Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

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Published on Saturday, July 3, 2021

The dog who didn’t get run over

Thursday July 1, 2021


I took my dog Pippin to an off-leash dog park on the outskirts of Kelowna a week ago. 

            Pippin loves dog parks. She gets to run and play with other dogs, unhampered by a leash. 

            This visit started out as usual. I unclipped her leash. She pranced off to meet with a group of other dogs, and their owners, gathered in the shade of some trees.

            Suddenly a black and white and tan streak emerged out of the cluster, heading for the gates, as if it was trying to outrun a load of buckshot. 

            “Is that my dog?” I asked one of the other owners, incredulously. I had never seen her run that fast before. 

            “Yes,” she called back 

            I whistled. I called. No response. 

            I expected the double gates at the park entry would stop her. They didn’t. She slid under the first one on her side. Then under the second. And out onto the highway. Running north, as if she were demented. Running, running, running. 

            I started running myself. 

            It took me longer to get through the gates than it took her to get under them. I started my car. Roared out onto the highway – not dangerous, because a panicking dog had brought traffic to a standstill – and raced up the wrong side of the road in pursuit of a distant dot. 

            I don’t know where she thought she was headed, Or why. Maybe she doesn’t either. Because just as I caught up to her, she turned and started racing back again. Almost to the dog park. And then whoops, reverse again. Still going hell-bent-for-foreclosure.

            All along the road, cars had stopped. Half a dozen people were trying to corral Pippin as she raced by. Even a highway works crew stopped repairing potholes to try to corner her. 

            But she would have none of it. 

            I used all of the road. The wrong lane. The gravel shoulder. Finally I got ahead of her, pulled over, opened the car door. 

            She leaped in. 

            And panted.

            And panted.

            And panted….

            I was terrified that I would lose her. That all I would have left of my beloved companion would be a crushed and bloody corpse, run over by some truck that didn’t see her. 

            I’m amazed at the universal response. To stop. To pull over. To flag other drivers down. To get out of the car, to run out onto the pavement, to try to gather in a desperate dog.

            This column is the only way I have to express my gratitude. 

            It would have been so easy for someone in a self-centred hurry to pull out, to roar past, to feel a minor thump underneath… 

            But no one did. 

            We may, as a voting public, make occasional foolish decisions. We may, in our economic greed, invest in industries that damage the environment, and harm our health.

            But where it’s possible for individuals to respond compassionately, most of us do. 

            Sure, there are always a few who give the rest of us a bad name. Not this time. And thank God – in whatever formulation I believe this week – I was able to bring my dear dog home safely. 

            Thank you all.


Copyright © 2021 by Jim Taylor. Non-profit use in congregations and study groups, and links from other blogs, welcomed; all other rights reserved.

            To comment on this column, write jimt@quixotic.ca





Not much mail to share with you this week. 


Tom Watson, a musician himself, wrote,  “I listened to the music. What a gift Sofie Hartwick is to your congregation.”


Fran Martens enjoyed the short clips of music available on the website I mentioned, but, “ Attempting to purchase the CD is difficult.  The church thought I just wanted to get on their mailing list although the message I left with them indicated I wanted to buy the CD – nothing else.”

            Frank also wondered, “How do artists come up with the names for their songs?” 


Heather Sandilands sent two messages. One was about Sofie’s CD: “Thanks for the music and link. The sample was good; the album better.”

            And a second message about last week’s psalm paraphrase: “Wonderful paraphrase, thank you. And timely as it falls in Pride Month -- as you said, for anyone who has been made to feel as 'less than'.”





Psalm paraphrase


I haven’t used this paraphrase of Psalm 48 for five years; I’m not sure why. But in the middle of this heat dome, the “mountain of ice” sounds quite appealing.


1          When good things happen, when things go right, 

give God the praise; 

give God the glory. 

2          Raise your eyes; look upward. 

The glory of the Lord looms over us, like a mountain, 

like a mountain of ice towering above the tundra.

3          In the shadows of God's ramparts, no one would dare defy us. 

4          No, not even the kings and rulers of this world. 

They gather in force, confident of their powers;

5          They disintegrate in wonder, as they recognize their pathetic powers.

6          They were as helpless as a newborn child. 

They cried out, and collapsed, 

unable to support their own pride on their feeble limbs.

7          Like leaves before an autumn wind, they scattered.


9          It is more than human minds can grasp; 

we struggle to understand.

10        The wonders of God always extend beyond us; 

they defy our attempts to confine them to our comprehension.

We do not even know the name of God.

11        We only know how to worship the heart of creation, 

the one who created us, and all creatures, and all communities of creatures. 

Let them all praise God.


12        So spend your life learning about this Lord; 

study the scriptures and the sciences, 

13        So that you may pass on to your successors the truth 

14        That there is but one God, now and forever. 

This God will lead us forward into the future.


You can find paraphrases of most of the psalms in the Revised Common Lectionary in my book Everyday Psalmsavailable from Wood Lake Publishing, info@woodlake.com.






If you want to comment on something, send a message directly to me, jimt@quixotic.ca.

            To subscribe or unsubscribe, send an e-mail message to jimt@quixotic.ca. Or you can subscribe electronically by sending a blank e-mail (no message or subject line) to softedges-subscribe@lists.quixotic.ca. Similarly, you can un-subscribe at softedges-unsubscribe@lists.quixotic.ca.

            I write a second column each Sunday called Sharp Edges, which tends to be somewhat more cutting about social and justice issues. To sign up for Sharp Edges, write to me directly, jimt@quixotic.ca, or send a note to sharpedges-subscribe@lists.quixotic.ca

            And for those of you who like poetry, please check my webpage .https://quixotic.ca/My-Poetry I posted several new poetic works there a few weeks ago. If you’d like to receive notifications about new poems, write me at jimt@quixotic.ca, or subscribe yourself to the list by sending a blank email (no message) to poetry-subscribe@lists.quixotic.ca (If it doesn’t work, please let me know.)






To use the links in this section, you’ll have to insert the necessary symbols. Some spam filters have blocked my posts because they’re suspicious of the web links.

            Wayne Irwin's “Churchweb Canada,” an inexpensive service for any congregation wanting to develop a web presence, with free consultation. http://wwwDOTchurchwebcanadaDOTca He’s also relatively inexpensive!

            I recommend Isabel Gibson’s thoughtful and well-written blog, wwwDOTtraditionaliconoclastDOTcom. She also has lots of beautiful photos. Especially of birds.

            Tom Watson writes a weekly blog called “The View from Grandpa Tom’s Balcony” -- ruminations on various subjects, and feedback from Tom’s readers. Write him at tomwatsoATgmailDOTcom (NB that’s “watso” not “watson”)



            I have acquired (don’t ask how) the complete archive of the late Alva Wood’s collection of satiric and sometimes wildly funny columns about a mythical village’s misadventures. I’ve put them on my website: http://quixotic.ca/Alva-Wood-Archive. You’re welcome to browse. No charge. (Although maybe if I charged a fee, more people would find the archive worth visiting.)



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Author: Jim Taylor

Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: dogs



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