Saturday, September 8, 2012


Anything comes to me
like waves gently lapping in my soul
trickling silty sand through my fingers
directing the word flow gently.
Rounded pen point caressing the page.

Anything is an image
a flower,
a waterfall

Anything is a sound 
crashing, jangling
tiny, soft

Anything is a feeling
excitement or

Anything is seldom nothing.
Except when it is so far in the distance
that only slight movement gives it away.
Anything's sound is buried in layers of far away.

Anything does not come when called,
only looks and stares
like a cat questioning
my audacity at calling its name.

curls up on my lap when I am sitting 
to dream 
to watch television

rains on my head when I’m in the shower
rises from garden soil clinging to roots and rocks

drifts through my thoughts busy with the days tasks,
distracting me from the should’s and shouldn’t’s in front of me

Anything surrounds me
warm, cold or intemperate
waiting to be recognized.

Recognition will grow anything
into something.

“Let us not look back in anger, not forward in fear,
but around in awareness.”
~ James Thurber

**The first five lines were written as part of a workshop exercise about ‘anything’:  in group discussion following the reading, it was suggested that these lines ‘do not belong’ or ‘sound separate from’ the lines to follow.  

Friday, September 7, 2012

Behind the Scenes

Fireworks in the night sky. No one sees ground level preparations for the beautiful light shows that we ooh and aah over. Samuel Henry Henderson was one of the behind the scenes guys.

Henry had started working with fireworks as a boy running along railroad tracks with his best friend. They would stop every ten railroad ties and put a tiny firecracker on the rails. They’d dash into the bushes lining ditch along the railroad tracks, hide and watch as the train went by. Nothing ever happened, for which he was very grateful when he learned the danger of such childhood fun.  

When the two friends slept outside they would stare up at the sky, making up stories about the winking stars and the waxing or waning moon. When he was in his late fifties, he was responsible for most of the designing, filling out of purchase orders and directing his staff in placement and timing of a large fireworks show. He ran the whole annual operation with efficiency.  He and his staff created beautiful bouquets of night flowers for the great community gatherings. It could be a dangerous job lighting explosives for a few minutes of someone else’s entertainment. But the aroma of burning explosive, the drift and smell of smoke added drama to the experience. And, as the smoke cleared, the sky came back into clarity, presenting a backdrop for the stars, silver moon and sometimes thin scattered clouds.

When he retired ten years later, he left all of his directions and instructions to his much younger replacement. But he couldn’t leave his vision. His vision had come from the nights he spent outside when the sky was clear, the moon was just a sliver and the stars held court in the black velvet sky. He tracked the stars, saw the different constellations and longed to add motion to them, to bring wonder to the children and families of his community.

This job, seasonal in nature, had been a sideline and a joy that had finally realized his dream of orchestrating showers of man made starlight that seemed to pour from the Big Dipper, and light shows reminiscent of the aurora borealis. Now passing the torch to a much younger man, he just might be letting another ‘boy’ realize a dream from his own childhood.

Henry stepped outside on a dark star lit night, looked up and smiled.

“Vision - It reaches beyond the thing that is, into 
the conception of what can be. Imagination 
gives you the picture.  Vision gives you 
the impulse to make the picture your own.
~ Robert Collier

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Cartoon Date

In memory
Jerry Nelson - the voice of the Count von Count
July 10, 1934 - Aug. 23, 2012
His elegant deep lavender nose curved down his elegant lavender face. 
Black eyebrows were knitted together wondering about his blind date 
this evening. Count von Count was wearing his favorite and most 
elegant cape with silk purple lining, along with his top hat perched 
rakishly on his head, his silver headed cane ready to point and count. 

Ah Ah Ah AAh! How many restaurants would they dine in? 
one restaurant?
two restaurants? 
three restaurants?  

Ooh, if his blind date ate too much she would look like Miss Piggy before the Jane Fonda Workout tapes that she had used!  Maybe he was supposed to be blind?  He was so nervous!

