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

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13

May

2022

Pow! How Batman led me astray

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday May 12, 2022

 

We all know about life’s major decisions. You know this decision will affect you for the rest of your life. 

            I am only realizing, late in my life, that smaller decisions, things I didn’t bother thinking twice about at the time, can also affect the rest of one’s life. 

            When I was ten, I regularly went to a barbershop a couple of blocks away. The barber kept a stack of comic books for his customers to look at while they waited. 

            I got hooked on Batman. I loved the way he dispatched his foes with a single mighty uppercut that came all the way up from the floor. Ka-Pow! Blam! Smash!

            My family moved away from that barbershop, but I never lost that mental image of Batman’s invincible fists. 


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13

Aug

2021

If the old trees could speak

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday August 12, 2021

 

Over the transition from July to August, I spent about ten days on Vancouver Island. Five times, I went hiking in old-growth forests. Massive trunks soar upwards, 200-300 feet, so straight, so vertical, that they might have been laid out by an engineer with a spirit level. At the top, the canopy of branches opens out into a fretwork vault, lacing the sky with a canopy of needled embroidery. 

            I took pictures, of course. But pictures cannot capture the awe engendered by an old-growth forest. I need Emily Carr’s exuberant brush strokes, her explosive splashes of colour, to bring out the sacredness of these trees. 

            But it’s not all about the cathedral image. 

            Down below, fallen giants nurse new seedlings. Young hemlocks, mostly. One such nurse tree had become a day care for over 30 young hemlocks growing along its length,. The death of an old matriarch had opened a trapdoor of sky to let the light in. 

            I wondered what that forest might say to us, if it could speak. 


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11

Jan

2017

The hidden wisdom of folk saying

Author: Jim Taylor

My mother had a maxim for every occasion. If I paced impatiently waiting for something to happen, she’d tell me, “A watched pot never boils.” If she had reservations about my friends, I’d get “Birds of a feather flock together.” If I got a Christmas present I didn’t particularly want, I might hear, “Never look a gift horse in the mouth.” Or perhaps, “Beggars can’t be choosers.”

            It took me some time to realize that many of those maxims come in contradictory pairs. 

            “The squeaky wheel gets the grease” encourages me to squeak up. But “Speech is silver, silence is golden” advises me not to. 

            One maxim advocates caution: “Never put all your eggs in one basket.” Another expects me to take risks: “You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.”

 


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