phones and laptops; the head wounds from texting and walking; the…

Prodigies of nature

In the landscape I inhabit, urban wildlife usually comes in predictable forms. Raccoons and squirrels are regular visitors to my backyard and roof, and I see them (or their sad carcasses) all over the city–anywhere humans might be trusted to drop or store food, really. Still, I also sometimes go into my city’s constantly shrinking wild places; maybe…