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

To make Comments write directly to Jim at jimt@quixotic.ca

 

9

Aug

2020

Things you never knew you knew

Author: Jim Taylor

Harvest times tend to come along all at once. I went out last week to offer volunteer services to my vegetable garden, and realized that the peas, raspberries, onions, and potatoes all needed attention at the same time. 

            I know how to pick and shell peas. I know how to pick raspberries. But I realized I didn’t have a clue about the right time to pull onions or dig potatoes. 

            So I called a friend. Who is, fortunately, kind enough not to laugh at my ignorance.

            “You need to bend the tops of the onions over,” she said. 

            The tops of my onions had fallen over already, on their own. 

            “Then you can pull them,” she said. “But they’ll need to be dried.”


Comments (0) Number of views (15)

30

Jul

2020

Scattering my wife’s ashes

Author: Jim Taylor

We took Joan Taylor home two weekends ago. 

            The four remaining members of her family – her daughter, two grandchildren, and I, her husband – drove her ashes 500 km and five mountain passes back to Kootenay Lake, where she had grown up. 

            She had been clear, all through her leukemia, that she wanted to be cremated, not buried. 

            “What do you want done with your ashes,” we asked her, in her final months. 

            “I don’t care,” she said. “I won’t be there.”

            Oddly enough, those were the same words my father used, when I asked him the same question. A few days later, he had second thoughts. He wanted his ashes scattered in his favourite fishing river. 


Comments (0) Number of views (54)

25

Jul

2020

Here, there, and everywhere

Author: Jim Taylor

He got cancer. A rare kind of cancer, his doctor told him. He knew he was looking death in the eye. 

            He remembered an old saying: “There are no atheists in foxholes.”  When bullets zip past your head, you don’t turn to philosophical theories for comfort.

            And he realized that no matter how sincere his convictions about a God who was inside, outside, and everywhere, a God embodied  in the world and in him, at that moment what he wanted was a God who could do something about his cancer.  A God who was more than an abstract understanding. 

            He realized he still yearned for that God “out there.”


Comments (0) Number of views (51)
Read more

Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: God, fear, cancer

17

Jul

2020

The stories behind everything

Author: Jim Taylor

The yucca plants along my driveway are in bloom. This year, 51 spikes, creamy white columns of glory, rise above their clusters of sword-like leaves,

            I don’t know what kind of yucca plants I have. There are, Wikipedia tells me, 49 species of yucca, and another 24 sub-species. Some grow over 30 feet (10 m) tall. Some are used for food. Some grow only in deserts. Some have fleshy leaves that store water like aloes; some have leaves as hard and dry as old shoe leather.

            All I know is that my yucca border began with just two plants. The man who built our house was doing some work in his mother’s yard. He dug up some yuccas, and said to himself, “Jim Taylor needs something to grow along his driveway.”

            His mother is long gone, but her yuccas live on, and delight people walking by when they burst into their annual celebration of summer.


Comments (0) Number of views (78)
Read more

Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: yucca, provenance

10

Jul

2020

Playing with numbers in Numbers

Author: Jim Taylor

IThe Bible asserts -- not just once but three times -- that Moses led 600,000 men of fighting age out of Egypt. Forty years later, when they crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land, the Israelites still had 600,000 men able to go to war. 

            So a whole new generation was born while roaming through the deserts and mountains of the Sinai peninsula.

            Which means -- I think I’m correct here -- that there must have been women among them, although the Bible didn’t bother counting women. Or children. Or seniors, such as Moses himself.

            Assuming that birthrates haven’t changed much, 600,000 men probably meant an equal number of women. 

            Add children and seniors, the total nears two million.

            If you’ve ever seen the Sinai desert, it is inconceivable that two million people could wander for 40 years through that arid wilderness. 


Comments (0) Number of views (88)

27

Jun

2020

Mind over matter, maybe…

Author: Jim Taylor

t’s a four-hour drive from Edmonton to Jasper. Visually, the highway is slightly more exciting than any road out of Regina. 

            Joan was driving. I was bored. 

            I had read stories about people who believed that by concentrating, they could burn holes in clouds. I thought that was nonsense. Since I had nothing better to do, I decided to prove them wrong. I focussed all my attention on a small wispy-looking cloud up ahead. 

            It dissolved into blue sky as I watched.

            Pure coincidence, I thought. I chose some bigger, puffier clouds. I found I could bore a hole through them, too.

