Midwinter spring season seems to be getting longer in Southeastern Ontario 

T.S. Eliot wrote in ‘Little Gidding’- a poem with the most perfect lines in verse: We shall not cease from exploration/ and the end of all our exploring/ Will be to arrive where we started/ And know the place for the first time- that ‘midwinter spring is its own season… between melting and freezing the soul’s sap quivers.’ I don’t like early spring or late fall because the ice and snow isn’t thick enough for fishing or snowshoeing, and it’s muddy and seemingly desolate. It seems to me that this period of freezing and thawing is getting longer every year in southeastern Ontario, almost to the point that we don’t have a winter at all and the spring is just deferred and deferred. Still, Eliot also wrote that ‘all shall be well and/ All manner of thing shall be well/ By the purification of the motive/ In the ground of our beseeching.’ 

I noticed a stark contrast between the TV advertisements for the Ontario and New York lotteries 

So, I think all the money from lotteries should go to health care and parks, anyhow, and they have a monopoly on GAMBLING- why do they need to market that? 

I also noticed a dramatic difference between the Ontario lottery commercial,  where we see young adults choose to live the a fast and luxurious lifestyle with their winnings and older people choose to ‘keep land in the south of France in the family,’ and the New York lottery, where we see a father who gets to play with his children all day and a man runs dogs from the shelter through the park because they won the lottery.

 What would  a sociologist if she only had these artifacts to go on glean about our two cultures? 

I’d like to share a couple more pieces of folky carving I’ve picked up 

They’re both charming, with really deep evocative titles too, though- ‘wurja burry it?’ (I think about the parable telling you not to hide your talents- to share and build and grow things- what are you holding back? The other thing is that once you hide your talents it can be hard to find them again) And the old seafarer in the back is titled ‘STAY AT HOME’ 


The wood duck is the most beautiful bird- my brother gave me the semi-Palmated plover, I have fond memories of one bobbing around the mudflat the first year in my first house, and I found the goldeneye, a bird I have fond memories of when I really started paying attention to birds again in adulthood in Ottawa,  carving with my brother at an antique market that’s now closed- the carvings were by an old captain on the Great Lakes

I saw the Mystical Landscapes exhibition at the AGO

The special exhibition was everything people yearned for and why it was so crowded- people want religious experience. I especially enjoyed The Sun by Munch and a moonlighted piece by a Scandinavian artist who influenced the northern style of the group of seven. Still what grabbed me the most were Bancroft scenes by Milne and, even more keenly, the Kurelek rooms in the Thomson collection. I returned the next day for a second look at those artists and was also spellbound by the intricate miniature Christian boxwood and beechwood carvings. I actually bled looking at my favourite piece, Railway to Minnesota, and had to rush to the bathroom with my toque under my nose. So, perhaps that’s the effect of his mystical landscapes inside his own custom built mystical frames. There was something so evocative about the boy in the bright green coat and book walking along the edge of the forest in the opposite direction of the railway car. 

The upside of political uncertainty 

When I was lounging with a friend and shooting the breeze, he expressed his uneasiness because the comfortable consensus he felt during his formative years was going away. Well, we both agreed that there’s hope in it. I think the most hopeful thing is that everyone will see how important freedoms are for everyone- those freedoms of speech and association exist to help the powerless and the outsiders, otherwise those freedoms would be too easy and wouldn’t be noble or wise. So, as long as everyone is uncomfortable, everyone will realize how important freedom from government overreach is

I’d like to say a few words about Leonard Cohen

I believe his merit- lasting value- is his contribution to the great pathos and intensely challenging picture of the beautiful loser- a way of life that finds beauty and grace in surprising and strange places. 

As for his music, I just want to say a lot of people cover Hallelujah like a painter who looks at a Van Gogh and thinks he can improve it by painting the same subject in the style of Vermeer.