the silence of moving water


Cosy on my couch with tea this morning.

And then the sky does something impossible to ignore.


So I walk to the ravine at the end of my street

and stand behind a juniper tree above the creek, and listen

to the silence of morning before birds, of nothing but moving water

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and think how lucky to be in a place where silence calls you out to play.

How very very lucky indeed.

Happy new year, friends…

Here’s to a little more peace and kindness for all.



“There is always an element of sadness in celebration. We cannot celebrate without alluding to it, because there are people on this earth of ours who are not celebrating, who are despairing, anguished, starving and mourning. That is why all celebration should end with a silence in which we remember… all those who cannot celebrate…” ~ Jean Vanier


but this… and this is not nothing

It hasn’t been perfect, true.

Whatever perfect is.

dsc08061 But there have been friends, and there have been children… there have been cats and dogs and horses. There have been visits and visitors and mist seen from a porch.

There have been sunsets.

dsc08064dsc08227-copyAnd the sun has come up each day and there have been meals and laughter and silliness shared. (Why does the lion always lose at poker? He plays with a cheetah.)

dsc08057_1dsc08235There have been creampuffs (and the cages are rattling for more). There has been candlelight and firelight and tea on the patio and music and words spoken and read and thought. There have been ideas realized and hands held, rides on strong broad shoulders, and monkeys. Yes, there have been monkeys!

dsc08231 dsc08219There was the ocean and the star that night and there have been birds and a fox, several rabbits,  deer leaping over a fence, too many squirrels to count and their nests impossibly high and visible only when the leaves fall. There was a crop of garlic and green bean salad and all those fat, happy worms.

dsc08050 bwThere was a campfire and sagebrush and the rumour of bears. There was pizza and good cheese and bread and long walks and friends met for the first time In Real Life.

There was snow and there were snow angels and invitations and real mail in real mailboxes.

There was rain and the lake with its waves and tides and beach glass. There were stones.

*And now there are pomegranates to remind me of what is not nothing.


With thanks to everyone who was part of the everything this year.

Everything that was. And is.

The light and love of the season to you all (laughter and pizza implied).

See you in the new year.

*(Please read this beautiful piece by Leslie Prpich… and gather your pomegranates.)


how to write seasonally unaffected greeting cards

The key is to write more than your name.

dsc08085-copyIn other words, resist the urge to buy a seasonally affected message under which you leave your signature.

Write words. Thoughts even.

Write in ink. (or pencil or crayon or anything along those lines)

Sit down with your address book, by which I mean an actual book made of paper and cardboard that lives in a basket on your kitchen counter and which is dog-eared and generally beaten up.

Flip through its pages and see names of people you see and talk to all the time and some you haven’t spoken with all year.

dsc08080-copy dsc08078-copyThere may be a reason you haven’t talked all year, but not to worry… there’s something very possible  about keeping in touch via annual conversations in ink. And in many cases, preferable.

So open your battered address book and begin.

dsc08074-copy dsc08070-copy dsc08069-copyRemember the woman you haven’t seen since the 80’s that you used to work with and once took an auto body repair class together. You had a rusty Dodge Dart. She made amazing rice. You haven’t seen each other or heard each others voices in more than thirty years. You don’t even email. The only time you’re in touch is at this time of year. By card. You’re up to date on events, if not inner psyches. (Not necessary to be up to date on every psyche.)

And your godmother who you never call often enough and friends across the country, and those who live an hour away but you only meet once a year.

You will find a man who turns 99 this month and still has all his marbles, and a woman who is 83 and has the smile of a teenager.

And the address of an old friend no longer around. You keep her name in the book anyway and every year you think what you might have written to her.

dsc08065-copySend notes also to the names you see and talk to all the time because the things you say in handwriting are different than what you say in keyboard or words out loud.

dsc08058-copyYou can buy cards or make them. From photos. Or potato stencils.

(In the past you may have chosen to drink rum and eggnog as you wrote but have since discovered you’re lactose intolerant and the rum makes your handwriting illegible by the time you get to the L’s in your address book.)

Options: Light a fire. Get cosy. Make tea or open a bottle of wine (see above). If it snows so much the better.

dsc08075-copyEmbrace the remembering that goes with each name and notice the different things you write to each person, the reminder that each relationship is its own thing.


