1. Mary Lou van Schaik

    Praise the loaf

    Six weeks into the COVID-19 lockdown and we’re all baking sourdough bread. What’s with this? I realize that bread is the ultimate comfort food, that it engages all the senses, that there’s nothing like the smell and taste of homemade bread just out of the oven. But why sourdough? Why...
  2. Mary Lou van Schaik

    All together in a sudden strangeness

    For some time now, I’ve been easing into a slower pace, nourishing “my hermit soul” through contemplation and solitude. I never imagined that hermiting would suddenly become the norm: millions upon millions around the world hunkered down, sheltering in place. In this extraordinary moment in human history, we are finally...
  3. Mary Lou van Schaik

    The peace of snow

    Time for a walk! So urged my body. Hauling myself off the couch, I donned coat, boots, hat and mitts, and stepped outside into the cold fresh air. Pellet-like rain was falling, undecided whether or not to turn to snow. Impulse led me to walk up an old tarred trail...
  4. Mary Lou van Schaik

    Content to be human and to shine

    In my small village, I am known as the local Poetry Troubadour, the person who speaks poems by heart. A curious thing happens when I speak poems, whether to one person or 100. All performance nerves vanish, and the poems flow through me without effort or self-consciousness. Even mistakes –...
  5. Mary Lou van Schaik

    Beauty in waiting

    “D’you want to see my latest project?” my friend Beate asked me. She walked over to a small table in a corner of the room. On it stood a mesh cage, about 3 feet tall and 2 feet deep with a long zippered opening on one of the side panels....
  6. Mary Lou van Schaik

    Live in truth with who I am

    I’ve just returned from my second week-long retreat on the subject of death. That may sound morbid; it was anything but. (I wrote about the first one in an earlier post, What is left when you let go?) Once again, masterfully led by my spiritual teacher Kim Rosen, we examined...
  7. Mary Lou van Schaik

    Nest spotting

    It was one of the first warm days after a bitterly cold and seemingly endless winter. The sun shone brightly, its rays calling me outside. Sitting at my desk, willing myself to work, I tried to resist. Honestly. But the sun’s magnetic pull was too strong. Surely I could still...
  8. Mary Lou van Schaik

    Heeding the call

    Global alarm bells sound urgently. Everywhere people concerned about climate change are calling for immediate, radical action. In these times, how best to respond and serve with integrity? I have been tussling mightily with this question, waking up at night thinking about it. A good friend of mine revels in...
  9. Mary Lou van Schaik

    Views in winter

    It’s been a winter of big storms, big snow, big drifts. The snowbanks on either side of our country road slope steeply upward six feet or more, reminding me of the snowbanks my siblings and I used to climb on winter mornings while we waited for the yellow school bus...