cascade creek environment fern
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“To feel the pull, the draw, the interior attraction, and to want to follow it, even if it has no name still, that is the “pilgrim spirit.”The “why” only becomes clear as time passes, only long after the walking is over.”
― Kevin A. Codd, Beyond Even the Stars: A Compostela Pilgrim in France

Each July my mother made her annual pilgrimage, with children in tow,  from the slums of East London to the hills of Moolum on the fringes of Kilkenny,two miles from the village of Kilmacow and six miles from Waterford, Ireland. She was coming home to the aunt who raised her, to the home where she had her fondest memories as a child. My mother inherited the house and moved there when she was sixty, and I in turn made my annual pilgrimage from Canada to Moolum till she died aged ninety. The house in Moolum was a shrine to the memories and spirit of past family.

I’ve been thinking of pilgrimages lately. I think it’s because I’m doing less walking since I’ve become involved with WordPress. I have good intentions, but then I access the laptop and WordPress, and find that five minutes of existence in the WordPress world equates to four hours in our world. 

After my running days came to an end due to back problems I began walking 1-2 hours a day and had kept at this consistently until the last few months. I want to revive this habit and have been thinking in terms of completing a pilgrimage. I love walking in the woods and isolated spots and I am trying to find a scenic spot to visit, where I can stay awhile and reflect.

Pilgrimage is a concept easy for me to accept because I have spent most of my life in the Catholic tradition. I remember an aunt forty years ago relating her experience of a pilgrimage to Lourdes. She described the communal and transcendent experience of thousands of people walking in the night, holding candles and praying and singing.

Most of us are involved in a pilgrimage of sorts, a spiritual journey, a great adventure, a quest to fully understand ourselves and find a place in this universe. Let’s enjoy the journey.



The Hidden Hand

adult alone autumn brick

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“When God is ready for you to move, He will make your situation uncomfortable.”
― Germany Kent

The hidden hand of God tapped me lightly on the shoulder and guided me on a path that I had never walked before.  A path that bought forth my humanity from the arrogant, robot like being that I had become.

It was all so easy. I came from a family of wealth and power and was raised to accept these hard won gifts as my birth right, even though I had done nothing to earn them. I grew into arrogance and the certainty of my actions. I was in control.

I first met Anna at a fund raising event my mother had organized for the local hospital. I asked her for a dance and we ended up chatting for most of the evening. We agreed to meet again. We married a year later.

My father retired and I took over the family investment business. I buried myself in the creation of wealth for myself and for my family, working long hours.

Some time later Anna gave birth to our son assuring that the dynasty would continue. I was surprised to discover love for the second time as I watched our son grow into childhood.

At the age of seven he lost his normal childhood enthusiasm and became listless. This continued for a week. We took him to a medical specialist, who diagnosed a rare disease and he died three months later.

I was devastated and my soul descended into a very dark night. I spent endless,  listless days in solitude, inconsolable, uncaring of the passage of time or affairs of the world.

Some time later I felt the touch of a gentle breeze blowing the torpor from my mind. A voice whispered ” what now ” and the answer flooded my being. What about other children. There was no cure for my son, but what of other children with incurable diseases. Who will help them.

So I formed a family foundation and devoted my wealth and contacts to hire the best researchers to hunt down the causes for a number of fatal diseases. We had many successes and many children’s lives were saved. Two years after the death of our son Anna gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl.

I look back now and realize, that God balances everything , out of great tragedy can come great good.

( This is a fictional story)



My daughter’s children. From left to right. Kieran, Brianna, Devin, Kayleigh and Tarrin in front. Photo was taken two years ago.

My daughter came to visit. Walking in the door holding Kieran, her eight month old son, she made her announcement.

” I have some news to share.  I’m expecting triplets “.

” What!  How!  What!  When? Congratulations. When? ”

” The doctor thinks around November. If all goes well “.

My son-in-law just sat to the side with a dazed looking expression.

Three months later my daughter was confined to bed rest at home. A month after that she was confined to a bed at Women’s College Hospital under the care of a specialist.

The triplets, Brianna, Devin and Kayleigh were born at twenty four weeks, three months premature, weighing 2lbs. each. Their skin was translucent and their bodies could fit in the palm of your hand. They were placed in incubators, attached to oxygen, feeding tubes, heart monitors and a number of other medical devices. My daughter was allowed home after a few days but made the 1-2 hour journey to the hospital everyday from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m so she  could bond with the babies. As soon as it was safe to do so, the babies were allowed out of the incubators for a while, so my daughter could hold them and they could feel the comfort of their mothers body.

The triplets were born in the middle of August but not allowed to leave the hospital till November 1. I can still picture the shock on my fourteen month old grandsons face as we brought the triplets in one by one. I still don’t think he has gotten over the shock.

