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Ode to Desolation, Hitting the Reset Button Over Scotland and Teaching the Children

Ode to Desolation, Hitting the Reset Button Over Scotland and Teaching the Children

Good Morning from Prince Edward Island,

What a beautiful sunrise this morning. 

I love the mornings. Time is moving towards the world waking up to start the day with rituals and habits. 

Stretches, pushups and a good morning prayer for me, thanks, then shuffle out to the sink and put the kettle on. 

“I remember one morning getting up at dawn. There was such a sense of possibility. You know, that feeling. And I…I remember thinking to myself: So this is the beginning of happiness, this is where it starts...It was happiness. It was the moment, right then.” ― The Hours (a screenplay by David Hare) 

There is something special about the quiet at the beginning of the day that makes me happy.  

After watching this little film by Lindsey Hagen, I can only imagine what it would be like in the morning as a forest ranger. 

Ode to Desolation shares the story of Jim Henterly, a naturalist, illustrator and fire lookout as he contemplates the dwindling days of Fire Lookouts in North America.

As responsible as Jim is to his work, his pace certainly is different from the race that many of us find ourselves. I am not sure what COVID has done for you, but it certainly feels like my internal drive has hit a reset button, and everything is under review. 

Shane Ferris of the Knowledge Project says it well, “What matters has sharply come into focus. Family matters. Love matters. Kindness matters. Health matters. Generosity matters. People matter. Community matters. The rest is just noise.

Aside from physical distancing, the biggest thing you can right now is choose to see the best in each other. Be kind. Be patient. Be tolerant. Be quick to help out in any way you can. Be forgiving when you would otherwise be upset. See things through the eyes of others and try to understand where they are coming from. Seek out opportunities for generosity. Reconnect with your community. Reconnect with yourself. Reconnect with your priorities. Live them.” 

After having a few conversations with people this summer, I found that a lot of people are in the contemplation phase of life and reevaluating their current status relating to, friends and career. 

There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence to which the idealist most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.

~ Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

A few blogs back, I had mentioned a real desire to see a film called The Booksellers. YouTube trailer below.  If you are at all interested, CBC Gem has made the full movie available. I share the link below the trailer. 

I am not sure if our US cousins can watch this because of cross border viewing restrictions or not. I hope you can. Watch the entire film here. 

Last week I wrote of my completing 8 out of the 20 books I hope to finish in 2020 and was starting number 9—The Library Book by Susan Orlean. 

What a writer! She paints the page so vividly with words. I am undoubtedly enjoying this book. Susan has been a staff writer at the New Yorker since 1992 and has written seven books, including The Orchid Thief. If you watched the film above, you would have seen her being interviewed about her archives. 

So far, I love these two quotes from the book.

  • The library is a gathering pool of narratives and of the people who come to find them. It is where we glimpse immortality; in the library, we can live forever. ~ Susan Orlean, The Library Book
  • In truth, a library is as much a portal as it a place-it is a transit point, a passage. ~ Susan Orlean, The Library Book 

Where ever we travel, we do our best to visit the local library to hang out, sit and read for a while—breath in the sites and the sounds of the locale. 

Below is a photo of a library I took last September at the Melk Abbey in Austria. Not sure who the folks are. (I didn’t see the sign, NO PHOTOS, or at least I don’t remember seeing it until it was too late. Honest.)


A quote I am thinking about today.  

All that you touch

You Change.

All that you Change

Changes you.

The only lasting truth

Is Change.

- Octavia E. Butler

Last week, any reader who was interested in receiving a sample of our 2020 PEI Organic Breakfast to let me know in the comment section and from there choose three readers’ names from a hat. I also mentioned that I would also send #8 book, See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love by Valerie Kaur to one reader. 

Drum Roll, please…

And the “Fortunate Ones Are:”

Susan W
Jennifer Reschke


Bonus draw for another tea goes to Jilian. 

Winner of the Book + Tea

Brenda Saluk 

Those whose names were drawn, please email me by replying to the newsletter. Send me your complete names and addresses, and it will be sent to you next week. Congratulations, and thank you for throwing your name in the “hat.” (even if it was a bowl, lol)

Do you time to take a relaxing trip to Scotland with me today? I listened to music in the background while writing this morning. High on my life’s bucket list is the train ride revealed at the 1:35 minute mark in the film. 

I wish everyone a wonderful weekend and a great week next week. 

Take care of each other. 

With love from Prince Edward Island

Bruce & Mille


My kids were fighting over their toys. I warned them if they kept it up, I would take the toys away. They didn’t stop, so I took them away to teach them a lesson.

Afterwards, they were still fighting. I said, “That’s it!” and gave them their toys back.

Lesson learned.

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Wendy Barker - August 29, 2020

Thanks for this wonderful way to start my day. My husband and I made our first ever trip to Scotland last May. We only visited a small part near Highlands National Park but that experience and now seeing this video makes me long to see more. Hopefully when it is safe to travel again we will return. Also thanks for the tip about The Booksellers on CBC Gem.

Elizabeth Landry - August 29, 2020

It is a cool 12°C and rainy Saturday in Ottawa, our nation’s capitol this morning.
Your blog was the perfect wakeup inspiration to embrace the day.
So much to do. So much I may or may not do.
I might just sit and take in Mother Nature’s inspiration of the day instead.

Tomorrow brings back the sunshine. A road trip and picnic is in mind.
But for today… it will be raindrops!
I think it will be my Serenity Day of nothingness!

Tati - August 29, 2020

As always a deep thank you for an inspiring post!

Jean Weiss - August 29, 2020

I loved the film Flying over Scotland. My husband and I were there last September. It seems like a lifetime since then. Such a beautiful country! Hopefully, we will return there as well as PEI next year. Best wishes to everyone ❤

Miles Fujiwara - August 29, 2020

Hello Bruce!
Hope you and yours are doing well!
Wanted to thank you for your blog this morning as it was a wonderful read (as always!) and to confirm that your US cousins indeed cannot view The Booksellers through the hyperlink provided. No worries though… you piqued my curiosity that I’ll view it through another means!
Best regards

Kim Wilson - August 29, 2020

Thank you so much for the thoughts and ideas that you share. The train ride over the Glenfinnan viaduct was the highlight of one of our trips to Scotland a few years ago. It was truly a glorious experience!

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