I did not remember my dreams.  A mixture of sunlight and anticipation woke me before my alarm.  I pulled the curtain back and checked the time on the large clock face across the street.  Just past 6:30.  Good.  I have ten more minutes to sink into my bed, to enjoy both morning and sleep.

It is now 3:00pm and I am sitting on a patio in Lower Manhattan.  I landed hours ago, made my way into the city, enjoyed a leisurely brunch in Greenwich Village before crossing the west side highway at 14th street and settling under a tree along the Hudson River Greenway for a little rest.  Now I am back in the city,  somewhere near the convergence of West Village, Tribeca and SoHo.  Somewhere I have not been before.  It’s hot and humid and sticky, the first real day of summer, and the city is full of citizens coming out of hibernation to enjoy the warm weather nature has granted.

I look out and see the beauty that once was New York.  Before cars and traffic and  never-ending construction, before over-population and the seemingly permanent stink of garbage from over-consumption, there was a city of natural wealth and beauty and promise: majestic brownstones on quiet, tree-lined streets, hot summer days made bearable by the ocean breeze and cool, moist earth underfoot.  Granite and marsh, and humans.  Humans can play a positive role in shaping the earth.  We can harness her strength, her resources and her power, and  use them for our betterment.  But there comes a tipping point between humans and Earth – the same tipping point that can occur in intra-human relationships – where the dominant party stops bringing out the best for the subject’s benefit as well, and instead start bringing out only what he wants to better himself.

Mother Earth is no different than an abused and mistreated woman, expected to give us everything she has and expect nothing in return.  Our society tells mistreated women to stand up to her partner, fight back, take what is hers and leave him to fend for himself. We cannot fathom our most honourable and abused mother of all – Earth – doing any such thing, yet that is exactly what she is doing to us each and every day.  She is asking us to treat her better.  She is asking us to change our ways, to once again remember to consider her best interest along with hours.  She is telling us what we need to do to reverse her revolt.  What will it take for us to listen?  When will we see the irony of the plastic flowers in our lawns, where real ones once grew so readily?

May 19, 2017



This weekend I am in New York.  Or – to be more accurate – Brooklyn.  At this moment,   shortly after 9 o’clock on a Sunday morning, I am sitting at the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.  I am in a church of sorts, the congregation consisting of local residents looking for solitude, a stroll or a morning run, and visitors like me observing the view: Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, New Jersey, Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge, and the Empire State Building all in my line of vision.  The choir is unique: birds chirping the melody, walkers and runners keeping beat, and the constant hum of traffic underneath reminding us all that this church we currently sit in is in the middle of the country’s biggest metropolis.

Brooklyn Heights.  I have heard the name before many times, read about it and seen countless movies and TV shows set here.  I see the beautiful brownstone row houses with the walk-up steps and instantly associate them with Brooklyn, which then calls to mind hipsters and well-to-do young families.  These are the people that call this place home. But do they see what I see?  Is that what draws them here?  The tree-lines streets are no doubt beautiful, the mature branches forming canopies, shielding young families from the sun and from the noise of the world that is just across the river.  The soil is fertile, the climate temperate, the little wildlife that remains resilient.  Do they see the natural forest that once was?  The rich soil and bountiful harvest?  The awe inspiring views that Mother Earth has graced them with?  The vista before it was glass and concrete and steel?  I look up from my notebook and I see industry: cargo ships, ferries, ports and skyscrapers.  It is the industry that makes this incarnation of Brooklyn Heights possible, that provides the jobs that pay the money to afford the beautiful and protected homes in this serene corner of the city.  But what if there was another way?  A way that better respected the beauty that we so dearly grasp the last wisps of in this church where I sit?

May 21, 2017

Brooklyn Heights