Friday, November 30, 2007

Winter Walks

I live in a beautiful place.

About a block from my home there is a path into an old growth forest. Hemlocks, cedars and Douglas firs rise majestically around the small winding paths. Every time I go for a walk (which I try to do every sunny day) I feel like I've been transported into a magical world. The trees have throttled out almost all the undergrowth in the really deep parts of the forest, so you can see the rows upon rows of trunks, surrounding you for as far as you can see. It feels as if you have entered the huge, pillared hall of a European basilica. The sun can't quite peak through all the branches, and so everything is bathed in a warm green light. Moss covers nearly every surface, adding to the feeling of warmth and age.
This is the place where fairy tales happen. This is where the great adventurers find their deeds of courage and love. This is the worship place of the ancient Celts. This is sacred ground.
Then, when you are convinced that the land couldn't be any more beautiful, you come to a clearing at the crest of a hill. Out before you a wide vista arises, displaying snow-capped mountains glittering in the sun, entrancing you with their distant song. Your heart breaks with the beauty, the desire, and the joy of it all.
You pray, you praise, you worship. Not because you intended to, but because it explodes out without warning, bubbling up, flooding over your soul.
Then, inevitably, the moment passes. You remember that paper that you should be writing. You remember the duties of home. You remember the chores that await you there. Slowly, unwillingly, you turn to leave.
But not for long. You will soon return to this place of mystery and wonder.
But that will be another day.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Come Back!

Return! Return ye harbingers of good weather and bright sun!!

The entire week my parents were here, we had the nicest week in terms of weather that I have seen since my first few weeks here. True, it poured on the first Saturday, but since then it was mostly blue skies, sunshine, and wonderfully warm weather.

No sooner did the get on the plane to go home than it started snowing. That's right. Snowing. Not lots, but enough to accumulate into a thin layer of ice everywhere. And it hasn't been even remotely sunny since. In fact, it is so dark and gloomy, I sometimes wonder if the sun has decided to get up behind those clouds at all.

In other news, I'm writing a history paper contrasting St. Bernard of Clairvaux's preaching and ideals of the Second Crusade with what actually happened. I have literally piles of books around me, several web sources, and no ideas. Not than I don't know what to write, I just don't have the slightest clue where one starts with such a complex, massive subject when there are only a few pages in which to contain your ideas. Well, back to work. And more tea. I've had so much tea lately, I pretty certain that I'm rivaling the rainfall here in terms of water-output.

Warning: Don't poke me. Random crusade facts may spill out.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


There is something about the tortuous delight in reading C. S. Lewis that captivates me every time. The beauty of a phrase, the clarity of thought, the vivid pictures that come to mind.

Even just flipping through a book to find something arouses all the same joy, the same exquisite painfulness that it did the first time through. You are caught in something partway between an adventure and a dull chore. The very monotony of turning pages and moving your eyes becomes tiresome, but you can hardly absorb enough words at any one glance! You want to rush forward to see what will happen, and to experience the new vistas that unfold before you, but you also try to hold back and savour each moment as it passes.

It is thrilling, compelling, heart-wrenching. Desire nearly overwhelms you with its force. It is like driving to see an old friend. The ride can hardly be over fast enough, but the bitter-sweet desire of waiting is itself part of the joy.

It feels like life.

Monday, November 19, 2007


So, my parents are in town.

My dad has a conference, and so my mom, dad, and my mom's best friend are all congregating here in Vancouver for a week. I'm looking forward to a nice week of spoiled eating, etc. etc.

It's also reading week, so I'm studying my bum off, because after this, it'll be straight through to exams.

Friday, November 16, 2007


So, I just had my first shift at my new job: the UBC ropes course.

I basically facilitate groups coming by to do team building, group work, outdoor adventures and so forth. I though that I would get some little kids who wouldn't notice my blunders, or when I really didn't know what I was talking about.

No such luck. 8 boys and 2 girls, all grade 12. Mine for 4 hours. Well, I made it! I'm still alive. And it was a beautiful day, so that made things better as well. Time to study!

And my parents are coming out this next week! I am super excited about that.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Somethings should not be allowed...

Like living in Canada and going for a bike ride in shorts, sandals and a sleeveless shirt in mid-November. It shouldn't be allowed. But here... it seems that all things are possible. When the sun comes out, it is so beautiful.

Hope all of you over in Edmonton are doing well with your snow.

I also had a surprise visit... from "Private Bautista".

Yes, Bautista. I realize you all think her name is Melba Seto, but she has been duping us all... for all these years...

As it turns out, when she had her official "name change", she also changed her last name.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Showing you around!

So, as promised, I'm finally going to show you around my neck of the woods!
When you get to Vancouver, you want to "stop" at Discovery Street. (Appropriate name eh? I love it!)

Then stop at the house with all the decorations and, (usually) a mob of kids playing outside. Usually playing some variation of "knighthood" or "kingdom". I'd love to join, but would be ashamed to ask. Also, I have a funny feeling that a real sword would not be appreciated by the parents.
This house is the gathering place for all the little kiddies of the neighbourhood.

Finally, when you get to this house, don't go up to the front door. You have to go around the (right) side, past the nice cars (yes, that is a Porsche), through the gate and down to the little side door. You can just see the window and the door frame in this picture.

That is where I live!

Keep checking up, and soon I'll show you the inside, including a special visitor we had...

By the way, happy Remembrance Day. Take a moment and reflect...

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Wake me up when November ends

Is it November already? Where is the snow? I seriously have no internal calendar here. Everything is green, there are still leaves (or at least some leaves) on most trees, and it rains...rains...rains.
This is the month of papers and studying, so you may not hear from me for a while.

Highlights from this week:
-lunch with a Welsh girl at a cool little coffee place called "The Beanery"
-supper at Phil Long's house with real Tennessee chili and corn bread, followed by apple pie and ice cream!
-a great lecture on medieval art
-finishing research for one of my papers!
-developing my question for my history paper! (How did the second crusade interact with the preaching of St. Bernard)
-finished a book by C.S. Lewis (Prayer: Letters to Malcolm)
-actually took out my journal and wrote in it!
-phoned home
-ordered a book from "Real Live Preacher"

Yup, it's been a productive week. Now I just need to study.