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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

the wonders of monochrome

“No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith.”  R. A . Salvatore

on the estuary

The Castle

the evening path

My beautiful Niamh

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Springtime At Long Last

If we shadows have offended, Think but this, and all is mended, That you have but slumber'd here. While these visions did appear.

Some wonderful effects with Infrared from monochrome to interesting colour mixing!!
Scenes from Thetis Cove, Victoria, BC

the house across the cove

Treasure Island

and  an old teller of tales

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Quoth the Raven Nevermore

More journeys in infrared

Craigflower Farm

and from my Tuatha Tales ( link to wordpress)

and one for fun
under the sea at the breakwater

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Journeys in infrared!!

These two were taken in Cuthbert Holmes Park by Tillicum,  the first is the Colquitz river  from the bridge and the other a path inside the park itself.

 this is in Portage Park by my house and my favourite so far
to see more visit my wordpress blog for the stories these inspire

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Victoria Springtime

Symphony on the Songhees
View Royal, Victoria, BC
Victoria Springtime
to be continued as weather improves!!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Moon tree lace


fingers of light from the lady moon
reaching past flickering 
tree branches
slide through the lacy strands
and clasp my shadow self
to a moment's mindfulness

Fisgard Lighthouse
                                                             Dreaming in infrared

craigflower schoolhouse

Thursday, 6 February 2014

sunset moods

  Scenes from Thetis Cove                                                        
sunset and evening star
when I put out to sea - Tennyson

Sandpiper takes wing

Keep your front and back door open
Allow your thoughts to come and go
Just don't serve them tea- Shunryu Suzuki

Heron Flight

Monday, 3 February 2014

Macaulay Point Meditations

Walking alone on a cold day at Macaulay Point on a weekday is a very unique experience.  There is a haunted quality to the old ruined buildings on this old military lookout and as I walked through the almost deserted landscape beside the sea and the setting sun it felt as though I was walking the plane of another dimension. In the eerie shadow and light of the sunken pathways all kinds of thoughts floated up to the surface and then fell back down again into the murky subconscious.  I realized that I was walking paths inside my mind as my feet walked the earthly ground of this Esquimalt park. Some paths as with thoughts lead nowhere and those that are more promising are usually a struggle and take much longer.   When I looked around I saw two boys with a metal detector having fun and looking for treasures.  These days I realize I too am seeking, though something a bit less tangible than in younger days.  I can only hope that my own directional system is in sync with my soul's heart.

The Bhagavad Gita tells us "all is clouded by desire", like a mirror by dust and fire by smoke.
Similarly the bible in Corinthians says we "see through a glass darkly" .

If we can remove the veil we will be able to see clearly but why is it so hard to take that creator of illusions, our ego, out of the equation? It seems to be a life's work in progress two steps back, one step forward.

Being mindful in the moment helps. Stopping our busy minds, taking time to breathe, time to look around and be in the moment opens the heart in the same way that suffering can when we try to live life on life's terms and flow with the universe as a part of it's divinity and mystery.

Overcome space and all we have left is Here

Overcome time and all we have left is Now
- Jonathan Livingston Seagull

and by some metaphysical, universal and divine magic the heart finds respite and love is increased.  Faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love.
Being mindful in the moment when I am out with my camera, walking in beauty,  as Thich Nhat Hahn says
I can try to walk as though my feet are kissing the earth.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

A Canticle for Meg - a short story

A Canticle for Meg
  Based on a true story and dedicated to and in memory of  Kate and May, two women of the 20th Century, rest in peace

 This story touched me deeply when I was first told it. I knew that time passes quickly and memories can be forgotten so I wrote it down with other stories of time and family. I finally put it to pen (or keyboard)  

Lauren sat in the small side pew after lighting the tiny votive prayer candle under the icon of the Sacred Heart. The church was filled with a silence so profound she could hear her thoughts and memories swirling around like a softly wailing wind inside her head.  She watched as the sun broke through the stained glass in smooth golden shards. The window portrayed  the child Jesus and his cousin, John the Baptist, spilling the waters of grace from a small pitcher into the peaceful corners of the sanctuary.  

She bowed her head and tried to pray.  A woman sitting at the end of the pew gingerly fingered pearlized rosary beads, her mouth moving in silent, chanting recitation. The woman had  graceful, white hands and Lauren immediately thought of her cousin Meg's hands,  less precise perhaps, but just as graceful when she  would drape a set of oriental pearls around her slender neck. Lauren had loved the look and touch of Meg's pearls.

