Words Like Birds


I sit at my computer watching the early morning sun gently spread its tentacles of light over the hilltops to the east and I wonder what clarity this new day might bring. What do I have to say that is interesting enough to interrupt your day?

I started out writing this blog with a mission statement of sorts. It read:

A blog about finding meaning and beauty in the simple things (and sometimes not so simple things).

I decided that the best way to go about this was to take you with me through the seasons:  out on walks, gardening, skiing, cooking…  And  finding in these simple, everyday activities the beauty and purpose that infuses a life with meaning.

It turns out finding beauty and meaning in the simple things is rather easy and fun for me. It’s the not so simple things that can send me seeking shelter. I haven’t been able to bring you along, for instance, on the deeper, longer transitions that make up a life.  Mostly  because these transitions are multilayered and deeply personal and it just takes time without words for the process to happen.

While I was in the place of fewer words, I closed my computer, took out my Japanese brush pens, and immersed myself in learning traditional and modern calligraphy. My interest in old and new scripts was stirred because of an article I wrote on this blog back in February, a month after my mother died, and I was sorting through old paperwork. I wrote:

I’ve been thinking about handwriting a lot these days as I sort through paperwork and personal items that belonged to my mother and father and grandmother. Their handwriting says more about each of them than any portrait possibly could. My father’s handwriting is large and flowing and my mother’s much more measured and cautious. I feel their presence as if they were sitting beside me when I see snippets of things they have written. It’s as distinctive and personal as any work of art. Which begs the question, what will we have lost when handwriting becomes extinct?


Isn’t it funny what happens when we get clear enough to ask a question? Answers come pouring in. You just might find yourself, as I did, moving in a direction that you could never have anticipated. I think about this often as I painstakingly study old scripts and try and practice the nuanced letter forms. I find it soothing. Maybe it’s also my way of coming to terms with the past and reclaiming old ways of making words beautiful and special again.


As the first snow softly falls this morning, I am back on my writing  chair allowing whatever words there are to come to me – much in the same way as the birds come to the feeder that sits just a few meters from where I write.


Writing is how I make sense of things and it just doesn’t feel good to be away for too long.

So for now, it’s my words and the birds that keep me company in the early morning hours before the world has awoken and complicated things. Maybe together we can make sense of just enough to spread a little more light and joy.