Sunday, February 21, 2016

East Coast Road Trip

In Quebec City we wandered cobbled streets
Admired centuries of history,
Fumbled our French,
And picnicked on fromage and baguette while the Vinyl Café played on the radio

In New Brunswick we hopped into inner tubes
And strapped tightly to one another
We cracked a cold beer as our feet dangled in the cold river
And floated peacefully down the Miramichi
I crashed into the trees hanging over the riverbank at one point
And we laughed

On the south shore of New Brunswick we walked on the ocean floor
The tide was out, the tourists were in
And the Hopewell Rocks were as towering and majestic as anything had ever been
Cinched at the waist, busty ladies in corsets
Gathered together, 100 feet over the rest of us, looking down
Eroded by the endless ocean
Hugged by bubble wrap seaweed, floating and clinging, then squinting against the bright sun
Until the tide returned

We ate salmon in Miramichi
Lobster in Shediac (Acadian style, of course!)...then in PEI...then Nova Scotia....then Maine... 
I named the vacation "Lobstermoon"
We savoured Digby scallops on Digby neck – warmed on a toasted hot dog bun, and somehow the greatest meal I have ever tasted
Haddock in Halifax
Deep fried everything in Antigonish – the ocean floor in a fryer, then on our plates

On PEI we clapped, sang and stomped at a ceilidh
Fiddlers fiddled, step dancers stepped, trumpets blared
Bald eagles flew overhead as if it were no big deal
Herons clustered together in flocks
Where were we!?

Lighthouses, lighthouses, lighthouses
From gorgeous, to run down, to lonely, to majestic
From red, to white, to black
Beacons on every point

Whale watching off Digby Neck
The humpback whale barrel roll
Fins of minkes all around
Brilliant sun: 1, pervasive fog: 0
Did I mention the scallop rolls?

Touring the west coast and the Acadian villages
Blue, red, white flags, yellow star
Pride in history, unchanging for centuries
Views of the ocean, the bluest water I have ever seen
“...I could live here

Peggy’s Cove
Pink granite, indigo water, shining sky
Lighthouse perfection
Clambering on rocks, waves crashing all around
Feeling so unbelievably at home on the Georgian Bay of the east

Halifax. Waterfront. Could have set up a shop and moved right onto the boardwalk, never leaving
Could have spent every night for the rest of my life listening to Signal Hill at the Lower Deck, while the good beer flowed
Could have stayed there and never left, I’m sure of it (NCC Atlantic, are you hiring? ;))

Laying on a beach
Incredibly grateful to find this time to relax
The coldest, saltiest water on hot cheeks
Nothing in the world more refreshing
The warm, reddish sand and the warmth of Jeff's hand in mine

Cape Breton
My history, my blood
The Cabot Trail and the most beautiful vistas in the world
Winding on a road up a mountain
While the sea opened up below
Climbing further and further
Green hills that stretch on forever
Fiddle music pulsing in my veins

Time with Jeff
A commodity there just isn’t always enough of
Two weeks, 7,500 kms, 4 provinces, countless stops, always on the move
Feeling at home the entire time, because my home was right there, driving the car and smiling at me
A wonderful. Spectacular. Unforgettable. Exhausting. Brilliant two weeks.
Canada’s east coast - perfection

August 2013

Monday, February 15, 2016


Travel bugs crawl down my arms
Setting hands in motion
Possessed, they turn endless pages of travel guides
Fevered fingers touching picture after picture

Of Iceland

That majestic piece of land floating so tranquilly in the Atlantic
Hovering just south of the Arctic Circle
Where you can picture the enduring glow of the midnight sun
Pulsing through summer nights

That piece of Europe that occasionally EXPLODES
With volcanic passion
Shooting ash into the air, blotting out the night sun
Confounding planes in Spain

Next door to a towering aqua glacier
A rolling meadow dotted with wildflowers
Over here, a thundering waterfall pounding the black rock below
Above it, an Arctic fox lapping water from a glacial river

A hike through terrain covered in sound-dampening fog
Ends at a cliff teeming and screaming with shorebirds
Nesting on this northern edge of the world

Steam hisses out of hot springs
Mingled with the laughs of tourists delighting in nature's spa
All asking the same incredulous question, though their wallets are empty:
How did we miss this one?

Freezing Rain

Rain, it doesn't always pitter patter
Or dust the skin of a passerby with mist-like
     morning dew
It doesn't always fall softly, or vertically

The army of droplets corrals
Hears the pep talk from the clouds: "this is it! this is our chance!"
Rain drops use the atmosphere's indecisive hovering
Between the wintery minuses and spring-like pluses
To launch its loudest attack

Ice bullets, frozen swords, sleet-covered grenades
Assault the noses of the unexpecting
The fingers of the hands that desperately jiggle keys in locks
Sideways attacks on windowpanes that crack loudly through the night
And coat all surfaces in black, icy slick

Then as quickly as it began
The atmosphere yawns, stretches and shudders
    relaxes into sleep
Changing the march of the temperature
Up, up, into a gentle, pitter-pattering soft blanket of rain

The world's iced candy coating melts away
Oozes, slinking from windows
Drips and dribbles from roadways
Sliding quietly into nearby sewers or gently vibrating puddles

Embarrassed by its loss of the battle
But dreaming of its next chance to fight

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Barred Owl

In early spring the world hovers in limbo
Water drips and melts from tree branches and towering drifts
Drizzling into rivers, sneaking across roadways,
    filling lakes with the cold, fresh promise of summer

But night skies are frozen, laced with blank-faced stars
That give away nothing; no hint of coming warmth

The earliest green faces have emerged from bare patches of sun-warmed earth

Surprised by the lingering white all around them
Wondering if they've showed up uncomfortably early to summer's party

Wood frogs emerge in the glowing blue of evening light
They stumble sleepily onto the ice of that thawing lake
Tilt their heads back and sing to the starry dusk:
Calling out for love into the trickling quiet

From deep in the forest: a low bass thrum
     the wings of a ruffed grouse
Time with my heart, which beats a loud rhythm of anticipation

I'm waiting for another
Who breeds in this special in-between
Whose loud, clear voice can pierce this tension
   of an atmosphere that lingers on the knife edge of winter
But is tempted and wooed by spring

The snow beneath me,

    melted then frozen, thawed then stalled,
Crunches and squeaks
Until a sound stills my boots, and locks me in place
I become a mannequin in this night’s display window

My head turns in slow motion to the left,
The cold, damp wind tickles my cheek

Was it? The call I've been waiting for? 
The one that haunts my memory through the darkest days of winter?

I hear it again. Closer now and to my right

From deep inside, almost reflexively,

I call out into the darkness, my breath forming an aura of hope
"Hoh-ho-ho-ho! Hoh-ho-ho-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo!"
    (I didn't realize there was a bird living in my belly)

Then in a moment of sheer magic, a dark body glides silently across the stars

        The frogs stop chucking
        The grouse’s wings fall still
        The drip of meltwater seems to cease

The only sound is the "click" of talons making contact with a tree branch

Which bounces once, deeply, under the new weight

Brown eyes illuminate, flash knowingly at me and suddenly
   the air between us is alive with electricity
The barred owl calls back to me
And this early spring night explodes in fireworks