There were a number of logistics involved in the early months of raising the triplets. For example they were all on different formula strengths and their bottles had to be colour coded. My wife was there all day helping out and I would come over every day after work to help. We both left around 11:00 p.m. every night and wished my daughter and son-in-law the best of luck for the night. Needless to say there was not much sleep for the first few months. In that time we had sold our house and purchased a house within two minutes walking distance of my daughters house.

In December of that year, two months after the triplets came home, my company downsized and I lost my job. It was then that my daughter asked, if my wife and I would be able to look after the grandkids while she went back to work. As a family group we had discussed all the options available.  In the end it boiled down to economic survival. So my wife and I agreed to take on the daily responsibility of caring for the grandchildren. My daughter went back to work when they were a year old.

The routine for my wife and I was as follows. I would walk over to my daughters house every morning for 6:30 a.m. which was the time my daughter and son-in-law left for work. I would stay with them till 11:00 a.m. at which time my wife returned from her morning aqua fit class. I would leave and she would prepare their lunches and put them down for a nap at 1:00 p.m. I would return at 2:00 p.m. and look after them till my daughter returned home at 5:30 p.m.

Summer was easy as I would bundle them all in a wagon with a supply of snacks for the morning. We would leave the house around 7:30 a.m. and tour the parks of the area returning at 11:00-11:30 a.m. I would continue this routine after their naps.

In the Fall we would spend most of our time in the woods, exploring, jumping in leaves and collecting pine cones in buckets.

The Winter would be fun when it snowed. Besides tobogganing,  we would make snow forts and snow castles using their sand buckets and shovels. We would also have sock fights in the house. I would grab all the socks from the drawers and we would run around the house, throwing socks at each other, engaged in battle. They loved it.

In the Spring when it rained they loved to catch the water flowing down the drain pipes into buckets and empty it out and start all over again. We also had puddle jumping contests. Dressed in splash pants and rain boots we would search for the biggest puddles we could find and see who could make the biggest splash.

Just as the four grandkids started school and my wife and I breathed a sigh of relief knowing we had from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to ourselves my daughter visited.

“I have some news to share. Remember me telling you that I felt so tired after running the Toronto marathon in October and had a hard time trying to recover. Well I decided to make a doctor’s appointment to see what was wrong with me. Good news. The doctor said it’s because I’m nine weeks pregnant”.

My wife and I looked at each other and said congratulations that is great news………and gave a big sigh. But as it turned out Tarrin was a gem to look after.


This is a shout out to Serena, my son’s daughter, on the left. Tarrin is on the right.


Because my daughters household is not crazy enough. This is Finn. He’s a Norwegian Behund puppy . They also have two Maincoone cats Fred and Ffion, a hamster bubbles and tropical fish.







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“Karma comes after everyone eventually. You can’t get away with screwing people over your whole life, I don’t care who you are. What goes around comes around. That’s how it works. Sooner or later the universe will serve you the revenge that you deserve.”
― Jessica Brody, The Karma Club

A new day dawning. Another chance at life with all its possibilities. Water poured down from the heavens, baptising the earth, cleansing it, nurturing new life. The roads of the cities and towns were washed clean and puddles formed, awaiting the splash of tiny feet on their way to school.

Rose hovered over Brian’s sleeping form and hesitantly offered, ” it’s 6:00 a.m.”. Brian twitched in his sleep and Rose proclaimed a little louder, ” Brian, it’s 6 o’clock”. Brian jerked upright, grunted and rolled out of bed. Rose made her way to the kitchen to cook a big breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausages and toast that Brian was so fond of. Brian completed his morning routine and set off for work. He was in the office to-day, having to attend lectures on sales motivation and product enhancement. He sat through the lectures thoroughly bored, while his mind drifted to the new, pretty, young sales assistant recently hired. After work he made his way to the tennis club for his 5:00 p.m. game with Peter. Arriving at the club he placed his gym bag on the bench and started to unpack the contents. He suddenly scrambled in panic  searching his bag. He  lashed out, smashing his fist against the locker door and raging, “the stupid bitch, forgot to pack my shorts”. His fists clenched and unclenched as rage seethed inside him. Arriving home he yelled at Rose , “you forgot to pack my shorts, it’s all your fault if I lose this important client”. Rose timidly accepted his pronouncements. Karma.

A new day dawning. Another chance at life with all it’s possibilities. The sun shone down from the heavens, proclaiming it’s warmth and embracing all the creatures on earth.  Town and cities were bathed in light and it’s peoples were filled with new energy, while the children skipped and danced to school.

