there oughta be a sign

The path in the park forks into a circle around a small copse.
It doesn’t matter if you go left or right, you’ll eventually come back to the same place. If you go left you get to the bluebells and trilliums sooner. I go right.
I like to save the good stuff.

There’s a tree, a shrub really, in pale pink blossom. A wild thing I’ve never noticed it before. I’ll pay attention this year and see what it becomes.

This reminds me of the apple tree I passed on the way in, how all that windfall fruit last year made good crumble. And a few meals for the squirrels until the ice storm happened. Most of the trees in the area were badly broken but, magically, the apple tree was spared. I make a note to check for blossoms on my way back.

I see that the fiddlehead ferns—ostrich ferns—are past their fiddlehead stage.
It always happens so quickly and I haven’t even had any yet this year.
Another note: find some and eat.

And how does a single daffodil appear on a forest floor unless planted by someone? Well done, someone!  Because if you had to be a daffodil, this would be the life to choose. So much better than the claustrophobic hysteria of mass plantings.

I see my first forsythia. Out here anyway. The actual first was in Toronto. But it always is. All that concrete has an encouraging effect on blooms.

And here’s something peculiar: I’ve never noticed the dogwood that lines the creek. How is that possible? I’ve walked here for years.

And this is new also: what looks to be a cucumber among the still-to-be-cleaned-up ice storm debris. Though I think it’s bound to be trampled on well before it finds its way to a crust-less sandwich.

Poor thing. The world needs more cucumbers.

I’m tempted to make a sign…



in search of bloodroot

I set out this morning to see if the bloodroot had opened. I’d noticed leaves and buds curled up near the creek the other day. En route I pass the man who I usually see in his plaid bathrobe taking out the recycling… today in a Canadiens jersey, laying out a tarp to dry on his driveway.

A long-haired Alsatian chases a black squirrel with a brown tail while the dog’s person calls something like Jingles!  and a cat in a window looks smug.

There’s a house where daffodils and red tulips bloom—dozens of them—it’s the only place that has more than one or two and, weirder still, they look like they’ve been there for weeks and I wonder how this can be.

Over here a truck delivers a load of sod and topsoil and over there a couple of chairs on a front porch look ready for a mug of tea. Further along, a grease stain in a shape that can’t be overlooked and which I add to my collection.

There are reminders everywhere of December’s ice storm.

And on various curbs, a total of three toilets, one bathtub, two sinks and a countertop.

I notice the hockey net around the corner has been replaced by a basketball hoop and a skipping rope abandoned on a lawn beside a pair of mittens.

There is a thing I don’t recognize.
And a song that I do.

And the Italian man with the garden near the park is walking around his patch of still bare earth, smoking, figuring out where the tomatoes and beans and zucchini will live this year. Rotation is good.

There’s wild ginger.

And tame things.

And then, by the creek, one of my favourite oddly named things…

a gift for april

           You tell me that silence
is nearer to peace than poems
but if for my gift
I brought you silence
(for I know silence)
you would say
         This is not silence
this is another poem
and you would hand it back to me.

—’Gift’, by Leonard Cohen (The Spice Box of Earth)

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on a morning like this

When you wake up all grumpy and don’t feel like taking a walk because you’d prefer to wallow in grumpiness and toast but then the sky’s like this…
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and you can never argue with a sky like that. It always wins.
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So you put on your sneakers and you walk.
Until it occurs to you that maybe you’re walking a little too fast…
and thinking too much about your grumpiness and not enough about the sky, which is still there but changing every minute…
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along with everything else.
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Until… and, at last, you wonder where grumpiness goes when it’s not being used.

a short history of peacock blue

FIRST DISCOVERED:  among the Laurentien pencil crayons purchased at Towers Department store. A momentous occasion after years of using generic brands with no pep and loose tips that refused to be sharpened easily.

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT? Oh yes. Peacock Blue was head and shoulders above the other colours from the very start. Although Peacock Green and the most yellowy yellow were close behind. (The history of either or both, available on request.)

THE ROLE IT PLAYED: Not insignificant insofar as my choice of fabric for the Grade Seven HomeEc fashion show for which I made a stiff yet somehow baggy pair of peacock blue elastic waist pants (flood length because I ran out of material) and a matching checkered tunic, also stiffly A-line (peacock blue and white with a big Peter Pan collar) made even worse (hard to imagine, I know) with clunky white patent leather shoes and the fact that I went on stage right after Lisa Kiss who took modelling classes. Modelling classes. And who wore a tiny pink mini skirt and a pastel print popcorn blouse. Because having a name like Lisa Kiss was not already perfect enough…

Also used as eyeliner at some point. (the How To: leave for school naked-faced like a good girl then a few blocks along, near the mailbox, set down your binder, unzip your pencil-case, find your mirror and your Peacock Blue and lick the end. Apply to inner eye.)  Lead?? What lead?

Tried it as a nail colour. Didn’t work.


Also this (click).

And a thousand more colours HERE.


a moment of sameness

I live within the sound of Highway 401’s constant hum, a stone’s throw (a long walk or a short drive) from the beach, near a park where rabbits don’t stop eating grass still wet with dew when I stroll past; only when I pause to consider taking a picture do they become concerned.

I put my camera away. They resume munching.

A woman walks ahead of me with a backpack. She’s small and wears sneakers and I think maybe it’s not a woman but a girl… but no, something about the precision of her steps tells me she’s walked a lot further than any girl and when a big yellow lab named Haley lumbers over to say hello, I catch up to her and we’re all smiling and talking to Haley and I see that indeed the woman is not a girl but someone my own age.

Haley and her person go off in one direction while the woman and I continue in the other. I walk ahead of her now at a slightly faster clip and at a turn in the path I look back and see her standing on a small footbridge, taking a moment to watch the creek that runs underneath it. A common enough thing to do—I’ve done it a thousand times myself—yet something about it strikes me as unusual. The backpack and the way she walks tell me she’s going somewhere, punctuality is required, she’s not just out for a morning stroll. And yet, this pause. I have the idea that it might be a ritual. She seems the disciplined type, the sort that would have rituals, routines. It occurs to me (and within seconds I’ve made it a fact, in my own mind at least) that she might pause here every morning on her way to wherever, that she calculates the time to include this thirty second break, that perhaps it’s a kind of meditation, a moment of sameness in her day that she can compare to yesterday’s moment and express gratitude for today’s.

This is how it feels, though why it should feel this way I haven’t a clue.


The birds are noisy this morning, not merely singing their usual songs but an over-the-top joyful cacophony that reminds me of sunrise in the Everglades and I wonder if it’s this sudden warmth that has shot them through with adrenaline in the way it has us non-feathery types. (How else to explain some very strange maneuvers on the roads?)

[A distant screech of tires right on cue.]

The bluebells are out and I follow them along a path to a part of the creek where the most prominent sound is water tumbling over rock.
And there are trilliums. And bloodroot.
And buds on a wild apple tree that every year I mean to pick from to make wild apple crumble, but forget.

Back on the main path I see the woman veer off across a field that leads to the street and the bus stop and I notice the wind must have shifted because the sound of the 401 has all but disappeared.

I walk back over the footbridge, pause a moment, then carry on.
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trashy spring thawts

Who would be a worm? Such a thankless job. Having survived all winter in frozen ground with slim pickings food-wise only to be lured to the surface by a splash of springtime rain then end up stranded on scratchy bits of pavement as sun shines and feet and wheels are everywhere carelessly about.

Worse, though, to be forgetful. Worm or human. To not have the sense you were born with. What else but a dose of dementia or dangerous daze could explain how it’s possible to find a lovely place for a cup of something and then wander off without it? Alas, beware, poor sweet forgetful soul! There are brick walls and open manholes out there…

But the saddest thing of all must surely be the human who lives the sort of life where four large bags of garbage every two weeks cannot contain its rubbish so it must sneak under cover of darkness to public receptacles where it crams its excess…

…forcing purveyors of said receptacles to take action with locks and smaller entry points. IMG_1162
(This of course does not apply to worms as they are clever enough to eat their own detritus.)

first flutter-by of the season

Not sure I’ve seen one of these before. Certainly not in March. No idea what kind it is. Behavioural clues: tendency to flap about rather absent-mindedly, nearly crashing into my head before settling (indicates possible bad eyesight?)…narcissistic attention to improving tan…unable to find a comfortable resting pose; ADHD??
…Eventually fluttering right on by without so much as a nod to the other insects.

Note: In my effort to make an identification I googled “clumsy, vain, hyperactive, short-sighted, anti-social, black and yellow flutterby with blue dots” and got a seamstress in Winnipeg named Ted…