Fall Away

Now Autumn’s fire burns slowly along the woods and day by day the dead leaves fall and melt.” – William Allingham

As my feet moved through the detritus left from recently fallen acorns lying on the unwashed sidewalk, a leaf that came rushing at me turned out to be a mottled brown moth buffeted by a late summer breeze seeking shelter upon a still green bush. These tiny matte jewels falling from the mighty oak tree remind me of how fleeting the days are, leaving me feeling unsettled until I make safe passage into the new season. There are chestnuts falling as well and the road to the sun reflected upon the sparkling sea is becoming more narrow each day, making me yearn for that wide brilliant swathe once again. It’s out of my hands, the seasons are turning, performing their perfect dance, making sure their best profile is on view for all to see.

The primal scent of woodsmoke has begun to permeate the air among the sunshine and scarlet tipped leaves – once lush gardens are being put to bed and I find myself doing the same, refreshing some small corner as I wander through my rooms. It’s time to wrap sun-kissed limbs in layers, fill the apartment with the music of Leonard Cohen, disappear into the realm of Harry Potter and eat crisp apples on walks through the forest.

This organic starship that we are all living on is beginning to fray at the edges, our fragile bodies that harbour heaven-wrought miracles are tearing each other apart. With the change in seasons comes a knowing, before it’s too late we must stop the drum beat of hate battering at our defences, let its hypnotizing rhythm fall away so we can continue to come across a scattering of silver stars on a favourite walk, be followed home by a chattering Steller’s jay and eternally move through space and time.

It’s time to say good-bye to the outdoor markets of summer – this shot is from the 1st ever Mexico Market held at Robson Square in downtown Vancouver, B.C.

A Saturday morning ritual – visiting the Vancouver Farmer’s Market here in the West End, buying fresh fruits and vegetables each week was a joy!

A recent must see to celebrate fall was to check out the new Steller sea lion exhibit at the Vancouver Aquarium (Vancouver, B.C.).

The two sea lions in the pool seemed to pose for the cameras, they were fun to watch and seemed to be enjoying their new facility!

 

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Foraging

We keep telling ourselves

it isn’t going to happen,

that our world will not be

destroyed by a madman or two

hurling threats and insults before

picking up their toys.

The image of what might be

cuts too deep,

leaving me to forage through

seed thoughts,

separating golden wheat from the chaff,

searching for faith, hope and redemption,

life’s lost lexicon –

and if push comes to shove,

praying for resurrection.

A beautiful piece of found art at my favourite grove in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).

 

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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…

anotetohuguette

 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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Rise

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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Turbulence

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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Passenger

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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