Writing In The Space Between Now And Then

Mystery solved! This is a shout-out to another lovely neighbour, Therese, who is celebrating her 80th birthday this week and who is the author of the “red viola” notes that were scattered by an errant breeze so long ago…


 By writing at the instant, the very heartbeat of life is caught.” – Walt Whitman

Thunder is rumbling just above me in the now darkened sky as I sit in the jewel-like parklet not far from where I live. The city has installed two flat grey aluminium tables, each with its own black metal chairs bolted onto the interlocking cement bricks, the tables are positioned on an angle to one another, creating an intimate nook among the many trees and blooming planters, a perfect spot for writing down my thoughts. Terry and I have brought delicious take-out sushi to these tables, inspired by seeing the odd person sitting here with a glass of wine and an open book nearby. I’ve just come from a meditative walk through the forest and along the seawall, the summer-like temperatures this afternoon resulting in a good many of us being out and about…

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The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.” – Zen Saying

A false fall is beginning to make itself known as I walk beneath a shower of gently falling rain-starved leaves, catching sight of delicate spider webs winking among dark luscious blackberries which I happily pick hoping to avoid thorny guardians. Only 7 mm of rain has fallen over the past two months making this summer the driest on record and it shows as I come across drooping trees beneath the lush green canopy of our urban forest.

The eventual end of this long dry summer is drumming a tattoo of longing upon my heart even though this same heart will find joy in embracing the moodiness and magic of a new season. September heralds all sorts of beginnings – the children who spent their summer days playing among the trees where I picnicked will be returning to school, there is a brand new day planner to fill up and intriguing venues to explore that might come my way.

Recently, I found myself at an early evening Kirtan concert being held at my local community centre by my yoga teacher Sandra. I had never attended one before and as I was being checked in, I knew I was in for a unique experience – the room beyond was peacefully darkened with only a scattering of tealights burning and a random string of star-shaped lights hung below the uncurtained large picture window. The chants that were sung that night were songs of love and healing, I inhaled them as I inhaled the whispered notes of burning incense wafting through the airy room. We were encouraged to sing along to the ancient verses and I was glad to see the Sanskrit words projected onto the screen along with some beautiful imagery – as time passed, I was amazed at how these unknown words fell from my lips. The sun soon began to set, painting the room with a twilight-laden brush, I felt happy for having booked this new experience so many weeks ago, rising up and in doing so, giving myself the gift of a lovely summer memory.

These days the scent of the sea fills our rooms, saltily asking us to start – start something, anything, try something new – there is so much out there for us to taste, see or explore, these are the gifts that September brings if we have the courage to rise and open up our hearts, to finally wake up and seize our dreams.

A favourite spot to spy on frogs although this summer, the small pond found beside our beloved trail in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.) is overgrown with an algae bloom.

A shot of the miniature train winding through the urban forest where we walk after our forest picnics in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).

A wooden carving of the ever shy Sasquatch tucked behind lush foliage near the miniature railway tracks in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).

Another shot of the pond and the miniature train just off our beloved forest trail (now closed for the fall & winter season!) in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).



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She walked with a train of midnight-hued

crows in her wake,

her ear to the wind and the silently growing things,

alert to any aberration in her world

There is a sickness creeping over the land,                                    

a blight threatening the delicate balance,

leaving yin and yang rocked to their cores

without breath to recover.

Long, silver touched hair flowed

darkly behind her,

catching on the brittle limbs of once green trees – 

her own breath labouring as she brushed

at an errant tear,

determined to keep on going, no matter what,

despite the turbulence.

The gentle turbulence of light and shadow captured in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).


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Discarded Wings

She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible. She walked with the Universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings.” – Ariana Dancu

Against faded brick, the cardboard wings lay abandoned, no longer gracing unknown shoulders, the feathers in colours of stop-sign red and navy blue wilting underneath the still smoky sky.

The days of unrelenting smoke and August deep heat number in the double digits now with only one night of rain on the way to wash the taste of woodsmoke from our mouths. I’m still seeking fresher air at our local library where I can find the A/C on and just next to it, disappear into the cool sanctuary of my weekly yoga class, small respites against the ever growing reality of climate change. Even the tourists are struggling to find the spectacular postcard views promised them, their cameras capturing only stagnant, grey haze.

Thankfully, the rain did fall that night, breaking up a stretch of dry days fuelling all those fires up country – the sound of heavy raindrops hitting our bedroom window as I read my book soothing my parched soul and I knew come morning there would be fresh air to breathe, mountains to gaze upon and a cobalt sea to marvel at once again, a reminder  to not take the “super natural” vibes of our beautiful city for granted.

There is still a threat of more smoke to come and I find myself drawn to the leafy green spaces that cross my path on my daily travels, the coolness welcoming me into a sylvan embrace. Despite this, it cannot shut out the image of those wayward wings, a symbol of how eager we are to discard our light as feather appendages and accept the status quo, abandoning our authentic selves for the face of a stranger, no longer recognizing ourselves in the mirror – making me realize it’s time to pick up those battered wings, shake off the dust and wear them upon my shoulders vowing to never abandon them again.

A stunning feathered headdress on display at the Museum of Anthropology (Vancouver, B.C.).

A group of colourful Indigenous carvings depicting winged creatures from nature at the Museum of Anthropology (Vancouver, B.C.).

Another beautiful feathered piece on display at the Museum of Anthropology (Vancouver, B.C.).

A beautiful carving depicting an eagle and man by the late artist, Bill Reid on display at the Museum of Anthropology (Vancouver, B.C.).

