January 20th, 2021

Having been away from my computer yesterday, I’m especially happy to be here, at the keyboard this morning. It’s Inauguration Day in the USA, and I am taking that in from Hudson, which once was the countryside but is now more and more a part of the Montreal diaspora.

The edges of the sky, that part of it that serves as background to the snow-laden trees and houses I can see from where I’m sitting, are an inimitable white suffused with the palest pink, but look up, and there you see a bright blue sky. It is one of the ways winter can be luminous and vibrant.

Within this setting, I’ve been spoiled, as I woke up to a bunch of thoughts and greetings on Messenger, including the note from my friend Louise with her daily quote selection.
But before reading hers, another friend of mine, Gail, who was my neighbour for thirty some odd years, sent me this passage:


Thoughts may be agitated, feelings distressed, the body in pain, and the world troubled, but pure knowing, being aware or awareness itself is never perturbed by anything that occurs in experience. Thus its nature is peace itself.”

The last time Gail was allowed to come and visit me (COVID has taken so much away from us, hasn’t it?), we had a long and peaceful conversation about awareness and being “aware”, and what that means…And I think I made several giant steps that day–onto a new path. As the weeks and months go by, I realize that I have been living as though in a countdown; any one of us could (because we’re all mortal), but mine feels shorter than yours, or yours, or his or hers…because of the cancer cells that my own body produced and which, since their discovery, has caused my life to revolve around wiping them out, or failing that, shrinking them.

But on that day, as Gail spoke of both suffering and peace, something changed in me.

And that’s what struck me this morning as I read Louise’s quote, which she introduced this way:

Pour aujourd’hui, une pensée qui traduit l’importance des gens qui partagent notre vie à un moment ou un autre. (LC)


Chaque personne qui passe dans notre vie est unique. Elle laisse toujours un peu d’elle-même, et s’en va avec un peu de nous. Certains peuvent prendre plus que d’autres, mais aucun ne peut rien laisser. C’est la preuve évidente du fait que deux âmes ne se rencontrent pas par hasard.”

– Jorge Luis Borges

Roughly translated:

Every person who passes through our life is unique. They always leave behind a little bit of themselves, and take with them a little bit of us. Some take more than others, but none can leave nothing. This is proof that the meeting of two souls is never an accident.

How could I fail to see that receiving both of these messages on the same morning was anything but random?

I woke up this morning still thinking of the patients who sat in the same waiting room as me, yesterday, for hours and hours, in the nuclear medicine section. What passed between us?

Merci Louise, merci Gail.

ART: Isabelle Simler, “The Blue Hour’

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