Monday, July 29, 2013

Chasing Clouds

Yesterday's Sky-Show had some very spectacular clouds on display. As I have both Sebastian, my four year old sidekick, and Jeff, my son, a slightly larger kid, with me this week, we decided to go Cloud Chasing in the car. We headed out Beaver Creek, paralleling the Beaufort Range.

We were intrigued by this old silo, and the beautiful property across the street.

We drove right to the end of Beaver Creek, where it curves around and you get a wonderful look back at the hills. Prime cattle grazing land out here.

We turned around and headed for Stamp Falls, one of our favorite spots around here, because it is the wildest.

Along the river we went, with Power Ranger Sebastian to protect us

Jeff and I both have camera-phobias, but I managed to catch two smiles!

My friend Sebastian is always smiling!

We stopped for yogurt cones on the way home and called it a highly satisfactory day.

Ms Jasmine was happy to see us return home,

and Power Ranger Sebastian took up his post once again.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Lover of the Sky

spectacular sky in New Zealand 
from Our Beautiful World and Universe

I am a lover of the blue sky.
Perfect clouds
like a dream sail by;
of a green walk in the wild wood;
of tall trees dripping on me
where I stood;
of mist rising up
where the river bends;
of the small sweet song
of a striped-headed wren.

I am a lover of the burning flame
lit for world peace
in hearts the same.
I am a lover of the morning sun,
already radiant
the day begun.
I am a lover of the whale, leaping,
of the blue, blue hills
in the sunset sleeping.
I am a lover
of the eagle's cry,
who sweeps and soars
without a Why.

I am a lover
of life alone,
of the heart's peace
when it's at home.
I am a lover
of my old dog's smile,
of his warm brown eyes,
of his lack of guile.
I am a lover of the warm spring rain,
of the smell of earth stirring
to life again.
I am a lover of the ocean's roar,
of the sandy beach
stretching all before.
I am a lover of rock and log,
of driftwood shapes
looming through the fog.
I am a lover of clouds, of stars,
of the falling dark,
of soft guitars,
of the meadowlark,
of the summer breeze,
of days of struggle,
days of ease,
of heartfelt love
gone away too soon,
of goodbyes
under a slice of moon.

I am a lover
of fresh-cut grass,
of children's laughter,
of dogs I pass,
of babies all
innocence and rapture,
of the bent and aged
who tremble after,
of the falling leaves,
of a job well done,
and I am a lover
of beasts that run,
of water that moves
and creates its own way,
of the journey made
and the price I pay.

I am a lover
of brand new books,
those journeys that
I never took.
I am a lover of music that sings
songs of the heart,
the hope it brings,
and the flight of poems
for a brand new dawn
that knows this life
is Moving On.

Like the heron, stalk-still
at the water's edge,
makes a sudden leap
I am the same.
Poised to dive
from a tilting ledge,
the horizon lit
with a golden flame,
I'm waiting
to hear
call my name.

This is an oldie, kids, posted today because the sky is so beautiful, and to participate in Poetry Pantry at Poets United. And to remind you to Keep Looking Up!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


In 1985
Stephanie was nine,
when her father,
whom she had not seen 
since she was an infant,  
arrived in a limousine
to glad-hand her
around the town,
and dazzle her with how life could be
outside our little house,
with its shortage of food
but abundance of love and laughter.

Like a comet
he hit her solid little world head-on
and rocked its foundation,
making her wonder
when he left town
(walking, since he had blown all his money
on the dazzle, and taking back the $50
he had given her)
what life with a dad
always around might be,
and why she wasnt enough
to make him stay.

posted for Alan's prompt: 1985 at Poetry Jam. Pick any year, I have more material than I can live long enough to write, hee hee.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

When Feeling Homeless, Read This Poem

google image

Fellow Traveler,
do you feel like you've been 
searching for home
for a lifetime?

Are you out there in the dark,
buffeted by winds,
storm-tossed and weary,
with still such a long way to go?

Come home.
I'll put a candle on the sill
to light your way. 
There's a fire in the hearth
and a soup-pot slow-simmering.
Comfort and kind words await.
You need only arrive.

Come home, weary traveler,
to the only home
there ever is ~
home to yourself
once again.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Seeing the Magic

Dear World,
When I open my eyes 
this morning,
feeling a little sad,
please remind me to see
the beauty
in what I already have.

Let me regain
the enchantment -
July skies, cottony clouds,
the willow by the pond
with its branches all bowed,
the horse in the meadow,
the doves
in the trees,
 the gift of a day
to spend just as I please.

Remind me, always, 
to Keep Looking Up,
beyond all the what-if's
that clutter my cup.
In place of yearning for beauty
that's farther away,
may I  reclaim the magic
of this summer day.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Growing Up Sweet

Riding along after our trip to the farmer's market, four year old Sebastian and I are talking about what a great haul of fruits and veggies we had. I told him when we got home I was going to make some juice out of carrots, celery and swiss chard, and it would be very healthy.

