in need of softness.

With Orlando and Baghdad and Gaza and Homs and Baton Rouge and Minnesota and Dallas and Nice and Turkey. With these weeks, these years, where it just seems like we don’t know how to live, how to coexist, how to keep the bodies of those around us safe and free of traumas. I’ve tried writing about it but it always came up short.

Truth be told, I am now in dire need of softness.

(Because these injustices, this structural and systemic racism and violence, these senseless tragedies make so much seem so purposeless. And I hold my children close, I try to be kinder, gentler with others, to appreciate that this is it — this life, this time — and to be here now. In my days, my relationships, my farm life. To do what I can, and to enjoy the moments. But these weeks, they take the cake, they take the breath out of me.)

Here are some images of the softness that surrounds me. Un aide-mémoire.


My eldest’s new pinecone collection.




My youngest’s hair curling with the rising humidex. The mingling. His happy rainbow-legged bouncing on a mattress.


My favourite barn cat, Olga, resting on the stoop, nursing one of her kittens. She’ll sometimes look as mildly annoyed nursing her young as I do. I appreciate her presence.



Realizing that my baby’s favourite book is one that I’ve loved reading for years.




Reading favourite poems (The Call by Connie Fife, Poems for a New World)



My child playing with a little bear I loved as a kid, and seeing him dream up all kinds of new adventures for her. Finally building that play kitchen I promised I’d build (minus the sink I still need to install) with some great visiting pals. That moment when your kid actually hides when you play hide and go seek.



Being so close to finishing the work on my youngest’s bedroom. Our flowering apple trees. P. having ripped off all the tin off the garage, being so pleasantly surprised with rustic reflections when I walk into the house.




The skies at night.



Spotting incongruities in children’s books.


This lovely soul and his remarkable DIYing. F. watering the cabbage by hand with a spray bottle. Watching this little one try to climb everything.



Having two cups of coffee in the morning. Finally figuring out what to do with last year’s mildly mouldy smelling ‘dry’ beans.


I am trying to remember these things. To draw strength from them.

I hope others are remembering their softnesses too.