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

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

 

29

Aug

2018

Hello. Hello? Anyone there?

Author: Jim Taylor

I tried to pray about a controversy over sex education in our schools -- what should be taught, and how. 

            A heavenly voice answered: “Thank you for your prayer. All our angels are presently busy dealing with other customers. Please stay on line and an angel will be with you shortly.”

            Some harps played mood music. 

            “Your continued devotion is very important to us. Please note that your prayer may be recorded for training and/or monitoring purposes.”

            I prepared my church membership papers, my baptismal certificate, my password (“Jesus,” of course) and my Personal Identification Number (666, of course) just in case they asked for authentication. 

            “For service in English, press 1. For service in Latin, press 2. For service in any other language, press 3 and wait for a Google translator to assist you.”

            I chose English.

            “King James thanks thee for thine loyalty. To speak to a confessor about sins thou mayest have committed by thought, word, and deed against thy Father Almighty’s divine majesty, press 1. To confess sins committed against another human, press 2. To confess sins of omission, press 3." 


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27

Aug

2018

At the edge

Author: Jim Taylor

Two matched verses, connecting two natural events. 

 

The waterfall 

clings to the edge of an abyss

with its fingernails....


An old man 

clings to the edge of an abyss....




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Categories: Poetry

Tags: death, waterfall, mortality

26

Aug

2018

Fires and floods mark the new normal

Author: Jim Taylor

This has been a summer of natural disasters. Some rain has finally come to B.C., but by the end of this summer, the province will have fought some 2000 forest fires. Smoke from those fires has spread across the prairies, into northern Ontario, even crossing the Atlantic to Europe. Just as smoke from fires north of the Arctic Circle, in Sweden and Siberia, drifted into Canada. 

            Meanwhile, California had its worst wildfire season. In Greece, some residents chose to drown in the Aegean Sea, rather than to burn on land. 

            Fires rampaged in Australia. And an estimated half of the coral in the Great Barrier Reef died, from rising ocean temperatures. 

            At the other extreme, southern India had its heaviest monsoon in 100 years, displacing close to a million people. Floods ripped through almost any country you can name. Highways washed out. Cars vanished into sinkholes. Mudslides swept houses off their foundations.

            But still some people deny that all this has anything to do with climate change. And certainly deny that humans had anything to do with it. 


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22

Aug

2018

Both beautiful and fragile

Author: Jim Taylor

From my mother, I inherited a Belleek china tea set. Belleek is both beautiful and fragile -- porcelain china so thin you can see shadows through it, so light it feels like paper. And so delicate that just dropping a teaspoon can break a teacup. 

            What we call community is also incredibly beautiful, and incredibly fragile. It can be shattered by a casual comment taken personally, by differences of opinion over minor matters, by trust betrayed…

            It’s easier to describe what community is not, than to define what it is. 

            Community is not just a group of people. Merely gathering people together in one place – whether for a rock concert, a sports event, or a church service – does not create a community. 

            Nor does having a million followers on Facebook or Twitter.

            For the same reason, simply being a member of an organization does not create a community. You can be a member of a Rotary club or a Baptist church for 40 years, and have never visited another member in their home, heard their passions, held them while they cry… 

            Passive presence is not enough. 


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19

Aug

2018

Inside a body dying of ALS

Author: Jim Taylor

I want you to read this book. I hope you find it as depressing and painful as I did.

            The book is Every Note Played, by Lisa Genova. You may have read some of Genova’s previous books, particularly Still Alice,which leads you through the life of a woman as she  chronicles her decline into dementia.

            This book chronicles a similar decline, but into ALS -- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, often called Lou Gehrig’s Disease, or “what Stephen Hawking had.”

            But where Still Alice led readers through the gradual loss of a university professor’s memory and reasoning, it stopped before Alzheimer’s Disease ended her life. It was sad, but not shattering.

            Every Note Played pulls no such punches. It takes you through to the end, and beyond.


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