three books

three books

Friday, 21 February 2014


I know that some people would have us believe that synchronicity is nothing more than random events linked in our minds by the simple fact that we notice them. We tune in to a particular frequency based on expectation. Like when you buy a new car, maybe a Volkswagen, and suddenly you see bloody Punch Buggies everywhere.
Others would have us believe that there is some kind of universal magic involved in aligning elements and/or events either in our favor or against as defined by their nature.
I won't pretend to know one way or the other but neither do I mind, I just really find them interesting and this was one I just have to share.
The Boo and I were walking one afternoon in our second favorite of the small parks in what Boo considers his 'hood'. It is only about a mile south of our place so we go there often in good weather - less so in bad as it tends to turn into a boggy mess when it rains. One of the reasons I favor it in the summertime particularly is because, while trees are sparse in the centre, one end has a dense population of huge old pine trees which create a blissfully cool and peaceful resting spot. We always sit for a few moments on a little stone stairway in the deep shade and refresh ourselves before we face the trek home. That day we angled across to our accustomed spot and crap! At least five of the giants had been removed and the entire area was bathed in light. The little stone steps looked utterly forlorn, squinting in the unaccustomed sunshine.
It isn't often that you'll hear me complaining about too much sun anywhere on this very wet coast but I felt such a terrible sense of loss I almost cried and I wandered on home wondering why this little copse of trees had been so terribly important to me.
Back home I made some lunch and picked up the book I have been reading, "The Sweetness of a Simple Life", by Diana Beresford-Kroeger. I opened at the page where she was describing the health benefits of the Japanese practice of "Shinrin-yoku" or "Forest Bathing". Essentially this is the simple practice of relaxing in a forested area and breathing in the volatile substances naturally emitted by the trees. Free aromatherapy!
I guess I have always known that trees benefit our ecosystem in a wide variety of ways and all air breathing beings especially by taking all our nasty carbon junk and giving back beautiful, pure oxygen. I also know that it is hard to be unhappy when you have leisurely spent time among trees but I confess to my total ignorance of the mechanics of these "aerosols" that I have enjoyed bathing in all my life. To quote Ms.B-K, "many of these biochemical are unusual in their physical chemistry: they can be easily carried abo ut in humid air, but they will not dissolve in it..." "All of them are able to penetrate the central nervous system of the human body and the regulatory mechanism of the brain."
She goes on at some length about the subject but the bottom line is that every kind of tree emits their own particular aerosols and all of them are good for humans. Some calm our nervous systems and enhance our immune systems and some, like my giant pines, even help us to think with more clarity.
So, while I am far too late to save that little area of respite I now know why it was and is so very important to me and to everyone living in large cities to have these areas available to us and to make use of them at every available moment. I will be petitioning the city to replant those trees and many, many more. If you have a moment maybe you could send a request to your city officials also, wherever you are and, if you have a patch of dirt, please, plant a tree!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Good things come in twos

I feel like I have been doing almost nothing lately but in fact what I have been doing is procrastinating on a level never before experienced in a life time of practicing procrastination as an Olympic worthy sport. My friend Anna, who considers herself a master procrastinator, says that I am no more than an enthusiastic amateur but I think even she would have to consider me a serious contender this past month.

While I can't call it an excuse I can say that what has enabled me to dodge all productivity recently is the introduction of several new technological dew daws each of which required hours of mucking about to gain even a modicum of control over. Yes, I am a techno-idiot and until I managed to beat it into submission over many days of poking at it I was almost convinced that my "smart" phone was smarter than me. Also, why did Microsoft have to change EVERYTHING about it's operating system in the few short years between my last computer and this one? Damn.

Anyway, now that those are semi-sorted I found myself looking around for something else to do other than what I should be doing (I'm working on a second book) and help came in the form of two morning phone calls. Yeah, okay so maybe I was procrastinating by actually answering the phone but as it turned out I was blessed with inspiration from each of them. First, my fabulous friend Carole inspired me to get on my new horse and catch up on reading some of my favorite blogs as well as writing an entry of my own - thank you Carole. Also, because she has two brand new twin grandbabies, piqued my interest in having a bit of fun with things that come in twos or pairs of things that may match or just belong together just because. We said no cute baby pics were allowed but what about baby dolls?
They came to me separately but clearly they belong together.
Or these little porcelain lovelies - same but a little different?
Then I started to look around my house and find all sorts of things that came in pairs of two including, I'm not even going to tell you how many, pairs of salt and pepper shakers but here is the newest pair that my sister put in a stocking for me at Christmas. These strawberries with eyeballs go fabulously with my cheekily grinning corn cobs, a pair of smarmy apples and several more ill defined but cheerful pairs of vegetation. What I want to know is who thinks this stuff up? Too funny!
While I was poking about with my camera I was reminded once again that I am blessed with friends and family who forever have the ability to make me laugh (and sometimes cry) and I am very grateful for that, which brings me to my second conversation of the morning.
This past autumn I had the unexpected opportunity to enjoy a series of chats with a man who is a master coach. I confess that prior to our meeting I hadn't the slightest idea what a life coach actually did and I have to also admit that I was somewhat skeptical about the process. What I discovered was that is was somewhat akin to having a close friend dressed in a cheerleader suit asking tough questions and not letting you get away with any excuses. Brilliant! It is criminal to trivialize the process thus and I'm sure that Garry wouldn't thank me for portraying him as a man in a short dress so I won't tell you his name - oops. Hi Garry! What I will tell you is that he continues to inspire me with conversations like the one we had this morning.
I was describing to Garry - a name which COULD be a pseudonym - a video I watched the night before (I am totally addicted to TED talks). The primary point that I had taken from this one was the suggestion that we should reach out to people who have been instrumental in shaping our lives, especially those who may not even specifically know what they have done for us, and express our gratitude. Garry, who knows how important performing random acts of kindness are to me, immediately, and with characteristic enthusiasm, picked up on the idea of Random Acts of Gratitude or, to use his brilliant acronym - RAG 's which rather decisively changes the nature of that term. Nuff said. Let's do it.