Saturday, November 3, 2018

to write down

There are things I need to say,
to write down and step back from.
Like emptying my pockets onto a table.
Or scribbling a map to show where I've been and where I'm going.

Friday, October 19, 2018


"I did the math wrong," my grandson stated. "And then I didn't have enough for pizza."
"Oh no," his mother replied.
A friend gave him all he could, a quarter, but he was still twenty-five cents short.
As my grandson walked, head down along the little creek edging the school yard his eyes focused in amazement.
There, floating along in the current, was a leaf with a quarter resting on its surface.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

this one

When the tide turns and water drains from the beach, river beds are carved in miniature into the packed sand.

This one looks like mermaid hair.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

automatic pilot

A Long Weekend Hockey Tournament is hockey condensed and concentrated. By day three, parents have used up all their adrenaline and are operating on automatic pilot.
Things can get by them.
As we exited the arena along with a familiar throng we heard a little boy exclaim to another. "Now you can do anything you want to!" This happy announcement of freedom from one five year old to another was because a mother on automatic pilot, had loaded up hockey gear and hockey player and hockey sibling and departed, leaving her youngest unfettered and unattended.
Free as a bird, according to his friend.
While other parents pondered his fate a car zoomed into the parking lot and screeched to a stop even as a side door flew open.
Freedom nipped in the bud.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

smiling gently

"Oh,"I exclaim. "My great, great Grandfather was a Haddock too." The woman across the counter smiles at me, her eyes brightening.
"Irish?" she asks, nodding her head even before I do.
"From the north," I add, and she nods, as though a given.
"They were in linen."
Her eyes widen. "Ours too," she says slowly. "County Antrim."
"Us too," I cry.
"Hi cousin," she says, smiling gently.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

now we know why

Galiano Island honors Spanish explorer, Dionision Alcala Galiano, who sailed in an out of the Gulf Islands off the coast of B.C. in 1792. He would have felt quite at home gazing out to sea from its sandy shoreline. The same molten sun smolders there as scorches Seville on a hot July afternoon.
To get to Galiano Island though, in the midst of summer, you must keep green coastal forests and salty breezes fixed firmly in mind. There's the gauntlet known as The Ferry Terminal....Doesn't terminal have an ominous note to it? Terminally waiting....
Ferry Terminals are acres of asphalt.
Cars simmer in the sun. 
It's solar heating gone wrong.
People melt out of cars and trucks and motor-homes and draw a bead on a distant patch of shade the size of a small tablecloth. 
Dogs come too; every size and hairy, tongue lolling variety.
Man and beast.
It's close quarters in the shade at Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal on a July afternoon.

A group dropped to the grass near our feet. They lolled on backpacks and leaned on bags. Their restless dog turned around three times as though looking for something he had misplaced. Where was his bag? Oh, there it was. He lifted his leg and sent a steaming stream into the purse of his mistress and down her arm which was resting protectively over it. 
Who shrieked first?
We had noticed the grass was still pretty green there, near the tree.
Now we know why.

Monday, September 3, 2018

keep smiling

If you ever feel the urge to flee your normal life on planet earth, may I suggest taking a ferry ride?
There is something irresistible about pointing your car in the direction of the seashore and watching your home getting smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror.
For many years, I worked close enough to a ferry route that I actually felt a pull like some huge magnet trained on my car.
Some mornings, I had to grip the steering wheel and make myself turn into the parking lot at work.
Heed the siren call I say!

Ferry Riding 101
  • Get up at the crack of dawn regardless of what time your ferry sails
  • Pack your bags or double check your packed bags or rifle through your packed bags looking for something that will be left behind anyway
  • Over water your house plants
  • Depart without a backward glance
  • Feel your heart taking a few tentative gasps and begin to relax
  • Admire the eagles circling above Ladner
  • Smugly congratulate yourself on reserving a spot on the ferry
  • Pull into the vast parking lot and find the right lane and drive down it and down it and down it
  • Wind down your window sociably and fetch out your snack
  • Listen stoically to announcement that ferry is delayed one hour
  • Hasten to small patch of distant shade shared by all pet owners traveling in the same direction as you
  • Have your own Best of Class dog show with your grandchildren and imagine names of all entrants. 
  • Assign prizes for Largest, Littlest, Hairiest, Cutest, Most Obedient
  • Disqualify Cutest for lifting his leg and peeing on his owner and her purse as she sits nearby 
  • Respond to the crackling loudspeaker by hastening to your car as it smolders in a vast sea of smoldering cars
  • Keep your thoughts firmly fixed on shade, seashores, surf and shells
  • Smile
  • Keep smiling