evening air


The kind of night where red sky darkens under slice of moon as you walk, a hand-knitted scarf around your neck, just the right size to tuck into a pocket once the walking warms you up, and gloves, too, come off… and over there a cat sitting on its driveway staring at another cat across the road on a driveway of its own, each sniffing the air—territory is a scent; and from an-open-window-who-knows-where, in one of these already-lighted-for-xmas houses, someone’s dinner is cooking… and you think: sloppy joes and onions.


You know that kind of night?


maybe you’ve heard it too… the cardinal ball? (aka cat lullaby)

Open-eyed meditation this morning as I watch through the window and a break in the trees a cardinal preening, waiting for his date to the cardinal ball.

They fly off together and then a man in pale turquoise shirt and dark jeans gets into his car and flies off to work.

Nothing else for a while and cat #1, curled up at the very top of her indoor climbing tree facing the window, slowly closes her eyes while cat #2 finds a spot on the carpet to attend to her tail.

Ears perk up, mine too, when suddenly on a not so far away treetop the music of the cardinal ball begins… but it’s merely soundtrack to the contentment of a belly full of tinned turkey and kibble, and soon ears relax and all eyes close.

p.s. and yes, that’s a tulip in the pic

A happy long weekend to you!



when it all becomes too much…

Make art.

DSC05676It’s a good day when you find a door on the sidewalk.

DSC05677 And the door has feelings.DSC05679This actually reads: “chalk art is meant…”

DSC05680 “to be destroyed.”

An artist statement that makes the artist all the more remarkable in my view. DSC05690 DSC05689 DSC05688 DSC05687 DSC05686 DSC05685 DSC05682 DSC05681 DSC05678 DSC05674 DSC05673DSC05691A couple of lads walked by as I was taking these shots and they were swaggering in that way that suggests they’re just too sexy for their shoes. Or something. Attitude. But the chalk art got to them. They looked, slowed down, forgot the swagger for a moment, almost cracked a smile. I caught their eye, said nifty noodles, eh? Or along those lines, small talk. Unable to speak in sentences perhaps, they made a sound, nodded, and kept going, with a bit less swagger in their step I thought.

Art has this effect.

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red and black leggings

A girl of maybe eight, dark blonde hair, almost wavy, almost thick, in a loose pony tail with strands unbound around her face. Red and black leggings in geometric pattern and a grey tee shirt that reads: LOVE. She twirls in the hallway, in the basement of the gallery, outside the room where I sit reading and writing, outside the room where her art class is going on. For just a few moments she dances oblivious and alone in the hallway between these two rooms, dances and twirls and twirls, to music that doesn’t play…

And then just like that, she’s gone.


i feel like juan du fuca (but in ontario and on land)

I discovered a beautiful thing today.


A library in a town I’ve been to three thousand times. I don’t know how
I ever missed it other than to say I was likely distracted by the bakery.


It’s in a house built in 1882 for $450. Originally owned by the Waddell family, local furniture magnates. They also owned a hotel in town and had some doings with a cheese factory. Big money in cheese.


No official library in those days but there was a makeshift sort of lending service using 34 books the townsfolk gathered up and kept in various shop basements where, on various days, you could take out the latest best seller.


One of the Waddell children, a lad, tried to start a flax business. I like his style. Sorry it didn’t work out.


And, this is interesting… the Waddell daughter, in 1903, became the first Canadian woman to join the American Mathematics Association, which included women from not only the U.S. but the U.K., Canada and Europe.


In 1969, the house was purchased by the Township Library Board and voila, presto bongo, the library opened in 1970, looking very much like a house with many books.


I love how they’ve kept it authentic in feel. The ceilings are high. The floors are original.


And it’s so, so, so… quiet.  Which is something I miss in libraries. (Whatever happened to stern women with buns shushing everyone??)


I’m told there was talk some years ago of closing it down because it doesn’t meet somebody’s idea of “adequate usage” or whatever, and the town went ape shit and, long story short, the adequate usage people decided to keep it open.

Going ape shit for a good cause is not to be under-rated.


And because this gorgeous bit of brick and mortar history—and the slice of sanity it provides—isn’t enough on its own… you’ll be happy to know it happens to sit on an acre or so of treed land with oodles of parking and a large gazebo that begs to be read on.


As in aloud.

As in what a great space for a literary event.

The Juan du Fuca Literary Event we could call it.

An ocean of flax would be our logo.

And something with cheese.

tiny parcels of pleasantness

Walking through the neighbourhood I pass a house where a young child runs out the front door and, as if thrilled by the sight of me, points to her mouth and says “I’ve got a loose tooth!” I tell her that’s exciting news. And that, apparently, is about the size of it. We’re done. She waves and goes back inside. A sort of unusual town crier.


Around a corner, a voice. I think it says hello. I’m not sure who it is or to whom it’s speaking. I feel a little like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, like when she’s walking through the forest, or passing the scarecrow or the tin man or one of those things that isn’t supposed to talk… but it does. I look around at parked cars, there’s no one. Then to my left I notice a boy, maybe nine, ten years old, half way up a tree. I laugh, tell him that he surprised me. I don’t think he meant to, he’s a lovely, earnest little boy. There’s a large wasp’s nest very close to where he’s standing and I ask him if he knows it’s there. He does. “I’m going to knock it down,” he says. He doesn’t think there’s any wasps in it. I say to be careful anyway and I continue on my way. He says he’ll be careful. “Thank you,” he says. “Goodbye.”

Arborial Ambassador?


And then a wee tot on the other side of the street, not yet two years old, still a bit wobbly on her legs and holding on to her mum’s hand. She’s dressed in mint green and as I pass I turn my head, catch her eye and in that moment, just a second really, I see her bright face, mouth, eyes, cheeks, all of it so wide open and smiling as if to say isn’t this just such a wonderful thing to be not yet two and dressed in mint green and walking with your mum in the sunshine… I mean isn’t it just??? 

A pastel shot of B12, a tonic, that lingers.


why are we here?

In the parking lot at the beach, I mean.
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Because there are never no cars here.

But not everyone gets out, not everyone walks, not even along the pier. Most people don’t, in fact. They choose, instead, to sit in their cars. Most are alone, some eat, some read, others might be listening to music. (Surprisingly few appear to being staring at devices.) I suppose some talk, on the phone, to themselves. There’s a kind of unwritten code that you don’t look at someone in their car, that they’re here not to be seen, but for some other purpose, something private, if only to contemplate the universe in the shape of a seagull.
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I try to follow the code but notice the man to my left smiles as he stares out his window. It’s a grey day, nowhere near sunrise or sunset and I wonder what he’s watching, thinking.
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I wonder why he’s in this parking lot at almost noon on a Sunday. Is he a widower, a bachelor, recently tiffed and needing to get out of the house to cool off or is there a happy partner at home glazing a ham?

An Asian man walks past toward the pier. Grey hair, slightly stooped; something about the way he grimaces against an only slight and not very cold breeze, pleasure mixed with something else, reminds me of my dad who was at no time Asian.

But then our looks are always the least of things, and yet…

Maybe it’s this: maybe we’re simply here to watch each other, to catch a glimpse of something that’s real, to be reminded.