She looked up toward the altar and recalled that the center of the cathedral was called the nave after the Latin word for ship. The curved apse with the raised dais at the high end was like the helm, where the congregation looked for steady guidance in the midst of tempest and storm. She remembered  a beautiful summer day when Meg's ship arrived in the town harbour, with the Captain standing tall on the bridge.

  The year following Lauren's mother death, Meg had come up to Seattle to take her to San Francisco by steamer for a summer holiday. Meg seemed so much older and so sophisticated to the younger teenaged Lauren.  Meg was married to a sea captain and they had sailed all over the Pacific, from San Diego to Shanghai and up to Anchorage. Her husband came from a long line of seafaring men dating back to the old days of windjammers and clipper ships.

  Growing up in a poorer neighbourhood of honest, hard-working folk, most of them of Scots/Irish origin, there had never been time or money for many luxuries. Somehow the lovely Meg had stepped out of these humble beginnings into something far grander.  She was tall and slender, with black hair and ivory skin.  Her every gesture seemed to breathe a sweet grace and Lauren looked up to her as a sister might, with a deep affection.  

Lauren remembered that summer on board the coastal steamship as one of the most memorable times she had ever spent. She enjoyed the gulls' shrill cries and feeling soft sea spray wind blowing on her face and hands. She was never seasick. She stood at the ship's rail with Meg, laughing as  dolphins raced in the wake.   She loved watching Meg's Captain walking on the bridge and hearing  the music of the ship's bell, as the sky flooded gold at sunset.   

Meg and the Captain  touched each other frequently, and as gentle as that touch always was, Lauren sensed a wave of electricity that seemed to pass from one to the other. It seemed to illuminate them and everything around them, including Lauren, who sometimes felt her own adolescent heart race at the thought of the two lovers alone in their berth, and Meg in the Captain's embrace.  

When the holidays finally ended it was hard to return home again, but she knew her father needed her, and so it was promised that a strand of pearls would be brought back for her from Singapore.  She waited in anticipation, dreaming of exotic harbours where Meg and the Captain strolled hand in hand, and sat sipping tea in tea shops under colourful umbrellas.

The church bell began to toll in deep, resonating waves calling the faithful to Mass. Lauren thought of Donne's poem as solemn worshipers entered the sanctuary. For whom is the bell tolling?   War had just been declared in Europe. There would be terrible losses to come. She thought anxiously of her own young husband and of all the husbands and people who would be caught up in events beyond anyone's control. She placed her hands protectively on her swollen belly and felt the baby awaken to the sound of the bell, stirring fearfully inside her as though it sensed the unrelenting summons to suffering. This would be her first child and if it was a girl she would call her Margaret Maire,  -Meg for short. 

A stab of grief pierced her and the baby moved again as though trying to escape it.  Meg would never have children, she thought bitterly.  In an abrupt and terrible twist of fate Meg never returned from that far off place of monsoons and  sudden hurricanes.  One hot, humid night,  in a  fevered moment of time, Meg was murdered by her husband in a fit of jealous rage and suspected betrayal,  after which he had  killed himself. The news arrived on a merciless tide overwhelming the family in shock and grief.   No one would ever fully know what really happened, nor ever fathom the meaning of such a terrible and unforeseen tragedy.  

Lauren struggled  to find a comforting grace in a life that had become unpredictably cruel and without reason.   Everything in her world had shifted relentlessly. She questioned how such darkness could overtake the hearts of good men.  How could a grand love story have ended in this way? Was the beautiful Meg in heaven with her Captain, or were they forever condemned?  It was much too painful to contemplate.  She withdrew with her losses into a desolate silence and uncertainty.

The congregation stood reverently, as the  priest and servers began to move  in somber and hushed procession up the center aisle to the altar.  Just then,  the church organ began to play, and the choir commenced a majestic opening Laudate.  The music swelled like a wave on the ocean, engulfing the spaces of the church to the very tops of the tall pillars. As it rose into the domed nave,  Lauren closed her eyes and felt as though she were again standing with Meg near the bow and rising upward on the crest. A shining horizon beckoned them.  She felt her baby leap with the joy of an approaching redemption, like John the Baptist in the womb of his mother when visited by the pregnant Mary.  A  summer rain had begun to fall and she noticed a storm was gathering on the water. The ship's bell suddenly rang out. At the sound, the captain opened his arms heavenward for deliverance, and  the passengers knelt in supplication. It was then that a great sob surged upward from the depths of her, and looking down at her wet hands, she realized that they were drenched in tears.

