Thursday, October 31, 2013

scanning the skies . . .

ferdinand hodler,   autumn evening 1892

this is the time of year when i begin to measure life in terms of the weather … the light … colour …

everything becomes that much more fragile, faded, tenuous.

life itself becomes something to be guarded, protected.

i scan the skies as i ride. hoping for some sort of intimation of what's next.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

alexia brooke ………

on this day seventeen years ago
our doctor - rick - said hey! it's a girl!
and my heart skipped a beat
and my dreams came true in one moment
and in my arms was lexie
- named alexia brooke by us -
but as with all honourable births,
she has found her own names
as she has emerged
into herself.
the blessing of my daughter
(and the blessings of my two sons)
have been the most magical stunning gifts
i have known and shared
with this place that we all pass through
- eyes half-closed, hearts half opened -
until such an event
renders locks and keys and other such fripperies
unnecessary and spurious residues
of a world bent on seeing itself
only through surface manifestations.

in my children i experience
the magical present whole now of being.

in my daughter
the clean pure completeness
of life itself

thankyou lexie,
for being so far inside the
loving wholeness we know
as a dad and a daughter -
sharing a small space with me for a while.

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain,has such small hands

Monday, October 28, 2013


nature is taking back a lot of what was created over the last two seasons . . . .

Sunday, October 27, 2013

back porch art

at the back of my house on the porch - two pieces of art by the cool alex lobus of the south pittsburgh hills . . .

alex makes his art from repurposed wood . . . 

salvaged from old houses . . . 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

one small feature . . .

one small feature of my working life is that i leave the building two or three times a week to ensure the safety and well-being of the students at my school as they play on our vast and beautiful school yard ...

this is one of many days over my 23 year career where it has been of no trouble at all to undertake such a mission!!!!

Friday, October 25, 2013

the hand that held the paintbrush . . . .

i once shook the hand of a.y. jackson.
i looked into his eyes washed pale with age.
we held each other's gaze for slightly longer than was socially comfortable.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


bridges - both real and metaphorical - have always been fruitful sources of play, anxiety, and in retrospect ... grace in the form of truth and a sort of baring of the work i have to do in this place.

they can be so skeletal and intense, so scruffy and unkempt, and then so tentative and unlikely . . .

but they require a focussed intensity and purposefulness in order to be built and to allow continued movement across otherwise wretched or discomforting circumstances . . . .

i remember seeing the runcorn bridge being built . . . across the canal. it started at both sides and was to meet in the middle. the image was burned into my subconscious and figured largely in many dreams and nightmares as the metaphor it was.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

the latter part of october . . .

some of the branches are bare. like old fingers. spindly and dry and clawing . . . .  while others have held onto their extraordinary foliage . . . merely delaying the inevitable.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

angel waves

angel waves

the water sits still enough to let colour and form
without condition

there really is no
and below

it doesn't matter

it really doesn't matter
what is and isn't earth
and heaven

their separation is a game
of comfort

its architecture
only as necessary
as the need
for my eyes to find the dividing line between
what is real
in this image and what is reflection

Sunday, October 20, 2013

autumn river

last night the wind and rain together blew,
the wall-curtains rustled in their autumn song.
the candle died, the water-clock was exhausted,
i rose and sat, but could not be at peace.
man's affairs are like the flow of floodwater,
a life is just like floating in a dream.
i should more often go drunken through the country,
for otherwise i could not bear to live.

li yu

Saturday, October 19, 2013

happy birthday mum!!!

this is an image almost entirely unimaginable during my teen years (and perhaps at times after that),
but here we are - my mum and i - able to truly express our love and affection for each other
as people who have been there and more than done that and lived to tell the tale.

what is truly wonderful is that "telling the tale" has become a matter of truth and straight upness and not so much the carefully manicured pieces of life before we fnally got each other and understood much of what had gone before. now we live in the hope that we have many more years to share our stories, our joys, our struggles, our simple appreciation for a life that is so astonishing to each of us, given not only where we came from, but where we imagine we are going to.

we are each on a trajectory that sees us bringing whatever goodness we can in the time we are given to whatever and whomever crosses our paths.

happy eighty second mum. 
i am so deeply grateful for the goodness you taught me to look for and create in myself, 
and then also for the goodness you continue to bring into this world!

with my love


Friday, October 18, 2013

autumn marsh

 yet now the dew-drop, now the morning gray,
      shall live their little lucid sober day
      ere with the sun their souls exhale away.
now in each pettiest personal sphere of dew
the summ'd morn shines complete as in the blue
big dew-drop of all heaven: with these lit shrines
o'er-silvered to the farthest sea-confines,
the sacramental marsh one pious plain
of worship lies.

excerpted from "hymns of the marshes" by sidney lanier

Thursday, October 17, 2013

flickers of gold

i love the flickers of gold through the trees . . . 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

kitty kieland

kitty kieland ... i know what she saw . . . 
what is astonishing to me, is that she could paint what she saw.

Sommernatt i Sandviken (1891)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


everywhere i look, nature is busily recreating herself . . .

Monday, October 14, 2013

simple wonder

i wake and scrape the edge of sleep off my body and then off my mind and welcome back the spirit that i am by riding beside this simple wonder every morning!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

there and back . . .

around eight fifteen in the morning on the west shore of little lake in peterborough . . . 

on my way home  following the east shore of little lake in peterborough.

nothing but reflections and fallen leaves . . . 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

after the storm

after the storm, the shoreline was rich with fallen leaves . . .

Friday, October 11, 2013

Thursday, October 10, 2013

for colour

seek the light

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

that flower

that flower
this flower
it falls
petal by stem
into a perfect rendering
of itself
as it wishes to be seen

and is it guilt
that renders me
apparently useless
become its partner
its paranthetical mirror
in my perfect rendering
of myself
as i wish it
to see me

closing the phrase
of our knowing
of each other

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

the long way home

it's nice to have the luxury some evenings of taking the long way home . . .

along the eastern shore of the otonabee river . . . . 

through beavermead park . . . 

stopping to take in the beauty of a lagoon in the autumn . . . 

and a shoreline filled with all the complexities of nature . . . . 

Monday, October 7, 2013


an early autumn sky through the tracery of trees. 

this is the view upwards from my back porch . . . . 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

early october fog

the sun blurred by an early october morning fog . . . .

a simple feathering of colour against the grey scale of the fog-shrouded river.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

these hills

there are in my life these long hills.

i've learned after a very very long time of thinking, that the reason they are there is not to challenge me to ride them as fast as i can; rather, they exist to offer me the opportunity to stop, and to look back at where i have come from and then, to look at what i still have to look forward to.

and then, after the crest has been reached, i get to marvel at the beautiful view, and most amazingly, i get to race down the other side without consideration for rocks, cracks, holes, gullies, sand, sudden flat tyres, scurrying squirrels, and especially my own mortality. because my own mortality is present in every moment .............