Monday, November 26, 2018


These little lettuces might be looking a little straggly, though you might too if you'd been living outside during the start of our rainy season.

Still, I'm pretty happy that a couple of these have hung in this long.

Two pots of geraniums are still blooming red out front, and I even picked a half-dozen raspberries the other day.

Survivors? Yes, but not for long, as tonight's salad bowl is looking a little empty -- but not for long!

Monday, November 19, 2018


The last few days have been busy with a number of launches -- of books and even of venues.

Wednesday saw a packed house at Vancouver's Massy Books (a wonderful bookstore, filled with titles both classic and new), with Leslie Timmins and I both launching our new books of poetry. Leslie's is Every Shameless Ray, and mine the crazily-named Practical Anxiety.

But that wasn't the end of the week's launches, as Sunday was the day things really got rolling.

Rob Taylor launched What the Poets are Doing -- not to be mistaken for the Tragically Hip's always-cool song about the poets. Taylor's book provides readers with an updated version of a book from 2002, this time with more Canadian Poets in Conversation.

Sunday was also when Marion Quednau launched her new collection from Caitlin Press, Paradise, Later Years. That's a photo of her, signing copies of the book.

And oh yes -- for me at least -- one of the many exciting parts of the day was the 'launch' of Vancouver Public Library's new rooftop garden.

Nine floors up and views to forever.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

One hundred years on

....since the end of the 'War to End All Wars'. Unfortunately, that idealistic name for World War One has not proven to be true. Numbers of how many died vary according to source, but taking into account civilians as well as military, 37 million is one figure I saw for casualties -- just about exactly our country's current population. If every single person in Canada were to suddenly die, the world would need to take notice.

This day of remembrance is filled with traditions, including the red poppy so many of us choose to wear as commemoration.
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow,
between the crosses row on row. 
The photo of the 'row' of poppies is from above the kitchen sink in our RV, The Rattler. We seem to often be on the road in early November, so poppies are often part of our apparel. It's good for me to know where a few extras are, as too often I seem to go out with the 'wrong' jacket -- with my poppy invariably on a different coat.

Right now, I can still hear a few of the big planes passing overhead. Earlier a tight formation of single-engine fighters went by. After that, I even saw a biplane -- the same kind of plane that actually flew in WWI.

But at the stroke of 11:00, I was listening to a different kind of sound. Turning on the radio, I was greeted by silence -- a sound (or lack thereof) that might have been disconcerting any other day.

I am sure the people in Syria would be glad to have their world quiet down. And not only Syria, but Afghanistan and far too many other places to name. It seems a bit crazy, but maybe we really will have to wait for extraterrestrials to visit for us to decide to live together in harmony and peace. Considering what bad shape we seem to be in, I'd like to think that maybe they're on their way.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

The incredible stillness of silence

I'm not a golfer, but I admit to enjoying the walking part, as golf courses seem to always be beautiful places. Luckily, my partner (who's an awesome golfer) doesn't mind my tagging along, dragging only my camera for my usual nine-hole limit.

The photo above is from the course at Discovery Bay, and it's either the 13th or 14th hole. Whichever isn't all that important. The situation prompting this post is what mattered to me. The photo is from only a few seconds after the fact.

I'm not sure how I noticed it, but notice I did -- silence. Not a traffic sound, not a plane overhead, not even the sound of wind or an animal. The unusualness of the quiet managed to catch me off-guard.

It's not very often that total silence reigns. Even now, in the privacy of my office, besides the quiet taps of my fingers on the keyboard, there are sounds. Although the window's closed, I can hear a kind of humming from outside. Probably a machine, part of the ongoing construction our neighbourhood continues to endure. And another, the sound of a truck or other large vehicle passing a few blocks away.

How long did that momentary silence last? Twenty seconds? Maybe. I don't really know.

What ended it? I'm not even sure anymore, though I'm pretty sure it was a natural sound that broke the spell -- either a frog or a trill of birdsong. And soon after, I noticed the hum of traffic on the nearby road and then another of the little planes overhead.

The silence didn't last long, but its effect was deep and something I won't forget. For that small but precious interval, I'd witnessed something I don't get enough of, and experienced myself as a part of it. Exhale. Ahhh.