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Sunday, April 30, 2017


Myth shrouds herself in mist.

Myth, whose true meaning almost always

eludes me,

nonetheless beckons from every turn

in the path.

Myth urges me,

Come hear this new story, this old story.

You'll like it.

And this time, I promise,

you'll get the true meaning.

I'll mist it a little, since that's the point of myth,

But only enough to add a bit of mystery.

In this case, finally,

you won't miss the meaning of the myth

because of mist.


And thus the Lucy of storytelling

once again suckers me,

the Charlie Brown of readers.

Never mind.

Let Myth continue to shroud meaning

in mysterious mist.

And I'll continue,

as long as I have breath and functioning eyes,

to undertake the job of decoding

--against my very nature—

story after story after story.



Copyright © 2017 Ann Tudor




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Monday, April 24, 2017

The Late-Life Addiction

When I was in my late teens and early twenties I loved shoes. I have written before about my navy blue calf sling-back heels that I shipped back from Hawaii to the Mainland after my abortive year of teaching on Oahu. The box was lost. I don't know what else was in that box, but I mourned those shoes for years. I had bought them in the city down the road from my home town, and my father, when he learned the price I had paid for those beauties, cried, "$25! You paid $25 for a pair of shoes??" And then, two years later, they were lost forever. Well, there's $25 down the drain.


My interest in shoes waned over the years. Four-inch-high wedgies and platforms and other death-defying styles didn't appeal to me. And high heels didn't mix with motherhood, at least not with my style of motherhood. (I know a Frenchwoman whose life was made extra difficult because she did her housework, including a daily vacuuming of the four floors of her house, wearing high heels. Ah, the French.)


Birkenstocks ruled for a long time, gradually widening my outrageously narrow feet so that finally, instead of looking for those rare 8½ AAAA shoes, I could buy the much more readily available (and cheaper) 9½ medium.


For years I didn't even bother looking in shoe store windows because all the styles were ugly. I bought shoes out of necessity only, not passion.


I will blame the current situation on my daughter-in-law and one of my daughters. Because of them ("Wear little boots, Mum" said the daughter and "Wanna go with me to John Fluevog?" asked the daughter-in-law) I entered the sanctum sanctorum on Queen St. West.


This store, this designer, has, for better or worse, re-awakened my love of shoes. Now, I know that each of us is (has) a soul and/or a higher self. I am most certainly more than my footwear. I know this for a certainty.


So I cannot explain why my awakening thought, on days when I will be out and about, is "what boots will I wear?" The clothes are planned not according to the weather but according to which boots and shoes I will be sporting. Occasionally I end up noticeably underdressed for the weather because I took it into my head to wear tights and my little black boots.


My posture has been affected. We all know about the Winter Hunch, the painfully tense shoulders caused by trying to keep the chin, mouth, and nose out of the cold wind. Well, in my case this Hunch has been exacerbated by the John Fluevog myopia. Even if the wind and cold allow me to walk with my head up, spine straight, sternum lifted, I create my own posture problem by wanting to see my boots as I walk. I peek down pretending to be examining cracks in the sidewalk or bumps in the road, but I am actually admiring my boots—left, right, left—as they carry me beautifully into the world.


As I said, I know that I am more than my boots. I am glad that my shoe fetish took a lengthy break during my lifetime. And I resist visits to Queen St. W. as much as I can. But there it is: I have created a late-life addiction to John Fluevog's beautiful shoes. Deal with it.


Copyright © 2017 Ann Tudor

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter

The dawn came purpling o'er the sky-y,

and alleluias rang the air.

The earth held glorious jubilee,

Hell gnashed its teeth in fierce despair.


Al-le-LU-ia, al-le-LU-ia,

Al-le, al-le, al-le-lu-ia.

Al-le-LU-ia, al-le-LU-ia,

Al-le, al-le-eh-lu-uu-ia.


This, sung enthusiastically and triumphantly by the "choir" made up of girls from the Big Room (grades 5 through 8) of our two-room Catholic school, is what assaulted the ears of the congregants at the 10 a.m. Easter Sunday Mass in the early 1950s. It can't have been a pleasant experience, listening to those raw, untrained alto voices raucously competing with the all-stops-open organ played by Lucille Clifford.


And I wish someone would explain why this cheesy song with its over-the-top potboiler melody has stuck in my mind ever since. In fact, today being Easter, I actually awoke this morning with it running through my head. I haven't sung it since 1954 but it's still taking up valuable space that I could use for more pertinent information. Nonetheless, here I am with Easter on the brain.