 Play The beautiful "Laudate" by Taize Monastery in France

CChurchsig2aabb Christ Church[/caption]

A return to wonderland - a small rabbit tale

click to play "oh very young" by Cat Stevens

a shorter story

           Walking in the woods with Alice

  “Only a few find the way, some don't recognize it when they do - some... don't ever want to.”  - Cheshire Cat

Mr Tibbles, the brown rabbit
Mr Tibbles                 It's a wonderful journey to the rabbit hole revisited.  Alice rolls her eyes as though she knows I never believed she would find it.  Yet here it is.  I hope she doesn't expect me to fit through that little hole.  Politely I listen to her rather curious tale about how some time ago,  after an argument with her sister, Hattie, who is nodding in grave affirmation, she walked outside and caught a glimpse of a rabbit running into the woods. Alice composes herself and the rather curious little tale begins in earnest. 

"Why it's Mr. Tibbles!" she declared;  Mr. Tibbles was a grumpy old rabbit who bit everyone's fingers. "You must have escaped from your hutch,"  and giving chase she followed him to a large tree where he sought escape in a hollow root cave.  Sticking her hand inside, she felt the predictable nibble but she managed to grab his tail. He pulled her farther and farther into the tree until falling down a deep hole she found herself in a strange and unrecognizable part of the woods. Trying to find her way out she came across a mad hatted girl , sitting drinking chai tea on a tree stump in the forest.
the dim-witted tea party
the dim-witted tea party

 Where is everyone at this dim-witted tea party?" demanded a rather bored Alice (having read the book many times), to which the Mad Hattie spoke up brightly from her tea cup, "Have some tea?"  Alice thought that would indeed be appropriate at a tea party but looking at the rather empty table cloth covering the stump asked "well then, where is the tea pot?" to which Mad Hattie,  looking confused, replied, "Why, there isn't one",  and in a muddled state of mind went on to explain ," -umm, I guess that's why it's dim-witted!"  Alice stared at her, thinking she looked a lot like her sister and every bit as dim-witted.

So they instead sat and reviewed  the book "The Secret Identity of Devon Delaney,"  which Mad Hattie pulled out of her bag of broken tea cups, and that was soon followed by  a discussion of upcoming school events. Alice wondered which way was the Queen's way, -the Red Queen to be exact- and who it was rumoured in this particular incarnation of wonderland,  actually preferred to wear purple,  according to Mad Hattie who loved anything purple. 


Suddenly a pipe smoking  and rather odd green winged creature named Absabaloon  happened to stumble out of the woods in a dither, announcing that poor caterpillar had been run over by a bicycle!  After a moment's silence they were then handed a rather muddy and torn invite to a celebration and dance at the Royal Palace. They understood that this was no  ordinary RSVP but a "must attend without delay or lose one's head!"  They wondered if Craig Ferguson would be at the party.

and so they set out, Alice, Mad Hattie and Absaballoon on the road to the palace
                                         ( actually Scone Palace Park in Perth, Scotland with poetic licence)

Never mind the Queen, come on let's dance!!!

All ad libbed and improv'd by the galumphing beamisher girls from out Metchosin Way, not the Queen's Way, though Queenie is a good friend of ours. These are two absolutely amazing little film makers and stage enthusiasts.

Never lose the way!!

Monday, 27 January 2014

Solitudes- on a foggy evening

and some (loose) thoughts on solitude!!
We've had some foggy weather this winter and I quite like the  solitude and silence of it. I love the spectral look of trees and how people and cars appear and disappear into the drifting cloud vapours that have lost their way and fallen from the sky to the ground. I love getting lost in the fog.

 I am an introvert, no two ways about it. I basically force myself to socialize. I love the peace in silence and would have probably felt at home in a cloister -but - maybe not. Perhaps I would have preferred being a hermit communing with the animals and nature all day long. However, I also know I would have made regular trips into town to attend a symphony and other cultural events, or just plain shopping, - and possibly sometimes stopping at the local pub for a cup of good cheer which inevitably induces a bit of sociability and loquaciousness! My poor daughter had to put up with my moods and she is totally the opposite, a social creature who can't live without company and is always driving people here and there, doing favours for friends and loves mega concerts, parties and the planning of them.
the spectral playground
 According to Meyers Briggs Personality test I am one of the rarer types, an INFP. The description of this type is "the idealist." They are able to express themselves in writing quite well. In my own experience when faced with "difficult" situations face to face I usually "say" something inappropriate on the spur of the moment as opposed to breathing and letting emotions dissipate -you know the old joke, trying to think of a witty rejoinder and ending up telling the person to "go file under carnal knowledge themselves". I suppose I have not reached enlightenment just yet.
Along the Estuary



One writer has said “Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it's not because they enjoy solitude. It's because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.”

