I really like the ‘highlander’ green floss and the way it looks with the gold tinsel in this winged wet I tied today

It’s St Patrick’s day, and since St Patrick spoke out against slavery I’m happy to share a Gaelic Blessing so, instead of feeling enslaved, Every One may feel blessed and freely turn to the Light that shines in the Book of Kells and felt in the Book of Creation:

Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the gentle night to you.
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you.
Deep peace of Christ,
of Christ the light of the world to you.
Deep peace of Christ to you.

I feel like I need to add something to a letter I wrote to the Star on the Group of Seven and our relationship with nature


I wrote that the ‘idealized’ paintings of nature should inspire us to seek out wildness and cultivate a richer, more harmonious relationship with nature.

I think this short letter I wrote years ago shows some of my Celtic pagan roots, perhaps, that I’ve been ruminating on and trying to deal with for a few days now. Still, I hope this intense relationship with nature is now a strong part of my faith. I know that God wants us to delight in our relations with His Creation. The origin of the word relation is from the old French bring back, and all of Creation wants to return to God. My relations to nature are similar to my relations to my childhood home- I care so much more about my family than I do the physical building, but how I relate to the building does help remind me of those important family experiences. I hope that my relationship with nature is like the relationship of the man with the field in Jesus’ parable Matthew 13: for the treasure is the Kingdom of Heaven, but the man sold everything he had for the field that he found it in. That treasure is most important, but where it is found also then becomes a joy and takes on a special quality you’ll always relate to that grace and that treasure.

I should add that relationship with nature is one of stewardship and once we are moved by the beauty of Creation, and find harmony within it, then that richness is what happens when, as Chesterton said, ‘good things run wild.’ That our relationship with nature is most rich when we see God’s pleasure. You would want to take care of that field because it is where you found the treasure. You would sell everything you have to keep that connection with the treasure and the memory of the joyous moment you found it.

We can’t learn without relationship, and the ultimate relationship is with Jesus. We can also learn from harmonious relationships with The Gospels and Creation, and all of those other little relationships are tributaries that flow into these big rivers and ultimately return to the source, and I hope these relationships are rich enough to bear fruit of the spirit, because where your treasure is is where your heart is

Well it feels and looks and smells and sounds like spring in southern Ontario, so it’s spurring my heart to go on a pilgrimage

I intend to go for a very long walk following an old railway bed from my favourite neighbourhood brewery. It’ll take three days of solid walking, and in true sauntering style I’ll invite anyone who wants to support me to donate to the charity of their choice. The first night I’ll pass a trout stream and stay in a cottage or a motel, the next day I’ll pass another trout stream and a few ghost towns and I’ll camp out in crown land, and the third day I’ll make it to my destination.


I think this piece by Andrew Sullivan reviewing an important dialogue between Pinker and Deneen encapsulates more eloquently my thoughts over the last months about our time, and presents the seemingly competing considerations thoughtful people have to deal with today- I still haven’t settled on the matter whatsoever- it would be foolish to ignore the questions raised, though

I have mostly conservative principles, so I’m usually more worried about the baby when everyone seems in a hurry to throw out the bath water- but I think this dialogue started with Deneen and Pinker shows us that we’re at a point when we’ve collectively lost sight of the baby altogether

The freedom of priorities revisited again

11 March 2018: So, I just finished reading Anna Karenina, and near the end someone quotes Matthew 10 “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword,” which is the passage that most disturbed Levin in the Gospels. The clarity and utter refreshment that he feels in his conversion at the end of the story isn’t shaken by this political discussion about war. It is that freedom of priorities Varenka shows Kitty in the heart of the story. I am reminded that Jesus also called us to love our enemies, and that sword is the sword to cut off your hand if it causes you to sin- to cut away the things that evil tempts you to think are between you and God, or to cut away the false gods that seize you and make you feel stuck, preventing you from being with Him. It’s the love that cuts off those chains and frees the sinner. Like one of my English professors pointed out when we were talking about the Faerie Queen: it’s the reverse order of the French lyrics to O Canada- ‘your arm knows how to carry the cross [and that’s why] your arm knows how to wield the sword.’ I should add it’s regrettable Spenser wasn’t as virtuous in his views of the Irish, though.

The original musing before the new year: I wrote about the freedom you feel when, like Kitty in Anna Karenina, you find what’s most important- what you would give everything for- and how that gets everything in line and gets you moving again. When you find that out, you can easily give up most things and you can have the courage to give up harder things when called upon. I think of the story of Aron Ralston in the movie 127 hours: that’s an intense physical version of what you would sacrifice to be able to move again and live! Here’s hoping that everyone finds what is most important in 2019!