Saturday, June 22, 2019

How the Land Transformed My Life

I lived in a grey little town:
grey skies, grey vistas, grey prospects.
My dreams died down,
became a lament, a longing.

Then in a last gasp of nor-or-never,
I leaped the mountain pass.
Surrounded by ocean, forest, cosmic energy,
artists, aliveness, adventure,
I was reborn at 71.

A place can do this to you,
when it is the place
where your soul is at home.


For millennia, the Nuu-chah-nulth people
lived here as caretakers of land and sea.
They had regulations, strict protocols,
responsibilities, for how they cared for the land.
It cared for them in return.
In their culture, each life is as important
as every other, from plant to lowly slug
to upright bipeds.
"Everything Is One; All Is Connected
in the web of life," they teach us,
watching in horror as we desecrate
and plunder the land and waters
we depend on for life.

The elder's face has deep lines,
born of deeper pain.
He says "The land has enough
for our need,
but not our greed."

If only those who make decisions
could hear, and understand.

Sadly, they dont. In the midst of environmental breakdown, Trudeau is still ramming through a pipeline. Fracking is destroying everything; it continues. We need the trees to breathe; there is barely any old growth left.

"Human behavior transforms the environment", says Scott Yabiku (ASU) but the landscape also transforms us. It transformed my life, when I changed locations.  The environment informed the lives of the Nuu-chah-nulth people, who lived here for ten thousand years. They had strict protocols and regulations in the way they cared for the land. Now they watch in horror as wild salmon become diseased and infected by fish farms - the salmon that is the lifeblood of this area, the forest, and their culture. Our whales are starving and dying, their stomachs full of plastic. OUR plastic. Bears, displaced of habitat, wander into towns in search of food, and are killed.

The Arctic is melting. Everything is accelerating. The effects will be felt in the lower provinces sooner than expected. Humans have transformed the environment in one hundred short years of wilful greed and plunder. But nature will regain the upper hand. Perhaps after cataclysm, humans will learn another way to live with the land - those who survive.

for Kerry's prompt at Real Toads: Human-Landscape Interactions

A Wonderful Adventure

Heading Out

Tofino is very good to its seniors. We live in a village that is incredibly rich culturally, full of artists, writers, carvers, sculptors, and poets; the villagers support and appreciate the arts to a degree I have not experienced anywhere else. Not to mention the spectacular scenery, which inspires us all. Yesterday some of us seniors boarded the Browning Passage vessel and headed out to Freedom Cove, an off-grid floating paradise where, for 25 years, artists Catherine and Wayne Adams have lived, created art, and developed a floating paradise of gardens.

Before we left, this little fellow, a river otter, galloped along the float to wish us bon voyage. Some porpoises appeared along the route, also,  but they dove under before I could capture more than the ripples they left behind.


Wayne welcoming us

Catherine and two of the three dogs

Whale ribs 

Burrowbird, inspired by a bird of 
Wayne's homeland, Norway

The floating island runs on solar energy. All materials are salvaged or recycled. Wayne says the floathome came first, then Catherine asked for "Just a small salad garden, honey"!
Things grew, as we can see.

Even apples!

This burl is 600 years old. I love their fire pit.

Wayne has a Man Cave

The stunning art studio

and beautiful art.

One year, 40 eagles arrived to feed on the herring,
and left behind these feathers, 
which became the first mask they made.

There is even a floating "beach", with sand.
Browning Passage boat in background.

Sister Margaret, on the left, is soon turning 100
wonderful years old. She is a trooper
and inspires us all.
Sister Anita is on the right.

Catherine and Wayne's message to the world is
They are, and hope others will see
it is possible, and will live their dreams too.

On leaving, we each were invited to choose a candle.
Mine was this wolf. This was the icing on the cake,
                                                        and made me so happy.

Altogether, an amazing day.
I came home replete.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

My Garden of Greens and Children

Weeds, weeds, everywhere
in Kelowna's thriving soil.
Hot sun, smiling boy.

From small seeds and hopes,
we grew more than we knew then.
We grew tomorrow.

Smiles in summer sun;
not knowing the tears to come:
it's better that way.

When I planted seeds,
I grew children as well as
the food that filled them.

for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Gardens.  I had a huge garden when my kids were growing like weeds, in an effort to keep their hungry tummies full. I loved growing things: gardens and children both. Those were happy years.

Puppy Love

I built a bridge from my head to my heart,
crossed it heartache by heartache.
I built a bridge and, step by step,
it opened my heart wider.

I built a bridge from my head to my heart,
let down my defenses, invited love in.
I built a bridge, and started across,
and on the other side was you.

Last week's Midweek Motif was Bridge. This popped into my head a week late. I read somewhere that the longest and hardest journey, in this pain-filled world, is the one between our heads and our hearts.  On the other side, though, I fell in love with the whole world, companioned by a wild wolf puppy.

Sunday, June 16, 2019


My inner wolf stirs under the Pink Moon,
howling the possibility of a world of connection,
with the land, and with each other,
a world of social justice for all,
humans and ecosystems alike.

Wolf is Presence,
life on its keenest edge, honed.
She is transcendence; to her
death is part of the cycle of life :
renewal and sustenance.
Our eyes, now, are opened;
we see with a fearsome clarity
what is meant for us here: cooperation,
connection, interdependence, balance.
They can shoot Mother Wolf from helicopters,
but she is wily. She will find a way to hide,
to survive, to outlive our ignorance,
until we finally realize the truth.
We need her here.
She is our wildish nature, our love of the land.
She is our deepest heart.

We grandmothers are the wisdom-keepers.
It is time, now, to speak what we know,
the deep wolfish knowing
that humankind has lost its way.
Time to remember the ancient pathways,
and follow them to the Source,
time to remember that from
the tiniest bit of stardust in the galaxy
to the smallest sprout upon the forest floor,
all, all, is part of the great wheel of life.
All has its purpose here.

Visit the closest tree you see.
Place your hand on its trunk.
Do you feel it?
Endurance, Stoicism, Deep Being.
It breathes out. We breathe in.
We are the same.

Each breath of peaceful energy you exhale
stirs the molecules, adds its weight,
helps to right this tilting planet.
If a few billion of us breathe peace
at exactly the same moment,
will not balance, and hope, finally arrive?

One from the spring of 2015, revisited, because we need peaceful energy and connection to the wild more than ever before.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Poem by an Exquisite Corpse

Bald eyes behold magnificent things.
Flabby groups arise, unsightly people.
Elegant hand feels skinny student.
Glamorous job makes quaint story.

Some silliness for Magaly's wordplay prompt at Real Toads.  I didnt use the online scrambler, just picked the words myself. I rather like the bald eyes. Lol.

Thursday, June 13, 2019


When my heart has no words
when there is too much to pray for
and not enough hope
in the world
to right all the wrongs

When California is burning
as the climate naysayers say nay
I walk my speechless heart
into the forest
to try to find my way

Each tree
a living prayer
offering balm and breath
to the soul-weary
Each birdcall a note of hope
in the planetary song
humankind has
gotten wrong

When my heart has
only tears,
and there is too much to pray for
and not enough hope
to find my way
I let the trees pray for me
Breathe their peacefulness
into my being
Listen to all
they have to say

Each tree
a living prayer,
each human adding either
dark or light
to the planetary plight

One from 2018 to share with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, fine reading every Sunday morning. Come join us! On the Vancouver Island, we are in the grip of a heat wave. It was 35 Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) yesterday at my sister's farm. It is not as hot here, but still too hot. Where is our cooling fog, our cool sea breezes? Each year, climate change is felt more strongly. My spirit grieves.