Archive for April, 2010

i told friends i was going with my dad to Jane Goodall’s talk at the Ottawa Writer’s Festival on 12 April to “recharge my inspiration batteries”.   but maybe to “add fuel to my inspiration-candle” would have been more apt.

i had the incredible privilege to meet jane at her Dar es Salaam home when i volunteered for Roots&Shoots (R&S) in 2007.  one of the perks of volunteering with R&S in Dar is you stay in jane’s home.  she’s only there a few days a year since she travels over 300 days of the year to share her message of hope, kindness, and the urgent need for environmental responsibility.

jane was warm and kind, but also razor-sharp, and ready to debate points.  i realized she had a warm heart linked to a sharp mind, and that this was a winning combination to achieve positive change in our world.   we need to care about others to motivate us to act, but we also need to be smart about how we do it, or else we won’t know the best way to help.

i came across this quote from the Buddha today:

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”

and it struck me how the same goes for inspiration.  over the years, jane has met and influenced thousands of people, and lit thousands of inspiration-candles.

but while people like jane inspire us, they then go off to the next talk, the next event.  following them might help keep us inspired, as i feel when i go to jane’s talks.  but they are best at sparking the fire, while it is our friends and family who are best at helping to nurture and sustain our precious flame.

so let’s help keep each other’s candles burning bright!


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“did you see that???” says my conscientious omnivore housemate.

i caught a glimpse of the KFC ad on TV

“was that actually a sandwich with fried chicken breasts replacing the bread?”
“yes. but did you see the filling?”
“uh, no…”
“bacon. and cheese.”
“wow, its the Atkins diet gone horribly wrong.”
“yeah, just get rid of ALL of the carbs!”
“…and see how many animal species you can consume in one bite.”
“julie, this is what the world has come to.”

he shuffles off to counter this turn for the worse by creating some beauty: playing the blues on the piano.

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i offer her food


even El Dorado & honey

she won’t take anything,

slight tick of her head like a gentle no

cathy resting on the day she died

she is emaciated,

can barely move

i see in her eyes

she has decided.

i will leave the next day,

don’t want her to suffer

try to get the vet assistant to come to kill her, but

he doesn’t come.

* * *

i don’t see her the next day.

i think “she must have gone off on her own to die”

i feel bad i couldn’t give her a gentle death

hope she didn’t suffer.

* * *

stuck at Bina Hill an extra day

we go to a friend’s wedding

when i come back, Gilly’s voice in the dark

“your dog is dead.”

it hurts, but i already knew in my heart, “i thought so.”

” i found the body.”

“where is she?”

“by the tourism office.”

and there is her body, stretched out on her left side

light mist of raindrops on her fur.

* * *

i want to bury her.

find wheelbarrow, struggle with gate

then the surprising weight and difficulty

to get her body into wheelbarrow

i nearly vomit twice from the putrid stench

she probably died the night before

its dark, i’m tired, the ground is too hard

don’t have it in me to bury her

so i find a young tree

lay her out, running, head thrown back

howling to the moon.

i wish i could have done better for her in life and now in death

but it is peaceful

i thank her for coming briefly into my life,

and to know, just before i leave,

that she is beyond pain, hunger, and fear

her timing is impeccable.

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