alpaca socks

March 22, 2020

I was named after two women my parents met during a trip to England in 1960.

History unfolds as I turn the pages of a disintegrating photo album … their life before me.

t i m e s t o o d s t i l l


I had the pleasure of spending time with Janet on her farm outside of London in 1987. I’d graduated from univesity and was exploring the world. It was a student’s backpack life staying in hostels and having an adventure using a Eurail Pass.

I did not get to connect with Joy, I don’t remember why, but I feel that’s the woman or possibly the word I’ve felt most aligned with during my life.


Social distancing or rather physical distancing during the Coronavirus pandemic has hit my heart hard. My one and only son moved to Vancouver last July. I am so proud of him. I spent a week plus with him in October. I would walk with him to his office just talking about anything and everything. It was the best time of the day! In January I celebrated my birthday with him and again, we’d walk and talk. Knowing I could go whenever I wanted was great. I had a trip planned for tomorrow.


This photo was taken when RL was three years old on Long Beach. It is the longest beach of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and spans an extraordinary 16km (10mi) along the west coast of Vancouver Island. Described by locals to be magical, it was more than EXTRAordinary for our young son. He played with the waves like they were a friend. He would hold driftwood and have a conversation with the wind. It was remarkable watching him interact with nature.

t i m e s t o o d s t i l l


The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe or Holocaust Memorial near Brandenburg Gate commemorates the up to six million Jewish victims of the Nazi Holocaust.

Peter Eisenman conceived the winning design consisting of 2711 rectangular blocks of concrete laid out in grid formation, recalling tombstones. The effect is that of inner dislocation in a destabilising maze as the ground is uneven and the blocks vary in height and size. A setting for quiet contemplation.

Last June I walked slowly through the memorial and

t i m e s t o o d s t i l l


There is one common thread in the communication about the pandemic and that’s … we’re all in this together and together we’ll get through it.

Remembering Habitat for Humanity builds I have participated in for the last few years, I know very well, regardless of your skills, you are an integral part of raising the walls and building a home for a family.

Receiving the news that Habitat Canada is suspending all international and domestic Global Village builds for the remainder of May through to the end of June is heart breaking.

Their decision was not taken lightly and is an important measure to protect the health and safety of staff, volunteers, partners and the families we serve from the growing spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). We know that there will be significant impacts to the local Habitats we partner with in Canada and other countries, who rely on volunteers to build and repair homes for people in need of decent housing.


alpaca socks

Today. Right now. In the moment. It’s Sunday. The sky is blue. Birds are singing. Johann Sebastian Bach The Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1 Fugue is playing. I am wearing my alpaca socks.

They were given to me by Denise last summer on our annual backcountry canoe trip. We had finished a portage and as I got into the canoe, I noticed blood flowing from my ankle. I had leeches attached to me. My first time ever and I was kinda freaked out. Once I scraped off the gruesome looking black blood suckers, I searched for bandages. Having a wound at the front of my ankle was not ideal for wading through more rivers and hiking. To keep the bandages in place Denise gave me her soft grey alpaca socks. When in the northern Ontario all supplies are gold and for her to share these socks with me was the best gift.

Wearing these socks remind me of the variety of ways we can give to others.


My severance package is coming to an end. I do not have any forthcoming income. I’m not worried … okay, maybe a little. Regardless there are other ways I can give besides a financial donation.


Philanthropy means literally “love of mankind”. Thus, philanthropy is giving money for a purpose or cause benefiting people who you don’t personally know. The greatest American philanthropists have included Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Andrew Carnegie, and John D. Rockefeller, but tens of millions of us could be considered philanthropists on a much smaller scale.

I think of the Three Ts of Philanthropy a lot. TIME means helping other people, TALENT is sharing, caring and giving and TREASURE means giving to people without asking for something in return.

Now more than ever it is time to give your alpaca socks to someone in need because time is not standing still.

spread joy

over the rainbow

created by robertson mcclure