Saturday, November 27, 2010


You will remember that leaping stream
where sweet aromas rose and trembled,
and sometimes a bird, wearing water
and slowness, its winter feathers.

You will remember those gifts from the earth:
indelible scents, gold clay,
weeds in the thicket and crazy roots,
magical thorns like swords.

You'll remember the bouquet you picked,
shadows and silent water,
bouquet like a foam-covered stone.

That time was like never, and like always.
So we go there, where nothing is waiting;
we find everything waiting there.

~Pablo Neruda

I find myself in the quiet.
I've been reading poetry. I've been reading prose.
I've been observing. A still being amongst the frenzy.
I've been taking pictures in the snow, then in the rain.... and briefly in the sun.  And sometimes my camera can't tell if it is spring or fall or winter. 

Snow falls, then melts into green a day later. Hydrangea petals turn brittle, yet moss grows ever more soft and brilliant. The fog sweeps in, then out, followed by the milky brightness of the moon.

Not much to say today. 
Just quietly sharing with you, a touch of beauty.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Silk Parachutes

Did you know that some spiders can fly?

There is a spider that can create a tiny parachute out of her lightweight web material. She will wait for a breeze to catch her and carry her vast distances, to some unknown some unknown fate. A new life in a completely unpredictable environment.

Scientists have found them way up the earth's atmosphere. Sometimes over great ocean bodies. When a volcano has decimated miles and miles of landscape, the first living creature that is sometimes discovered in these barren rocky wastelands are these tiny spiders.

That is a hopeful, optimistic little spider! Who knew they could be so adventurous?

Personally, I don't think I could live that way. I am too much of a homebody. As much as I love and fiercely protect my freedom, I don't like the feeling of being untethered. Without roots. I like to know where I belong.

But it does seem so fantastical, doesn't it? To be wisped away on a gentle current, your white silky parachute freewheeling through the upper atmosphere like a dandelion seed blown from its stem. Swirling and curling here and there until a sudden stillness gently releases you to a new garden, a new coastline, a new mountain top.... where you begin again. The world, a whole new oyster. And if you don't like your new digs, just make another parachute!

I wish I could coax the spiders that live in my house to try this way of life.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Whippletree and Beyond

Last week, the grey drizzle brought about a softness to the day. This weekend, the cloud and fog enhanced the richness of things, deepened textures, and awakened the boldness of colour.

I feel as though I have just traveled a great distance. But really, I was only in my own backyard.... well, sort of.  My friend and I went adventuring with our cameras, about an hour north of Victoria. Our first stop was Whippletree Junction...a small cluster of colourful old buildings that have been converted into shops and studios. It is a wonderfully bizarre place....a garden strewn with dozens of teapots, a courtyard surrounding an odd sculpture/wishing fountain made of old machinery parts, and long abandoned objects like an old printing press that have been left to rust and adorn the garden spaces.

After spending a great deal of time, utterly fascinated with the moss growing between the bricks, we moved on to a place I had never been to before. As soon as we drove into Cowichan Bay, I was enchanted with the place. I can't believe I have lived in Victoria for 10 years, and I have never seen this amazing little seaside village! There were organic bread shops and cafes, vintage candy stores and all kinds of funky little buildings along the small oceanside strip.

And while we were taking pictures of all these interesting things, I could hear a loud roar coming from the harbour. Then, many loud roars. So I walked out on the pier, towards the commotion, and there in front of me, on a neighbouring dock... a mountain of sea lions! Mostly sleeping, except for one or two loudmouths who had to let the entire town know their business. These guys don't smell pretty either.

One minute, they are snuggled next to each other, having an afternoon snooze....the next, wide awake, startled by a boat coming into the harbour. Except for that little guy on the right....he slept through the whole thing. The sound was amplified dramatically.

So, I moved on to more peaceful subject matter.

The day went by way too fast. These short November days are unforgiving to photographers seeking the light. The drive home was over a mountain pass, thick with dense fog and drizzle. But, as you know, this weather doesn't get me brings me to life. I saw new places that tweaked my imagination and sense of exploration. And there are so many other places like this I have yet to discover on this beautiful island I call home.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ever so Fine, What Falls From the Sky

The drizzle outside my window this morning illuminated my houseplants. There was a gentle softness to everything. A foggy morning, bringing out the essential shapes of things...simplifying the landscape. I lingered for a long time, watching the rain fall so slightly it was almost invisible. And I would have been content to stay there even longer, next to my window... but I wanted to feel the rain. Smell the freshness of the mild coastal air.
So I went exploring.
I knew it was going to bring me gifts, this charming morning. As I drove toward my destination, the woman in the car in front of me, while waiting at a red light, made huge swooping movements with her arms as though she was conducting a symphony outside her windshield. I smiled at her through her rearview could I not? She was not entertaining a child in the car, or laughing with another girlfriend....she was alone. Undoubtedly immersing herself in a piece of music that truly moved her.

I abandoned my car next to the ocean and walked up a street lined with beautiful character homes. Victoria is brimming with neighbourhoods like this. I like to walk and dream about my future life when I own a home like this. If it never becomes a reality, well, it's a beautiful dream for the here and now.

Garden flowers may be withering, heavy with Autumn rain, but seed pods are bulging with potential, waiting for their moment to burst open and bring new beginnings to spring pending.
And the ethereal lightness of a warm breath on the dewy air.

