Sunday, June 30, 2013

summer work . . .

one of the special pieces of my summer this year will be the discovery and recovery of whatever is in what i now know as my back garden. i have rooted around in this part of it and discovered a few odds and ends growing there including a rose bush, a couple of mature hostas, 
a young walnut tree, and several perennials. 

oh and most visibly, an old bird bath and a sorry falling down trellis which i think has morning glories gone wild somewhat attached to it. 

i'm going to cut everything back that needs to be cut back, then weed it out and redefine the beds, bring in soil and mulch and then make some decisons around adding in more plants.

i bet you can imagine my excitement!!!!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

cat life

arch enemies . . . . above . . . miss scruffypants     below  sid

Friday, June 28, 2013

here i am . . .

a mid evening early summer ride in the second decade of twenty first century canada.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

peeling back time

peeling back time

i'm drawn to the bared soul of this place, all attempts to make pretty what was already pretty but somehow besmirched by time, each layer giving up its own ghost as time peels back what is and was revealing the simple stratification of brick on mortar . . . 

let me commune, then, commune with your silence,
clear as a light, and pure as a ring.
you are like night, calmed, constellated.
your silence is star-like, as distant, as true.

excerpted from "i like you calm, as if you were absent" by pablo neruda

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

like never . . .

that time was like never, and like always. 
so we go there, where nothing is waiting; 
we find everything waiting there.

pablo neruda

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

some mornings . . .

some days begin this way as i ride around the south shore of little lake.

they overwhelm me with their simple majesty.

i can never tell if it's the bicycle or myself
that simply wants to keep on going and see how far we can ride in a day . . . 

Monday, June 24, 2013

enchanted light

the view from the back porch . . . 

ode to enchanted light

under the trees light 
has dropped from the top of the sky,
like a green 
latticework of branches,
on every leaf, 
drifting down like clean 
white sand.

a cicada sends 
its sawing song 
high into the empty air.

the world is 
a glass overflowing 
with water.

pablo neruda

Sunday, June 23, 2013

early summer evening

early on the first evening of summer
the vine
works its way 
across the street
under rivers of clouds

Saturday, June 22, 2013

summer time

summer . . . . 

Friday, June 21, 2013

the peace of wild things

when despair for the world grows in me
and i wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
i go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
i come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. i come into the presence of still water.
and i feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. for a time
i rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

wendell berry

Thursday, June 20, 2013

morris the cat

my class has thrown it's not insubstantial spiritual support behind morris the cat as he runs 
for the office of mayor of xalapa, mexico . . . 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013



in their fading

the simplest and richest beauty

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

a cup of tea

the interior of a restored second world war canteen van.

i would love to have a recording of the stories that were told at this window.

Monday, June 17, 2013


flowers in byward market, ottawa

“instructions for living a life.
pay attention.
be astonished.
tell about it.”

mary oliver

Sunday, June 16, 2013

47 years ago .... father's day

i arrived in canada, 47 years ago today. 
we left ringway airport in manchester on a boeing 707. 
my first plane ride. 

i hadn't seen my dad for over a year.

i left behind all my friends. my family. many of my toys, my books, many of my clothes, my dog, the only home i'd ever known.

my dad met us at the airport.
he had a huge car.
a pontiac parisienne.
he drove us near downtown toronto. 
i was awed.

when he brought us to our new home - a tiny two bedroom apartment in a massive apartment building i was equally awed that we had a fridge, a stove, a bathroom with hot and cold water, and everything was new. it had furniture, a balcony, and i could see the don valley parkway from the bedroom window in a bedroom i shared with my brother. 

my dad took a huge risk in going to canada alone the year before. 
he took on the possibility that life there would be better. 
it had to be. we had next to nothing. 

i owe him my life, several times. 

all that i have i have through my work. 
but the possibility of the many kinds of work i now call my life was given to me through he and my mother's incredible decision to leave behind everything. 

thanks mum and dad.

i learned to love my dad completely as i helped teach him how to love completely. 

my dad died a buddhist. 
i often wonder if he's returned to my life in another form . . . . .

