I am a lover of beautiful visual patterns and borders. My Grandmother’s children’s books were illustrated with warmth and affection, the images surrounded by ever varying and beautiful borders. To this day my eyes will rest contented on such an image, and always stop to investigate an interesting border.

So, it is little wonder that patterns and borders will appear in my dreams. They take many forms. Sometimes I dream of visual patterns, landscape details, well formed game pieces, even things like clusters of cherries hanging full and red on trees. Sometimes I dream of conceptual patterns, numbers, personality traits, events. I seldom remember my dreams, and only know that they exist when I am awakened as they are occurring.

Both Attila and I had a restless night last night, waking frequently. My dreams were of patterns disturbed, in need of care and attention. The sudden and dramatic return of winter may have been the cause of our interrupted night’s sleep, who knows. It will all be forgotten soon enough.

The sun is sneaking into the house through the blinds this morning. It is cold out there, but if the weather people are correct, the temperature will rise to above freezing today. I hope it does! Under such conditions in March the sun is strong enough to melt snow.

This week we are celebrating our ninth wedding anniversary. This spring we will celebrate having lived together for twenty years. Time slips quietly along, flowing towards the place where we began our journey, the unknown where we all came from, and where we are all going.

Attila and I have a wonderful life, in our time and place. We count ourselves lucky. Our small complaints are just that, small complaints. Even cabin fever is a minor ailment when put into the context of the wider world.

We are grateful for what we are experiencing in our lives right now. It is precious. Our vision of the world includes an active acknowledgement of the existence of evil. “Lest we forget” is a part of our everyday life. We do not forget. We do not obsess. We do not hate. We judge only the acting out of the small or mean of spirit; and even then we are conscious that people need to maintain their personal dignity to grow. When it is appropriate to remember, to acknowledge, and honour what is horrendous in the world, we remember, acknowledge and honour it, in our own way. Today I am thinking of others, and how their experiences fit into the world as I know it.

I read this article about someone, Sonia Reich, who witnessed the worst our species has to offer the world, with great interest. The article deals with the issue of people who have experienced extremely traumatic events, and how it affects their lives. The article is based on an extreme example, extreme in several ways. The trauma was extreme in that it was jarringly horrendous, life threatening, people believed they might die at any moment, and it was true, they might have, most did. The trauma was also extreme in another sense, it was extreme in that it was systemic, widespread, it encompassed their known universe and was supported by the social institutions under which they lived. It was extreme also in the way that seemingly “good” people pretended that the traumatic events were not happening at the time, a stance that was maintained after the events and threats to personal safety were long past. Another way that this was extreme is in the fact that the survivors escaped to a world where almost all traces of the experience disappeared from their day-to-day lives. They came out of the experience to exist in a world that did not have the respect, tolerance, or patience to integrate what the traumatized people had seen and known into their lives. Their day-to-day lives did not offer any real opportunities for “healing,” the “safe” environment offered no way to acknowledge and honour the existence of human depravity. They spent the remainder of their lives “protecting” their families from their experiences, from themselves. They carried our collective burden.

What strikes me as salient is that these individuals were forced to face overwhelming social issues as their own issues; when in reality the issues were and are systemic, and that need to be addressed by our whole society. These individuals bear the burden of our collective denial.

Of course, there are exceptions. There are movies and books and societies that take up these issues and bring them to our attention. That seems right and proper. But it isn’t enough, not nearly enough. What we need is to demonstrate, in our day-to-day lives, compassion, tolerance and respect for other people’s experiences. We need to leave behind our collective denial and openly listen to, accept, and integrate reality into our social dealings, on a day-to-day basis.

The day beckons! The tire rim for the car will be repaired today. I will run a few errands in the town while I am there. The sunshine will bring joy with it. I will respond appropriately!

Worldly Distractions


-12 °C
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -11.8°C
Dewpoint: -14.9°C
Humidity: 78 %
Wind: NW 15 km/h
Wind Chill: -19


“The highest result of education is tolerance.”
Helen Keller
1880 – 1968

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Sarah (Rhubarb)

Our Sunday children’s story was about the power of one word. The children, always eager to guess the right answer, volunteered the word “love” right away. But as the story unfolded, it turned out that the powerful word was “kindness”. Even when you can’t love somebody, you can be kind to them. Being kind to each other is always possible. I love words the way you love patterns…and, yes, I dream of them in all their beauty and terror, though I can’t remember the specifics of the dreams.


That was a very interesting article. Happy anniversary to you both! Words, patterns, patterns of words; yes, determining what’s the motivating factor may reveal the omissions.