Flashback

An unwanted visit to a forgotten childhood realm

overcomes me as I walk upon a muddied path

between bird-filled hedgerow and crumbling cement – 

the quiet softness of winter-dark broken by laboured breath

 running against time, hopping over fences

and  cutting through yards,

all after school cares evaporating fast

amid the thundering threat  behind, nightmare come to life – 

through sheer will, never caught, and yet,

the beauty of a path far in the future,

has the power to send me hurtling down the corridors of my heart

once again.

A beautiful winter shot of a city corridor near Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).

 

 

 

Advertisements
Posted in poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

The Winds of Change

For when all else is done, only words remain. Words endure.” – Kate Mosse, The Winter Ghosts

A recent article in one of the only free newspapers left in the city caught my eye, describing a worrisome new normal – there are people, even a few with good paying jobs, who are finding themselves living in all matter of vehicles, some in cars, vans or tent trailers. In the east end of the city near an old work place of mine, 44 vehicles were noted to have signs of recent habitation, city officials are aware of at least 100 such vehicles housing the ghosts of citizens past who have lost their homes due to high rents, job losses or just plain bad luck. Forced to park on our streets, they live without the day to day luxuries that most of us enjoy just a breath away.

Here in the West End, not far from my apartment building, there are at least three vans that never seem to move from their borrowed parking spots, in all my wanders I’ve not once come across any of these souls, new neighbours living close by without a fixed address. One of the vans recently moved from another West End street, this unknown gentleman’s plight unfolding on our local news, tenure on a quiet street ended by city officials because of complaints from others living in the same downtown neighbourhood – I remember seeing his van parked on that street for years, I hope he’ll be able to live more peacefully in ours.

In my warm rooms scented with the aroma of freshly brewed tea, I tell myself I’m still one of the living, although the threat of losing my home in this idyllic corner of the world has the potential to render me ghost-like among my books, music and films, flimsy mortar against the winds of change. And so I write, compelled to capture every nuance before it becomes mere nostalgia among the living and the dead.

Winter is still upon us and the beautiful mountains outside our balcony windows here in the West End (Vancouver, B.C.).

An unexpected winter visitor, a Peregrine falcon perched on some railing across from our kitchen window drawn to a flock of pigeons who roost on this neighbouring rooftop (Vancouver, B.C.).

Our urban forest is a beautiful respite against the winds of change. This spot is off-trail and is home to several art installations (artist unknown) here in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).

Words are wind.” – George R.R. Martin, A Feast of Crows

Posted in blog, journaling, life, memoir, travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 46 Comments

Ever Closer

Wine is bottled poetry.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

January has ended in a rain of spoken word poetry as Rufous Hummingbirds soar above the trees and the first cherry blossoms start to bloom on once bare trees. Clusters of snowdrops are bursting forth from manicured rectangles of freshly turned soil or popping up wild among the secret places of the forest. Small bouquets of purple and gold crocuses are also making an appearance, their bright colour a balm for rain weary hearts.

There is still winter decorating to behold in quiet corners on walks throughout our neighbourhood. I recently spied some large, galvanized grey stars with equally large pale blue orbs hanging among the dark limbs of winter-shorn trees in front of a lovely heritage home, an enchanting nod to a season still unfolding.

A recent gorgeous sunset lit up an icy blue sky, spreading across the vastness like a great, dusky pink daisy on a day without a camera. A small notebook waits for me on the desk by the window ready to capture the wonder before it fades away…

February heralds the colour red and the vibrant shade brightens days that still cling to darkness…a month which reminds us of dark red wine, decadent chocolate and the fire of love, perfect precursors to the new season to come. Even the Red-winged Blackbirds have returned to roost among the naked branches of the tall chestnut trees one street over in anticipation of spring, their loud chorus ringing out several times a day!

