My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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trees, colour, Chagall

So busy, I’m getting behind here. Busy doing what? Not sure, but time vanishes. I try to imagine what it would be like to be bored and can’t. Not in this life.

Friend Patsy is staying here, looking after a sick friend in the Beach, so when I come home from teaching, I call out, “Honey, I’m home!” and there she is, waiting to have a glass of wine and hear about my day. Very pleasant. The weekend was hot and heavenly – people in shorts in late October! It’s always good when someone from the gorgeous, rainy West Coast sees our city at its best.
On Saturday afternoon, I watched the musical “Camelot” on TCM, because I’d missed it at Stratford and know that W*son loves it a lot. The movie is hilariously Sixties, stunning Vanessa Redgrave as Guinevere right out of Carnaby Street, but what a modern tale, the torment of the triangle.
The movie ended at 7.45; I flew out the door and grabbed a cab to the Berkeley Street Theatre where I walked in to “I send you cadmium red” with two minutes to spare. A very interesting play in two parts united by the haunting music of British composer Gavin Bryers – first a dance between two men, and then an epistolary conversation between artist and critic John Berger and a filmmaker called John Christie, about colour, what it is, what it evokes and means. At one point, when Berger was making an incomprehensible point about blue with Bryer’s wonderful but very modern score in the background, I thought of what my son would make of this evening, he who likes five car crashes and a punch up or nine per ten minutes of film. A conversation with mournful music about colour would not do it for him. But I enjoyed it very much.
There was mention of “Caravaggio’s red”, and I thought of the Caravaggio exhibit I saw this summer in Ottawa; mention of the Chauvet caves, and I remembered the film about Chauvet a few months ago at TIFF. And this great line from Paul Klee: “All art is a memory of our dark origins, whose fragments live in the artist forever.”
Sunday, 11 a.m., a Cabbagetown tree tour, a young woman from the local tree-hugger organization LEAF introducing a crowd of 60 or so to the local trees – a Siberian elm, a ginkgo (which is one of the oldest trees in the world), a London plane tree with fuzzy balls, a linden. She told us that Anne Frank’s tree, the one that sustained her outside the attic window, was a horse chestnut; in all my years of loving Anne, I’ve never known that. The next day, walking through the U of T campus, I recognized a ginkgo, went over and said, Hello, old tree.
And then of course, it being Sunday, I cooked while listening to Tapestry and Eleanor Wachtel. Mr. Choy came over to eat and talk about his big groundbreaking lawsuit and his work – he gave me ten new pages to read – and mine. Bliss.
This morning, “Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde” at the AGO, over a hundred pieces by Chagall, Kandinsky and others brought in from the Pompidou, in Paris. My daughter and I were the guests of friend Ken, who’s a member – Ken, in his late 70’s, wearing snazzy new jeans he bought on sale at Banana Republic, has more joyful energy than most of the teenagers I know. He loves this exhibit, says he’s going to bring a new person once a week until it closes. And he’s right, it’s beautiful – the exuberance and joie de vivre of Chagall with his swooping fish, chickens, violins and women, his lavish colour – and Kandinsky too, my favourite – including a group of pictures I saw at the big Kandinsky exhibit at the Pompidou, that looked like David Milnes. Here they were, in the Canadian gallery where many Milnes live. A rich and lovely exhibit.
Ugh, I’m becoming a namedropper. Ah the Caravaggio, ah yes, the Kandinsky at the Pompidou … oh well. You know that I’m just a humble soul who happens to have gotten around a bit lately.
We sat in the Galleria Italia for a long time, admiring Gehry’s long wooden canoe room with windows and talking about our disastrous mayor. Now it’s dark and raining, so to keep my spirits up, I’ve just eaten a lot of chocolate. It worked.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


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