And then he saw her.  Her delicate mauve skin graced with a gently curving nose and shiny satin-black hair.  Her cape – ah, her cape – it was as fine and elegant as his own.  Black and lined with the same mauve silk.
One cape!  
Two capes 
Ah Ah Ah AAh!

She also wore a black silk top hat and gracefully carried a silver headed cane.  
One top hat!
Two top hats!

One cane!
Two canes!

Ah Ah Ah AAh!

They would be perfect together. They could count together.  
He just knew that she could count.  
“Let me introduce myself.  I am the Count von Count!” 
He bowed low. Low enough, so she could not see his lavender skin flush to a deep plum.  

“And I,” she said, "am the Countess.”  
"How many restaurants we are going to?”  
One restaurant?
Two restaurants?  
Three restaurants?
Four restaurants?  
Her squeaky Muppet voice tinkled in his pointy lavender ears.  
At last someone to count with. 

“Well my dear, we will go to
one restaurant
two restaurants
and then to the Petting Zoo 
where we can count all the animals.  
We will count 
fourteen goats
two alpacas and
many, many rabbits.  Ah Ah Ah AAh!
After that we will go to the train station. The old train station."  

“Ooh, the old train station! Can I guess what we will do there?”  The countess laughed and laughed  "Ah Ah Ah AAh!"

“Yes, my dear. You have 
one guess
two guesses
three guesses”  

“One guess - we will ride on one train.”

"No. No. No."

Two guesses - we will buy two tickets to ride on one train.

"No. No. No."

"Three guesses – we will sit on 
one park bench where we can see 
one train, hold our 
two hands and 
count all of the cars on every train coming in!"

"Yes! Yes! Yes!"

"Ah Ah Ah AAh!       Ah Ah Ah AAh!"

As the evening darkened and settled quietly, all that could be heard in the surrounding town was a faint train whistle and ‘Ah Ah Ah AAh!’ floating on the warm summer’s breeze. The Count and the Countess counted the train cars until it was too dark to see and the evening had faded to black. 


Thanks Jerry!  You infused the Count's character with your wonderful gift of voice!

“The human voice is the organ of the soul.”
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Something's Fishy

Refurbished Pier B at Ogden Point
Sept. 5, 12

“What’s this?!”  Freddie said to no one in particular.  He allowed only his best friends called him to call him 'Freddie'.

An odd looking, but very dapper fish,  Frederique Poisson had been reading an interesting, but very troubling article, 
in the James Bay Beacon. Front page news informed readers that Pier B would be undergoing repairs. Major repairs.  

Frederique's scales, a lovely shade of purple, seemed to be all fins. His two large eyes rimmed in black made him look quite distinguished and intelligent. The purple scales with four large white dots marching down his belly, assured everyone that he was one of the more interesting, and refined, tenants under Pier B. His golden fins, with spines of red, were wavy and tastefully ragged.  

When he got upset, as he was now, his flamboyant fins seemed to take on a life of their own sending him swimming around in his little condominium till he bumped into the wet rock wall knocking the soggy newspaper out of the grip of his side fins.  

Frederique had followed many stories in the little community paper, but this one was positively upsetting. His condominium was to be demolished! It was only a widened, but small, crack under Pier B, a cosy condo that he found quite by accident when he was being chased by one of the diving birds in the bay. Pier B, and therefore his condominium, was where those intrusive humans were going to begin their repairs. The words 'cement' and 'stainless steel' had been used and he knew both were intended for cracks - in other words, his home!

Taking in a great gush of water through his gills and letting out an equally great mass of bubbles, Frederique's swimming slowed, his wavy fins settling themselves into some sort of order, as he continued to read. The disturbing article also explained about the pressures on the piers at Ogden Point.  The newspaper reported that newer technology on the massive cruise ships coming into harbour, in the form of ‘side thrusters,’ had shaken the pilings and the piers so badly that there was increasing erosion to the piers.    No wonder there had been so many convenient cracks for him and his friends to live in.  He had felt the shaking but just thought it was the earthquakes that the little paper insisted on reporting ad nauseum to it’s readers.