He chipped in, "The veggies will help me grow!"

Ah! a teachable moment! "Yes," I replied eagerly. "Because when you eat lots of fruits and vegetables, you grow up healthy!"

"And when you eat all the stuff with sugar in it......" Sebastian struggled with imparting any information which might preclude his having dessert later......."you grow up SWEET!" he concluded, and we both cracked up.

When the Big Winds Blow

talented artist not listed

Mother Earth is not a place 
for us to inhabit
like a tenant,
wiping our feet on her,
using her unthinkingly,
leaving her without 
a backward glance.

She is a living, thinking, feeling,
intelligent entity,
and she is in distress,
because of us.

We are not separate from her,
(it seems obvious to say),
but are a part of her suffering whole,
the root cause of our (not "her") 
global imbalance.

"When the big winds begin to blow",
the elders warned,
"it is a sign that we are approaching
the tipping point, beyond which
it will be too late."

The big winds are blowing, my friends,
all across these lands.
We need to take off our shoes,
walk on the earth with reverence,
send our tears and our deepest love
deep into the soil,
and all of our prayers to heaven.

Make each choice knowing
that we are all connected,
that what happens to one
happens to us all.

Ultimately, Mother Earth will heal.
With or without us.

"The first peace comes with your Mother Earth.
Dahnayto (Now I am finished)"
Chief Oren Lyons
Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan
of the Onondaga Nation

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Flight Maps of Stardust Voyagers

Sky Woman

This image was found on google, credited to In the Iroquois tradition, it is told there is a world that exists high above the world we know, where life is much as it is on earth. Sky Woman fell to earth from this Sky World, the first human being to live on earth.

Above, Sky Woman stands on the back of a giant Turtle, who provided his shell for her to rest.

This reminded me of a time, when I worked at a First Nations treatment center on an island just outside of Tofino, when as an exercise during group training, we were asked to write our own Creation Story. This is what I wrote. I miss those times. I so loved living and working among the First People, in our area called the Nuu Chah Nulth First Nations.

                                *****     *****     *****     *****

Out of swirling gases, spinning for eons, particles forged in a celestial furnace were puffed into being by the god of fire. Gathering substance as they swirled across a timeless sky, fire and gas clouds scattered fragments that through the ages, galaxy upon galaxy, glittered across the velvety black canopy. Over millennia, planets, stars, suns and moons slowly fell into ordered composition. One of these specks was Earth.

Over millions of years, Earth grew, from primordial ooze to a lushness of green that carpeted land masses slowly emerging from the swirling seas. These masses changed forms and locations over time and, under the water, the friction of the obsidian shelf pushed huge mountain ranges up into the sky.

From protozoa that crept out of the sea onto land, from ape to Cro-Magnon man to us, through millions of years of non-human development, to humankind's arrival, our story took millennia to develop. Only in the last hundred years, with ferocious determination and greed, have we managed to do harm to every species on the planet. At the same time, our seeking souls, knowing we have lost our way, still look skyward, singing.

In my heart and through my being, Sky Woman sings, a song of the sea, a song of the sky, inspiration to keep looking up, to envision the world as it is meant to be and to live towards that truth and that vision.

I believe in everything: the Big Bang theory, evolution and creation. Because of the intricate beauty, precision, and interrelation of everything in the cosmos, it feels to me divinely guided, provided by an intelligence vaster than our human minds can comprehend. Every scientist, trained in facts, I am certain, must feel the touch of this mystery.

Primitive people felt the Presence of this force, and paid homage. The human spirit is designed to question, to seek the meaning of life. When we listen to it, it is this inner voice that yearns towards a higher purpose for our brief time on this earth, this lifetime that is our spirit's classroom.

I find no conflict between evolution and creation. The creation story in Genesis was interpreted according to the understanding of the people of those ancient times in language they could grasp. The "seven days of creation" easily might have been seven million years in the unfolding. 

We carry within us flight maps of stardust voyagers. It is in our DNA. This keeps us yearning towards the nighttime skies. It is what makes us strive for meaning with which to fill our empty spaces. We are all star travelers here, arriving on the planet still bemused by the Mystery.

We understand more easily the earthly component of the paradigm. I believe there are no limits to the possibilities, that there is so much more to us than this one lifetime in our earthly bodies.

We have been Sky Woman, we have been trees, we have soared with eagles, and sung with whales. We are singing still, that mournful song of living on this planet in a way that has strayed so far from the teachings of the Old Ones. Our prayers rise on the Old Ones' breath, to the listening ears of whatever gods may be, Wakan Tanka among the First People.

