The Hill

And so it was, about a week ago, that I passed the “big” four zero.  Birthdays that end in zero are often heralded as significant milestones, to be held up for scrutiny and reflection (I guess it really is the person that is held up for those, not the number or day itself).  I dunno where most draw the line these days, but there’s a whack of connotation for “over the hill” that hangs off a fortieth birthday as well.  I’ve had a few people ask or insinuate about it, and, truth be told, that has gotten me to ponder it somewhat.

And what I discovered… well… is that it is no real big hoopla for me.  I don’t even feel like I’m thirty yet, let alone forty.  I have no experience of anything especially all that different.  Life for me continues to get more and more alive, and I’ve got a strong case of the ‘5-year-old-child’ disease:  I don’t want to go to bed at night, and I pop out of bed in the morning, revvin’ to go.   There are things I’ve yet to accomplish that I want.  There are things I’ve completed and am chuffed about.  There are new things that I’m excited to take on and that scare me a bit.  There are old things that I keep working away at.  There are body changes, especially with my gluten/thyroid thing, and I did Tough Mudder this year and I keep rocking the kung fu.  There are areas I love as much as I ever have, and there are areas that are less interesting to me today.  There are areas into which I want to grow.  There are areas that I want to transform.  I feel I am more alive to life now than I’ve ever been, and I’m letting myself be alive, and expand.  Things are cool.

I for one welcome the hill.  Let’s ride!

Pics or it didn’t happen…

Some photos from around here and our house of the storm’s beauty.   Especially in the light of the very sunny yesterday, the view from the train — with the snow covered fields, the crisp air, the picturesque barns, and the crystalline trees (and even cattails in the marshes!) gleeming in the light — was very beautiful and made for wonderful vistas.   Mesmorizing to just look out the window and drink it all in.

Power’s back on now, so we’ll soon be heading up that way soon to return to our house.  Happy holidays everyone!  May they be full of peace, warmth, and love for you all.

And now, the pics!







And, as we are in Canada…


Supreme Error

Late Friday afternoon, likely trying to slip it under the radar (it is the prime time any administration tries to bury something it doesn’t want known), the Canadian Environment Minister (a misnomer, I would say in this case) approved a huge expansion to one of Shell’s tarsands operations in Alberta – approved it despite even admitting it would “cause significant adverse environmental effects.”

The ministry’s report concluded the project would result in severe and irreversible damage, including the permanent loss of thousands of hectares of wetlands, harming migratory birds, multiple wildlife species, and wiping out “traditional plants used for generations.”  Continuing, it expressed doubt at any potential for mitigation, and that impacts would likely approach levels that the environment couldn’t support.

For an administration that has sought to discredit science in any form and muzzle its scientists, this is a pretty surprising disclosure.

However, the expansion was labeled “justified in the circumstances.”

Pardon me, but I am baffled?  “Justified”?  By what measure?  By what circumstances?  Note that this report may only be noting the destruction of the immediate area of the expansion, I’m not sure if it even takes into consideration the huge depletion of freshwater resources, the impact and danger of long-term tailings ponds and runoff, and the immense energy and emissions required to access and process the tar, and the dangers of shipping it across yet more of the rapidly dwindling lungs of the planet in the form of our wilderness areas… and even without that consideration I’m at a loss for a justification to strip mine and poison an area that approaches the size of the City of San Francisco.  And this is just one project.

Equally galling to me is that beyond this bizarre logic the minister is acting without even keeping her own agreements.  The ministry promised to give a 35-day stay to approval to the local population (out of a request for 90) to work through the concerns of safety and long term impact.  They didn’t even wait until the 35 days were up.  They just said, “Tough luck, we’re doing it.”

I strongly assert this is a wrongheaded move in so many ways.  Please join me in taking action.  Additionally, consider supporting:  National Resources Defence Council –  Earthjustice –  Sierra Club of Canada.


I don’t really know how to start this… my first recollection of the apartheid situation in South Africa is a discussion in school – I want to say it was in primary school but more likely in senior public – of the economic sanctions Canada had imposed on the country.  I don’t know if the name Mandela was mentioned or not but by the time he was released in 1990 I certainly did.  Just a year after the fall of the Berlin wall, it seemed the world was taking a good turn.  But I still did not know much about the human being Mandela, and I didn’t know how he would demonstrate just what we are capable of.

“Many leaders are, in the end, respected, but very few are loved.”  Mandela was loved, and he was loved not for what he accomplished, which, to dwell on it for a moment, was remarkable.  Like Desmond Tutu he deserves every ounce of his Nobel Peace Prize.  To integrate a country where four factions were close to civil war and not have it go that way, preventing mass revenge, stepping down after one term in a peaceful transition and not making himself a despot, and most of all setting up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that paved the way in so many ways.  Remarkable achievements all around, yet not why he is loved.

He is loved for who he was being.  He chose to not follow his bitterness and to not let his anger and anguish take root.  He chose not to seek punishment, retribution, fiery damnation, or expulsion.  He chose to not look at any other human being as anything other than a human being, full of life and desires, the same desires that ran through his heart.  He chose his humour and wit and empathy.  Few would not understand if he had chosen otherwise, but he didn’t choose otherwise.

He is loved for he reminds us of our capacity as human beings.  He himself consciously advised against turning him into a saint, turning him into a unique individual.  He was not blessed with a lack or even an absence of resentment, upset, anger, bitterness… he had those.  Maybe even in spades.  Yet he did not have that define him, define his thoughts, define who he chose to be.  And as I heard Jack Kornfield once put it, “[he] was an extraordinary human being, but his capacity was not extraordinary.”  He is loved for he represents who we truly are, and can be.

He is loved as he saw that we really all want to just dance together, and he placed his aims and his energy into that.

Let’s get choosing.


How much awesomeness can one video hold?  Well, this one is on music, authorship, the nature of existence, copyright law, governance, shapes, artistry and contains a bajillion doodles.  There may even be more and that my mind couldn’t handle it all at once!   Check it out!