Fond du Lac, Saskatchewan

We paddled 175km over nine days in northern Saskatchewan, sharing food, laughter, mosquitoes, and tons of fun with friends to inspire the following poem πŸ™‚

I wait on a beach in Northern Saskatchewan
for aurora borealis to arrive.
My friends, modern nomads, tuck in
to yellow, blue, orange and green domes.
Sandstone hills and evergreen trees rise
above marshy grass.
Beneath a still surface
river current slides north toward Arctic,
mirror images of its shoreline
reaching for heaven.
Night hawks shoot skyward
torpedo down
wings bugling a haunting tune.
Therma-rests rustle
mosquitoes attack my ears
the world settles into a bedtime routine.
I think about waking up the others
with bear bangers on the beach.

Preparing to Fly πŸ‘

After the heat and sunny skies of Italy we have been treated to grey skies and rain in Holland. We dressed in traditional Dutch costumes and tasted cheese in the historic town of Volendam. Despite rain we visited the village of Marken and toured a wooden shoe “factory” where we saw traditional wooden shoes as well as many other styles including pink high heel wooden shoes. We listened to classical music in a stone arch passageway in Amsterdam- violins, accordion and trombone sounded like a full orchestra as notes of Handel’s Messiah soared around us. We admired Rembrandt’s Night Watch in the Rijk’s Museum then walked amid life size replicas of the characters of the painting at Rembrandt Plaza. Along with hundreds of others we rode bicycles along the city canals and through Vondel Park. After walking around for awhile we were thrilled we were able to find our bikes among thousands of others!
I have learned from travel that everywhere you go it becomes a part of you in some way – it is impossible to return the same person you were when you leftπŸ˜„

Hiking in the Dolomites

We started our via Ferrara tour in Valli del Pasubio. It was a gentle introduction to Ferrata but with temperatures continuing to be in the 30’s C we felt like we were hiking in a sauna. This Valley, as in many areas of the Dolomites, is full of reminders of the fighting that occurred between the Italians and Austrians during World War One. Each spring when the snow melts and the talus shifts, bones rise to the surface of the slopes. An Ossuary has been built to honour the remains of these unknown soldiers.

Ebb and Flow

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Seven days ago I ran alongside the river
that has flowed through our city
before it was a city.

Water that never stands still,
passes people, cultures, politics, technology
without a second glance.

She keeps flowing a graceful flow
sometimes slow and lazy
sometimes turbid and raging,
always moving.

Two days ago I stepped away
from my workplace
after thirty-two years
of coming and going.
Thirty-two years with a wonderful dentist,
Dr Brian Sacks, who was by my side
through the ebb and flow
of my life.
Over the years a wonderful dentist, yes,
but a wonderful friend, too.

I have had the pleasure of working with great staff
and of course, the best patients ever!
I am grateful for the opportunity
to have shared many stories
with many people
and to have had the opportunity to have been taught
so much by my patients over the course of my career.

I will miss the conversations and laughter.
I will miss the security of knowing
“where I am supposed to be” every morning
but I look forward to this new phase of my life-
flowing beside water that never stands still.

Writing Japan

toriiofshannoshrine

(internet photo: Torii of Shanno Shrine in Nagasaki after atomic bomb was dropped on August 9, 1945. It was the only thing that withstood the explosion in the area)
A friend challenged me to write a poem about Japan; this is what I came up with.

Japan is a tsunami,
a world of samurai and sumo
ikebana and kamikaze.
The land of the rising sun
graces us with cherry blossoms
and temples that flow
from a calligraphy brush.

Earthquakes reverberate
half a world away,
carry strength
to the west,
remnants of people’s live
swept out to sea.

A crewless “ghost ship”
sails to Haida Gwaii.
While we sip exotic tea
and inspect wreckage,
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
disturb us with grace,
slowly dissolving.

Japan is a sculptured garden,
glass and sleek steel
arranged with precision
next to paper walled teahouses,
Mount Fuji an elegant backdrop
to bullet trains that shuttle
honorable tradition
into a unpruned future.

Aren’t We All A Little Crazy At Times

tracks

Everything is set in motion.

Even if we wanted to

we can’t stop the train

hauling us into a future

we can’t know.

Comfort and security

habit and norm

blur scenes

fall to the wayside.

My heart skips a beat

out of rhythm

out of balance

missing

a sense of direction.