There is room for it all - by many roads we travel to the same source, which is called by many names. This same Intelligence which set sun and moon and earth spinning in their orbit, programmed into the DNA of every cell the unslakable desire to develop. To us was added the free will to reason our way through all the possibilities, and to choose our pathway through this life according to our highest truths.

Without belief, what would give our lives and our deaths meaning? If we were only living, like every other cell, would the ordered beauty of the world be enough to accept the pain and struggle of being here? Does a simple cell feel joy or despair? What gave us reason and intelligence and choice, and why were we given it, if not to somehow prove ourselves worthy of the gift?

When I look up at the stars, I feel connected, some of their dust light-years ago somehow having become incorporated in my being.

My belief in this Intelligence helps me view myself and my fellow travelers with compassion, knowing whatever our fates on this plane, there will be a balancing out on the scales of a much truer justice than we find here, so that no one's life and death is meaningless.

I dont use one word to name whatever set the thousand galaxies spinning; I only know something cannot come from nothing, that before the swirling gases had to be the space they traveled in.

Looking inward at the teeming life of a single cell, its structure is too perfectly ordered to be random. Looking outward exponentially, spiraling across time and space on a cosmic journey, each star, each galaxy, with its programmed pattern, I believe all theories contain some truth. The only theory I find difficult to understand is that all life is random, that we live, we die, and it means nothing. I cant find anything in the human experience to support that.

Traveler, there are no limits to the possibilities, only perhaps in our capacity to understand them. I believe the soul is part of the story of creation, that it does not die, and that "there is a landscape larger than the one we see," and so much more than to survive that we are meant to do.

The Tree of Peace

I found this back in the archives of 2011, and am posting it for the Poetry Pantry at Poets United
this week.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dog Days

When the sun has parched
the earth
till the grasses are crisp,
and the bees are too stupified
with heat
to buzz the blossoms,
the dog yard is tenanted
by blissful furry bodies
as the dog days of summer
slowly unfurl
the twisting spool
of lazy days
and blessed, cooling

[Note to dog lovers: dont forget to bring the critters inside during the hot summer afternoons.]

posted for Margaret's prompt at Real Toads : the dog days of summer

Tourist Trivia

Middle of the Rockies
by Jon Merk

She found the Rockies
"Underwhelming", she said.
So I didn't think she would be
very wowed
by a gray whale
coming right up to the boat,
or the way the clouds
draped themselves
atop Lone Cone,
 the eagle nest
with its bright-eyed baby,
or the sursurrant song of the sea.

"Next year, I'll have a stay-cation,"
she smiled,
and I thought that
a pretty good plan.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Great Soul,
like a clear wind
you blew through
the hallways
of tyranny and oppression,
disarming the despots
with your dignity,
peacefulness and irreproachable 
insistence upon justice
that would no longer 
be denied.

The bondage of apartheid fell.
One of the most joyous moments of my life
was watching you dance your victory
before the cameras of the world -
from Robbins Island
to the Presidency,
never once stumbling

It seems in every generation
there emerges a hero. 
In my lifetime,
you were mine,
along with Gandhi, 
Martin Luther King,
Robert Kennedy Jr.,
all of you
peaceful warriors 
for social justice.

You were my inspiration
for personal freedom.
Even while captive,
your spirit transcended
and saw far beyond
the bars you looked through.
Even when treated brutally,
you did not forsake your dignity,
or turn away from 
your personal mandate.

You held a vision
for your beloved country
that you lived to see come to pass.
As you danced in celebration
of the first truly free election, 
the sweetness in your smile
touched my heart.
Such a long road
you had traveled
to reach that moment.

take the rest and the peace
you have earned,
and consider your job well done.

May we all take up
the banner of social justice
in your honor,
until the message of your life
covers the entire planet,
a planet, not of black and white,
but of Great Souls.

Happy Birthday,
as you rest  
after 95 years
of being honorable.
To the entire world,
you are, and will 
forever remain,
our hero.

Ticket To Ride?

google image

by Robyn Sarah

from A Day's Grace
copyright The Porcupine's Quill

It is possible that things will not get better
than they are now, or have been known to be.
It is possible that we are past the middle now.
It is possible that we have crossed the great water
without knowing it, and stand now on the other side.
Yes: I think we have crossed it now. Now
we are being given tickets, and they are not
tickets to the show we had been thinking of,
but to a different show, clearly inferior.

Check again: it is our own name on the envelope.
The tickets are to that other show.

It is possible that we will walk out of the darkened hall
without waiting for the last act: people do.
Some people do. But it is probable
that we will stay seated in our narrow seats
all through the tedious denouement
to the unsurprising end - riveted, as it were;
spellbound by our own imperfect lives
because they are lives,
and because they are ours.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

All That Is Hidden

Dowsing sketch from

As water witch,
my muse holds out the wand
and wanders through my subconscious,
looking for all that is hidden.
When she taps into the Source,
she brings me back
a message.

