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

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30

Dec

2021

A toast to lost causes

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday December 30, 2021

 

There should be a day for celebrating lost causes. 

            My little hummingbird didn’t survive the cold snap after Christmas. She showed up here after all the other hummingbirds had migrated south. I assume that the “atmospheric river” swept her up from the coast and dumped her in an Okanagan winter. 

            I had not bothered taking down my sugar-syrup feeders when all the other hummingbirds had fled south. So there she was, one day in December. 

            Temperatures dropped to minus-6 Celsius. And still she came back, every day. 

 

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28

Dec

2021

Christmas -- how God does things

Author: Jim Taylor

 

Thursday December 23, 2021

 

What I like most about Christmas, I think, is that it forces me to sharpen my beliefs.

            I call myself a Christian (though I’m sure some would consider me a humanist at best, an atheist at worst). Certainly, I come from a Christian tradition. And Christian tradition has asserted, for centuries, that God was born as a human baby. We call him Jesus. Other cultures call him Jesu, or Yeshua, or some name that I don’t know. 

            Think about the sheer audacity of that claim. God became human! God didn’t just pretend to become human. God didn’t put on a human mask and go around in disguise. God became a human. A very specific historical human.

            The Incarnation makes my faith much simpler. If I want to know what God is like, I need only look at Jesus. 


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22

Dec

2021

When Christmas is a difficult time

Author: Jim Taylor

Sunday December 19, 2021

 

I had trouble doing my Christmas decorating this year. 

            Last year, I found the bins of Christmas decorations Joan had put away in our basement the Christmas before.  I set them up as I remembered what she had done.

           This year, though, I couldn’t remember all the details anymore.

            This Christmas, I realize, I’m not decorating for her. I can now only decorate for me.


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22

Dec

2021

Christmas dinner reveals hidden prejudices

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday December 16, 2021

 

A few years ago, my daughter invited three temporary Jamaican workers for Christmas dinner. 

            As the oldest male in the family, I got to carve the Christmas turkey. Of course, I served the guests first. “White meat or dark meat?” I asked.

            The three women looked at each other. Then one of them ventured, “Dark.”

            The other two agreed. 

             When plates were emptying, I offered seconds. This time, all three of the Jamaican women asked for white meat.

            It turned out that they had made an assumption. They thought that references to white and dark related to their skin colour, not the meat. 


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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: racism, Prejudice

22

Dec

2021

This IS the new normal

Author: Jim Taylor

Sunday December 12, 2021

 

Things were just starting to get back to normal. Restaurants and drive-ins were open again. Sports events could have fans in the stands. People trapped in Canada for the last 18 months were booking flights to exotic locations. 

            And then the Omigod variant appeared. (Sorry, the OmiCRON variant). Some old rules were re-instated. Some new rules were imposed. 

            Suddenly, a return to  “normal” -- whatever that is – looked a lot farther away. 

            I suggest that we’re kidding ourselves if we expect that the world is ever going to go back to whatever we once considered normal.

            On a personal note, I know that, since my wife’s death last year, going back to any former “normal” is impossible. 


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22

Dec

2021

We are more than our masks

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday December 9, 2021

 

The woman standing in line looked vaguely familiar. But because she was wearing a Covid mask, I could see only her eyes and forehead. 

            “Holly?” I asked, tentatively. 

            Her eyebrows shot up. Her eyes crinkled. “Jim!” she exclaimed, flinging her arms around me. (Take that, Covid!)

            I find it hard to recognize people with half their face hidden. 

            In the old days, people used masks to cover other parts of their faces. The Lone Ranger and Batman wore masks over the upper half. 

            Now it’s the opposite. 

 

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22

Dec

2021

Never take water for granted

Author: Jim Taylor

Sunday December 5, 2021

 

After two weeks of reporting on B.C.’s floods, evacuations, washouts, and landslides, the CBC’s David Common was asked for his personal reaction to what he had seen.

            He paused to think. I could see him collecting his thoughts, to avoid rambling or repeating what he had already said. 

            Water, he said. The sheer power of something that most of us take for granted. 

            Indeed, most of us do take water for granted. We think of water as benign. Friendly. Necessary.

             This last few weeks, water has gone out of control. 


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Categories: Sharp Edges

Tags: water, BC, McLuhan, floods

22

Dec

2021

The hummingbird who shouldn’t be here

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday December 2, 2021

 

I had a hummingbird around my house, last week. I shouldn’t have had a hummingbird at all – they migrated south more than a month ago. 

            But yes, a hummingbird was back. 

            One of my hummingbird feeders still had some sugar syrup in it that I, out of sheer laziness, had not emptied out. I didn’t believe my eyes when I saw this little hummingbird, wings beating invisibly, poke its beak into a fake plastic flower to sip some of the remaining nectar. 

            Then he/she/it flew over to my kitchen window. Looked in at me. Nodded acknowledgement. And flashed off to the mountain ash tree where it hunkered down, no bigger than the twig it perched on. 

            She was back again, the next day. So she wasn’t just an accidental, passing through. 


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Categories: Soft Edges

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12

Dec

2021

This IS the new normal

Author: Jim Taylor

Sunday December 12, 2021

 

Things were just starting to get back to normal. Restaurants and drive-ins were open again. Sports events could have fans in the stands. People trapped in Canada for the last 18 months were booking flights to exotic locations. 

            And then the Omigod variant appeared. (Sorry, the OmiCRON variant). Some old rules were re-instated. Some new rules were imposed. 

            Suddenly, a return to  “normal” -- whatever that is – looked a lot farther away. 

            I suggest that we’re kidding ourselves if we expect that the world is ever going to go back to whatever we once considered normal.


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12

Dec

2021

We are more than our masks

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday December 9, 2021

 

The woman standing in line looked vaguely familiar. But because she was wearing a Covid mask, I could see only her eyes and forehead. 

            “Holly?” I asked, tentatively. 

            Her eyebrows shot up. Her eyes crinkled. “Jim!” she exclaimed, flinging her arms around me. (Take that, Covid!)

            I find it hard to recognize people with half their face hidden. 

            In the old days, people used masks to cover other parts of their faces. The Lone Ranger and Batman wore masks over the upper half. Presumably, if people couldn’t see your eyes, they couldn’t recognize you. 

            Now it’s the opposite. 

 

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Categories: Soft Edges

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