            So I picked one of the least likely clouds, one with a heavy dark base. I chose what seemed to be the thickest part of the cloud. I focussed myself totally on that cloud.


Comments (0) Number of views (122)

18

Jun

2020

Implications of “I’d rather…”

Author: Jim Taylor

The follies of my youth have caught up with me. For a dozen years, I spent almost every sunny weekend out on the water, just bumming around in small boats. Sometimes up Howe Sound, sometimes up the North Arm, sometimes just in Coal Harbour.

            But wherever it was, I got blasted two ways by ultra-violet rays -- from the sun overhead, and from the sun reflecting off the water.

            It was a glorious time, I remember.

            But now I’m paying the price. A dermatologist told me that I will need to have seven pre-cancerous patches on my face removed surgically. 

            “Ideally,” he said, “I’d like to see you living in the bottom of a coal mine.”

            My instant reaction was, “I’d rather die!”


Comments (0) Number of views (162)

12

Jun

2020

Relying on external authority

Author: Jim Taylor

A friend gave me a little book to pass on to our local museum. But because Covid-19 closed the museum for the last couple of months, I’ve kept the book on my bedside table for occasional edification.  

            It’s called “Rules for the Conduct of Life” -- a large topic. Closer inspection reveals a less lofty goal. It was intended as an ethical guide for apprentices seeking to join the Freemen of the City of London.  

            The text contains 36 rules.  I found it interesting that only four of the 36 rules were considered self-evident, capable of standing on their own. 

            All the rest include at least one text from the Bible. Sometimes two, or three. As if they needed an external authority to validate their wisdom. 


Comments (0) Number of views (112)

5

Jun

2020

Goodnight, sweetheart, goodnight...

Author: Jim Taylor

The dogwood tree stood as a pillar of creamy white blossom. The hawthorn tree celebrated with a joyful chorus of deep pink flowers. Azaleas flamed fluorescent -- white, orange, red, violet, yellow. Purple allium heads tried to look like computer visualizations of a coronavirus. The rhododendrons toasted the morning in deep claret and white.

            Lilacs, shaded from Ming to Wedgewood, ensured that this was not a fragrance-free zone.

            Tiny yellow, white, and blue flowers cascaded down the rock garden. A septet of humming birds danced around their feeders. A great blue heron rose lazily from the lake below, trailing his legs behind him.

            And there was evening and there was morning, in the four billionth year, and God saw that it was good.

            Joan would have loved it. She would have rejoiced in her garden. I could not imagine how she could willingly leave it.

 


Comments (0) Number of views (159)

31

May

2020

Doing something worthwhile

Author: Jim Taylor

My shovel sank into the soil the full depth of the blade,  effortlessly, liker slicing butter. I turned the shovel load over.  The soil was rich, black, moist. And loaded with fat wriggling worms.

            Some robins thought I had called them for dinner. They hopped happily over the lumps of earth only a few feet away from my own feet. 

            What a difference 27 years makes. When we first moved onto this property, the land was a horse pasture. Back then, the earth beneath the sod consisted mostly of river-tumbled rock and gravel. In some earlier era, this bench had been the mouth of a rushing mountain stream dumping glacial debris into a lake much larger and deeper than today’s. It left a legacy of stones and sand.

            The remains of the streambed still lie inches  below our lawn. But this garden plot is different, thanks to 27 years of  relentless composting. 

            If I’ve achieved nothing else in my life, I’ve created rich black soil that didn’t exist before. 


