My middle name is Joel

Everyone carries a cross. Or a star of David. Or a jade Buddha. There is some connection to our family’s roots we bring with us and, under the dust of the windy and clouded present, is the gravestone of our cultural histories. Some are heavy. Some are feather light. Whatever it is, I found my jeweled pendant around my neck again after reading this Busy Dad blog post, its stone warming against my chest. Take a minute and read it through, and tell me you don’t feel for him.

Merry Christmas: May the gifted give

"Emerald Waters" by Ruth Art

I came into this world a gifted child. I was given choose-your-own adventure books, logical thinking exercises, mind bending video games. A roof over my head and a full plate to eat. When I was finished Grade 1, my parents brought my brother and I to a suburb of Vancouver to get a better education. I was found to be ahead of my peers in school aptitude and placed in the gifted program. And I don’t regret any of that.

It is not what we are given in life that defines us, but what we do with what we have. I have been given so much and I realize that it is in me to give back. Take the water system for example: the river comes from the melting of ice-cap which runs to down rivers, creeks, and tributaries into lakes, oceans and puddles. From these bodies of water, the sun and wind evapourate the water which in turn rains down somewhere else replenishing the original water source. Being born into this first world is kind of like being snowed onto the mountain. You’re where it all starts.

Now if you were to stay on top of the mountain and never melt, there would be no more rivers, and no more lakes, and the oceans would become very salty. Fish would no longer survive, nor would plankton or algae or dolphins. Then the bodies of those once living beings would cease to support the birds and mammals that depend on them, and then ultimately people would disappear. But say if you were to let the processes of nature work. Then downstream there would be deer drinking from streams and going back to the fields of green grass where the wolves sometimes eat which feed the wasps, which feed the birds. And if you started in the lakes or oceans, you would go on to new lands and grow new forests.

In our world today there are usually two kinds of people: the gifted and the underprivileged. Neither is better than the other, but usually it’s the gifted that have the choice. They have privilege. They can store reserves in the high altitudes away from the oceans, or they can rain down on the Savannah. They can harden powder to ice, or they can melt in the sunshine and trickle into pools of emerald.

the mystery of what i see

i don’t know if i’m attracted
to the mystery
of what i see
or don’t

but there is something about
the things i know about you
and the beautiful

spaces between those things
like distant stars
that close up blind me
but from a distance
make sense and shapes
and stories

and i’m a dozen little children
robed in fur
whispering in each other’s ears,
guessing and gossiping:

under the spell
of the nightsky

a story

"The end of a path" by jimmedia

According to Islam: A wise man became a object of irony for the inhabitants of the city. One day he was walking down the main street with some of his disciples when a group of men and women began to insult him. The wise man went up to them and blessed them.

When they left, one of the disciples remarked: “They say terrible things, and you answer them with nice words.”
And the wise man replied: “Each one of us can only offer what he has.”

Excerpt from Paulo Coelho’s blog post: Wisdom

propaganda (i don’t play by the rules)

I read somewhere that for a protest to be
effective, everyone must organize and
chant the same things in unison to have power.

It was a nice thought
rather, I’ll gladly gather
and. come and go as i

For effect is not simply a matter of cause,
or a thousand chanting people with one
collective voice;

it is the creation of

i don’t play by the rules

a thousand bicycles

two hundred cars drag their heavy
clunking wheels across the road,
shaking the pavement rattled
with racket, shattering the ground
and throwing waves of deep thundrous
crackling and bellowing along
the ripped earth;

and yet in a world not far off
a thousand bicycles
delicately glide over
the same smooth surface
so even a mole finds
and dream.


"Crows" by Pomegranates

As any Vancouverite who has been through Grandview Highway would know – and you would have to be a no longer living Vancouverite to not – you know that every sunset dozens of thousands of resident crows come to roost for the night. Today was no exception. Warm smile in my heart reflected by the clear view of the rigid mountains, I could see clear to every peak. Innumerable black movements in the sky. Hitchcock would be amazed and bewildered.

There is a comfort to know that even in the most urbanized places of the West Coast, Nature finds a home. As if some clever irony, it is those species whom we call “pests” that appear to be smart enough to thrive in such close proximity. Said to mate with the same partner for a lifetime, I wonder how many of this fluttering stampede are faithful and monogamous. Do they ever get tempted by the 5000 others within earshot? Traffic starts to move and suddenly crows by the tens and twenties dive out of the sky, as if shot down by invisible bullets. In a downward spiral, like a dying hurricane or a ravished tornado they float in circles then hit the ground. If this were war we’d have no chance.