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Sunday, September 30, 2018


All the time, questions.

There are days when a little certainty

would help me make it through.

Don't take this complaint too literally, please.

I assure you I'm not looking for the smug certainty

evinced by those who say they have all the answers.

Count on it,

their rigidity will end in tears.

Though I'm tired of my non-stop questions,

I'd rather have them and their provoking curiosity,

their soul-engaging insecurity,

than all the arrogant breast-thumping

of those who have the answers

and who expect us to swallow and follow.


No, I take back my initial weariness with questions.

There are worse things for the soul

than a little uncertainty.



Copyright © 2018 Ann Tudor
Food blog:

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Updraft of Light

Your "updraft of light"

is in opposition,

I can only assume,

to the downward pressing

black cloud that is sometimes

my familiar.


I used to know, if fleetingly,

this updraft of light,

which suffused the atmosphere

with the possibility of joy.


Up is better than down,

they would have us believe.

Yet the pull of gravity

(all downward, as I understand it)

is essential to who we are.

We fasten our feet to earth

with magnets of consciousness,

and it is this awareness that allows us,

in our headier moments,

to follow the updraft of light.


My black cloud pressing down, down,

therefore, anchors me

and ultimately allows me

at times

to be carried by the updraft

to a lighter life.


Copyright © 2018 Ann Tudor
Food blog:


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Shifting Realities

It's all shifting. Everything I've thought and done, the way I've lived for the last 35 years—all changing. My former concerns no longer concern me. The future is unclear, though one of my shifts has been the realization that the future is actually supposed to be unclear—that's the point. And (another change), I accept now that I may not be part of the future when it arrives.


Is this resignation? Is it the beginning of enlightenment? Or is it something new that I haven't found the words for? And of course I may never find them, since the words that used to be my companions are abandoning me.


My taste in reading has changed. I found myself engrossed in a re-reading of Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror, her 500+-page history of the fourteenth century. A big change from E-Z-read mysteries.


Sometimes I think I've reached a plateau that requires me to retire from the world and spend my time doing only tai-chi and toning. Given my strongly held convictions—which do battle with my reluctance to be an activist—perhaps the greatest help I can give to the world I live in is simply to move the chi—move it, waft it, send it, absorb it, let compassion flow through me and in me and out of me into the wide world. Intend harmony. That's what I can do. I can intend and intone harmony.


It is difficult to maintain this intention when I face what we call real life, but I think that difficulty might be the edge against which I must rub in the future. Reconcile the differences. Spread harmony.


Copyright © 2018 Ann Tudor
Food blog:

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Blackberry Picking

In Nova Scotia my daughter and I

went blackberry picking.

We walked a mile into the woods

from our starting point

at the edge of civilization—

far enough in to feel wild,

but not so far that we were competing with


for the berries,

which were thick on the prickly stems,

the thorns catching on long sleeves that

failed to foil

the squadrons of mosquitoes

claiming squatters' rights

to the blackberry tangles.

We were bitten.


Berries as big as my first thumb joint were rare.

More common were the tiny wild berries

like the ones my children used to pick in Tennessee

with their grandmother,

who took all three to her favourite patch

where they gathered the makings

for the famous Grandma Harwell Blackberry Cobbler.

But, shades of the Little Red Hen,

two of these children were good

for only five minutes' picking

after which they disappeared in search of shade or sun, whichever they felt was missing,

while only one,

this daughter with me in Nova Scotia,

only one stayed the course

and picked and picked until grandma finally said,

Now we have enough.


As we picked

My daughter and I spoke little

except to comment on the abundance of berries

and the nuisance of mosquitoes.

One hand brushed away the silent swarms

while the other dropped berry

after berry

after berry

into the bucket

except for the ones that went

straight into our mouths.

We took care not to


a mosquito in as well.


We never did remember

for sure

whether Grandma Harwell's cobbler recipe

had a bottom crust

or only its golden, sugar-sprinkled top.


Copyright © 2018 Ann Tudor
Food blog:

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Magic in the Very Air

The magic of the ordinary captures me every time I allow myself to pay attention. When the subway is crowded I usually pull out my current book and hold it in one hand while strap-hanging with the other, but today I had no desire to do it. I was less interested in the book because I had mistakenly grabbed a book I'd already read. Uncharacteristically I can remember not just the villain of this one but also the exciting, dramatic, near-fatal kidnapping that ends the book, So I wasn't too eager to contort myself to read-while-standing.


Instead, I held the strap with one hand and was content to balance, eyes closed, for the length of the journey. It was much more restful than trying to read. At each station I would let my eyes flicker open enough to see the dozens of potential passengers on the platform and to wonder how they would fit into our crowded car.


Finally a seat opened up and as I sat I watched the crowd exit through the platform crowd pushing to enter. Clueless passengers sometimes block the area, making the shift even more difficult.

At Bay Street station a young Asian mother entered (with difficulty) pushing a baby carriage with one hand and, with her other, holding the hand of her four-year-old daughter. She left the car a few stations later, and as the train pulled out I saw the young mother and her charges on the platform, standing near the elevator. The four-year-old was intently watching the train leave, one hand raised in a tentative but friendly good-bye. I waved back but she didn't see me. It didn't matter, since she was waving to the train, not to any specific passenger. Bye-bye train.


On the same platform ten feet along was a young father with a nine-month-old strapped, facing outward, to his chest. The baby was also waving good-bye. I could hear those two parents engaging the attention of their little ones (say bye-bye to the train) because I remember doing the same thing with Sam and Georgia when they were little. Bye-bye train.


Walking east on Dearborn Street I passed a message pinned to a telephone pole. It was an arrow cut from yellow construction paper, and it was taped to the pole with the point of the arrow headed west. Drawn on the arrow in red magic marker were four hearts—three small-ish ones along the tail of the arrow and one large one that filled the point. What was the meaning? My dear love lives this way (west of me)? Go this way to find your (or another's) heart? It wasn't a commercial message, unless it was informing the neighbourhood that delicious, loving, heart-filled lemonade could be found at a stall over there by Broadview.


My best guess is this: a little boy/girl was announcing to the world his/her (their, in current parlance) love for the boy/girl who lived one house to the west of the artist. It was a bold and fearless pronouncement of love. If gnomic.


These were the magic adventures of that day. How can one fail to be moved by such visible signs of our connection? Perhaps similar moments would be clear to me even if I were driving a car, but I doubt it. Navigating Toronto traffic, I would not be free to notice anything else, no matter how magical.


Copyright © 2018 Ann Tudor
Food blog: