Monday Morning Musings

Posted on August 10, 2020 under Monday Morning Musings with one comment

The tundra bathed in golden light


Going through round 2 of self-isolation gives a person a lot of time to think. Too much apparently as lately I have been pondering a number of serious questions: Who am I? What is the meaning of life? What is love? Is there life after death? And throw in a bonus head shaker… how do they get the caramel into a Caramilk chocolate bar?

Whoa. Back up the bus, Len. You’re losing it.

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who has spent more time with themselves recently than they have ever done before because of the pandemic. We’re a culture that’s not steeped in solitude. We have social media, books, movies and our cats and dogs to keep us amused and distracted but there are times when things fall silent and he have time to ponder our place in the universe.

Please, Len. Covid-19 is tough enough without you going all philosophical on us.

You will be relieved to know that I’m not going to give you my take on these weighty questions, but I will admit that I have been particularly reflective lately. It doesn’t hurt, as scary as it might seem, to look in the mirror every once in a while, to take stock. I try not to look in the mirror for too long. Even mirrors have feelings!

Before I left for the north, I had lunch with a woman that I have greatly admired for years. She’s in her 80s and has lived a rich, interesting life. She has made a significant contribution in many ways. Like many of her generation in our part of the world, she grew in a large Catholic family and her faith has been her bedrock. After lunch, I asked her what her feelings were about the afterlife. It is safe to say that her faith comforts her that there is something to look forward to when “I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, and danced the skies on laughter silver wings.” (John Magee – High Flight). I must confess that I don’t have the same degree of conviction as my friend. I continue to feel that heaven is all around us. And so is hell. The world is in a mess these days.

I remember clearly the first time I was asked as a child about the meaning of love. It was in elementary school. I don’t know why the teacher posed this question to a bunch of 9 year-olds when many of us north of 60 still can’t articulate the notion of love in any meaningful way. I can hear you all shouting, “Speak for yourself, Len.” If you have it figured out, congratulations. I explored this topic recently with a friend and she sent me two video links. A pair of rabbis give some interesting insights into love. Thanks to my friend for these links.

Back in the 70s (I now clarify that I’m talking about the 1970s and not the 1870s!), Roger Whittaker, the Kenyan born, British raised singer, sang the song “What Love Is”. I like his description as much as any that I’ve heard:

“Love is a morning sunrise, love is the rain that falls;

Love is an evening sunset, a stranger that calls.

Love is an April shower, the warmth of a summer day,

Love is the hidden sunshine, that chases tears away.

Green as the grass that’s growing, blue as the sky above,

Soft as the wind that’s blowing, all these things are love.

Love is a bolt of lightning, slashing across the sky,

Love is the tender warmth, I see within your eye.”

This was a popular wedding song decades ago. Over the years, I sang at quite a few weddings. I don’t want to tell you the percentage of these marriages that survived. Maybe my singing was the first sour note!

I’m into my second week of self-isolation and mercifully I am allowed to go for walks on “the land”. The tundra is conveniently located a few footsteps from my front door. The landscape is quite different than the winter. At first, it appears rather drab and uninteresting, but every time I walk, I notice something different and beautiful. The light changes often. The picture at the top of the page is a great illustration. As the sun started its slow descent, it bathed the tundra in a blanket of gold. Minutes later, it changed and looked completely different.

The Inuit have a strong attachment to the land. In my short time here, I am starting to understand why.

I try to walk daily to the large inukshuk on the outskirts of town. It is a popular place to meet and watch the northern lights. I go there because it is peaceful. I often touch the massive stones hoping for some inspiration and insights into life’s most haunting questions.

How they get the caramel inside a Caramilk bar is still one of life’s great mysteries!

Have a great week.



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