Comments (0) Number of views (146)
RSS
12345678910Last

Tags

"gate of the year" #MeToo 150th birthday 1954 1972 1984 3G 9/11 A God That Could Be Real abduction abortion Abrams abuse achievement addiction Addis Ababa adoption Adrian Dix affirmative action aging agnostics Ahriman Ahura Mazda airport killings Alabama albinism albinos Alexa algorithms Allegations Almighty Almighty God ALS alt-right altruism Amanda Todd Amazon Amerika Amherst amnesia analysis Andrea Constant Andrew Copeland Taylor anniversaries Anthropocene antidote Ants aphrodisiac apoptosis App Store Archives Ardern armistice Armstrong Army and Navy stores Art artifacts artists ashes astronomy atheists atonement atropine Attawapiscat attitudes attraction audits authorities authorities. Bible autism automation autumn B.C. election B.C. Health Ministry B.C. Legislature B-2 baby Bach bad news baggage Bahai Banda banning books Baptism Barabbas barbed wire barbers Bashar al Assad BC BC Conference Beans bears beauty Beaver Beethoven beginnings behaviour bel-2 belief systems beliefs belonging benefits Bernardo Berners-Lee berries Bible biblical sex billionaire BioScience birds birth birthday birthdays Bitcoin Black history Blackmore blockades blood blood donors Bloomberg boar body Bohr bolide Bolivia Bolivian women bombing bombings bombs books border patrol both/and bottom up Bountiful Brahms brains Brazil breath breathe breathing Brexit broken Bruce McLeod bubbles Buber Buddha Buddhism Bulkley bulldozers bullets bullying bush pilots butterflies butterfly Calendar California Cambridge Analytica. Facebook cameras Canada Canada Day Canadian Blood services Canal Flats cancer Canute caregivers caring Carnaval. Mardi Gras carousel cars Carter Commission cats cave CBC Cecil the lion. Zanda CentrePiece CF chance change Charlie Gard Charlottesville Charter of Compassion Checklists checkups chemical weapons Chesapeake Bay Retriever Chesterton Child Advocacy Centre child trafficking children Chile China chivalry chocolates choice choices choirs Christchurch Christian Christianity Christina Rossetti Christine Blasey Ford Christmas Christmas gathering Christmas lights Christmas tree Christmas trees Christopher Plummer church churches circle of life Clarissa Pinkola Estés Clichés cliffhanger climate change clocks close votes clouds Coastal GasLink coastal tribes coffee collaboration collective work colonial mindset colonies Colten Boushie Columbia River Columbia River Treaty comfort communication Communion community complexity composers composting computer processes conception conclusions Confederacy Confederate statues confidence Confirmation confusion Congo Congress Conrad Black consciousness consensual consent conservative Conservative Party contraception contrasts Conversations conversion therapy copyright coral Cornwallis corona virus corporations corruption Cosby Cougars counter-cultural Countercurrents courtesy courts Covenant Coventry Cathedral COVID-19 CPP CPR CRA Craig crashes Crawford Bay creation creche creeds cremation crescent Creston crime criminal crossbills cross-country skiing crucifixion Cruelty crypto-currencies Cultural appropriation cuneiform Curie curling cutbacks cyberbullying Cystic Fibrosis Dalai Lama Damocles Dan Rather Danforth dark matter darkness Darren Osburne Darwin data mining daughter David David Suzuki de Bono dead zone deaf deafness death deaths decision decisions Definitions Delhi Dementia democracy denial Denny's departure Depression Descartes Desiderata despair determinism Devin Kelley dew dawn grass Diana Butler-Bass dinosaurs discussion dissent distancing diversity division divorce dog dogs dominance Don Cherry Donald Trump donkey Donna Sinclair doorways Doug Ford Doug Martindale Dr. Keith Roach Dr. Seuss dreaming dreams Drugs ducks Duvalier dying Dylan Thomas earth Earth Day Easter Eat Pray Love Ebola e-cigarettes eclipse economics Eden editing editing by committee Edwards-Sawatzky Egypt eight-track tapes Einstein either/or election Elizabeth Gilbert Ellithorpe email embassy emergent emotions Empire encryption English Entropy epiphany epitaph Erika van Oyen erosion Esteban Santiago eternal life eternity ethics Ethiopia Eucharist eulogy eunuchs evacuation evacuation orders Evangelical Fellowship Eve Evelyn Glennie Every Note Played everything evil Evolution Exodus expectations experience experiment extinction extinctions extradition extremes extremism eye for an eye Eyes Facebook faith falling leaves False Creek fascist fate fear Fedex feel feminine hygiene Fentanyl Fibonacci Field figure skating Fire fireball fires First Nations Fitbit flirting flooding floods floppy disks flow chart flow charts flowers fluency flying Flying objects fog Folk sayings Food Bank forensic Forest fires forests forgiving Four Pests campaign fracking franchises free free speech free will freedom freedom of speech frequency friend Friendship friendships fruit fundamentalism funerals future Gaia games Gandhi Garbage Garrison Keillor gas tanks Geese genes Genghis Khan genocide George Floyd Gerald Stanley Gerard Manley Hopkins Ghomeshi girls glaciers global economy global warming go north God God-moments gods Golden Golden Rule goldfinch Goldilocks good Good Friday good intentions goodness Google Google Play government
Copyright 2020 by Jim Taylor  |  Powered by: Churchweb Canada