Winter storms still lash our coast although pale sunlight periodically pierces the gloom and we all rush out to feel a bit of warmth. Today finds me outside, in between raindrops, having left a warm apartment to catch a breath of fresh air before heading to the library. Familiar sights greet me, the man who walks barefoot no matter the weather and now my fellow writers scattered throughout the library working at various tables. As I sit here at my own table, my eyes are drawn to the soft light glowing above the high-rises of my eclectic, well-loved neighbourhood, the sun peeking out from behind dark clouds, ever closer.

A gorgeous sunset over English Bay (Vancouver, B.C.) on a winter day disguised as spring!

We lingered over this sunset on a bench by the seawall near Second Beach (Vancouver, B.C.).

Beautiful capture of winter shadows at the Grove in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.), they never fail to call me!

This post is dedicated to our beloved relative Ian who passed away this February while in hospice back east, our hearts are full in the knowledge that he is resting in a beautiful spot where we picnicked together in the fall of 2016 near Paris, Ontario. You will never be forgotten…

 

 

 

Posted in blog, journaling, life, memoir, travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 46 Comments

Dissonance

Strung like fast-falling tears

among long, lush lashes,

are words that we conjure without asking,

spinning tales that have no meaning, our moon-cast languages

creating inscrutable worlds.

Piercing through the static is not

for the faint of heart,

only those brave enough to pick up the pieces

of what we’ve wrought,

can wield power strong enough to change the world.

A winter shot of the peaceful Grove in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.), spending time in nature is but one way to fight the dissonance pervading our world.

 

 

Posted in poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Winter Beckons

Autumn arrives in early morning, but spring at the close of a winter day.” – Elizabeth Bowen

There is a mildness to the day that reminds me of spring, the air feels warmer and my gloves have been left at home. I’m once again sitting among books and neighbours at our local library – I’ve found an empty table by the large windows overlooking the much travelled sidewalk providing plenty of inspiration as my pen scratches away in my notebook.

The busy weeks leading up to the holidays have wound down to the rather ordinary days of winter – days that find me catching up on small projects and checking off wish lists. With each passing season, objects and ephemera that have found their way into our small apartment begin to sound their siren call. And January is the perfect month to heed that call, not only to enjoy stolen moments for winter contemplation but also to usher in a sense of spaciousness for creating order among the holiday cards and sparkle still lying on the table. I find myself drawn to the serene spaces that some of the characters from Game of Thrones inhabit, rooms suffused in golden lamplight and gleaming wood – templates to follow as I gather up my bits and pieces, January and winter encouraging fresh starts!

Light is lingering longer now, the sky dressed in dusk so deep, it catches my breath each time I glance upon its evening display. This past week I found myself in awe as I glimpsed a moment out of time against that very same sky, an undulating migration of geese, waves upon waves of them flying above the winter quiet forest, going where, a mystery still – a sacred rhythm unfolding as I moved from room to room to track their flight.

People from my past are wandering through my daydreams, they appear fully formed with their stories unfolding, leaving me with the questions, “Where are they now and who have they become?”. In the last week or so, two have crossed paths with me and I’ve been able to catch up. Winter beckons, drawing us in with the scent of dark chocolate, aromatic coffee and spiced tea in the air. A single bottle of berry rich wine sitting on the counter also beckons, ready to spill its secrets among our domestic clutter, life is to be lived no matter the season.

A winter seawall walk underneath towering pines where a raven pair are feeding in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).

A close-up of a raven feeding on a young seagull above the seawall in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).

A glistening abandoned spider web captured on a tree beside one of our favourite paths in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).

 

 

 

Posted in blog, journaling, life, memoir, travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Masquerade

There you are, standing in your own doorway,

barefoot and bereft of hat,

crow-black hair shaved close to olive skin –

this is the real you, a velvet vision,

someone for me to remember when the mask goes on.

Even I reach for a swipe of dark artifice

around eyes as green as the forest,

armour against a new dawn, performing the same dance,

the hiding of our true selves,

until the day we discard these glittering masks

and kick off our glass shoes.

The glittering lights of the Bright Nights display captured on our favourite inner trail in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).

 

 

Posted in poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

Wintertide

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.).

 

Posted in blog, journaling, life, memoir, travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments