Tag Archives: wisdom

Wisdom 101

The wisest statement ever uttered is: “I don’t know”. It implies a humility and a willingness to learn. We are not born wise; we do not take classes that teach us to be wise. Wisdom is formed through experiences, through hardships, and through heartache. It’s called life. It’s something to be embraced and accepted. Some of the least formally educated people are the wisest. And vice versa.  Indeed, some of the wisest statements have come from children. From their innocence. There is no template for wisdom. We should take note.

Knowledge is not linear.  Each item we learn about opens up an avenue to another which opens up an avenue to another and before you know it you have a spiderweb. Spiderwebs with tendrils that meander through our entire lives and connect us with others. The willingness to explore those spiderwebs is what, in part, allows our wisdom to grow. The accumulation of information forms a basis upon which we can flourish. And wisdom is not tangible. You cannot look at a person and say: “Well, they are wise”. Wisdom is ephemeral, gossamer like and so very important to our lives. Seeking wisdom should always be paramount. But it also does not mean that everything we say or think is wise. We can show exceptional wisdom one moment and incredible stupidity the next. But part of being wise is accepting the fact that we are not always. Bit of a conundrum, I think.

We seem to think differently these days. It’s like our focus has changed from learning information to gaining entertainment.  The ultimate goal is not one of wisdom but of notoriety.I remember when selfies were self-congratulatory pats on your own back for a job well done. Now it’s a way to document the world around you without actually engaging because you are looking through your camera phone. Looking at your phone. I remember when phones had cords so that you were forced to stay in one place and pay attention to the conversation or conversely it was used as a vehicle for dispatching an errant husband.   Oops.

I don’t think our future is hopeless but I wonder if it is helpless to stop the changes that are barrelling through. I hope we come to our senses and learn that wisdom is achievable if we have a willingness. Future be damned, it will get here one day.

Recipe for Life

A dash of humour,

Is a spice I adore.

Curiosity of course,

Of that I want more.


Compassion and tolerance,

Are vital I trust.

To properly season,

This stew we discussed.


You’re not done yet,

There is still more to learn.

Keep stirring I pray,

And don’t let it burn!


Next add a pinch,

No more and no less.

Confidence is needed,

To this I confess.


Kindness goes in,

And generosity too.

We always need manners,

And not just a few!


Honour and honesty,

Are herbs for this pot.

Perhaps some wisdom,

I’m not asking a lot.


Next sprinkle the top,

With a generous amount.

A smile is important,

On that you can count.


Now let it simmer,

And cook all the way.

The ingredients must meld,

For many a day.


Too many cooks,

Can spoil a good broth.

So just let it bubble,

Away from the cloth.


The day will come soon,

When the recipe is done.

And serving the stew,

Is when life has begun.


A Sign of the Times?

As those of you who follow my blog regularly know, it has been bloody hot where I am. So much so that I have pretty much stayed inside my apartment within touching distance of the air conditioner. Well on Sunday that trend broke. So, I decided to do one of my favourite pastimes and go down to the lake to watch the birds.

There has been some recent flooding so my favourite spot was out of bounds. No worries. I chose another and sat back to watch. I saw ducks playing in the water and I saw a big beautiful swan preening within close proximity to those ducks. Everyone seemed to be getting along.

And then . . . an ear shattering sound erupted from several feet behind me. It was a woman who had perhaps never seen a Swan before. The air around me shattered as she burst forth to the edge of the water with camera tightly gripped in her hand or perhaps it was a phone. Evidently the Swan was not facing in the appropriate direction so she proceeded to stage direct this beautiful wild creature. ‘SWAN! HEY SWAN! LOOK THIS WAY!”

Now a few minutes prior to this incident it was quiet. I could hear people in boats a few hundred meters away quietly speaking to one another. I could hear the water lapping on the shore as paddle boats went by. The gentle swish of the canoes as they made their way to open water. It was an idyllic setting. And then she exploded on to the scene.

The Swan looked. As did the ducks, the people across the bay, the paddle boaters and I’m pretty sure most of my small town were jolted out of their reverie and looked. She screamed “I GOT IT!” Whirled around and left. That’s it. She didn’t see the beauty; she saw an acquisition. She had her picture and I doubt she noticed anything else that was going on around her.

A few minutes later a duck with nine or 10 ducklings in tow came to within a few feet of me. These ducklings were so young they didn’t have their flight wings yet. Adorable little bundles of down. There were some sandbags placed to, I guess, stop the flooding and they hopped up on to them and nestle down for a nap. It was an incredible sight!

Every now and then one would stretch its little wings or raise its bum and deftly poop to a distance. Mom kept an eye on me but I didn’t move. I didn’t want to disturb them. After about 15 or 20 minutes, mom and most of the ducklings moved on. Three them sat and watched me for another five minutes. Then one of them raised his little head and the three of them hopped into the water to follow after mom and the rest. I felt blessed to have been a witness.

I feel sorry for that woman. Those ducks would never have approached amid her loud observations of her surroundings. And I’ll bet she wouldn’t see anything anyway. She was too concerned, too focused, on one trophy. She’s going to miss the world. She will have proof of being here but no memory of the experience. Perhaps that is a sign of the times. Life will become a digitized trophy in a .com file somewhere.

Make it stop Mama!


When I was a child I had an annoying habit of making sounds. Nonsensical noises came out of my mouth. I would hum, make clicking sounds or pop, pop, pop. I would tap walls as I walked by. It drove my mother mad. Figuratively not literally!

Often I would hear my mother say “If you keep pursing your lips like that they may stay!” The idea of going around with my lips in the kissing formation was a sobering thought. But it was hard to stop. When friends at school started turning around at my odd noises, I pretty well suspended that portion of my higher education. The teachers never knew where the sounds came from. I wasn’t about to tell!

Move ahead a few decades. I have never had a singing voice. Speaking or sound effects, yes. That I can do. I joined the choir in high school but when it was decided that everyone should have a chance to shine by singing a solo, I quit. I love to sing but not where anyone could hear me! I have spent many great hours singing in my car with the windows up. I would sing with wild abandon, when I was alone.

Move ahead a few decades. No longer driving a car, I no longer sing. But I also find I have a lower tolerance for sound. And as quiet as my apartment may be, it ain’t silent! As I sit at my computer I can hear a couple of clocks ticking, I can hear the fans moving quietly blowing cool air through my apartment. My refrigerator works through the cycle and it starts to hum for a few seconds. It’s not really aggravating, it’s just there, like a white noise.

Now I’m starting to listen carefully. I can hear the cars go by on the street below my window. I can hear people talking, or perhaps it’s one person talking on phone. I can hear the wind whistling through the few trees that are close by. I like that sound. If I’m very quiet I can hear a faint roar from the highway that is not too far away. Occasionally I can hear a train. I love trains. Depending on the time of day the birds can be quite active down here. In the morning it’s the songbirds. Midafternoon, the gulls.   They are quite noisy! Oh, there it is: the ubiquitous beep, beep, beep, a truck backing up. I hate that!

These are sounds from a first world country. There is affluence here and people are happy (mostly).   I hear car alarms and laughter, I hear shouting and cell phone rings. I don’t hear gunfire or tsunamis. I don’t hear angry protests or children crying from fear and hunger. I wonder if people who are deaf actually experience real silence. I wonder what it would be like to experience that. I wonder about a lot of things. Sometimes it’s quite scary!