Other than this free-floating musical memory, my celebration of Easter is secular to the point of invisibility. Still, bits of Catholic ritual around the Holy Week surface from time to time. On Good Friday we spent the hours from noon to 3 at church. During that three-hour period the priest followed the fourteen stations of the cross to remind us of the sufferings of Christ. Then, at the end of the service, the statues and pictures were concealed behind drapings of dark purple velvet to symbolize the solemnity and sorrow of the day.


My engagement with this symbolism disappeared long ago. But one little bit of the chant has stayed with me, as much an ear-worm as that triumphal Easter morning song. In our church the fourteen stations were painted sculptural pictures, three-dimensionally realistic and affixed, seven to a side, to the walls of the church. As he made his way from picture to picture, Father Kienly chanted the required Latin words, assisted by the congregation when required. The "chorus", so to speak, of this chant was "O-re-eh-mus. Flec-TA-mus GEN-u-a." Then, after a pause while the priest knelt: "LE-va-a-te." Let us pray. Let us kneel. And then, Arise! 


Whether it was the catchy intonation of this chant or the fact that I participated in the ritual for some ten years (and these lines were repeated fourteen times every years), it will not leave my head. Sometimes all I can remember is the "Levate." In fact, this morning I, the least competent Internet researcher imaginable, actually Googled it successfully to find today's missing word ("Oremus"). So I'm good for the next year, I think.


The current secular nature of what used to be the saddest day in Christendom was brought home to me this year. Toronto offered an Easter egg hunt for the city's children on the Toronto Islands, a five-minute ferry ride from downtown Toronto. But in order to accommodate the presumably thousands of children and their parents who would want to hunt for these (again, presumably) chocolate eggs, the city opted to offer the hunt not just on Easter Sunday, the traditional day for this; and not just on Easter Saturday, unconventional but understandable. But on Good Friday. On Good Friday, an egg hunt?


Either the concept of the death and resurrection means something to you, in which case you aren't going to be hunting for eggs on Good Friday—or the Easter legend means nothing to you, in which case why are you out hunting eggs? The modern world is a mystery to me.


However, if you want to celebrate the change of seasons and the actual advent of Spring, I offer this:

Spring has sprung,

the grass has riz.

I wonder where the flowers is.


I have no grass, so I can't comment on that. But my garden is a blue carpet of scilla, the tiny bulbs that each year magically cover more and more of the space. My flowers has riz. Spring is here. 



Copyright © 2017 Ann Tudor




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Sunday, April 9, 2017


Laurel Keyes, in her book Toning, talks about enthusiasm as one of the components of health. It is our enthusiasm—for life, for specific aspects of our life, for people—that keeps us healthy, stroking the self in vibrations that ripple through our bodies.


When I read this paragraph about enthusiasm, my heart sank. In general, I lack enthusiasm, and I always have. I am more of an Eeyore than a Tigger. This makes me wonder what hope I have of a continuing long and healthy life.


I watch for signs in myself. Have I ever been enthusiastic? I look back on times when this or that new activity inspired me with joy and anticipation. And yes, there have been such times. But not many. In the absence of enthusiasm one's life juices dry up, just as Laurel Keyes suggested. Old crone, indeed.


But I no longer welcome my inner Eeyore as I once did. I thought I had made peace with my gloomy nature, but occasional bouts of enthusiastic joy have shown me that I am not content to use Eeyore as a model for the rest of my life. Watch carefully and you will see me transform from a grouchy donkey to an adorable baby tiger who bounces with every step!

Copyright © 2017 Ann Tudor

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Fog Hangs

It's up to me to clear the fog that sometimes shrouds my brain. How grateful I am that so far this is not a permanent state.


Here are some fog-clearing procedures that sometimes work (choose whatever ones appeal to you):


1. Talk to a friend--one from the short list, which seems to be shortening even more as the years pass.


2. Take a walk--not the brisk exercise kind of walk but an amble that affords a view of trees or grass or of anything that isn't kin to concrete.


3. Forget the walk. Just sit. Focus for a change on what's before you: this chair. That photograph. The carpet whose once-vibrant designs are worn and faded.


If none of these is possible, then take to gentle humming. The vibration of your cells can dispel the hanging fog.



Copyright © 2017 Ann Tudor