• Pocket Full of Acorns

    I have been absent. Fall has come and gone and I didn’t manage to write about it. But I meant to. And I suppose I still can, even though winter is already giving way to the very early West Coast spring. The days tend to blur together. The hectic schedule of family life often keeps me from truly paying attention to the content of my days. But sometimes things slow down for awhile and I can take in my surroundings. I often find, in those moments, that things are profoundly beautiful in all their fleeting glory. The leaves change colour, my children grow another year older, my hair gets a…

  • The Visitor

    When a bird hits my window the moment is  charged with meaning. Weeks ago I came home to find a strange smudge on my living room window. It looked like a random smear of dust until I peered a bit closer and a ghostly shape became apparent: An outstretched wing, a feathered breast, the vague outline of a startled head. When the Ovenbird hit our window all those years ago its unconscious body remained on the ground as evidence of the accident. The bird that hit my window recently was nowhere to be found. It only left this powdery outline of itself in flight for us all to ponder. The…

  • Sketch

    When there is enough stillness within, I draw. As a young child I drew and coloured and painted a lot. I don’t remember what my motivation was. I can recall only a certain pleasure in picking out colours and a power that came from the intensity of a focused gaze. The first drawing I can remember being proud of was a rendering of my favourite stuffed cat, done in crayon, with a deep attention to the detail of her tabby stripes. I was five and I saw my drawing as a successful attempt at realism, awkward though it surely was. I was confident, exuberant and enthusiastic about life. I drew…

  • Fracture

    I am at the mercy of windfalls. Sometimes there is unexpected sweetness, and sometimes the revolting surprise of a worm at the core. Sometimes you get both at once. My nearly two year old daughter suffered a very minor fall on Saturday night. It was nothing. It should have been nothing. I thought it was nothing and even though she was complaining of a sore leg and limping a bit I put her to bed assuming she would be fine in the morning. She slept peacefully through the night but at 7:15 am I was woken by a tortured voice screaming “mommy, my LEG!” I rushed to my daughter’s room…

  • Leave Taking

    My child, make yourself a boomerang. If your heart must be airborne, make it a curved thing that flies fast and true, then spins suddenly and heads for home. Let your soul be a homing pigeon that tastes the swift currents of air beneath the wings then feels the magnetic pull of a place familiar and nest-like. Let your body be free to adventure but let your feet always find the well worn path that leads you back to the land you came from. Be a sprinkler of bread crumbs, a reader of maps. Let your collection of goodbyes be a reminder that distance is heavy and inhibiting to movement.…

  • Ovenbird Sings

    Reading at the dining room table in my childhood home I heard the sound of a small body hitting glass. It was a velvety thud, all wing and feather and perhaps the china clink of beak. Outside, on the wood planking of the deck, a bird lay stunned. My father came to look and we were unsure if the bird was alive or dead. While it took its time deciding whether or not revival was worth the effort we perused our Sibley Field Guide to Birds, looking for the name that might call it back to life. It was a warbler for certain, not very showy, light brownish-orange back, white…