Archive for April, 2019

Now that the shock of Notre Dame’s burning has dissipated, at least somewhat, thoughts turn to rebuilding. The $billion that has thus far been pledged is quite astonishing. How to put that money to use? I propose a glass roof! Since it will be impossible to rebuild the original, as no 400 year old oak trees are available, why not build something new? Something a la Louvre. Notre Dame is, as much as a building can be, a living monument to our society, to our culture, to our collective existence. Open up the roof to the heavens. Think of the symbolism. The 800 year old icon of architecture and religious symbolism opens its roof to God. To the very maker who prompted this cathedral to be built in the first place. A cathedral that welcomes the heavens into its body. Rebuilding the past is impossible and unrealistic. Build the future. Another 800 years of Notre Dame awaits. Look forward and look upward. Glory be to God above!

Read Full Post »

Cory the coyote

This is a chapter from my book “Alphabet Animals”. If you enjoy it and want to read more, there are 26 in total. One for each letter of the alphabet, ergo “Alphabet Animals”. Order a copy from Amazon or Lulu or BN and look for it by entering “Alphabet Animals Hilary”. Happy reading!

The banging and crashing could be heard by anyone and anything within 200 metres of Cory. He was running straight ahead thru the underbrush, keeping his head low so the hawthorns would not blind him. But his haunches and back were getting lacerated and chunks of his fur were trailing him like some kind of furry pathway markers. Hot on his heels was a pack of wolves upon whom Cory had stumbled while joy running through the forest. Joy running. That feeling you get when your feet, or in this case paws, seem to float above the ground. Once again, he had gotten himself into a pickle and was flying by the seat of his pants, desperate for a solution. No time to think of one, survival was the only objective at this point. How many times had his mother cautioned him about his reckless behaviour? Too many to count frankly. Yet here he was again, running between death and deliverance. Which side would he end up on?
Well, the wolves gave up the chase. Even they were not so angry as to race through a razor laced forest of hawthorns. They had made their point and knew Cory got the message. No more blind ‘joy’ running in this part of the forest.
Once he saw and accepted that the wolves had given up the chase, he slowed down to assess the damage. He was bleeding from numerous gashes. Nothing life threatening, but he was most certainly in need of medical attention. And so he made his way back to his mother’s den.
“Oh my God!” exclaimed his mother, seeing him limping to the entrance of her well concealed lair. “Look at you! What on earth am I going to do with you?”
But now was not the time to answer this rhetorical question. She ushered the poor lad into the den and ministered to his wounds.
“You had best lay down and get some rest son. It’s going to be a few days before you see daylight again. Those are nasty cuts. I don’t even want to know how you got them. It will only make me angry with you.”
And so Cory lay down on a soft bed of pine branches and was soon fast asleep. While he slept, his mother pondered the predicaments her son seemed to inevitably find himself in. It was like a kind of bizarre and pathological, relentless pursuit of death and destruction. She was at her wits end as to a solution. Muttering to herself and pacing the living room, she hardly ate anything over the coming days, worried as she was about her son’s recovery. A couple days after Cory’s stumbled return, mother coyote’s answer presented itself at the front door.
“How ya doin’ sister?” whispered a melodious voice.
“Oh Eddie, I’m so glad you are here.” she responded. It was her older brother Eddie, he of numerous misadventures in his youth. “I just don’t know what to do with Cory. One of these days his luck is going to run out and he won’t make it back here to his home. Look at him. He’s gouged with gashes, lucky the wolves gave up running after him. They at least have enough sense to not jeopardize their own health, even when in pursuit. What am I going to do Eddie?”
Eddie knew the answer. He had not just coincidentally wandered over to see his sister. Word of the wolves’ chase had spread throughout the forest. It was hardly the first time Eddie had looked in on his sister and his nephew, to make sure they were safe. Ever since his brother had disappeared years ago, it was left to Eddie to protect the family. Not really a burden. He accepted his fate and took comfort and pride in the fact he was relied upon. Being single, it gave him purpose beyond mere self survival.
And so it was, that Cory left his mother’s home a few days later, accompanied by his uncle Eddie. They trotted along in silence for the first couple hours. Eddie in the lead, Cory hot on his heels. Every now and then Eddie would slow to a walk, only to have Cory stumble into his backside and then mumble apologies.
“Cory. Keep your head up. I’m in the lead, so your only job is to keep your head up and your ears and eyes open. No daydreaming. You’re not a tourist. There will be time aplenty for hanging around, but we have a journey ahead of us. And if we are to both get where we’re going safely, I can’t afford to worry about what you are doing or where you are. My job is to watch the way. Your job is to watch where you are going. Simple. OK?”
“OK uncle Eddie. It’s just all so new and beautiful.”
“Relax kid. We’ll have lots of time to go touring later. For now just stay sharp.”
And so they continued, with Cory only a couple more times now stumbling into his uncle. By nightfall they had arrived at uncle Eddie’s lair. It was so well hidden that Cory at first questioned his uncle’s memory.
“Are you sure uncle Eddie? I don’t see any shelter here.”
But Eddie knew exactly where he was. He padded along the river’s edge to a slight dip in the bank, turned left into what seemed from a distance to be just a shadow, and disappeared from Cory’s sight. Cory followed, and found himself inside a spacious lair, hidden behind a high sandbank that was anchored by several blueberry bushes.
“Wow uncle Eddie! This is cool!”
“Yes it actually is. The breeze comes off the river and keeps it nice and cool inside.” he laughed. “But i know what you mean. It is pretty ‘cool’ too. It’s well hidden. It’s far from the usual places you’d find other coyotes which means it is far from the wolves too. “
And that segued into a discussion, well mostly presentation, about the importance of staying smart and keeping your wits about you when you were away from your pack. And if you chose to live solo, with no pack to rely on for backup, then it was doubly important to do that and to also plan well.
“Take tonight for example.” said Eddie. “I’m hungry. I’m sure you are just as hungry. We could go out and find some critters, but it is dark outside and we have been on the road for hours. I’m exhausted. You must also be quite tired. So the smart plan would be what?”
Cory did not have to think long about that question. “We rest. Tomorrow is a new day with sunshine.”
And with that, Eddie lay himself down, curled up and was soon asleep. Cory needed no encouragement. He joined his uncle in dreamland.
Over the coming days and weeks Eddie showed Cory several tricks and techniques of hunting and surviving on his own. One of the most important was to make a plan every morning before going out to hunt. Know how long a certain route is going to take and leave enough time to get back to your safe lair before nightfall. If your hunt is not going as well as you had hoped, then abandon it and make certain you are back home before night. Tomorrow brings another opportunity. You can survive a night on an empty stomach but it is not likely you will survive in a strange place with no shelter.
Keep your wits about you, plan well and you can live a long and fruitful life.

Read Full Post »