Crowning a “junk” tree with overdue appreciation

“What’s this?” asked my clutter-resistant husband, observing the giant mason jar of oily plant matter on the counter. “Ohh, it’s medicine! It’s called Balm of Gilead,” I explained. “Oh. But what is it?” “Cottonwood tips in oil.” “Hmm. And what’s it good for treating?” he asked, in an impressively neutral manner, eyes scanning to the…

Breath technology: the promise of a sober high

Edward Dangerfield admits that he’s a little bit intense, probably in the way that many Whistler folk are. Type A. Overachiever. Dive in. Go deep. He’s working on that. He’s been exploring his pathologies and life path since getting caught in an avalanche and completely burning out from the restaurant business in 2014. “I totally…

Coding for Greatness

I’d just finished reading The Culture Code,a book by Daniel Coyle about the culture of great groups, when I drove through the night, blasting Mofro, up the snowy winding pass to Crystal Mountain in Washington. Pemberton skier Susan Medville, a freeskier and mountain woman originally based in Crested Butte, had invited me to join a…

Falling upon kindness

6am. We’re pulling into the gas station at the southernmost edge of Squamish, when we realize that my partner has forgotten his wallet and ID. We’ve been up since 3am, our plane is leaving in two hours, and we’re 100 km and 80 minutes from the living room where the black backpack containing crucial ID…

Remembrance Day

99 years ago, on November 11, the “war to end all wars” ended. The poppies at our local stores have attracted my 4 year old’s attention. “What’s that?” “They’re poppies.” “What are they for?” Oh man. How do I explain this? “They’re to remember the wars. And all the kids who went to fight in…

The Last Times: my slightly morbid twist on a gratitude practice

We cross into Oregon after 10 hours of driving – a welcome sign, seriously numb bums and the speed limit drop announce that we have officially left California, the desert, and it’s endless sun, behind. The iPhone plugged into the car stereo is playing a cached playlist from our favourite internet radio station. Dave managed…

Switching to Airplane Mode: what I got out of a 20 day digital detox

We’re in the Redwood Forest. “Did they name it after the song?” my four year old asks. We’d borrowed a remix of Woody Guthrie music from the library once and This Land is Your Land evidently made an impression. I come from a country where the indigenous people believe the world was sung into being….

Amateur is not a dirty word

Epiphanies come when I’m feeding out slack. Don’t tell my climbing partner. Because when he’s leading his way up a strenuous pitch of rock, he likes to know that I am watching with rapt attention, feeding out the rope in perfect increments, absolutely focused on his every micro-move, so that, should he fall, I will…