The last day of the year 2017. After a week of rain the sun finally showed its face this morning; the birds running riot in the yard. In addition to the usual feeder visitors (chickadees, sparrows, finches, juncos), we had a flock of robins in search of the final cotoneaster berries. They pulled a few cedar waxwings along with them too. The more unusual sight was the small gang of Steller’s jays. Given their size, I find it comical how timid they are, like a bunch of nervous gunslingers. Gulls, cormorants and crows on the wing completed the picture. I’ll take them all as good omens !
Not so much writing this fall. It was full of doing.
Sailing through the holidays, through the dark, to the New Year.
As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean. – CP Cavafy
We are here.
was both too fast
and too slow.
Car travel still being
fast enough to leave you
a little unsettled
at the ever later
setting of the sun
but too slow
to by-pass the occasional tedium
of 4500 kilometers in a van.
We passed over
and walked by
a Sleeping Giant
clothed in Boreal trees.
Hit the Prairies flying
and stopped for Pelicans
and other birds in salty locales.
The Mountains were the stars
despite the heat and haze of smoke.
Well, stars until we found the Ocean again.
Still smells like home.
Soon it will be two years. Two years since I ended up on Monique’s blog. I can’t remember how I got there; one of those twisty internet paths I suspect. She was walking from Barcelona to Paris for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21), a journey that would take her 55 days. People were supporting her and I joined in and followed along until she reached Paris, and then life continued and I moved on.
Out of the blue in May I received a letter from Amsterdam. I had quite forgotten that Monique had said she would send a souvenir of her travel; she folded little boats made from paper found along the way. My letter contained a photo of the “fleet” as she calls it. You can read more about it here. It was very fortuitous timing as we are about to leave on our own lengthy journey and relocation. I folded a little canoe from the envelope as a tribute to all journeys.
A week from today we will set off on our trip to return to the West coast of Canada. All five of us and one bunny will drive 4500 km to Victoria, BC in 15 days. Flying. of course, would have been faster. But, apart from economics, driving allows for at least a little more time for the soul to adjust; the first step on a new path.
Little canoe ready to head off to the Pacific.
I had an amazing day last weekend studying colour theory with my very talented and inspirational cousin Maggie Rose.
A little Goethe as tribute :
“Colours are light’s suffering and joy. “
“You can’t, if you can’t feel it, if it never
Rises from the soul, and sways
The heart of every single hearer,
With deepest power, in simple ways.
You’ll sit forever, gluing things together,
Cooking up a stew from other’s scraps,
Blowing on a miserable fire,
Made from your heap of dying ash.
Let apes and children praise your art,
If their admiration’s to your taste,
But you’ll never speak from heart to heart,
Unless it rises up from your heart’s space.”
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
There are beginnings and endings, and there is the space between the two. Or maybe it is a process; turning the ending into a beginning. Either way, I’m finding it a bit difficult, sitting here in this gap. I expect there is a lesson in that.