The Quiet of Late Summer

Blog topics go beyond 9-5. For work related posts only, click the work tag or say hi on LinkedIn

Summer smells tired. Wafts of blackberry and caterpillar have taken over from blossoms straining to attract bees. The wasps (yellow jackets for more Eastern folks) are clumsy and mean.

I’ve been trying to be quiet this summer, slowing down to the season as much as possible even as work hums along. I’m trying to listen better and more often. I’ve taken a break from word-based social media and focusing on more on visuals of Instagram; looking for details. Yesterday I was walking in an industrial area and  looked up and there was a jet flying across behind  a stretch of barbed wire. I loved that juxtaposition.

Late August is gently edgy, hinting at things to come. The air has a moisture that was missing even a few weeks ago: dew. The morning sun is long and I’m tempted to take photos of  Miller, our short dog seeming a giant in the shadows of the light.

The roll downhill to September is inevitable now. My friend’s son was proudly testing out possible back-to-school-Day-One outfits today. My son gave me a look when I said “Back to school”. He likes school, but after summer dedicated to eating, sleeping, and growing, he knows September will feel like a flurry.

I look forward to the exciting upswing of September. It’s always been the start of the year for me, with January a pale and cold second. Work-wise I have plenty to look forward to; it will be a busy fall. In the meantime, I’m holding onto quiet as much as possible.

 

 

Sunday Morning Spiritual

Blog topics go beyond 9-5. For work related posts only, click the work tag or say hi on LinkedIn.

There are days when I want few words and a lot of walking in nature. I’m very fortunate to live in a city that is nudged up against nature everywhere you turn: mountain trails studded with rocks that lead to spectacular views; canyons with so many shades of green they seem unreal but to the people who live here; flat river deltas with herons, eagles, ducks, geese, kingfishers, red winged blackbirds and many more. It’s as common to see an eagle soaring as it is to see a robin; something visitors find amazing.

I have lived and travelled across Canada, but the West Coast is my heartland. It was an Ontario friend who introduced that concept to me. We were looking out on a deep green lake in Southern Ontario at the end of a summer, and when she heard I grew up in Vancouver, she asked about it. She admitted she wasn’t that interested in visiting; the ocean didn’t draw her. Canadian shield country, she said, this is my heart land. I’d never heard the term before but I recognized it. The West Coast is mine. Read more

Words That Caught me in May

Blog topics go beyond 9-5. For work related posts only, click the work tag or say hi on LinkedIn.

It has been a busier month than usual with work and at home, one of those months in which the hours have been packed and yet days are short in terms of what I hoped to get done. If I apply a hashtag for the month it will be #marathon. I’m grateful that the hours have been rewarding- my brain is happily popping with work and it has been a joy to watch my youngest as he circles and strides a track, pressing for his place at the Provincial meet coming up this weekend.

Recreational reading has been minimal, but I’ve been lucky to find some gems this month. Just yesterday I read this piece from Nathaniel Fleming, a medical student reflecting on the shift from self-centered student to healthcare provider. My friend Matt told me about the medical school mantle he and his classmates were given, a speech emphasizing how important they were to get into medical school, how important they would be. Fleming acknowledges that impression too, and talks about the shift when he realizes the meaning of his role, and how it balances with others in a healthcare situation. I’m curious how this plays out in teaching in medical school- the balance between knowledge itself, and developing the wisdom of how to support people in health and illness. How do you set up medical students to be open to wisdom? Read more

I Don’t Want A Christmas Puppy

Bridging Communication Divides with Dogs 

I was the kid who scrambled around the grass on all fours, pretending to be a dog. (A neighbour complained if I barked too early on Sundays.) I was the kid who wanted to pat dogs, got bitten more than once but persevered. (I knew little about dog body language.)  I wanted a happy dog smile in my life, at my side.

Read more

Improving Communications with Miller

miller_may29_16Bridging Communication Divides with Dogs 

It’s the weekend, a rainy Sunday, and I’m staring down at the family dog, PuffleBunny (his actual name is Miller). He’s got me thinking about what feels right and good in our relationship. He is stretched out next to me like a basking seal and he is relaxed; very relaxed.

This is a big change from our early days after my family adopted him, when we gave him the nickname Space Man to respect his needs.

Read more