If I go on this premise as opposed to being someone who enjoys her own company then I suppose I would have to consider myself a "failed romantic" because if you are cursed with idealism then you must be prepared to be disappointed again and again and few of us are prepared for that. Yet it is in going one step further and the letting go of those expectations we have of ourselves and others that we do find the true peace and compassion in our true selves and the true selves of others.
the old abandoned schoolhouse

 And as time goes by I become more philosophical. .

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing 
there is a field.
I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about - Rumi 
the solitary road

After all it is in silence and contemplation that one can find the divine.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

A new day and another reason to believe

The Sorcerer's Garden   Craigflower Farm series

Thank you Alanis Morrisette

When I came out of the hospital yesterday your song was playing in my head and which inspired me to sing my own thanks.

Thank you beautiful daughter for sharing our exciting journey far away this last summer, for keeping me organized and on time and for sharing a pint of Guinness in County Clare and  Dublin, tramping through the Orkneys and much more.

and my brother  whom I visited in the Okanagan a week ago and though he has been going through a painful life change  is still committed to helping kids play sports as a coach and mentor and giving back something to the community. At Christmas he and his son collected toys and visited  a few people who were struggling, trying to ensure that as many as possible would have good cheer and to share his own blessings and the good fortune which he knows can be fleeting.  He had time to take me on a little road trip and up to Apex mountain showing me all the winter beauty of the valley with it's lakes, mountains and hills.  I took lots of photos  but only a few worthy ones  http://gatewaysandjourneys.blogspot.ca/
Thank you Brother

and my sister who never ceases to amaze me with her paintings of local scenes in the gulf islands, her boundless energy, her steadfastness, her love of children and who always stood up for me.
Thank you Sister

a sweet brother, crazy dreamer who made us stained glass birds, played us music, made us laugh and then made us cry but your joyful spirit will always remain in our hearts. You are missed. "Everybody hurts, hold on, hold on."
Thank you dear bro

Thank you children for your wonder and beauty and for letting me share a small part of your adventures as you grow on this amazing planet.

Thank you mom and dad, grandparents, relatives who may be gone but that all touched us in important ways , that let us know that we were part of a larger community of family, cousins and friends -  a mom with  a loving sense of duty and a stoicism in the face of life's adversities and also humour,  and a dad with a sense of art and wonder, a childlike enthusiasm and a powerful chi,  a granddad who taught me to sing, and another who took me to the opera!
Thank you.

Thank you faith, and brother Jesus, brother Francis, brother Buddha and Ghandi and others, who have taught me to step outside myself, and that there is so much more.

I didn't always follow my heart.  Sometimes I second guessed myself and went down paths that lead nowhere. As Carlos Castaneda said, a path must have heart. Sometimes I gave in to the darkness and to despair.
Thank you light

Thank you for my sorrows and difficulties which made me appreciate more those shining moments. Thank you for the fears, the disappointments and grief where I had to regroup and rethink my priorities- and where I had to learn to let go, wipe away the tears and see further.
Thank you

Thank you for a clean bill of health during this last (and somewhat painful) procedure at the hospital. I was very anxious and thank goodness for drugs lol.
Thank you painkillers and selfless nurses and doctors!

Thank you to all who happened into my time and space on this earth, a few who became dear friends. It was no accident.

Thank you for this humble little life so full of terror and magic,  and thank you for the star dust that is in us all.
Thank you for the peace there is in letting go

Thank you for letting me start again and again

"We could learn to stop when the sun goes down and when the sun comes up. We could learn to listen to the wind; we could learn to notice that it’s raining or snowing or hailing or calm. We could reconnect with the weather that is ourselves, and we could realize that it’s sad. The sadder it is, and the vaster it is, the more our heart opens. We can stop thinking that good practice is when it’s smooth and calm, and bad practice is when it’s rough and dark. If we can hold it all in our hearts, then we can make a proper cup of tea."
(Wisdom of No Escape)- Pema Chodron