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

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26

Jun

2019

There’s more to life than weeds

Author: Jim Taylor

Last Friday was the longest day of the year. The sun came up at 4:49 a.m., and didn’t set again until 9:10 p.m.

            I was out in my garden pulling weeds, on my hands and knees, head down, nose near the earth, when I realized that half a year’s worth of daylight had passed me by.

           When I look back, I can remember the cherries in our neighbouring orchard coming out in blossom. Then the peaches, then the apples. I didn’t pay attention. 

            A little later in the year, dark red rhododendrons marched down our north fence. Near-fluorescent azaleas adorned our driveway -- orange, white, yellow, even purple. Our flowering dogwood stood as tall and white as a wedding dress. The catalpa exploded in creamy white petals like popcorn. Peonies were burdened with bloom.

            I saw them all. But I didn’t really pay attention to the beauty around me. Because I was too obsessed with weeds.


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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: weeds, beauty

23

Jun

2019

Killing at a safe distance

Author: Jim Taylor

It had to happen, I suppose. Around two million fans of the Toronto Raptors basketball team packed the city’s downtown streets for a victory celebration.

            Then someone took a gun into the crowd. And started shooting. 

            Four people sustained wounds. Three people were arrested; two firearms seized. 

            As I write this column, three suspects have been identified; a fourth is being hunted. So far, no one has offered a motive for the shooting. 

            You’re expecting another rant about guns and gun control. Not this time – because I think there’s a bigger issue involved.

            In case there’s any doubt, I do oppose guns. I did have a BB gun as a teenager. I haven’t owned a gun since; we didn’t let our children play with guns.

            But the real problem is not guns. It’s our ever-growing desire to distance ourselves from the effects of our actions. 


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21

Jun

2019

Everything

Author: Jim Taylor

Diana Butler-Bass’s book Groundedcontinues to set my creative juices surging. Here’s another poem, this time based on a lyrical description on pages 28-29 of the paperback edition. 

 

Sky

sea

sand

hills ripple along the horizon

sunrise softly suffuses pearl

the glow of awe

paint palettes merge and blend

watercolour on wet paper


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19

Jun

2019

Confused about winning and losing

Author: Jim Taylor

Last Thursday night, the Toronto Raptors won their first-ever NBA Championship, defeating the Golden State Warriors. Canada went wild. Even parts of Alberta cheered.

            This whole business of winning and losing leaves me a little confused.

            Because the only thing for the Raptors can look forward to now is losing. They can’t stay on top forever. Sooner or later, some other team will de-throne them.

            Like reaching the summit of Everest, the only place left to go is down.

            Years ago, when I was still a wannabe writer, I took a night-school class from Raymond Hull, co-author with Lawrence J. Peter of The Peter Principle.

            Hull taught that literature really had only three plots. 


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16

Jun

2019

Canada’s hands are not clean

Author: Jim Taylor

For years, I have railed against the policies of white supremacists – principally in the U.S., because of the daily deluge of news that spills north across the border, but also in New Zealand/Aotearoa, France, Germany, wherever….

            But I am now forced to recognize that Canada has been, and to some extent still is, a white supremacist nation. More specifically, a male white supremacist nation.

            The catalyst is the 1200-page report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls – sanitized by abbreviating it to MMIWG – released Monday May 27.

            I have long known that my province imposed discriminatory taxes and restrictions on Chinese immigrants in past years. And that Canada turned away a ship full of Jewish refugees, and forcibly relocated Japanese residents during World War II.

            But the most consistent victims of Canada’s white supremacist policies have been our Indigenous peoples.


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