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

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

 

17

Jun

2022

Saying a proper goodbye, just in case

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday June 2, 2022

 

As far as I know, none of my friends are in imminent danger of dying – thanks to pills, pacemakers, and physiotherapists.

            But we have all had warnings of our mortality. The future is not infinite anymore.

            The editor of my elementary school’s newsletter mused about her shrinking mailing list. “When I don't know what's happened to classmates,” she wrote, “it makes me sad. Sort of like I haven't said a proper goodbye.”

            Goodbye. 

            We don’t like goodbyes. As Rabbi Kami Knapp wrote, “People feel uncomfortable with the feelings associated with goodbyes, or we become too busy to take the time to properly say goodbye.” 

            Many of our words for parting deny the possibility of permanent separation, whether by death or circumstance. 


Comments (0) Number of views (96)
Read more

Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: death, goodbye, partings

12

Jul

2021

Sparrow

Author: Jim Taylor

            This poem came about by the confluence of two completely different factors. 

`           One, obviously, was finding dying sparrow on the concrete at the entry to my garage.

            The second was an article in The Conversation Canada, about journaling. If you’re not sure what to write, the article suggested (I’m paraphrasing) list what you can note from your senses. Five things you see; four things you hear; three things you touch; two things you smell; one thing you taste. 

            I tried that exercise while thinking about the bird whose body I had just moved into my garbage can, and suddenly they started forming a poem. So here it is – in part...


...

I pick it up, a mortal morsel cupped in my hands.

It makes no effort to flap, to fly.

It rests on my skin, light as a snowflake,

soft as a lover’s touch. 

I move it to a shady spot, where the day’s heat 

bears down on it less heavily. 

 

The bright beads of its eyes flick towards me.

Then close. 

 

Comments (0) Number of views (645)
Read more

Categories: Poetry

Tags: death, Sparrow, feathers

27

Mar

2021

Following her final wishes

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday March 11, 2021 

 

Saturday March 13 marks one year since my wife’s death. Originally, we planned to have her memorial service a week after she died. 

            Joan had worked with our minister at the time to plan a service that reflected her preferences.

            In the 15 years she spent working at the United Church of Canada’s national offices in Toronto, the most inspiring were as administrative assistant in the worship portfolio. She developed a deep appreciation for the church’s sacraments. Even though it is not normally included in memorial services, she wanted to have communion at her service. 

            She couldn’t have anticipated that the day after her death, the province would go into Covid-19 lockdown. 

            Somehow, I thought that the new rules would not apply to anything as earth-shaking as Joan’s death. We would have a service at our church, regardless. 

            Nope.

            Grief tends to over-react that way. 


Comments (0) Number of views (390)

2

Mar

2021

Trying to see the road ahead

Author: Jim Taylor

Driving to town the other day, I ran into a patch of valley fog.

            Suddenly, clear air and bright sky vanished. I was swaddled in translucent cheesecloth. The centreline’s yellow tape scrolled out ahead of me, measuring time and distance to nowhere. The paved road, grey and gritty close up, merged into mist, dissolving into invisibility.

            I felt as if I was driving down a metaphor.

            Because, only moments before, I had been pondering the process of aging. Another colleague from former years had died. 

            The road ahead felt uncertain, unsure.


Comments (0) Number of views (270)

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 (494)

15

Mar

2020

Joan's Death

Author: Jim Taylor

I'll use this space for an event I don't want to, and can't, ignore.

My wife Joan died Friday evening, March 13. She had wanted to die at home, but on Thursday morning she realized that her illness was getting beyond my ability to look after her. Hiring staff to come in was a possibility, but Joan herself felt that she needed to change her mind and check into a hospice. 

We moved her into Hospice House in Kelowna Thursday afternoon. Although she was very tired and very weak, she was able to take part in conversations with her visitors that afternoon. 

The next morning she was unconscious, having great difficulty breathing, with no indication that she could respond at all to us or to other visitors. Just before 11:00 she took her last breath and was at peace. If you go now to the full page, you can read her obituary, and the eulogy that Sharon would have given at Joan's memorial service -- which of course cannot happen during this corona virus shutdown of all services. 


Comments (0) Number of views (1047)

18

Feb

2020

Fragile composure

Author: Jim Taylor

My wife Joan has been handling the gradual decline of her life with astonishing composure. But occasionally, the veneer cracks, and I realize how fragile she is, physically and emotionally. I try to imagine myself into her experience, and can’t – inevitably, I drift off into my story, not hers.

            So as once before, I’ve chosen the ruthless structure of classical haiku – three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables – to enforce some discipline on my monkey mind. 

 

 

Walking on water

ice fractures under my feet

fall into nothing


Comments (0) Number of views (1251)
Read more

Categories: Poetry

Tags: dying, death, unknown

30

Jan

2020

Questions of life and death

Author: Jim Taylor

’m not sure what I believe about life after death. I’m quite sure that I don’t believe in life before life.

            When I was about ten, my mother told me that my father had proposed to another woman, before he met my mother.

            He had finished his Master’s degree. He had signed up to go to India as a missionary with  the United Church of Canada. He invited this other woman to go with him.

            She said no.

            By a fortunate coincidence for me, my mother went to India about the same time, as a Presbyterian missionary from Northern Ireland. My parents met at language school. Six years later they had me.

            Even at the age of ten, it occurred to me that if that other woman had said “Yes,” I wouldn’t  be who I was. I would be someone else. Maybe even –horrors – a girl!


Comments (0) Number of views (567)

13

Jul

2019

Unconditional love on four legs

Author: Jim Taylor

I lost my closest friend a week ago. Although we don’t normally describe a dog as a friend. 

            But over the last 12 years, I probably spent more time with her than with any human being. She was always happy to take part in whatever I might be doing. Always ready for a walk or a hike, a swim or a car ride. To anywhere. She listened to my 


musings without contradicting me or correcting me. She seemed to prefer my company to anyone else on earth. 

            “Friend” almost seems too weak a word for her. 

            Her name was Phoebe. A Chesapeake Bay Retriever. She adopted my wife and me when she was two. And from then on gave us total devotion. 

            But age caught up with her. Joints that once could run and swim all day developed painful arthritis. By the end of her life, she couldn’t put any weight on her left front paw. Her right hind leg tended to collapse without warning, leaving her sprawled awkwardly on the road, or tumbling down the stairs on her back. 

            We knew her time had run out. We made an appointment with the vet. 


Comments (0) Number of views (574)
Read more

Categories: Sharp Edges

Tags: dog, death, Phoebe

15

May

2019

Shuffling towards an invisible door

Author: Jim Taylor

I woke during the night, a while ago, with my mind racing. It was very dark. Heavy clouds hid the moon and stars. Our rural area has no street lights. And at 3:00 a.m., no neighbouring houses had any lights on.

                   Rather than tossing and turning, and probably waking Joan, I got out of bed, and went to our living room where I could look out the front windows.

                   I could see a few lights across the lake. I could make out the vague reflective sheen of the lake, the darker bulk of the hills on the far side, some humps that might be bushes in our garden.

                   Nothing moved. It was very peaceful. Almost holy.

`                  After a while, calmed and quieted, I decided I could go back to bed.

 


Comments (0) Number of views (545)
RSS
12
«December 2022»
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
27282930123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
1234567

Tags

"gate of the year" #MeToo .C. Taylor 150th birthday 1950s 1954 1972 1984 215 3G 4004 BC 70 years 8 billion 9/11 A A God That Could Be Real abduction aboriginal abortion Abrams abuse achievement Adam Adams River addiction Addis Ababa adoption Adrian Dix Advent advertising affirmative action Afghanistan agendas aging agnostics Ahriman Ahura Mazda airlines airport killings Alabama albinism albinos Alexa algorithms Allegations allies Almighty Almighty God alone ALS alt-right altruism Amanda Gorman Amanda Todd Amazon American empire Amerika Amherst amnesia analysis Andes Andrea Constant Andrew Copeland Taylor anger animals anniversaries Anniversary Anthropocene antidote Ants aphrodisiac apologetics Apologies apology apoptosis App Store Archives Ardern Aristotle armistice Armstrong army Army and Navy stores Art artifacts artists ashes Asian assisted death astronomy atheists atonement atropine Attawapiscat attitudes attraction audits Aunt Jemima Australia authorities authorities. Bible autism automation autumn B.C. election B.C. Health Ministry B.C. Legislature B-2 Baal Shem Tov baby Bach bad news baggage Bagnell Bahai Baldi Bali Banda banning books Baptism Barabbas Barbados barbed wire barbers barriers Bashar al Assad Batman baton BC BC Conference Beans bears beauty Beaver Beethoven beginnings behaviour bel-2 belief systems beliefs bells belonging benefits Bernardo Berners-Lee berries Bible biblical sex bicycle Biden Bill C-6 billboards billionaire BioScience Bird songs birds birth birthday birthdays Bitcoin Black history Blackmore blessings Blockade blockades blood blood donations blood donors Bloomberg Blue Christmas boar boarding school body Boebert Bohr bolide Bolivia Bolivian women BOMBHEAD bombing bombings bombs books border patrol borrowing both/and bottom up Bountiful Brahms brain development brains Brazil breath breathe breathing Brexit broken Bruce McLeod bubbles Buber Buddha Buddhism Bulkley bulldozers bullets bullying burials bus driver bush pilots butterflies butterfly Calendar California Cambridge Analytica. Facebook cameras campfire Canada Canada Day Canadian Blood services Canal Flats cancer candidates cannibalism Canute Capitol Capp caregivers Caribbean Caribbean Conference of Churches caring Carnaval. Mardi Gras carousel cars Carter Commission cash castes cats cave caveats CBC CD Cecil the lion. Zanda cell phones Celsius CentrePiece CF chance change Charlie Gard Charlottesville Charter of Compassion Checklists checkups chemical weapons Chesapeake Bay Retriever Chesterton Child Advocacy Centre child trafficking childbirth children Chile Chile. Allende China chivalry chocolates choice choices choirs Christchurch Christiaanity Christian Christianity Christians Christina Rossetti Christine Blasey Ford Christmas Christmas Eve Christmas gathering Christmas lights Christmas tree Christmas trees Christopher Plummer Chrystia Freeland church churches circle of life citizenship Clarissa Pinkola Estés Clearwater Clichés cliffhanger climate change climate crisis clocks close votes clouds Coastal GasLink coastal tribes coffee coincidence cold Coleman collaboration collapse collective work colonial colonial mindset colonialism colonies Colten Boushie Columbia River Columbia River Treaty comfort comic strips commercials communication Communion community compassion competition complexity composers composting computer processes Computers conception conclusions Confederacy Confederate statues confession confessions confidence Confirmation confusion Congo Congress Conrad Black consciousness consensual consensus consent conservative Conservative Party conservative values conspiracies conspiracy constitution construction contraception contrasts Conversations Conversion conversion therapy Convoy cooperation COP26 copyright coral Cornwallis corona virus coronavirus corporate defence corporations corruption Corrymeela Cosby Cougars counter-cultural Countercurrents couple courtesy courts Covenant Coventry Cathedral cover-up COVID-19 Coyotes CPP CPR CRA Craig crashes Crawford Bay creation creche credit credit cards creeds cremation crescent Creston crime criminal crossbills cross-country skiing Crows crucifixion Cruelty crypto-currencies Cuba Missile Crisis Cultural appropriation cuneiform Curie curling cutbacks cute cyberbullying Cystic Fibrosis Dalai Lama Damien Damocles Dan Rather dancing Danforth dark matter darkness Darren Osburne Darwin data mining daughter David David Scott David Suzuki de Bono dead zone deaf deafness death death survival deaths debt decision decisions decorations deficit Definitions Delhi Dementia democracy Democratic denial Denny's departure Depression Derek Chauvin Descartes Desiderata despair determinism Devin Kelley dew dawn grass Diana Butler-Bass Dickie dinosaurs discontinuities discussion Dishwashing dissent distancing diversity division divorce dog dogs dominance Don Cherry Donald Trump donkey Donna Sinclair donor doorways Doug Ford Doug Martindale Dr. Keith Roach Dr. Seuss dreaming dreams Drugs ducks duets Duvalier dying Dylan Thomas earth Earth Day earthquake Earworms Easter Eat Pray Love Eatons Ebola echo chambers e-cigarettes eclipse economics Eden editing editing by committee Edwards-Sawatzky ego
Copyright 2022 by Jim Taylor  |  Powered by: Churchweb Canada