Sunday, July 21, 2019

from kindness

Otter Coop is a store that invites wandering.
It's a grocery store,
and a clothing store,
a shoe store,
hardware shop,
farm supply store,
garden centre,
tack shop,
card shop,
coffee shop,
toy store,
post office,
My dad loved shopping there because he could sit down and enjoy a mug of coffee and strike up a conversation while my Mom and I loaded our carts with jugs of milk and cartons of eggs.
Time has hastened onward and I shop alone now.
 I fit grocery shopping into the gaps and chinks of my days as needed.
The other sort of shopping, the window and wander sort of shopping is taken as needed too.  Like a prescription of sorts.
Sometimes my life slips into automatic pilot and I feel like Rip Van Winkle. It is as though I catch up to myself. There is even that gradual awareness of wakening. A remembering.
It was on one of those wanders that I found myself standing in a gardening aisle lined floor to ceiling with bags of bulbs and tubers, their bright cardboard packaging startling me to a standstill.
Dahlia, Hosta, Day Lily, Begonia, Gladioulus.
I reached out and pulled one from its hanger, turning the packaging and squinting into the sawdust for signs of life.
A little shoot of green was there.
A desperate shoot it seemed to me.
I couldn't buy (rescue) them all of course.
I turned to go as my eyes drifted up, up, up to the top row.
Oh, Gloxinias, with their giant velvet bells.
Ruffled bells.
And giant velvet leaves too.
My parents always had Gloxinias. Regal red, luscious burgundy, blooming in a window amidst the green tangle.
My father in-law had them too. Always.
I stood on tip-toe to reach one down and had to use another package to inch it forward on the hook.
As I turned it over and over I could see a sturdy little shoot of tender green, bravely sprouting.
I felt a desperate pity, like looking at an abandoned puppy on a doorstep, waiting to be rescued.
I rushed to the till, averting my gaze from all the rest.
I planted it and watered and hovered.
Up it came.
And up.
Seemed kind of leggy.
Maybe the light, filtering through the blinds just wasn't enough. Light filtering forest is different from light filtering kitchen window blinds.
Humid mountain air and stream side is different from being watered with a drinking glass of tap water.
I put it outside where it could look up and see the sky.
There should be a comfort in that I thought.
And it would feel the fresh cool rain for once.
I hadn't considered the bugs though.
The Canadian bugs.
Their eyes lit up with joy.
They fell upon my poor Gloxinia as though it were expensive imported cheese.
It's back in the kitchen again, recovering from my kindness.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

eyes to see it

This photo was taken in 1930's Blue River.
I was a child of the 60's, but I recognize it in a moment.
In fact, because it is so familiar, I had failed to really LOOK at the picture.
I had missed the reason someone bothered to raise viewfinder to eye and snap away.
At first glance, the distant hills with their comforting contour, the wooded shore, the clump of birch are all so Lake Eleanor.
(though we always called it Blue River Lake)
And I can't help thinking the diving platform seems mighty close to shore.
(It was later moved somewhat but not enough. My brother dove from it and broke his wrist on the bottom of the lake which he arrived at too quickly)
It wasn't until this morning, as I wandered through a file of old black and whites that I paused and really looked at this picture for once.
And that is when I noticed it.
Out there in the middle.
On a log.
Stately as a king.
A heron.
Or crane of some kind.
Not something I ever saw growing up in Blue River.
Not something the photographer had grown accustomed to seeing either.
And so they took the picture.
There was no zoom feature.
No crop or resize available.
So the marvelous, amazing, unusual sight remained exactly where it was.
Out in the middle of the lake on a log.
In the center of the photograph.
Right in front, for anyone with eyes to see it.

Monday, July 15, 2019

upcyled birds

Upcyling is a joyous thing.
 Paint chips snip snapped into birds; cards for my bird loving Aunt.

Sunday, July 14, 2019


Blueberries are ON.
It doesn't take long to fill a pail in the cool slanting light of evening.

Row after row of blueberries, 
some large and tart, some shiny black and tasting of cinnamon.

Nearby, grapes of autumn are soaking up the sweetness of summer.

Raspberries are soon gone for another year.

And early apples scent the air.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

year by year

For several years I gave my Mom hydrangea. 
It was always one giant pom pom of petals in a pot like a great, pink topiary, and when they finished flowering, we planted them out in the garden.

Pink they were and pink some remained. 
Others morphed into every shade of purple, changing year by year.

July Garden

Roses; tier upon tier, upon tier. Great heaps and drifts of them.

We didn't plant them. They came with the house, and were already well established when we arrived. Except for a wonderful peach/orange one that is getting more flamboyant every year.

The hollyhock weren't planted by us either, although they are in very different spots now. They drop their seeds willy nilly and have gradually edged their way around the lawn.

Hosta are so amazing. I love all of them. They have giant leaves in every shade of green. These are especially oversized, blue-green with especially generous flowers in lovely lavender.

And, these are garlic scapes. The stems curl and coil like preening geese. A gaggle of garlic geese.

The garden is a wondrous thing in July.

Saturday, July 6, 2019


I knew the children would all be in bed when I stopped by one evening.
No chance to say hello or goodbye.
But then a head appeared in the window,
popping up like a gopher on the prairie.
I paused, one leg in the car,
almost leaving,
then curved my fingers aloft into a heart sign.
Up in the second story bedroom window, her small hands did the same
I signed 'i love you'
as did she, a little echo
while I blew kisses like a departing opera singer.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

on the lookout

She wanted to go to Aldergrove Lake Park.
She wanted to go there BEFORE she went home.
Even if no one else except her wanted to go. 

She asked so earnestly.
She even said please.

