Kidney Stones

I passed two kidney stones today. Not big ones, so it wasn’t completely agonizing, but since I’ve never been aware of having kidney stones before, this is a bit…surprising. Slightly, slightly alarming.

But it reminds me that we all — everyone of us — have burdens.

And what is an umbrella for some people might seem like a burden to others.


Because Dumbo Rats are Just Too Sweet

I’ve owned a few dumbo rats in the past, and they are so adorable I just had to make one! This little fellow is needle felted in wool.

Here he is on my Etsy page:


Little Ways to Honour Nature

  1. Make squirrel suet! There are many ways to do this, but some old bread, birdseed, bacon fat and peanut butter make a “gourmet” version. You can do something more simple according to what’s at hand in your kitchen. Leave suet-chunks in your yard, or place them under trees in a park, and the squirrels will surely find it.
  2. It’s winter here, so it’s very cold, and that means it’s hard for animals to get water. A dish of warm water left out will attract birds and other wildlife, especially if you keep replacing it after it freezes.
  3. If you go out walking, keep peanuts or sunflower seeds handy to leave as offerings.
  4. In the spring, buy packets of wildflower or grass seeds and sprinkle them where you think the earth needs more life.
  5. In winter, don’t forget the rabbits! Hay or rabbit pellets can be cheaply bought at farm feed stores, but most vegetable cuttings from the kitchen will work too. If you see rabbit tracks in your yard, honour them with a tasty treat.
  6. Make it a habit to greet any wildlife that crosses your path. Speak to them — even if you don’t say it out loud. I like to breathe in, thinking or saying thank you and opening my mind to feel what the animal is feeling. Sometimes I can feel the fast beating of a deer’s heart or even smell and experience what it feels like to see the world from that animal’s own eyes. Then breathe out, saying or thinking bless you and try to impart upon the animal your own good intentions.
  7. Remember not to grumble too much about the weather, but think about the good things, the beauty found in snow or the blessings of rain to the land.

Sacredness Be

Communing with the spirit of a rat who lives in a tree stump in our mostly closed-in backyard porch, I felt the sacredness of all things. I gave him bread (which he steals anyway, from a bag left on a shelf) and watched him take it, knowing that this little creature, so often misunderstood, was himself a king and a god, clothed in sacredness finer than earthly jewels.

Things We Have Seen, Videotaping the Porch

There are wild things living

just under our feet. We set up a camera

to record the porch floor, focused on a pile of seed.

Reviewing the evidence, we saw:

A cat who came prowling by

like the ghost of my tabby.

Then a rat, adorable and huge. He nibbled and skirted away

several times within an hour.

These little things,

these are the delights of our life.

My Life, Honouring Wilderness


I dream wilderness,

for I am wild, which then dreams

me into being.




There is something living

under the porch, in a tree stump we brought

from Haliburton, then Toronto, and then here —

so you see, it could be anything.

It is the highlight of our evenings, hearing

the scuttle-gnawing while we smoke.

We go still and silent, straining to hear and see,

wishing only to make its acquaintance,

at least to know its face.

We put down flour to see its footprints.

We found the old video camera. We gave gifts

of peanut butter on bread, and seeds.

We left the light on, and the camera on, and our hopes on,

full of anticipation to see

who this creature is, for no matter what

we will not be disappointed.



How to Be in Pain

Let yourself hurt.

Explore it, know it, come to understand it, as if your pain was a soul unto itself.

Then sit softly with it, as would a friend. Offer no advice, only the hope that comes from companionship. For you are in pain, but you are not pain itself. Pain is Other.

The existence of you, in fact, offers hope to the creature called Pain.

Sit, breathe, and perceive the world with two minds — yours, and that of hurt. Distinguish both. Understand them separately.

Imagine you are a spirit guide to the soul of pain inside you. Speak softly, but urgently. Keep speaking to your pain, as you would hope your spirit guide would keep reaching out to you.

Sit with your pain and keep speaking.