See the exhibit of textile sculptures by Judith Scott (who is part magpie and part genius.)

Go with a friend.

(Stop here for lunch. Have the kale and quinoa salad. Say hey to Debbie.)

Pay a visit to the French store and say yes to that bottle of almond milk hand cream that will not stop flirting with you.

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Use pictures of the exhibit for this year’s cards. (If gallery approves said use.)

And even though you just saw the friend, send them a card too.

Especially them.


thoughts from the sand whereupon i sat


multicultural beach today

DSC06200where stones

absorb laughter

in many languages

DSC06212DSC06202and hot pink sari struts sandy terrain

in search of…


DSC06205 DSC06207 DSC06208 welcome, we say

welcome to this sandy strand

of laughing stones

and now,

DSC06214hot pink sari.DSC06204

The beach was busy today and so many families of various cultures and dress and reasons for being here. Family picnics on the grassy bits, and BBQs fired up, all kinds of games and happy shouts and wet dogs and I sat there taking it all in as I’ve done two million times before because there is nothing especially unusual about various cultures and dress and reasons for being here but something about everyone today made me think that some of these people were new, that some of them had not long been in this country, this town. And the vibe, if that’s what it was, was especially good. It’s extraordinary really, people leaving their own countries for bad reasons and hoping for something good at the other end though they don’t know exactly what that will be and then on a sunny summer day maybe it turns out to be something as simple as a swim or grilled chicken or a pocket full of beach glass.

And I’m so glad to be a part of this day, to extend a smile to the wet dog and the laughing children.

To in some small way, say welcome


solstice post

One of my favourite days of the year. Most of it spent wrestling with words, but also a few other things done. A tablecloth made, prayer flags hung. Ironing.

Some fresh litter tossed about.

DSC06064A chick pea salad for dinner (with parsley and arugula from the garden).

A swim.

DSC06070It’s the perfect solstice evening now… raining and sunny and warm. All of it mixed together, alternating, the light and the sky, the way it keeps changing from something luminescent and golden, making even the neighbour’s garage door look stunning… to momentarily stormy grey. The kind of skies you’d call dramatic. The kind that if you painted them exactly as they are, you’d be called a hack. No one would believe skies really looked like that. The kind of skies you see in 18th century paintings about the fur trade.

DSC06068I wanted to post something to mark this special day; I had a few ideas; I was going to write about issues and faith and the futility of fear, and how there’s a dove nesting on my porch and how the mother sometimes leaves it for hours at a time and the first time she left I was frantic; I called the animal people and asked what to do. They said keep an eye on things. I did and she came back and I began to notice that there was a rhythm to her comings and goings. I shoo away the squirrels and other birds but, mostly, I think mama bird and baby know exactly what they’re doing. I think they can manage pretty well without me sticking my oar in.

Which always amazes the arrogant human in me.

DSC06071I was going to write about all that… but I’ve spent too much time on words today and this is all I have left.

DSC06069So enough with the writing. I’m heading outside, to revel in the light.

And pick me some chamomile for a brew later tonight.

DSC06066Here’s to the longest day…





ways to bee nice and messy

Don’t fret if you don’t see honey bees in your yard.
According to this piece by Eric Atkins, there are dozens of other kinds.

All are important. All are pollinators.
And they want to live in the messy bits of your garden.
So make sure you have a few messy bits.

DSC05913Piles of rocks and sticks.

Also a fairie beach does not go amiss…

General rule of thumb appears to be this:  don’t over-rake, over-prune or anally tidy every last bit of the outdoors.

If you must be anal, you can always go inside and clean your house.
As for those honeybees…seems we ought not to become amateur bee keepers as we risk doing more harm than good in spreading disease and parasites.
In other words: leave beekeeping to the pros.
And create friendly environments instead  for all those OTHER bees, i.e. leafcutters, bumblebees, sweaters and miners.

Bonus:  because the natural world is naturally diverse, to allow a bit of the ‘natural’ will result in fewer bad bug infestations.


—when buying plants and seeds, check with the grower  or nursery about use of neonicotinoids. More and more growers are choosing not to use them, but only because more and more people are asking questions and raising a fuss.
Ask questions.

Raise a fuss.
The bees will thank you.
And we’ll continue thanking the bees.
As we should.

Without them we’re pretty much landscaped toast.