It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. The crisp winter air is full of it.” – John Burroughs

The sound of the city, the siren, makes its presence known no matter how sacred the day – my garlands of glitter and pinecone offerings no match for the reality of modern day city living. It seems that life goes on, no matter what…

A recent note from the stone house that hides its true form (it’s a farm!) in its heart has me dreaming of the wild – I’m left wanting to fall asleep with the window open to the crisp air, the only light leaking in to be from the clear, bright stars above or the silver crescent of the winter moon. To hear the resident Screech owl and the haunting sound of yipping coyotes as they pass by sharing secrets beyond human ken but nevertheless reminding me of my true nature caged by cement and longing.

There is still beauty to be had here among the rain-washed buildings and bustling streets. In fact, only a week or two ago, another light snowfall fell making spirits bright, smiles were freely given and strangers found themselves becoming friends, bells could be heard ringing from the church downtown and with a hush in the air, magic came to lay down its shaggy head.

In between delicious bites of the season our long walks in the park have gifted us with the delicate beauty of a single white snowdrop nestled upon the dark soil of its own micro-climate. The sweet scent of green tickled our nostrils as we came across a patch of blooming heather, the tiny white flowers open to the warm sun on a day stolen from summer. Not too far away, the bright yellow of a brave dandelion waved hello beneath a small grove of bare trees.

No matter the weather, it’s the generous spirits and wild hearts that colour our days, ushering us into a brand new year full of possibility, life’s most exquisite gift to us, given freely after every trip around the sun!

The quiet beauty of a recent snowfall captured on a wander through Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).

It was a joy to crunch through the snow at the Rose Garden in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.) on that day stolen from summer.

Otherworldly shadows captured in the grove near the Pavilion in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).


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Winter sun sets low these days

painting the steel blue water

in flames of gold.

I see a young woman on my walk

sitting at an old wooden desk on the damp sand,

writing in a big book as if the cold

means nothing to her fast-moving hand.

A white painted door stands propped up

at the edge of the windswept beach

as if waiting for the knock that might change the world.

In time, I come across a small brown wren

sitting upon a wall of stone,

its bright eyes turned towards the setting sun

and in that moment, I understood

some of the words the language of beauty

has been speaking all along.

This morning’s sunrise illuminating the buildings and mountains outside our windows after yesterdays snowfall (Vancouver, B.C.).

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Winter’s Light

The world is full of poetry. The air is living with its spirit; and the waves dance to the music of its melodies, and sparkle in its brightness.” – James Gates Percival

Fortified with a late cup of fragrant black tea, I headed out for an unexpected sunny walk – lately, an atmospheric river of tropical moisture hailing from the beautiful islands of Hawaii has been falling non-stop. The golden sun pierced through a bank of cumulus clouds revealing a turquoise sky and the air around me felt summer warm upon my face.

It takes more effort now to head outside, there are boots to put on, extra layers to wrap oneself in and an umbrella to carry, protection from the weeping sky. As fall slowly gives way to winter, a mantra begins to thrum through my veins, whispering words of reminder to seize every moment, rain or shine – just like the older gentleman I came across on a day the sun forgot to shine – heeding the rain, he still walks barefoot no matter the weather, a wild heart adding joy to a grey day.