Yet, there are still hints of colour. Blooms, not quite ready to call it a day.

Someone left their heart on a wooden pole. A bit worn and scratched, this heart has a story. Hopefully, the romantic soul who left it there hasn't abandoned love completely. They look like surface wounds. Nothing a little time and tenderness won't heal.

And now as the soft light evolves into darkness, I am grateful I stepped into the drizzle. There is a beauty in the greyness, a day most appreciated by a woman and her love of symphonic melodies... and a girl and her love of rainwater.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Autumn Swap

I came home yesterday evening to find a package waiting for me. Don't you love it when you receive packages in the mail? Especially when you are anticipating their arrival? Sweet Relyn is hosting an autumn swap and she paired me with a lovely new friend Diane, who is currently living in Germany. I opened up the box and found many goodies inside.

She included a thoughtful card with such kind words. I discovered that she had been to my city a few years ago....if only I had known her then! In fact, the very first post I saw when I visited Relyn for the first time, years ago, it was a post about her visit to Victoria. What beautiful synchronicity. Once again, if only..... Maybe, if I am lucky, they might return one day.

Inside the box I found a jar of homemade applesauce. How tempting it was, to go grab a spoon and indulge right then and there. But no...I will save it for a special dish. It is not every day I get such a wonderful homemade gift. But I have to say, I did nibble at a few pieces of this divine rich dark chocolate that I found nestled in next to the applesauce. As soon as I took this picture, a few squares quickly disappeared.

And the book she sent....I love the worn feel of this book. It feels as though it has been loved before it reached my hands. It contains a collection of essays about books. Well, I absolutely LOVE books. I vow to never own one of those digital readers. I love the feel of them in my hands, I love to turn the pages, I could (and do) wander bookstores for as long as they continue to make real books, I will always stay loyal to the real thing. This book was written by a woman who "once found herself poring over a 1974 Toyota  Corolla manual because it was the only written material in her apartment that she had not read at least twice." This is a woman who loves to will be interesting to glimpse into her insights.

At the very bottom of the box were two gorgeous magazines. I poured through the pages, soaking up all the beautiful eye candy. These were some of my favourite images. Could I please have a rustic table and chairs next to a glass door like that? Could it open to a lush garden? With adorable little bird houses like these his and her's? I have been collecting images like this for a while now, as I try to uncover what inspires me, what my tastes are...they are ever changing, but I am learning more and more about myself as I go through this process. Lately, I have fallen in love with all shades of white. I dream to have a house of my own one day...a place I can lovingly create, make my own. But for now, I will use these inspirations I find as steps on the journey toward my dreams.

And that was not all that was in the box. I found some adorable little things to hang on my doors. There was a cute little mushroom made of fall leaves, an autumn wooden hanging that sounds like rain when the leaves collide with each other, and this little welcome hanging...Diane, how did you know it would go so well with the colours of my front door? So intuitive you are. ;)

This swap was great fun. And meeting someone new is always a gift. Thank you so much Relyn, for being such a caring and dedicated host, and thank you Diane for the lovely treasures you sent me from across the big blue sea. One day I would so love to see your corner of the planet. Germany has many charms.....and so do you!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Celebrating Debi

Debi, today I celebrate you. I celebrate your newest published article in Artful Blogging, but mostly, I celebrate you. And what would a party be without a little cake? I picked up this cupcake yesterday, and dedicated every scrumptious bite to something beautiful in you...

The first bite... this was the sweetest bite. This one was for your love of words, which manifest into the most lyrical pieces of writing. You invite me to imagine the world you live in with all of my senses engaged. Not only can I picture the places you describe, but I can hear the curtains flitting with the breeze, I can feel the fallen tulip tree blossoms under my toes, and I can smell the rain approaching on a hot Texas night. The softest shades of blues and greens are all around me, so calming and peaceful.

The second delicious bite was for your attention to detail. You see fallen leaves that look like birds, you watch shadows move across the walls, the night sky tells you stories as you look up from your swaying hammock, you see hearts everywhere. You capture things with your camera that make me do double takes...that make me gasp with delight, when I see the hidden gem that you have brought into the light, just quietly waiting to be noticed.

This substantial bite is for your intricate creative process. Passion seems to drain out of you, through your paintbrush and sweeps itself across your canvases with wild abandon. Your calming, simple style is deceiving, for it is never a simple picture you paint. Intuition is your faithful guide...the very soul of your paintings.

This one is for the uncanny way you turn the most ordinary things into breathless beauty. Your entire blog is like this. The world, through your unique frame of view (and frame of mind) is extraordinary, and full of magic.

This last morsel packs a punch. It is for your honesty. Your raw, unapologetic, unedited, unfiltered honesty. You are the real thing, Debi. When you speak of loss, when you recall a memory, when you reflect what a certain colour does to your psyche, how the people around you affect you, when you talk about your charming neighbourhood, and how it is changing, how you dream of a new place to call home....whatever it is you are feeling, you speak straight from the most authentic places in your heart. When I read your words, my heart takes its own journeys, and I am grateful for the explorations.

Today, it's all about you.
You are lovely.
You are a meditation on living with soul.
You are a gift to us all.

Many thanks to sweet Amy for hosting this wonderful celebration today. What a beautiful heart you have.

Now I must brush off the crumbs, those delectable crumbs, and go looking for a copy of Artful Blogging for my very own. I can't wait to see what treasures are inside.