Having finally settled his fins, and given it some more thought, Frederique decided that he would be safest in another home. He did want to stay safely under Pier B; however he decided that a temporary move to Pier A would be much more prudent. Tucking his newspaper under the rock by the front entrance, his golden, red lined fins gently moving the water around his purple, and white 'buttoned' form, Freddie swam out to do some house hunting with his friends.

“I find the great thing in this world is, not so much 
where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.”
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Prairie Storm

A grand prairie sky is broad and blue and bright, 
on midsummer day over fields greening with wheat, 
on midwinter day over 
white piles of snow flakes blanketing the earth.

Broad blue sky goes end to end from horizon to horizon, 
notched only by small town roofs or spires of city skyscrapers.  
(On the prairies they don’t have to be tall to scrape the sky.)
Sky ~ wide azure blue back drop for
red-tailed hawk and the red winged black bird, 
curlews and meadowlarks.

But what’s this?

In the western corner of this broad blue canvas a puff of grey builds.  
Flag of white stretches before it.  
Sky fills with clouds of thunder gray 
churning into black and ominous green.  
Air bright with light, pierced by bird song 
hushed with gathering storm.

The gentle blue sky will take it all up.
Soon the glorious sky is blackened, white streaks threatening hail.
Bluffs and trees bend in the wind bowing right and left to 
the town on the horizon
the city on the horizon
all coloured over with wet grayness.

In shards and sheets, 
lightning is chased onto the prairie by claps of thunder, 
making me hold my ears and squint my eyes.
And then ~ in the western corner
a wedging patch of blue, narrow and hesitant, 
pushes the heavy wet clouds forward with the winds.
Sky ever expanding, moves chastened clouds to the east.
The dampened scent of the rain has cleaned dust from the air.
Air in the sky, once again broad and blue, 
holds space for curlews and red-tailed hawk,
red winged black birds and meadow larks.

Peace has returned to the prairies.

“The little reed, bending to the force of the wind,
soon stood upright again when the storm had passed over.”
~ Aesop

Monday, September 3, 2012

Wings in Space

Through windows of starships 
galaxies of stars and planets hang suspended.  
Full moon, bright and large to earthlings, merely a minute speck of light in space 
barely pricks the velvet fabric of a void vast and beyond any imagining.  
No ordinary birds soar through this sky.  

But if there were....
that bird would have a wing span of thousands of miles.  
Wings of thick leather stretch from a body thin and strong.  
Black grooved beak curves down and glistens in star light.  
Giant tuft of iridescent feathers sweep back from between dark glittering eyes; eyes as huge as some of the planets it has glided silently past. 
Long sinewy legs, thick and strong, end in curved dagger-like talons.
Giant birds as gentle as they appear fearsome, 
only one of their kind born each hundred years,
their life span unknown millennia.  
This bird's home is a giant planet deep in space. 
Grand birds that roam restlessly through space to look for others of their kind, sentient only to themselves.

“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that 
never were.  But without it we go nowhere.”
~ Carl Sagan

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Apple Butter Memories

Grandmother was far away.
Dad said she made the best apple butter.
At dad’s 80th birthday, 
I brought a jar of my apple butter for him.
He whisked it into the trunk of the car.

When I made the apple/pear butter today,
I reached for a clean paper towel 
to wipe the rim of the jar before I put the lid on.
In David’s kitchen on his farm, 
we canned together.
He was fastidious in using a clean paper towel 
to wipe the rim of the jar before putting the lid on.

This afternoon, at Saanich Fair, with one of my writing friends
more memories surfaced - 
Regina Exhibition - 4-H, candy floss and roller coasters
Lubbock County Fair - blue ribbons for my homemade bread
Armstrong Fair - a great time with friends from Kelowna

But most of all, in this time of 
harvest, cooking and preserving
cooling nights and crunchy fallen leaves
memories gather like the fruits of harvest.

All the times in the kitchen of my childhood,
on the farm or in town, 
my own various kitchens or 
in kitchens with family or friends
creating delicious comfort food 
to take us through winters
where ever or with whomever 
I have shared a piece of life.

“The true harvest of my life is intangible - a little star dust caught, 
a portion of the rainbow I have clutched.”
~ Henry David Thoreau