Despite the imminent arrival of winter’s light after the earth’s long journey around the blazing sun, there are still lingering sepia-toned days to remind one of the darker days of autumn still unfolding. Before the light reaches its zenith, there is sparkle and glitter to behold as the city starts to put on its winter finery heralding the holiday season. This was in resplendent evidence one clear and cold night marred only by a few wispy clouds and periodic light rain. I found myself crossing off a December wish list activity as I met up with my Aussie friend at the entrance to the Vancouver Christmas Market down by the sea at Coal Harbour (located near the 2010 Olympic Cauldron at Jack Poole Plaza). I had been to the previous location when it was held downtown but was hoping to check out the new venue this year, with over 75 huts to explore, we could hardly wait to wander! With lovely live music playing on the new Flying Stage we leisurely wound our way through the various vendor’s huts marveling at all the beautiful decorations and gifts for sale and as I looked up into the night sky, I noticed that even the moon came out to play among her celestial neighbours casting her own bright light upon the colourful lights all around. With the smell of good German cooking scenting the air, we even took time to buy a hot meal to eat in the heated Alpine Haus at communal tables overlooking the North Shore – Amanda chose a beef goulash bread bowl and I chose a vegan potato bread bowl, they were delicious and warmed us right up! Afterwards we checked out the 30 foot tall Walk-In Christmas Tree and found ourselves dazzled by the bright twinkling lights, it was blinding and other-worldly all at once. The evening ended with a walk upon the lighted pier at Canada Place, a free exhibit of icy whiteness drawing one towards a bonsai garden draped in twinkling ropes of light with a giant light sculpture of a moose to greet us at the end of our walk through a winter wonderland so beautiful, it filled my heart with winter’s light dispelling any darkness left by autumn’s dying days.

More West Coast weather, this time it’s fog as seen from our apartment overlooking Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.)!

Waiting for the sun to break through the fog at the Rowing Club located in Coal Harbour near Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).

Hallelujah! After not seeing the sun for days, this shot of Vancouver’s city skyline says it all (Vancouver, B.C.)!



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Storm Season

Find a part of yourself hidden in the twilight.” – Fennel Hudson, Traditional Angling -Fennel’s Journal – No. 6

With the change back to standard time barely upon us, I woke recently to a darkness in our room that felt like 6 am in the gloom and not the 8:05 am it really was – the weather outside having banished any hint of sunrise, instead, heralding the first storm of the season. As the temperature dropped, the rain fell in a furious curtain, fogging up our windows and depositing the first snowfall up on the mountains. Without a doubt, storm season had officially arrived…

There are more bare trees than clothed ones now, having left a lovely swathe of colour to crunch beneath my feet during a recent lucky streak of dry days, the leaves left behind looking like pale stars caught in the tangle of those naked limbs, the air as I walk beneath them tasting of cold and woodsmoke. The moodiness of September and October have given way to a more festive air, those snowflake saturated mountains making one long for cozy nights and hot chocolate by the cupful. Store windows and shelves that once held rustic orange pumpkins have given way to the scent of pine, shimmering glimpses of scarlet ribbon and the soft glow of amber lights. A reminder that the year is closing fast.

There is much to be thankful for at this time of year despite the storms that come our way – warm mugs of spiced tea, Harry Potter books to get lost in on chilly nights and always, the joy of coming across the unexpected. One late afternoon that turned to dusk in a heartbeat, I found myself walking by a peaceful parklet and there they were, three young men practicing the art of balancing, walking barefoot upon large colourful rubber bands strung between a group of windswept trees. Normally, young men and women can be found down by English Bay performing this delicate dance, not between two older buildings beneath the twilight sky, it was if they threw off the glamour of summer to revel in the velvet air of autumn creating magic with each and every try.

Today finds me hiding from yet another storm, Veranda Cafe and its molten chocolate cradled in a white porcelain cup drawing me inside to scribble a note or two. The large picture window I’m sitting beside looks upon a grove of large ancient-looking trees, nestled among their twisting, almost bare branches are wicker wrapped spheres encasing colourful twinkle lights, they will light up as the holiday season deepens – right now, my ink filled pages are lit up by the many spotlights up above in this industrial space. Festive colour has made an early appearance in the many boxes of Panettone (Italian holiday cake) stacked on the windowsill and shelves making me glad I stepped in from the heavy wind and rain. I’m left with thoughts on the various storms that flow through our lives, they often have questions to ask of us and never seem to stick around to see if we have the courage to answer them, I think they’re missing the best part, don’t you?

The Vancouver skyline across from Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.) dressed in scarlet, reminding me of New York’s iconic buildings.

A gorgeous view of the harbour by Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.), this is another favourite walk no matter the weather!