A dream has died,
been set aside.
There is none other
to replace it.

Witch, what are you trying
to tell me?

Dowsing is described at as the art of finding water, hidden treasure or even missing people or objects. Kim's prompt at Verse First is: Water Table, which made me picture dowsing. Kim asks us to tap the water table and see what springs forth-in thirteen lines. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Summer of '93

In the early dawn,
the soft patter of the drums
calls to me,
like the
of the earth mother.
In the campfire's glow
peaceful smiles,
committed faces,
as we are given
our instructions 
for being
on the road.

Then the big trucks roll in,
headlights lighting up
the unswerving gaze 
of the protectors
on the Kennedy River bridge.


The enforcement officer
reads the injunction,
megaphone aloft,
eyes grim.

Some of us move
to the side of the road.
Some of us  sit down.

One by one,
by arms and legs, 
grannies, young people,
and everyone in between,
are carried off 
by the police
to tears and cheers.

My heart swells 
with grief and passion
for the trees,
for the earth,
for these brave protectors,
of the future
of us all.

All summer,
we gather.
All summer,
the arrests are made

and still,
the trees come down.

It is twenty years later, now.
Twenty more years
of the trees coming down.

And we're all

Sally Sunshine

Fireblossom, at Real Toads, set us the challenge recently of writing about what we feel passionate about. Those mornings, before dawn, on the road, in 1993, were the most passionate of my life. In the biggest instance of civil disobedience in BC history, over 800 protestors were arrested that summer, one of them a grandma, then in her 70's, Betty Krawczyk, who served several lengthy jail terms for refusing to stop blockading. (Betty, now in her 80's,  is still an activist, still going strong! She is the embodiment of Passion!)

Eventually, due to the publicity,the  increasing media spotlight on the area, and public support, Clayoquot Sound was designated a biosphere reserve.

MacBlo and Interfor decided to log somewhere less problematical.....but vigilance is still required. Old growth is still being cut, and shipped away unprocessed. There have been recent proposals  to mine Catface Mountain, across the harbour from Tofino. Fish farms endanger the wild salmon.

And only an hour and a half away, where I live, in Port Alberni, the government has sold off huge tracts of what they call "tree lots" to private companies, who therefore have NO pesky guidelines to follow in how they lay waste the hillsides all around this town.  They are stripping the forests as fast as possible, leaving moonscapes in their wake, littered with wasted wood and debris.

But at least that summer, the Summer of '93, for a time, we stood between the threat and the forest, and we saved some ancient areas where the grandfathers still sway in the ocean breeze,  where children can still dream of what the earth once looked like, when she was young.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Person In the Poem

The person in the poem
is having an
existential crisis.

She can be heard muttering
and gnashing her teeth.

Slapping herself upside the head
she tries to quell the voices:
would I?
could I?
should I?

The person in the poem
has a dream.
But to catch that dream,
she must let go
of ease and comfort,
and climb back into
darkness and discomfort.
And she is older, now.
She enjoys her comfort.

The person in the poem
is taking a poll,
since she cant seem to
find an answer.

Then the Old Lady says:
"Don't think! Close your eyes."
She prays over her
in Egyptian.
Then she asks,
"What does your body say?"

"My body says No," 
the person in the poem replies.

And it is decided.

   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***

On July 8, which happened to be my birthday, I was actually having an existential crisis, as I had a huge impacting decision to make. Brian over at dVerse set us a prompt to write about the person in the poem. I wrote this and didnt post it, as the decision flummoxed me and laid me flat for a few days. I had a choice between comfort and going back to the place of my dreams, all or nothing, the choice the universe always gives me, it seems. 

I live in one large sunny room, surrounded by comfort and objects which have special meanings and memories for me. To return to my beloved Tofino, I would have had to live in a third of the space, in darkness, and give up most of what I treasure. Twenty years ago, I gave up comfort and embraced struggle in a heartbeat. This time, I knew I was not up to it.

Still, it is a hard letting go. And as I am the one who made the decision, I just have to suck it up.

   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***

Sunday, July 14, 2013

On Strawberries and Tigers

 photo from

This came to my inbox this morning, courtesy of Larry Robinson at Poetry Lovers Lists. It was written by Rebecca Del Rio and it said something to me today, as I sit here wrapping my head around this past week. Sometimes we get the strawberries, sometimes the tiger. I like this poet's reminder that tigers need love, too.

“There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly..." a Zen story as told by Pema Chödrön

Between Tigers

When one is in the habit of Demands,
there are always Tigers, everywhere
hungry for attention. Strawberries

eaten in haste have little flavor, like
hurried love, pressured between
appointments and sleep.

The trick:

to know the Tiger, too, love it,
savor it so voraciously, the ferocity
softens and you see it was

no Demand after all, but rather
an entreaty, a roaring request,
please, please taste me, too.

          - Rebecca del Rio