Mythos & Marginalia

life notes; flaws and all

j.g. lewis

original content and images ©j.g. lewis

a daily breath...

A thought du jour, my daily breath includes collected and conceived observations, questions of life, fortune cookie philosophies, reminders, messages of peace and simplicity, unsolicited advice, inspirations, quotes and words that got me thinking. They may get you thinking too . . .

look forward

The Tulips at St. James Park have run their course, the bulbs dug up and stored away until planting this fall.
    Right now it is just dirt, but I can feel potential.
    In the coming days, gardeners will fill the plant beds with a fresh crop of flowers to see us through the summer. I am anticipating beautiful things.
    Over the past couple of years, St. James Park has become a regular part of my landscape. It began during the COVID lockdown when I found myself passing through the park on my daily walks around downtown Toronto. It was more than a habit.
    The park became an oasis in my day; comfort within the concrete of the city. The shade of the magnificent trees always gave me a reason to stop.
    Sometimes I would sketch the flowers and trees, write a poem when the muse called out, or simply spend time with my journal or my camera.
    Some days I would just sit, as I did yesterday and the day before. Some days you only have to listen or look around.
    Yesterday, I noticed the water has been turned on in the bird bath after a two-year absence. It’s not quite a fountain but I know I’ll find myself, at some point, wasting time with my camera and capturing birds as they refresh themselves in the heat of the day.
    I look forward to it; time well-wasted is good for the soul. It’s always nice to have a place where there is the potential to do just that.

06/02/2023                                                                                                                   j.g.l.


We live in a world of what ifs.
What if we did something else,
or what if we weren’t there (as
sometimes we shouldn’t be
when it comes down to the
wrong place at the right time).
What if it never happened?
What if we had responded
differently or if we had taken
the advice we were told?
Would we have been so bold?

05/30/2023                                                                                        j.g.l.


As it is, not
as we wish it to be.

You have days
to think back on,

and you do…

05/25/2023                                                                                           j.g.l.

I'm like a pencil;
sometimes sharp,
most days
other times
dull or
Still I write.

j.g. lewis
is a writer/photographer in Toronto.

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Capturing The Essence

Posted on May 5, 2021 by j.g.lewis Leave a comment

I took time yesterday, during my morning walk, to stop in the park and sketch the tulips.
With this latent spring, I’ve been waiting for weeks — perhaps all winter — for some colour after these devastatingly long months.

One of my lifetime joys (and we should all keep a list) is seeing tulips in the spring.
It’s not simply a sign that I have survived anther winter; tulips are my favorite flower.
Tulips remind me of my Mom. She loved springtime.

With the cooler temperatures of late, despite a decent offering of rain, the tulips have not been abundant in the park this year. Yes, there have been a few brave souls who have managed to push through the dirt, but it’s not the same as it has been in this particular park. I’ve been checking daily, on my walks, waiting for a chance to spend some time with my camera.

The longer I waited, the more disappointed I became. While even the leaves are greening on the magnificent trees, that thick crowd of tulips has yet to appear.

Yesterday, I decided I had waited long enough. I questioned myself. Why was I waiting for something specific to appear (perhaps to match an image in my mind) when I could simply capture what was there?

I was letting expectation get in the way of my intentions.

Walking through the park, I settled on a bench with my morning coffee (easily the best kind of coffee) and found a couple of red tulips emerging from the greenery; too few to call them a cluster, but just enough to inspire some creativity.

My camera wasn’t with me, so I chose instead to make use of the small sketchbook in my packsack, and I’m never without a pencil. I sat and sketched.

I overlooked the boastful daffodils — which have managed for a while to show off their brilliant yellow (though less than usual) — but I did not ignore their persistence, punctuality and commitment to schedule. Daffodils, in a few shades, appear with consistency, as they always have, and then give way to stronger, hardier flowers. Quietly, they go about their work.

Not like tulips.

Tulips put on a dramatic show, in any stage, as they evolve from straight stems with tight bulbs of slight colour. They offer style and texture as they begin to blossom, elegantly twisting and turning in their own characteristic ways, first reaching up, then stretching out with wild abandon, following the sunlight or lack thereof.

As tulips open up, they share the colour of their inner secrets, offer a smile over a period of about a week before bowing and slowly shedding their petals.

Tulips, through their entire life-cycle, put forth uncommon beauty and dignity. They give their lives to offer us brightness, a sense of hope and possibility. They perish, leaving us waiting for the next year. Next spring.

Tulips leave us something to remember.

I took 10 or 20 minutes yesterday (I actually lost track of time) following the muse of the moment. Without my camera I could not record the perfection of the flowers, but instead captured the essence of what they reveal (to me anyway).

I produced a series of small sketches, a continuation of a practice I adopted last August that I call ‘mindful, non-judgmental art’. Usually I set myself up with some watercolour paints and create a series of small masterpieces of one subject or another. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Yesterday I had no paints and brushes, as I had no camera, but I still managed to create. You do what you do with what you have. I wasn’t worried about the results, or the process, but simply the feeling of the flow.

Sometimes you have to stop and sketch the flowers. I recommend it to anyone. Take a little time out of your day to capture the life that is there.

Yes, especially these days, it seems more difficult as the workplace and home-life have folded into one. Finding that spare half-hour for a mid-day walk, let alone 10 minutes to randomly sketch, is difficult. You’ve got back-to-back ZOOM meetings through the afternoon, and have been struggling to complete that multi-page terms of reference document for, what, a week? Nine days?

What’s another 20 minutes?

Take that time. For. Your. Self. Grab a notebook and pencil and head to a nearby park. Sit on the steps in your own backyard. Sketch out the flowers that are there, or the trees, or that brick wall you pass by or stare at every day. Sketch. Something.

Take the time to mindfully create.

It will do you good.

It might even help clear your mind enough to complete that ugly terms of reference document. You’ll breathe easier knowing you took a little time to specifically do what you wanted to do. Mindfully.

© 2021 j.g. lewis

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