Rose fluttered over Brian’s sleeping form, cooed her morning call and retreated to the kitchen. Brian awoke in a grumpy mood, he had been called to an early meeting with the sales manager. The sales meeting did not go well. Brian had continually failed to meet his quotas and was given one last chance to meet this months quota or he would be gone. He arrived home that evening in a miserable mood. Walking in the door he let loose on a continuous rant about the stupidity of his manager, the stupidity of his clients and how his talents were unappreciated. He continued this rant through supper, gulping down his food without tasting.  Rose listened patiently and nodded her agreement. Karma

A new day dawning. Another chance at life with all its possibilities. The earth continued its rotation around the sun, dancing harmoniously with the planets. People are locked in their daily routines of self absorption and survival, failing to appreciate the complexity and beauty of the universe.

Rose contemplated Brian’s sleeping form wondering what made him so angry, resentful and bitter. She echoed her wake up call and wandered into the kitchen. Brian spent his day arguing with customers over product complaints, it was always the customers fault, he was forever the victim. He was on his way home, when he felt a terrific pain in his chest, he collapsed over the steering well, and the car veered off the road into a ditch, tumbling onto its side. Rose answered the door bell and listened as the police officers explained the manner of Brian’s death and that he was being held at Hamilton hospital. She thanked the police officers and after they had left walked to the kitchen cupboard. Reaching her hand to the back of the cupboard, she pulled out the one million dollar life insurance policy on Brian’s life, she had taken out six  months ago. She reviewed its contents and poured herself a glass of wine. Settling into the chair she decided that Brian could wait till tomorrow for her to make the appropriate funeral arrangements. Sipping her wine, she sighed contently, enjoying the peace and tranquility of her house. Karma

red flower
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“Life is painful. It has thorns, like the stem of a rose. Culture and art are the roses that bloom on the stem. The flower is yourself, your humanity. Art is the liberation of the humanity inside yourself.”
― Daisaku Ikeda

A new day dawning. Another chance at life with all its possibilities. Rose woke up late, stretched and unfurled her arms towards heaven. Today was a new beginning. Her life was starting anew and she was determined to embrace it and create a positive spark from the ashes of the past. Karma.









atmosphere birds cloud clouds
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“We went down into the silent garden. Dawn is the time when nothing breathes, the hour of silence. Everything is transfixed, only the light moves.”
― Leonora Carrington

His mind was confused, and he was so tired. Is it meal time , shall I get up and eat. But wave after wave of fatigue ate at him and he had no desire to move. He heard noises all around but the sounds were making his head hurt. He kept his eyes closed and tried to block out the sounds. After a while he succeeded. He embraced the silence and in return the silence enfolded him and held him close. He saw a dove ascending in a clear sky,  carried by the wind,  towards heaven. He saw himself enfolded in a cocoon of clouds, waiting, marking time before his transformation. He drifted off into endless slumber.

The doctor reached down and closed the eyes of his shrunken body.

“How old was he”

“He was ten years doctor, but sick for a long time. His family came in this morning. They were from a tiny village. A twelve mile walk. They carried him all the way.”

“Only ten and so small and shrunken. He looks like a five year old. How many more like him”

” He is the eighth to die to-day doctor. The families have no food. It’s the war you know”

The doctor shook his head and cried inwardly. His first day volunteering for Doctors Without Borders and he felt so helpless. He had no food only medicines. What they needed was food………. and the war to end.

The war in Yemen has been ongoing for three years. 2.2 million children are suffering from malnutrition and 85,000 children under the age of five have died.

Just another statistic in a world of seven billion people.

These words were inspired by /janedougherty.wordpress.com. Writing at Jane Dougherty writes. She wrote a poem on this subject “Why are the babies dying”.


close up of hands holding baby feet
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Write a story or poem of 5 Lines or Less using the word grace. This is a word challenge set by patriciasplace.me – Patricia’s Place

The perfectly formed baby glided from the mothers birth canal into the

waiting hands of the obstetrician and was immediately named Grace

because of the elegance of her arrival.  Grace was born on

Thanksgiving Day and so the weary mother took a breath, closed her

eyes, held her baby tight to her breast and thanked God, and the

doctors, for the miracle of birth. God’s grace is infinite and merciful.

Such a Simple Idea

man holding sheep statuette
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“For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes (Matthew 5). I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.

“Blessed are the merciful” in a courtroom? “Blessed are the peacemakers” in the Pentagon? Give me a break!”
― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country




Jesus had such simple ideas.

Blessed are the merciful.

Blessed are the pure of heart.

Blessed are the peace makers.

Such simple ideas.

But we are complicated people.

I have a right to defend myself.

I have a right to bear arms.

I will serve my country in time of war

I will sue you for every imagined wrong.

I will protect the institution over the individual.

Jesus became a Christian symbol and his simple ideas have been mostly forgotten, replaced with institutions, hierarchies, rituals and dogmas.

Jesus had such simple ideas, but we are such complicated people.