Happy Birthday Emily

Today, as I write this, is Emily Carr’s 145th birthday.  I thought I’d recognize the day with this photo of my back yard, and my favourite Emily Quotation.  This quotation always reminds me of this little spot of west coast forest that I call home.  There have been many times over the years I’ve lived here, on those quiet summer days when nothing moves, and those wild winter days when everything dances, that I’ve stood and marveled at the power

All in my back yard…

  If you take a walk through the woods in behind my house, before long you’ll come across a large concrete pipe winding its way among the trees.  It’s old, covered with a layer of moss in places, but still remarkably intact.  In some places, it lies directly on the forest floor, in others it’s raised on a gravel bed, and in places where it crosses ravines and gullies it rests on pilings and trestles.  When I first “discovered” the

To Everything There Is a Season…

To Everything There Is a Season…   Timing, they say, is everything.  A moment too late, a moment too soon, and you can completely miss out.  Doing the right thing, but at the wrong time, is often no different than doing the wrong thing. As a photographer, I’ve learned to focus on the details – not just the subject of the photograph, but also its relationship to the landscape that surrounds it, the way the breeze pushes parts of the

Fire in the Cariboo

More tales from the Grasslands. Conservation field work – protecting special places – is often long hours and often full of surprises.  Some days more than others…         Fire in the Cariboo Spring 1997. We had made our way up through the Gang Ranch on the long dirt road that eventually crosses the Chilcotin River at Farwell Canyon Bridge. The road then continues through grasslands, through ranch country, to meet the highway that runs from Williams Lake

Remembering Walden

Remembering Walden I’ve long been an admirer of Henry David Thoreau.  One of the keenest observers of the natural world ever to put pen to paper, Thoreau has a great deal to teach us about our relationships – with nature, with one another, and with ourselves. I first became immersed in Thoreau’s writings many moons ago when I found myself working for a year in the Library of the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo.  (Yes, this was back when our

Tales from the Field…

Conservation work – protecting Special Places – doesn’t just happen by itself. It takes a lot of hard work and perseverance. It takes a lot of miles traveling on the back roads of our great country. And sometimes it takes a little creativity. Here, Bill Turner tells of one creative encounter from his days at The Land Conservancy that paid off.   Tales from the Field… June 1998. We had been waiting for several hours at the junction, and not

On Gardening…

This blog is written with unreserved apologies to all my family and friends in Ontario and Alberta and other places across the country eastward of the Fraser Valley – i.e. all those places that are beyond Hope (sorry, couldn’t resist – just a little wet coast humour). But it’s the middle of February, and here in Sooke that means it’s time to start working on the garden. The broad beans need to be planted, and the early peas, and some

Being Away and At Home at the Same Time

  When you think of the micro-community of family and how we live within it, it is my feeling that each of our personal stories become the tread or the fibre of its sustainability. A shared family, landscape and community are, for me, the three main characters in the building of my stories, the weaving of my experiences into my life blanket. I think of those who have crossed my life path, who are my significant others. The significance being

There are places I remember

    There are places I remember, all my life…     John Lennon                         I heard Bob Dylan’s iconic song Mr. Tambourine Man playing on the radio the other day (thank you CBC!), and it triggered a memory, immediately transporting me back to a very special place and to a moment, long ago, that rests within me and that surfaces from time to time. Music attaches itself to memory in

The Michelangelo Test

It is said that the sculptor Michelangelo considered it a productive day if there was a pile of marble chips on the floor at the end of the day. I like to think of this as the “Michelangelo Test” for a good day – a day where I have made progress toward my goals. I may not have finished anything, but if that pile of chips is there I can feel good that the day has not been wasted. This test