because i'd love to know him all over again.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

we move on and treasure the goodness we left behind

recently i returned to my old garden
to spend time with friends i planted
as small unlikely specimens
whose bodies now fill spaces 
i could not have imagined

much like my children

who stood and watched as i 
remembered these tiny shoots
now fully grown


in the garden i left . . . 

i left a root.

i found it in the woods nearby 

two summers ago.

i put it outside to be sure it stayed
in that part of the world it had come from 
(and is destined to return to).

i was thrilled to find it 
spending time
with a small pebble

Friday, June 14, 2013

the soft arrow

in rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed 
and the first of that which comes; 
so with present time.

leonardo da vinci)

Thursday, June 13, 2013


the wall of a hallway at the national war museum in ottawa. 
the rectangles are recovered copper tiles from the roof of the national library.

the air in utterable coolness

deeds of green thrilling light
                              with thinned

newfragile yellows

exceepted from "i have found what you are like"      by ee cummings

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

an early june evening walk

let us go then, you and i,
when the evening is spread out against the sky
and indeed there will be time
there will be time, there will be time
time for you and time for me,
and time yet for a hundred indecisions,
and for a hundred visions and revisions . . . .

excerpted, cut and pasted from "the love song of j. alfred prufrock" by t.s. eliot

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

what can i give?

what can I give, poor as i am?

if i were a wise man, i would do my part;
yet what can i give: i give my heart.

excerpted, chopped, diced and reassembled from "in the bleak midwinter" by christina rossetti

Monday, June 10, 2013

sky in a mud puddle

when the world is puddle-wonderful . . . 

ee cummings

Sunday, June 9, 2013

springtime radiance

springtime radiance, gradually, gradually where does it go?

again before a wine jar, we take up a goblet.

all day we’ve questioned the flowers, but the flowers do not speak.

for whom do they shed their petals and leaves, for whom do they bloom?

emperor yang (sui dynasty)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

it is the spirit that is experienced

"life is an experimental journey undertaken involuntarily. it is a journey of the spirit through the material world and, since it is the spirit that travels, it is the spirit that is experienced. that is why there exist contemplative souls who have lived more intensely, more widely, more tumultuously than others who have lived their lives purely externally. the end result is what matters."

Friday, June 7, 2013

tomorrow will have an island


tomorrow will have an island. before night
i always find it. then on to the next island.
these places hidden in the day separate
and come forward if you beckon.
but you have to know they are there before they exist.

some time there will be a tomorrow without any island.
so far, i haven't let that happen, but after
i'm gone others may become faithless and careless.
before them will tumble the wide unbroken sea,
and without any hope they will stare at the horizon.

so to you, friend, i confide my secret:
to be a discoverer you hold close whatever
you find, and after a while you decide
what it is. then, secure in where you have been,
you turn to the open sea and let go. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

a tree called life

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

ee cummings

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

fallen and swept away

bloomfield . may 2013

swept to the roadside . . . 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

the veil

in my mother's garden 

morning sun lifts the shadow veil . . .

Monday, June 3, 2013

i think continually

i think continually of those who were truly great

i think continually of those who were truly great.
who, from the womb, remembered the soul's history
through corridors of light where the hours are suns
endless and singing. whose lovely ambition
was that their lips, still touched with fire,
should tell of the spirit clothed from head to foot in song.
and who hoarded from the spring branches
the desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.

what is precious is never to forget
the essential delight of the blood drawn from ageless springs
breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth.
never to deny its pleasure in the morning simple light
nor its grave evening demand for love.
never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
with noise and fog the flowering of the spirit.

near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields
see how these names are feted by the waving grass
and by the streamers of white cloud
and whispers of wind in the listening sky.
the names of those who in their lives fought for life
who wore at their hearts the fire's center.
born of the sun they traveled a short while towards the sun,
and left the vivid air signed with their honor.

stephen spender 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

another day . . .

a beautiful full sun climbs through the branches

the neighbour's cat "miss scruffypants" is waiting for me to play with her.

it's going to be a good day!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

it's found

it’s found we see.
what? – eternity.
it’s the sun, free
to flow with the sea.