Saturday, in the park

Out at Burnaby Lake on Saturday, waiting for my boy who was at his paddling practice. I went for a walk along the grandstands (which were built in 1971 to watch the rowing at the second Canada Summer Games) and, who was nestled below but mother goose.  She watched me from below, her neck craning to see where I was going, and I watched her from above.  Quietly.

Not to disturb.

Father goose wasn’t far away. Perched on an outcropping. Guarding.


One is always on call when you’re a parent. Always taking care.

At one point, momma got up and, with her beak, started pulling fluff and down closer in and over the eggs. She then repositioned herself and sat back down, wiggling into a comfortable place.


Two geese attempted a fly-in while I stood there and father lept into action, honking and flying at them until they realized they’d taken a wrong turn and left. Let me tell you, there was much ado on the lake with Mother goose honking to him the whole time, and him honking to the trespassers and back at her.

I love this lake. Wouldn’t dare swim in it, but it’s a wild and beautiful place if you’re a paddler – waterfowl, teenage boy, or other.






“I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam.”

Lord of The Rings. Tolkien.

Our senior dog, run out of steam at the end of her walk at the end of the day, and my husband carrying her the rest of the way home. She didn’t last many months longer after that before we had to put her down. She was almost eighteen.

This quote is just a snippet of a story about a friendship and we were so fortunate to have a beautiful friendship with this lady, and lucky to be able to be with her at the end of all things.

She’s gone almost three years now, and we still miss her every day.

The Daily Post weekly photo challenge: Half-Light. Share a photo inspired by a poem, verse, song lyric, or story.



Teapot Hill

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson


Last year we got a Thousand Trails membership which entitled us to thirty nights of camping within our zones (Pacific Northwest and on down into southern California).  We used a bunch of those nights up when we did our trip to Palm Springs over Christmas but we had just over a week’s worth of nights left over, so we decided to book a site at the Thousand Trails at  Cultus Lake here in B.C. to use up the stay.

We loaded the good old motorhome and my daughter, her girlfriend and I “camped out” in it for three of those nights. (Lucky for me, my darling husband drove the motorhome out there for me first. Honestly, I shouldn’t be trusted in anything larger than a Mini.)

Anyway, on the road to Cultus Lake is a trail for Teapot Hill (apparently named because a logger found a teapot on the hill), so the girls and I committed to reserving one afternoon for a hike up to the top.

imageI love hiking, as does my daughter’s friend, so Thursday afternoon, we grabbed our water bottles, parked my car in the lot at the trailhead, and proceeded up the mountain, hoping for a view of the lake from the top.

We got a lot more than that.

About five minutes into the hike, propped up on a fallen log and snuggled into the moss was a teapot.


Why was I surprised? It’s called Teapot Hill for crying out loud!  Suddenly our nature walk became a treasure hunt and we combed the woods with our eyes looking for more. Screw nature, we’re here for teapots now (haha, just kidding).

And we weren’t disappointed.

It seems there’s a thing going on in the woods here: bring your own pot. (Teapot, that is). Regrettably, the punks amongst us have taken shots at some of the pots, so there are ceramic fragments where teapots used to be, but for the most part, there are many intact pots!

I love whimsy. And a sense of humour. And I would’ve loved to have been the person who first thought of bringing a teapot to leave there, so kudos to whoever thought of it.  There were so many kids and teens on the trail – a couple even toting their own pot made by Grandma (top right hand corner) – so it was great to see that nature was not only being appreciated, but that it was made fun.

Naturally, the girls and I spent some time trying to come up with puns- they groaned when I said I was “bagged” – but the pinnacle pun was “the hike up Teapot Hill was pretty ‘steep,'” courtesy of my daughter.

I don’t know if the pots will be there when we go back next. Apparently a few years back, the parks people cleaned up the forest on the premise that the broken pots were litter (fair enough), and that there was a rare orchid colony growing somewhere in the woods that might be damaged by people looking for pots and going off road to photograph them (um, I plead guilty to this charge. Having said that, in my defense, my childhood was spent in the seventies when it was all “Kumbaya, my lord,” and “Country roads, take me home,” so it’s only natural that I wanted to go off trail and breathe deep the moss and fern and mountain air.).


Cultus is only an hour away from where I live, so we will try to go back again one day. Maybe I’ll bring my own pot with me, and maybe I’ll try to tuck it into a tree that’s fairly close to the trail – just so I don’t damage any of those elusive orchids. And maybe I’ll tuck a note inside of my teapot -you know, like a message in a bottle sort of thing – if for no other reason than to say, “we were here,”  although I’m not sure why I feel it’s necessary to leave my mark here.  I left my mark on this earth the moment my child breathed her first breath.

Anyway, would love to hear some of your punny tea jokes, if you have any. And hey, maybe that’s what I’ll tuck in my teapot when I go back!



So this is another Flash Fiction story that I entered into Writer Unboxed’s flash fiction contest that was held last year… (Just posting it now because a) I haven’t written anything in a while and b) I’m afraid you’ll think I’ve shriveled up and crawled under a rock during spring break…) (Insert goofy emoji face here…)  The rules? 250 words or less, based on the photo prompt. Beginning, middle, and end required.


The tour guide wore a pair of brown Oxfords, a pince-nez, and a librarian bun.

“This was one of five tunnels built here for the transcontinental railway in the late 1800s,” she said, adjusting her glasses on her nose. “White workers were difficult to come by, so they hired the Chinese. Mostly for setting the detonations. They were cheap.”

The guide paused.

“And expendable.”

The now-defunct railway had left a deep scar carved through the slope.

Melissa stood quietly in the group. A grey-haired man beside her snorted “harrumph”; she noted his hyena-like face and pale rheumy eyes, and she watched as he stared blankly up the mountain’s treacherous incline. As the group started to walk under the archway towards the next tunnel, he brushed abruptly passed her, turning and glaring at her as he did.

“The tunnel that was originally here collapsed twenty years ago…”

She pulled a photo and plastic bag out from her pocket.

“…and then this smaller archway was built.”

The photo was a young Chinese man standing in a kitchen. She placed it inside the bag and then walked towards the archway after them. Finding a thin crevice in the bricks, she nudged the bag in, recalling the writing on the back of the photo:

“This is my great-grandfather, An Lo Chin. My grandmother said he was good at fixing bicycles and cooking. He limped from chopping off his own toe. He helped build this railroad and died doing it.
Melissa Chin.
Lest We Forget.”


Yesterday’s Daily Post Photo Challenge was Harmony.

Some days, I want to scream, “WHY CAN”T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?” (This is usually after driving around in my hometown, shopping at Costco, or watching the news).

It just seems there’s too much selfishness, too much war, too much hatred, too many murders, and I’ve just about had it with the ridiculous and disgusting robberies too.

So, the post was Harmony.  I had no pictures of choirs or beautiful basses, or The Four Tenors, for that matter. But I did have this.

Here, my daughter’s hands cupped around a wee sparrow that had crashed into our kitchen window.

Harmony. Not just about music. We CAN all just get along.  Just gotta stop and think of the other guy first.

“Adversity draws men together and produces beauty and harmony in life’s relationships, just as the cold of winter produces ice-flowers on the window-panes, which vanish with the warmth.”
Søren Kierkegaard