Monday, July 27, 2009


That isn't a typo, as I'm not talking about literacy. My gripe is litter. Even on the rocky shoreline of Hornby Island.

It seems there used to be more public awareness campaigns about litter -- Don't be a litterbug. I'm happy to see the city of Ottawa is one place that's revived this program. I just hope the movement spreads, as I'm sick of finding junk on the ground.

Still, in my small way, I continue to 'act locally' by picking up one piece of litter every day. Why not try it? You'll be doing something positive for your neighbourhood and for the planet.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Our own moonwalk

Not really, but some of the landscape on the rocky shores of Hornby Island can appear a bit moonlike. The volcanic action (combined with seawater) that formed this island has left so many interesting shapes. The rocks in the photo below look (at least to me) like nets draped to dry.

Whether I'm walking the shoreline, sleeping in the tent, or wading in the ocean while I take pictures of seaweed, this is the best -- at last, holidays!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Thoughts on...

...too many things. It's been days since I've done a posting. And so much has gone on in the interim.

The most time-consuming (in a good way) has been the Denman Island Readers' and Writers' Festival. Audiences, consisting of locals and off-islanders, were exceptional. They might have been the most attentive audiences I've ever experienced (or been part of). And the questions they posed to readers or panelists were worthy of professional interviewers. Having so many literate, informed people everywhere made for four very stimulating and enjoyable days.

And then there was the passing of Walter Cronkite. At first, I was dismayed at his not lasting quite long enough to make it to the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. But then I thought about how close his death was to the launch of the mission that took those three astronauts out into space. By now, as we approach the anniversary of the actual walk, I can only think Walter's spirit must be waiting beside the Sea of Tranquility to greet the ghosts of old footsteps.

Thinking of astronauts, I must record how thrilling it was to see the shuttle on Saturday night. With very little ambient light here on Denman, the night sky is intense; the Milky Way sprawls, the dipper stands out sturdy enough to imagine it might indeed have been what spilled out all that milk. Yet while we were walking from a party, a bright light caught my eye and made me look up. A twinkling star, as bright as the famous one from Bethlehem might have been, hurtled across the sky while we stood and watched. It moved quickly and disappeared within less than a minute, I'm sure. Still, I felt so lucky to have seen it all. Silly as always, I waved to Julie and Bob.

But now it's time for holidays. Tonight we'll be sleeping in the Hoserdome, our tent. Will post again when I can and with luck, I'll have seen more night sky -- and will have made some wishes on shooting stars and maybe waved one last goodbye to Walter.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It’s festival season!

Summer, and the season of folk festivals and jazz festivals and writers’ festivals is in full swing.

One that's going on this week is the Harrison Festival of the Arts. It offers some of everything: music, theatre, dance, visual arts and even a taste of the literary arts.

This year’s Literary CafĂ© featured the multi-talented Andreas Schroeder, and poets Elsie K. Neufeld and Leonard Neufeldt. The focus for this year’s event was a celebration of the Mennonite literary tradition in the area. Neufeld and Neufeldt (that looks almost as confusing as Thompson and Thomson) have worked together on many projects that showcase Mennonite work. The 2006 anthology, Half in the Sun, presented poems and prose by some of B.C.’s Mennonite writers.

Mellow offerings from the Nelson Boschman Trio bookended the event.

From the left, the photo below shows Elsie with the evening’s host, Cheryl Isaac.

Next stop? The 7th annual writers’ festival on Denman Island.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sweet welcome home

Even though I was a bit jet-lagged, the morning was so beautiful, it was easy to get up. Three of us went out to pick some gorgeous B.C. raspberries.

With the size of them, it didn't take long at all to fill all of our buckets. Now it's just a matter of freezing as many batches as I can while we eat our fill. Ah, summer!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Canada Day, extended

Yesterday was Canada Day, but since much of the country took the day off, I guess I did too.

We had a bocce championship in the afternoon, and the winners won a swishy chocolate bar that had the word ‘Excellence’ on the wrapper. Since good winners always share, they passed it around for all of us to sample.

The barbecue supper came close to getting rained out, but an umbrella over the barbie meant the cooks could put the finishing touches on the sausages and ribs. Whew!

Since the park we tried going to for fireworks got flooded, their event was postponed until Saturday, the 4th. Where I’d been thinking about borders and their significance (or, more to the point, their absurdity), this seemed apt enough. Canada Day fireworks on the 4th of July. I reckon.

My thinking was reinforced by the DVD we rented last night, The Wind that Shakes the Barley. It’s about the ‘troubles’ that raged so many years in Ireland, a place where brother fought brother, where the invisible border of religious difference played such a big role in dividing a country.

So, my wish as I extend this year’s Canada Day? For all of us to try to find ways to pay less attention to the borders we’ve created, all those invisible lines that lead us to think of someone else as ‘Other’.

And to celebrate, here’s how our own little fireworks show played out.

Bought these at the local convenience store.

Found a bucket of sand to stick them in, for firm and safe grounding.

The Dear Man went waaaaay back in the great big yard here.

After a bit of fussing, the fuse took light.

Hurrah, colours in the sky!