Linda Studley

Can't Put the Pen Down…

The Long, White Struggle

It’s a long, slow slog;
this stuttering transition
from winter to spring

with hopes of greenery
thawed and frozen all along
the dirty, white way

until you cave in,
like a collapsing igloo,
and believe the ice

age has come for you;
encased you eternally,
one hand on the box

labelled ‘Spring Clothing”
the other on your down filled coat,
desperate with hope

even through nightmares
of hard, white piles crushing
your warm breath to mist.

“It’s supposed to get up to plus eleven by next Friday” he says.
I’ll believe it when I see it

Summer of the Horse – a review

 

I used to be a voracious reader; often having two or even three books ‘on the go’ at any given time. Every night I’d read myself to sleep. I’d read for ten minutes while the cookies baked; packed a book in the vehicle to pass the time if I had to wait longer than two minutes for anything. Books were something into which I immersed myself, a respite from reality, a foray into the unknown. But lately my eyesight has not been cooperative of these forays. After half an hour the print blurs and I find myself straining to at least reach a ‘good place’ to stop until my eyes will focus again. Frustrated, I explored the world of e-books. At least I could increase the font size on the screen. Unfortunately, the screen is too small and reading a book when the lines are 4 words long with only 4 or 5 lines visible is ultimately unsatisfying. The e-reader is hard to hold too. Thin and sleek may look nice and fit into your purse, but it’s not comfortable to hold for any length of time.

So, slowly, my reading has dropped off. When something doesn’t satisfy anymore one tends to drift away from it. But this morning I read for an hour and a half. My eyes straining to get through each ensuing sentence, I couldn’t put the book down until finally I just couldn’t see the words anymore. Now here I am writing about the experience (with a large monitor jacked up to 200% zoom I might add) waiting for my eyes to adjust so I can go back and read some summer of the horse imagemore.

What is the object of this obsession you might ask? It’s my newly acquired copy of Donna Kane’s book “Summer of the Horse”. I was privileged to be present at her book launch last evening and, enthralled by her reading of two excerpts from the book, I purchased a copy, eager to dive into a book where the words did not just convey information; they sparkled with all the potential of the English language to be beautiful, evocative, and engaging.

I was not disappointed. I’m only about a quarter of the way through the “Summer of the Horse” but I’m thoroughly hooked and enchanted. Writing poetry has become an essential extension of my life, and my mantra has always been “Be brave, be honest”. Donna has always done that in her poetry, and now she is doing it in her creative non-fiction.

Run, do not walk, to the Dawson Creek Art Gallery and purchase a copy of “Summer of the Horse”. I haven’t even finished it yet and I know you will love it.

Like a Bird

Your heart, like a bird
fluttering, testing the winds2018-04-03-Like a Bird
of change in your soul

before taking flight.
Breath-taking fibrillation
shocks us to the now

where a breathe can hang
like mist in the frozen air
then crash to the ground,

tiny icicles
shatter, chime through the silence
“it’s time to go home”

 

Aubade to Spring

A nervous twitch of heavy curtains,
a wary peering into first light.
What song will I sing? A trill
of joy thrilling at a pool of sunlight
warming my bare
feet or a dirge for dreams
of spring, battered
by northeast winds and smothered
in yet more snow.
Is it all bad?
No, today the sun shines and, at least
for a while, it is ‘aubade’.

The Potential of Motionless Hands

Dry brushes,
silent strings,
still pens.

Canvas awaits,
air hangs empty,
book is closed.

Heart descries a dream,
soul craves a song,
mind requires illumination.

Potential
blooms, rings, transports
each thought into being
human.

Frozen Pride

There’s a northern sense of pride
in battling winter and surviving
minus forty, minus fifty,
icy fog and snowy drifts. We
soldier on in our uniforms;
long underwear to keep us warm,
and scoff at tender souls who live
in milder climes and shake and shiver
at minus five and have to close
the city down for an inch of snow.

We post the current temperature;
a brag of what we can endure;
a challenge to post a lower number,
to northern soldiers in other bunkers.

Year after year we earn our stripes
through furnace fails and frozen pipes,
when trucks die and the power goes out
you discover what cold is all about.
We’ve fed the woodstove through the night
and melted snow by candlelight.