This glorious tree was constantly being photographed this autumn, its gold & scarlet leaves just shimmered in the light down by English Bay (Vancouver, B.C.).



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Traveller with Limited Vision

She makes her way, unafraid

a square white sign taped to her metal walker,

trusting that those who head in her direction

will honour safe passage.

Amid the roar of the rough ocean

a flock of geese fly overhead as she walks,

shuffling through nature’s discarded treasure

the warmth of the sun upon her smiling face.

We have met once or twice before

beneath dusk’s dark mantle,

down by the lagoon that isn’t lost,

watching a plush beaver kit foraging in the wet grass

leaving me forever astonished at how freely she lives,

inspiring me, reminding me, to do the same

with eyes wide open.

An autumn view of the city (Vancouver, B.C.) near Coal Harbour and Lost Lagoon.




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There are paper lanterns strung across

the front of an old brick building,

their delicate watercolour painted facades

hiding moonstruck light,

if I hadn’t looked up,

I would have missed the mystery floating there.

It’s easy to see the variegated autumn splendour

still clinging to moss covered limbs,

lying in heaps upon the grass and choking roadways – 

not so, those subtle nuances,

a flash of dark wing, glistening berry and

tendril of wood smoke,

signposts for those who walk between worlds.

Another favourite path in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.) bathed in autumn’s atmospheric colours.


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Unsettled Landscapes

We live in a world that is beyond our control, and life is in a constant flux of change. So we have a decision to make: keep trying to control a storm that is not going to go away or start learning to live within the rain.” – Glenn Pemberton, Hurting with God

Today is a day for walking in the autumn rain with a creamy hot chocolate from Veranda, a favourite coffee bar of mine, revelling in the downward spiral of drifting leaves. The taste of cocoa adds a sweet note to the late afternoon, my time to attend to errands and find sacred space for writing. I’m not as organized as I would like to be and once again I’m sitting upon one of the spring-green coloured padded benches in the children’s section of our local library – all the adult tables and chairs having been taken by other patrons escaping the rain. It is a stark reminder that there are often not enough spaces for us all but I’m happy to share, breathing in the colour of life unfolding all around me!

My future self will leave home with a thermos of hot chocolate or herbal tea, notebook and pen in hand to find a spot upstairs in the community centre that shares space with the library – there are tables and shelves where one can settle in for a bout of writing underneath a large skylight. A little one has just joined me on the bench as I write, he’s thrown his wet red jacket to the floor as well as a couple of brightly coloured books, has just kicked off his tiny green rubber boots, grabbed one of the books and has settled right in. I can see his blue striped sock feet, softly kicking in the air from the corner of my eye…

Beneath the beauty of this world, however, is an ugly reality lurking, our shining city by the sea is being sold one square foot at a time. Buildings that I thought might be here forever are being torn down, fading “Moving Sale” messages cover local notice boards and “For Rent” signs are popping up on holy ground in front of apartment buildings where vacancies were once just wishful thinking. Large supermarkets and small beloved eateries have closed, their front windows carefully covered in brown paper waiting for new energy or money to open their doors once again, So many of us who have lived in this beautiful corner of the world for decades are left holding our breath…the reality of homelessness never far from our thoughts and conversations. I see more familiar faces collecting bottles from the bins in our alleyway – there are also many new faces sitting on pieces of cardboard asking for help, any help, it breaks my heart. I recently walked by a busker on iconic Robson St. whose words touched me as he called out, “Can you spare anything, it would help make a not so good day, great” and I thought, this is something I can do right now, share some spare coin to help change someone’s day. Perhaps this is all we can do among these unsettling landscapes, help when we can and keep standing our ground.

A stunning autumn scene captured at Lost Lagoon here in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).

A beautiful shot of Lost Lagoon looking north at the edge of Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.), it reminds me of Ontario!

A tree of many colours captured near the entrance to Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.)!

A leafy path, a favourite walk to our summer picnic area, located near the Georgia St. entrance to Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).


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