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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Pink and Purple during a Farm Visit

Pink is the colour of my nose because I went for a walk and the sun took full advantage of the fact that I was not wearing a hat. My cheeks and nose are flushed.


Purple is the colour of my tongue. I passed several thickets of wild grapevines that held bunches of blueberry-sized grapes. I investigated carefully. Were these really grapes? Really on grapevines? Really surrounded by grape leaves?


I picked one. I smelled it. Peeled back a bit of skin. Smelled again. Tasted with my tongue. Ooh! Sour! But definitely a grape. Having satisfied myself, through this rigorous testing, that it was not poisonous, I popped it into my mouth. Almost all of it was seed—one large seed filling the whole little grape. I popped in another and walked on.


Then I saw, growing on branches intermingled with the grapevines, an even blacker berry. It was NOT a grape, did NOT grow in bunches, and was definitely on a different stem with different leaves. So: NOT a grape. But the first ones were, and I stole an entire bunch and ate them all, spitting the fat seeds onto the mowed path to create the possibility of new vines the next time I visit.


Copyright © 2016 Ann Tudor

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Balancing Act

I am in a strange limbo,

between two stools.


I always liked the metaphor of walking.

When you lift a foot to take a step you are unbalanced, nowhere,

in danger of falling.

When you put that foot down

you are once again grounded and safe

and you know where you are.


And then

(oh, we humans are relentless

in our search for forward movement)

then you lift the other foot

and you are again off balance,

perhaps frightened, certainly unsettled.

And then you put that foot down

and you are safely home again.


We do this over and over as we walk through our lives,

not just physically

but emotionally and spiritually.


And that's where I find myself right now.

One metaphorical foot in the air,

motionless, waiting, a bit off balance.

In limbo.


I am as attentive as a member of the Wallenda family crossing the chasm between two skyscrapers,

balance-pole in hand.


Copyright © 2016 Ann Tudor

Sunday, November 13, 2016

A Question of Balance

I was struck recently by the idea of balance. In our lives—particularly the urbanized, non-natural existence that defines most of us these days—in such a situation it is almost impossible to avoid being pulled, or thrown, off balance. We become too this or too that, eventually recognize this if we're lucky, and in redressing the problem often become too that or too this.


It's good to support and exercise the right brain. I love living in the right brain, which is lucky because I seem to be residing there more and more the older I get, probably because the left brain is failing me. I don't want to remember the house number of the place I am going; I just want to get to the general area and then right-brain it. I don't want to reason or figure out or think. I just want to daydream and piddle and play with my coloured pencils and markers.


Now, how much of the above paragraph is new and how much is who I have always been? How much is just mental laziness? Or pride? A reluctance to recognize how very diminished are my left brain's abilities. I can't tell you, of course, because that would require too much logical thinking.


But I do admit that balance might be better. Much as I might want to sink into the warm comfort of my right brain, I know that reality requires (now THERE are two "r" words I could do without)—that I let the pendulum of my being move a bit toward the rational.


Balance. I am a Capricorn, thus so firmly rooted in the practical that it took years for me to acknowledge another side of me. So how do we balance the spiritual and the earthly? The Buddhists have a story about the monk who carries water as his task. Someone asks what his life will be like when he achieves Nirvana and he answers that he will carry water.


In other words, go for the spiritual, if seeking is your way, but bring it back to the earth, the practical, the real. This is the world in which we live right now, and here we must be. We are here to experience what is: the pain and loss, the joy, the light and the dark, simple pleasures, desire—all those contradictory feelings and situations—and it is up to us to live through them all. While, of course, maintaining our balance.


How difficult this can be. And even in the midst of struggling we often feel that we are doing it wrong. (Though maybe that's a distinctly Western notion—that idea of not doing things right, despite knowing that it's not a question of right or wrong but just of doing.)


I picture a world of beings working through the business of living. Each of us overbalances to one side or another, then straightens up, then overbalances in the other direction. The way is not smooth. But I'm pretty sure that balance is the key.


When next I find myself bent out of shape about one thing or another, I will remember not to let myself be pulled off centre by the vicissitudes of my life. I will accept, welcome, and deal with the highs and the lows, remembering that a balanced load is easier to carry than an unbalanced one.


Perhaps I'm better off keeping these pretentious ramblings to myself. But wait! Surely such self-recrimination is a form of imbalance. A balanced approach might be to say "H'm. Wonder where all that came from." And then move on without chastising myself.



Copyright © 2016 Ann Tudor

Friday, November 11, 2016


Because the house I grew up in had no keys that any of us knew of, the door was never locked. That idyll ended when I moved away from home and discovered the need for locked doors in big cities.


When I was the mother of a young family, keys were the source of much frustration. Toddlers love keys. You can give them a multicolored plastic set of keys and say, "Here, sweetie! Here is your own set of keys!" Well, toddlers may be young and have limited vocabularies, but they aren't stupid! They know full well that those oversized plastic things aren't the same as the keys that you seem to hold so dear. They can tell what's important to you, and that set of keys seems to be one of the really important things in your life.


So the toddler wants your keys. And in a weak moment you give in and let the cute little kid hold your keys. Just for a moment. And then the larger toddler needs your attention, or the baby cries, and you forget about the keys. The next time you think of them is when you have five minutes to get to your ten o'clock meeting. Where are the keys to the car??


Where, indeed? The toddler can't tell you. He's forgotten. You must search. If you are smart, you have learned that the first place you look is in the toilet. And quite often you find them there, drowning at the bottom of the little pool. That's if no reaching hands have helpfully flushed the toilet in the meantime—in which case the plumber will find them for you later, for a fee.


Copyright © 2016 Ann Tudor