The subject of this post (being authentic and unafraid to wear our wings) came as a request from my Mom, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!





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Among summer flowers and dark earth

I spied a red velvet starfish,

an exotic bloom plucked from its ocean home

dropped by a careless hand or mother gull

upon an unknown world.

A world saturated in golden light

and still air,

the memory of cold depths and moon tossed waves

fading fast – 

a passenger riding on the flotsam of chance

here today, gone tomorrow

intersecting realms to dazzle these human eyes.

A gorgeous bloom captured near the lawn bowling greens in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).


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Cafe San Angel Notes

I’m reblogging this post in celebration of my 2nd anniversary here on WordPress, it captures the many moments that lead to that leap of faith! I’m forever blessed by everyone who took the time to read my posts and I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart!


The genesis of my Mexico writing life began at a local cafe down the road from our studio at the “Janitzio”. I had started a small journal when we stayed in those 2 rooms on Lazaro Cardenas, writing mostly on a battered kitchen table, but I had not taken the journal to a cafe. When we discovered “Cafe San Angel”, it changed the way we lived our days – we would rise and have our simple breakfast of granola, fruit and yogurt on our balcony with coffee for Terry and tea for me. If it was a writing day (as opposed to a shopping day), we would grab our notebooks and pens and head down to the cafe. How liberating to sit by the side of Olas Altas street (Calle) and be able to watch all the comings and goings of our Mexican neighbourhood. What I remember most was the…

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Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” – Leonardo da Vinci

The beginning of this post starts high above a sea of pillow-like clouds floating above Lake Superior (one of the famous Great Lakes that straddle the Canadian and US border) – we are once again flying at 37,000 feet winging towards Toronto after receiving a surprise phone call from Ontario. Terry’s nephew Sean called inviting us out to celebrate his Mom’s birthday (a birthday of note!) with the hope that all six siblings might be present to wish her well – we are filled with excitement with this unexpected summer vacation and with the thought that we are flying clear across Canada to wish Karen a very happy birthday. She does not know that we are coming – with only four days to organize our Vancouver life, it’s been a whirlwind week, it’s hard to believe we are almost there!

After a fairly smooth flight with just a few bumps along the way, we landed after 10 pm (Toronto time) into the humid air of summer in a Toronto that is experiencing weather that is reminiscent of the West Coast, the cloudy skies and rain showers reminding us of home. Luckily the weather cleared the next day for a lovely gathering of loved ones to celebrate Karen’s special day, there was a happy mix of fragrant flowers, sparkling wine and delicious food reminding us of the legendary holiday celebrations of the past when the whole family came together!

Before we flew home, we were happy to find ourselves heading out on a day trip to Port Perry with Karen and Terry’s brother Garth (about 40 minutes by car from Karen’s home in Ajax) to explore the historic downtown with its many Victorian buildings painted in heritage colours of mulberry and dark teal, as well as explore the Lake Scugog waterfront. As we made our way down to the water we could see some local people fishing off the pier overlooking the same moody visage that inspired Tom Thomson (1877-1917), the Canadian landscape painter who belonged to the Group of Seven. It was quite humid and the threat of rain imminent, the already dark sky looked like it might birth a tornado, its colour deepening to smudged graphite with every passing moment – despite this threat we continued to stroll beside a lake that apparently can take anyone, anywhere in the world, admiring the tall yellow lilies as we made our way. We ended up at a local store to buy some picnic food to eat outside in a quiet green park (the Reflective Park) beside a small running creek. We found seats upon an outcropping of low rock and enjoyed our sandwiches, iced tea and crisp potato chips. Just as we were all finishing our last bites, the rain began to fall from that very full sky – perfect timing to pack up and hit the grocery store to pick up some food items for supper, there were kids to feed who had spent the day at Wonderland Park scaring themselves on rides like the Leviathan and the Behemoth!.

It’s been a nice languorous string of days with movies to catch up on, crisp white wine to drink and more delicious food (enjoying Terry’s grandniece Madison’s very tasty Tex-Mex layered dip, her scrumptious birthday cake pops covered in vibrant orange and blue frosting (yum!) and a guacamole dip that we inhaled with each tortilla chip scoop). As I sit here outside at Karen’s listening to various bird species settling among the many trees, I’m appreciating the cooler air and bright sunshine – there are large dandelion puffs lazily moving through the summer breeze and my thoughts are far away from the bustle of the West Coast city I left behind a few days ago.

I’m back home now and I’m startled each time I come across what once was lush green lawn now just patches of withered straw – that red sun of long ago has once again appeared against a sky bruised by the smoke from the still raging fires up country, I heard that ash is falling not far from Vancouver and I wonder if it will fall here sometime soon. The strong scent of woodsmoke has chased me from our warm apartment to the cool confines of our local library, it’s eerie to be sitting here on this padded pale green bench with the sun shining its alien auburn light through the large windows behind me onto the bare floor. It’s been days since we’ve seen blue sky and mountains, our sparkling city under siege from the worst fire season in 60 years, making me dream of soaring once again high above the smoke and ruin.

Lake Scugog underneath a stormy sky in Port Perry, Ontario looking more like Vancouver, B.C.

The moody inspiration for the famous Canadian landscape artist, Tom Thomson (1877-1917) part of the Group of Seven at Lake Scugog in Ontario.

A cool shot showcasing the elegant Victorian buildings lining the main street of Port Perry in Ontario.

A shot of the red sun against the smoky sky (due to the fires burning up country) taken from our window here in the West End (Vancouver, B.C.).




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