Welcome to
Transactions with Beauty.
Thanks for being here.
I hope that this is a space that inspires you to add something beautiful to the world. I truly believe that 
you are required to make something beautiful.

– Shawna



Calm in the Mountains

Calm in the Mountains

Last week we went to the mountains for a couple of days and oh, it was quiet and calm and profoundly beautiful. 

We were lucky to go before the weekend crowds, and before the prices of high season kicked in. All day there it rained, and it continued to rain when we arrived. Jasper is a four hour drive, give or take, from Edmonton so we had lots of time when we got there to wander around. We had umbrellas, and wore our toques. We spent some time in our room looking out the window and the view just so happened to be amazing. 


That Sanity Be Kept

by Dylan Thomas

That sanity be kept I sit at open windows,
Regard the sky, make unobtrusive comment on the moon,
Sit at open windows in my shirt,
And let the traffic pass, the signals shine,
The engines run, the brass bands keep in tune,
For sanity must be preserved

Thinking of death, I sit and watch the park
Where children play in all their innocence,
And matrons on the littered grass
Absorb the daily sun.

The sweet suburban music from a hundred lawns
Comes softly to my ears. The English mowers mow and mow.

I mark the couples walking arm in arm,

Observe their smiles,

Sweet invitations and inventions,

See them lend love illustration
By gesture and grimace,
I watch them curiously, detect beneath the laughs
What stands for grief, a vague bewilderment
At things not turning right.

I sit at open windows in my shirt,
Observe, like some Jehova of the west
What passes by, that sanity be kept.


Pyramid Lake Resort

This was the view (above) from our second story balcony at Pyramid Lake Resort and it was amazing to see the mountains magically appear that next morning after they’d been covered in mist all the first day. In this next photo you can see glimpses of where we stayed, in the newer buildings, second row. 

Pyramid Lake Resort

After spending the day in the rain, the poem, Strong in the Rain, popped into my head. So here it is next. 

Pyramid Lake with canoes

Strong in the Rain

by Kenji Miyazawa
translation by Roger Pulvers

Strong in the rain
Strong in the wind
Strong against the summer heat and snow
He is healthy and robust
Free from desire
He never loses his temper
Nor the quiet smile on his lips
He eats four go of unpolished rice
Miso and a few vegetables a day
He does not consider himself
In whatever occurs
His understanding
Comes from observation and experience
And he never loses sight of things
He lives in a little thatched-roof hut
In a field in the shadows of a pine tree grove
If there is a sick child in the east
He goes there to nurse the child
If there’s a tired mother in the west
He goes to her and carries her sheaves
If someone is near death in the south
He goes and says, ‘Don’t be afraid’
If there are strife and lawsuits in the north
He demands that the people put an end to their pettiness
He weeps at the time of drought
He plods about at a loss during the cold summer
Everybody calls him Blockhead
No one sings his praises
Or takes him to heart

That is the sort of person
I want to be


– from Soul Food

Pyramid Lake morning

And of course, it’s wonderful to praise the rain, and then find that the next morning is calm and misty. There is so much to praise.


Praise the Rain

by Joy Harjo

Praise the rain, the seagull dive
the curl of plant, the raven talk –
Praise the hurt, the house slack
The stand of trees, the dignity –
Praise the dark, the moon cradle
The sky fall, the bear sleep –
Praise the mist, the warrior name
the earth eclipse, the fired leap –
Praise the backwards, upward sky
The baby cry, the spirit food –
Praise canoe, the fish rush
The hole for frog, the upside-down –
Praise the day, the cloud cup
The mind flat, forget it all –

Praise crazy. Praise sad.
Praise the path on which we're led.
Praise the roads on earth and water.
Praise the eater and the eaten.
Praise beginnings; praise the end.
Praise the song and praise the singer.

Praise the rain; it brings more rain.
Praise the rain; it brings more rain.


– from Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings

Pyramid Lake reflection

We praised the reflections in the still lake. 

Pyramid Lake and green canoe

We praised the men working on the dock who then hopped into a green canoe and paddled away. 

Mountain reflection, Pyramid Lake

We praised the mountain and the glorious reflection of the mountain. 

heart in a mountain lake

We praised found hearts, submerged near the lake shore. 

mountain reflection pyramid lake

The mountains were good in the rain, and there was calm in the mountains. We praised it all and came home feeling a little more centred, a little more quiet and calm. It was good. 

On Book Launches and Flowering

On Book Launches and Flowering

Sensible Advice

Sensible Advice