On not drowning silently

I am very much in favour of using my own words to describe my own experiences; I have this belief, supportable or not, that the more widely a catchy phrase is adopted, the less meaning it comes to hold until it’s eventually just a mess of sounds unrelated to anything recognizable. Some such commonplaces (e.g.,…

Working out in the time of cholera

I saw on the news this morning that Ontario provincial parks are closing because of COVID-19…and I didn’t freak out at all. I got all my hysterical adjusting done in my previous post; but I think this is a good time to point out how wrong Thoreau was when he claimed, “The mass of men…

Have more sugar; these feelings aren’t going to eat themselves!

This will be the first of, one hopes (for obvious reasons), a series of dispatches from Toronto, or what I’m now affectionately referring to as Quarentown. No, we are absolutely not all in full lock-down like poor Italy. This morning, the premier declared a state of emergency, Parks Canada is closed, libraries are closed, we’re…

Hibernation

Winter has its charms, at least for those who’ve acquired a taste for it, but it must be acknowledged that, in spite of its lovely parts (the crunching and cracking of snow underfoot and the blintering* of the stars above on clear nights), winter also makes life more complicated. It takes a long time and…

A “right good-will draught” to end the year

It was the best, most, and first of times. 2017 was other adjectival things too, but I’ll stick to the good bits. Best reads (in alphabetical order by author surname) Grand Hotel, Vicki Baum A Favourite of the Gods, Sybille Bedford Notes from a Dead House, Fyodor Dostoevsky Old Filth, Jane Gardam Hild, Nicola Griffith…

Snow and cold and long, dark nights

It’s winter here, real winter. Last year was vaguely winterish, but it really didn’t mean it. It sure as snowy, blowy, shivery hell means it now. I kind of love it. I am fortunate enough to be in a position to love it: I have warm clothes and solid, water-defying winter boots to wear when…

September renaissance

Something magical has happened to me. It’s almost September; it feels very much like September–cool nights, the dark leaning in earlier each evening, days that feel more like a slightly wistful memory of summer than summer itself–but I don’t feel like September. For the first time that I can remember, all of this climatic loveliness…

Bicycle-riding during the apocalypse

The first time I heard about climate change was in the early or mid-’80s. My babysitter (the lovely Mrs. B.), her cozy back turned to me while she washed the lunch dishes, delivered this warning about the future: “In fifteen years, the climates of Nova Scotia and California are going to be switched.” I don’t…