Perception and Responsibility

Much as I love walking through the Public Gardens, being within its embrace, it is also a pleasure of the heart to simply observe it in its tranquility from the outside. To lay witness to its Being, its breathing, before human footfall adds its syncopation.

It was especially nice this morning while I continued reflecting on a concert I attended yesterday at the Anglican cathedral down the street.

I often find myself reaching for pen and paper while listening to choir concerts there. The images pour forth from the tapestry of notes and taking up a notebook allows me to receive them and make room/find room for the fullness.

I am not where I usually sit here—forward and to the left today rather than centre-back. Interesting to notice the shift in acoustics because of this—the clapping to welcome the choir began under the arch over my left shoulder and radiated out from there.

Two sopranos, singing with a clarity that is finest, purest light…and in comes the alto, softening the edges and gently rounding the sound…

Oh, Mozart’s Laudate Dominum is held together by ethereal breath, nothing more, except perhaps starlight…Sigh…music to call one heavenward, for sure…It rises all together and simply expands to fill the space…it is so organic, so full of deepest joy, sound, life…Much of this music seems so organic, like the forces holding the universe in relationship…holding atoms in their structure and design…and there are so many layers…like cogs, gears, moving together and independently both, in a cosmic organism, an organic machine or system…stunning. I have no doubt that the structures of music and of creation as a whole are of a piece. Simply amazing.

This was at the end of a day that began with going to an interfaith service at Saint Andrew’s United Church down the street. As a cap on the week for climate action, St. Andrew’s had invited Imam Abdallah Yousri of Ummah Mosque to speak so that together we might move toward hopeful action on behalf of the planet. His examples from the teachings of the Islamic prophet Muhammad moved me in their universality, their grounding in a uniting truth and call.

What I recall now is this:

If the final hour is upon us and we have a palm shoot in our hands, plant the palm shoot.


There is a ship with people on the upper and the lower deck. The people on the lower deck have to come up to get their water and some get tired of doing this. They decide—we will simply take the easy way and drill a hole to get to the water. If you know this is going to happen and you say nothing, you are not the only one who will die. The whole ship will go down. If you know this and say something to stop it, you are not the only one who will live. The ship will be saved.

The calls to hope, to right action, to beauty, responsibility…these are a part of that ethereal breath holding, freeing, the choir notes yesterday. They are a part of the undisturbed dew on the dawn cool paths and grasses in the Public Gardens.

They are binding and they are loosing, and they are of and for Life in right relationship.

And while I can not hold on to them, like I can not hold on to a molecule or a shaft of light, I can perceive them, work with them, share them, sense them, strive to discover and make them manifest, in the service of Creation.

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