Life-Love #12: When someone correctly guesses something about you

We live in a divided world. Our identities, our feelings, our knowledge – all of these threads weave together to form a mesh around us that serves as a thin and almost imperceptible barrier between ourselves and others. We watch television and read the paper and see people acting in a self-interested or selfish way. …

Life-Love #11: Starting a fire and reading beside it

There are few moments more comfy and cozy than those spent in front of a fire, reading. At my home, I have a gas fireplace, which is pleasant, but not quite the same as a woodfire that crackles and sparks, whose flames dance as though they have a life of their own. Whenever I visit …

Life-Love #9: The rustle of leaves in the breeze

There is nothing like a walk in the woods or down a leafy street when you need to gather your thoughts. There is something mystical about being among tall, leafy trees – you know they have been there, standing guard over the land around them, weathering the changing seasons. They are nature’s musical instruments and …

Life-Love #8: Catching someone’s eye in a passing train

When I was a student at the University of Toronto, I used to take the subway almost every day. Everyone spends a moment of communal anonymity on the subway. It’s a strange transient place. You are on a moving platform, one that always takes the same path, yet while you’re surrounded by others who often …

Life-Love #7: Staying late at the office

I have been a professor at McMaster for nine years now, since 2001. I’ve always really enjoyed my work – discussing ideas with students and working on research problems until I find a resolution. Working late at the office has become a habit for me, and I have endeavoured to make my office a pleasant …

Life-Love #6: Lingering in the aisles at the grocery store

Every since I was a little boy, I loved our family trips to the grocery store. It was the one moment during the week that our family did something together with no anxiety. We were all foodies! My mother and grandmother would sniff and feel the melons, and my father would cross things off “the …

Life-Love #5: A moonlit walk back from swimming

I go swimming late at night at the community pool near my house. It’s often twilight as I walk there, and the grey-orange light of the evening illuminates the houses, giving them soft edges and darkening facades. After an hour and a half of changing, swimming, showering and bundling up, I leave the pool with …

Life-Love #4: Seat warmers on a crisp Autumn morning

What a pleasure to fire up the seat warmers in your car on a Fall morning. You’ve had your coffee and breakfast, put your sweater or coat on and gasp slightly as the crisp, damp Autumn air makes your face tingle. Not cold enough to hurt, like in winter – but just enough to make …

Life-Love #3: Exhausted and happy after practice

I just got in from fencing practice and I feel heavy with exhaustion. It’s a settled feeling – my muscles are sore, my body’s vibrating at a low, steady frequency. I feel alive and settled and satisfied all at the same time. My mind is heavy and fuzzy, and the world seems a little gauzy …