March 12th, 2021

The pandemic year blanketed our lives, until at times, we’ve felt suffocated by it. The initial reaction to its frightening presence was a proliferation of “don’t worry” messages that appeared everywhere, many government sponsored but of course very quickly, they were repurposed by companies selling something–like masks.

That”s how “TOUT VA BIEN ALLER” (translated: all will be well/everything’s going to be alright), coupled with the image of a rainbow, came to appear on big and small billboards everywhere, and in the windows of homes and schools in Montreal, eventually making its way to a bunch of well-made fabric masks that I ordered online, all carrying a small white tag sewn vertically onto the side of each, with the maker’s brand: BIEN ALLER.

Of course, over time, as the situation worsened, this same message plastered everywhere has lost its punch, and you can’t be blamed for looking at it and and thinking: “Yeah…yeah…yeah…”, maybe with an eye roll thrown in.

But the idea is a good one.
Words resonate. They travel. They’re accessible. You can carry them with you, and you can speak them. Even just to yourself. This is the reason for Aubade’s existence. To make an offering, each day, to others, in the form of a written prayer-like message, which gives the reader an intention, around which, perhaps, to frame a day of living.

Did you know that in medicine, the word intention means: “The healing process of a wound”?

I marvel at the fact that Louise and I came intuitively to the notion of the healing effects of our daily intentions. I hope there have been days when you, too, walked away from this blog page and felt inspired in even the gentlest way…

During the past few days, Louise sent me three quotes. Here they are, in order. The fourth quote is in fact a haiku, written by my friend Gail. She sent it to me on a day she had no reason to believe was different than any other. But it was. Somehow, her words matched up with a yearning in me–they softened the edges of the pain I experience as someone in cancer treatment–the physical, but also the soul pain.


J’impose à l’homme de devenir autre et plus étendu et plus clair et plus généreux et plus fervent, enfin uni à lui-même dans ses aspirations.”

-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry- Citadelle (1948)


“Pour moi, biologiste et écrivain, c’est la même chose.”

-Mia Couto- Le Point, 19 mars 2020


This is actually a song lyric, a 19th century hymn. The words are those of Horatio Spafford, a man I had never heard of and had it not been for Louise, would probably never have…

When peace like a river, attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

-Horatio Spafford (written in 1873)


Gail’s Haiku:

Where is the darkness?

You are the Light of the World

Unborn, Undying

by Gail Richardson


  1. “Aspiration”, Aaron Douglas, 1936, oil on canvas, 152.4 x 152.4 cm (Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)
  2. “Lonely Soul”, Annette
  3. “The Light of the World”, Kiki Smith

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