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Sunday, April 28, 2013


I open my fingers to let everything go,

but living takes me away from sitting.


I sit now.

I imagine sitting even longer,

laminated in the transparent embrace

of lethargy.


Call it what you will.


Sitting takes me away from living,

the source of the pain.

Is the solution to open

my fingers and let everything go?

Without wanting and clinging

will I experience no pain?

Don't know.

Don't know about anything at all

except the impossibility of action.


Sitting requires no action.

Can I sit for the rest of my days?

(What if I have been allotted

a hundred-plus years full of days?

That's a long sit.)


Today, torporous wallowing

is more of a comfort

than even a blooming forsythia branch.

More satisfying than a just-prepared

pancake or a mushroom risotto.


As long as I don't broadcast my melancholy message,

don't proselytize among the innocent,

surely it will do no harm.

Because finally, grudgingly,

I will rise from my chair

and dutifully re-engage with life.



Copyright 2013 Ann Tudor

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Speed Kills

Small things need time.

I walk at a moderate pace

(no athletic power walk for me)

and yet I am still unable to take in

the small things I see.

The crack in the sidewalk catches my eye



I am beyond it before I can give it

the attention it deserves.


The same is true of the clump of

now-golden hosta leaves

which barely register in my brain

as a beautiful contrast to autumn's brown plants



they are behind me.


The only solution is to adopt

the stop-and-start wonder-walk of the two-year-old,

for whom the slightest anomaly

deserves a detour.


And if I see so little,

I at my moderate pace,

how much is missed by our hurrying society

of runners, joggers,

and men in cars

gobbling up the miles.

Speed kills.

Copyright 2013 Ann Tudor

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Biennial Orgy

After a month of lethargy (much appreciated by me and all who get worn out when I am in Energizer Bunny mode), I suddenly one day became a whirling dervish of activity. Work work work. I can't recall anything that I actually did, but I know it was a lot. Oh yes. I took everything off the shelf of the guest room closet, which is where I store my good table linens after I've washed them. I inspected the tablecloths in good light, looking for spots that I missed when I folded and put them away the first time around (two years ago?). I rewashed and dried a couple of them, then dampened them all by running them with a wet towel through the no-heat setting of the dryer.


Under "natural cleaning products" on the Internet I found an easy recipe for starch (a tablespoon of cornstarch to two cups of water in a spray bottle; shake well). Then I starched those tablecloths and all their accompanying napkins and stored everything in plastic bags overnight.


I wouldn't have started any of this, of course, if I hadn't known that the next day was free. At 10 a.m. on Tuesday I began to iron, spraying on more starch-water as needed. It took me three hours, but honestly once you lay a sheet on the floor around the ironing board to approximate cleanliness and then you turn on the CBC and half-listen to the day's nattering, it seems like no time at all before you have transformed six huge wrinkled white linen tablecloths and 42 large napkins into beautiful ready-for-company table linens.


I do this every two years. Then I gradually use up those ironed treasures for dinner parties. After each party I wash the linens and store them, un-ironed, on the shelf in the guest room closet. When my drawers are emptied of their store of ironed beauties, I dial down my dinner parties for a year or so: instead of starched white linen I dress the table with colourful, no-iron, cotton, take-me-as-I-am tablecloths and napkins while I gather the strength for the next biennial orgy of ironing.


So that single little orgy has bought me another two years free of heavy-duty ironing.

Copyright 2013 Ann Tudor

Sunday, April 7, 2013

What Spring Brings

The winter in Toronto this year has been long, cold, and snowy; no end is in sight yet. But I have faith that by June we will definitely be seeing warmer weather. I need to remind myself just why it is that we hope for spring.


Some of the obvious things that spring brings, though not in chronological order, are: lilacs, tulips, crocuses, my lovage plant surging back into full leaf, violets invading every part of my rock garden, lilies of the valley trying to move beyond the dark corner where I allow them, garlic chives exuberantly leaping up where I least expect them.


During a northern retreat last April, spring had just brought the goldfinches. They'd been olive drab all winter, but just days before we arrived their golden feathers pushed out the drab olive feathers, turning those little birds into fairy-tale creatures. Eight of them lived in the nearby trees and used the feeder near the house. They were unbelievably brilliant, their golden feathers not yet dimmed by the dust of a hot summer. As we ate on the little screened-in porch, our attention was continually drawn to the darting motions as one after another they swooped in and out to the feeder. They were a little shy, that first day we were on the porch, of getting too close to the humans. But by day three they were feeding boldly just two feet from us.


And I hadn't known until that weekend that hummingbirds perched. I thought they always ate on the wing and always darted from place to place. A rustic twig-built archway defined the entrance to a path near the feeders. The ruby-throated hummingbird perched continuously on the topmost bit of the arch, his eye always on the hummingbird feeder. He spent the entire day aggressively watching for any sign that an intruder wanted to drink from his feeder. And as soon as an intruder appeared, our little guard fiercely attacked, invariably routing the newcomer. Mission accomplished, the vigilant little hummingbird darted back to his perch and surveyed his kingdom. The price of sugar-water is eternal vigilance.


Back in the city once more, I revel in the territorial songs of the returning cardinals and the melodies poured out by ubiquitous robins. No matter where I am, it's finally Spring!


Copyright 2013 Ann Tudor