My cat, Festivus, who is teaching me the importance of taking good, long naps, taking time to pamper oneself, and maintaining an aloof detachment from the minor upsets of life.
My grade eleven chemistry teacher, who, even though he was teaching a subject that I had no aptitude for, impressed upon me the excitement of discovery. He also helped lead me to the understanding that the world around me is filled with excitement, complexity, and a mysterious organizing principal for which we as humans have many different names.
My mother, who taught me (among so many other things) to relish the relationships in my life.
My father, who taught me that integrity is everything, but being able to spin a good yarn is not half bad either.
My friend Dave, who has taught me the importance of knowing where to find some wonderful small treasures, such as a great Montreal-style smoked meat sandwich in the middle of nowhere.
My puppy dog, Mini, who is continually reminding me to live life with a sense of vital excitement and discovery, and to enjoy all of the physical sensations that we are blessed with.
My friend Jacquie, who teaches me the power of choosing, paying attention to details, and standing up for myself when necessary.
My husband, Bill, who teaches me (again, among so many other things) the power of laughter when life seems overwhelming. And that you should not be afraid to sing in public, even when you can’t carry a tune.
My favourite writers, such as Jane Austen, John Irving, Tom Robbins, Douglas Coupland, Alice Munro, and Gail Anderson-Dargatz, who have taught me to relish the beauty and power of language.
My friend Linda, who teaches me the joys of three-hour phone conversations, that one of the most valuable skills in life is being able to bake the perfect chocolate-chip shortbread cookie, and that getting enough sleep can sometimes be over-rated.
My Uncle Bill, who has taught me the power of keeping things simple and tidy. It’s a lesson I’m still struggling with.
My daughter Jessie, my most significant teacher of all.
As with all of the others mentioned above, this is a list that could go on for volumes. Suffice it to say that I now consciously go out of my way to explore bird’s nests, and enjoy mud puddles.