Grandmothers love to say yes.

While the others hastened home, we buckled in and headed south.
South, past rows of houses all alike.
And flocks of cars heading east.
Past trucks grumbling and clearing their throats. 
And cedar, fir and alder thickly green.

We were on the lookout for Living Creatures.
I told her about the coyote and the mouse.
About the owl and rabbit.
I reminded her of the time I'd seen a turtle laying eggs and the three giant frogs.
Of the snake and the fish with bulging eyes.
The ducks.
And squirrels.

She clutched my phone.
She was ready to film.

The pond was as flat as glass.
Not a duck in sight.
It wasn't an amphibian day.
Or a reptile one.
Nothing furry dashed by.
Birds sang in shadowed invisibility.

She seemed a bit disgusted. 

"Look," I cried. "A honey-bee!"
Carefully she filmed, standing wisely at a distance.
"Blue dragonflies! See, one just landed on my arm."
A beetle waddled obligingly by.
Slender silver damselflies twirled.
So many Living Creatures.
She filmed and filmed and filmed.

the quality of mercy

"The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest. It becomes
The thron├Ęd monarch better than his crown.
His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings,
But mercy is above this sceptered sway.
It is enthron├Ęd in the hearts of kings.
It is an attribute to God himself.
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice."
-William Shakespeare

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

fresh and new

On the weekend, I stood on a rocky, reedy shore, and gazed across the mud flats of Boundary Bay. The tide was out and it was mud flats all the way to Crescent Beach and Blackie Spit. The sand stretched on and on.
A salt marsh separates the path from the sandy shore or I would have had my toes in the cool mud in a flash.
It's just as well I guess.
Here and there are patches of sunken sand, pulled down by some underground current; a sort of beach version of Black Holes.
Instead, we ambled along, admiring the bleached gray driftwood at winter's high tide line.
Ducks and songbirds chuckled and buzzed and pinged.
Butterflies zig zagged, white against the green.
The sun was overhead, but a breeze, the kind that is almost always the saving grace of a summer day at the seashore, blew til I felt fresh and new.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

low road

It's been a few years since I went to a quilt show. Quilt Guilds and Quilt Shows and quilters clutching quilts of all kinds used to be a very big part of my life. My life and my mothers. We delighted in those times together for a lovely block of years.
She passed away unexpectedly last May. It doesn't really matter how old or frail an elder becomes; their death feels somehow unexpected. Can you plan for death and grief?
Boundary Bay Quilt Guild had a spring quilt show and my husband and I, on a day of spontaneous adventure, found ourselves wandering amongst rows of quilts.
"Oh, Mom would have liked that one," I commented. And then to myself added, "Oh no! Don't think about your Momma."
As, right on cue, the live entertainer began to strum and sing, "You take the high road and I'll take the low road..."
Come ON!!!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

flat as a stone

Peripheral vision is always ON.
My step faltered even before I knew I had seen something,
even as my eyes swung to the left.
There on the hand railing,
snoozing in the sun
sat a tiny green tree frog.
Black bandit eye mask.
Flat as a stone.

When my husband leaned in for a closer look it opened bright black eyes and lifted its chin.
It seemed to be taking a reading on wind direction.
When you weigh as much as a leaf, and live in a tree, wind is something to ponder.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Saturday, April 20, 2019


one rabbit
two rabbit
three rabbit
five rabbit 
six rabbit
seven rabbit

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

dolls are important

Dolls are important. They are the babies of children. 
The dollies these clothes were made for arrived Christmas morning dressed in sleepers. They NEEDED dresses..and bonnets (reversible ones)....and bloomers.....and slippers. (bunny slippers with pink pom pom noses)

 They needed bunting bags.....with detachable hoods.
And I needed an assembly line.

Double snuggle
Double dress-up

Fun x 2.

spring trio

A trio of spring cards.

Friday, March 1, 2019


"I gave my speech at school today Gramma," my grandson says.
"Oh, wonderful," I cry. "What was your topic?"
"Why there shouldn't be speeches at school."

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

like a pearl

My gaze wandered to the clock.
My mind gave a jolt.
Outside I dashed.
The eclipse had already started.
Back inside I dove and onto the phone.
My daughters voice answered.
"Blood Moon," I gasped. "Get the kids to the window!"
I rushed back outside.
A dark thumbprint had crept up the face of the moon.
My husband soon joined me and held his phone up to the night sky.
He has an app that shows the constellations in real time.
I giant crab seemed to be holding the moon like a pearl in its pincers.
Slowly the moon darkened.
Stars glittered far and wide.
Full moons usually glow, flatly white, like a paper disc pasted on the sky,
but as the eclipse cast its shadow onto the surface of the moon it became a glowing orb,
and through binoculars,
a giant fragile balloon,
lit from within.

Monday, January 7, 2019

special sparrow

I wheeled up the drive and there like an ornament was a plump bird perched atop a shrub. It's head was dusky black, belly, roundly white. It was only as it turned and flashed russet that I knew.
A Towhee.
Not an unusual bird but somehow, in the cool afternoon light, it seemed an exotic stranger to the yard.
A special kind of sparrow.

hope on

I heard a sudden commotion behind me in the room.
"Look, it's snowing."
"There's snow."
I turned and gazed at a cluster of teenage faces and followed their gaze to the windows beyond.
I squinted.
A few sparse flakes were dusting down like salt sparingly shaken.
Only in Abbotsford, I thought.
Only here at the coast would there be such awe and joy over next-to-no-snow falling.
We always hope though.
A few trees are pushing leaves already and bulbs are poking up through the soft, rain soaked ground.
But we still hope.
Pussy willows are just five or six weeks away.
But we hope on.