We’ve earned our medals in the ice and cold
but the years roll on and we’re getting old
and we’ve paid our dues and we’ve fought our fight
and we just want a little bit more sunlight.
It’s not retreating, just retiring
to a place where the temperature is higher.
I leave the struggle to the young
who have the strength to carry on.

Old soldiers who’ve battled winter and won,
Deserve their moments in the sun.

 

Ashes

I forgot to post this poem – it was written on the 6th as we were travelling through the Cariboo. The haze made the background seem two dimensional.

 

ashes-smallTreed mountains, layered in smoke,
recede into the haze; cut-out silhouettes; mere jagged,
misty dreams of the real terrain beneath.
And in the foreground emerge the trees, clearer now,
more defined, more detail in their sweeping boughs and
pendant moss; skeletons of their ancestors propped up
in their arms, standing witness.
There is a sense of waiting in the air
and a taste of ashes on the tongue.

Back Eddy Resort & Marina – Chef’s Long Table

Life with a capital L includes enjoying new tastes. I got the chance to enjoy many new taste experiences on Thursday evening at the Back Eddy Resort and Marina in Egmont. I sat, with my sister Pia, at the Chef’s Long Table for a four course seafood experience. Chef Kevin Cooper and Sommelier John Linn introduced each course; explaining the subtleties of the creations and the reasons for, and background on the wine or beer chosen to accompany the dish. We were also lucky enough to have a very knowledgeable representative from Ocean Wise, Claire Lee, who gave us information on the particular seafood used in each dish and how we can ensure that the seafood we buy is caught or farmed in a safe, sustainable manner.

I learned a lot! Including that farmed shellfish can actually be more environmentally friendly than wild caught shellfish. I’d suggest visiting them for more information.

Back to the meal. Here’s what we enjoyed:

Course One:
Line Caught Coho Salmon Tartare, Avocado Mousse, Chipotle Crème Fraiche, and Almond Cilantro Cracker. Along with this course we had a glass of ‘Apothic Winemakers Blend’

Course Two:
Pancetta and Prosciutto, Saltspring Island Mussels – accompanied by Persephone Pale Ale

Course Three:
Vanilla Butter Poached Sablefish, Seaweed Salad, Grilled Broccolini, Basil Buerre Blanc. Along with a Meiomi Chardonnay.

Course Four:
Tropical Scallop Ceviche, Mango, Papaya, Dragon Fruit, and Grapefruit. With 1884 Viognier wine.

I don’t know much about pairing wines and beer with food. All I know is the old ‘white with poultry and fish and red with beef’, and I’m pretty sure even that isn’t terribly accurate anymore. But as I listened to John Linn speak about each wine and beer it was obvious that this is someone who really knows his stuff; not only that, but he is obviously very passionate on the subject and pleased to be able to share that knowledge.

The food was simply excellent. I wish I was more of a gourmet so I could get into detail, but alas all I know is that my palate was very appreciative.  I was a little hesitant about the ‘seaweed salad’ but it was delicious! I asked what kind of seaweed it was and was told “shakimi”. I’ll be looking THAT up – very tasty. Chef Kevin Cooper was also very passionate about his craft and it is very plain that he takes great pains with not only the preparation and presentation of the dishes, but the sourcing of the very best quality and environmentally friendly local sources for the ingredients.

I was enjoying the meal so much I forgot to get a picture until we got to the fourth course, but trust me, it was as beautiful as it was delicious. Thank you Bill, for taking the pictures.

The Chef’s Long Table, to my understanding, happens three times a year so if you’re in the area, check with them to see if there’s a Chef’s Long Table coming up that you can participate in. I guarantee it will be an unforgettable gastronomic experience.

What I Learned Today – PODS

Life with a capital L includes learning new things. Today I learned about a project called ‘Pender Harbour Ocean Discovery Station’ (PODS), an exciting project that is currently in the fundraising phase. They have already raised over $2 million and are closing in on the target amount with only $195,000. left to raise before the end of September.

The property in question is at Irvine’s Landing and the proposed complex is truly an amazing project that will include laboratories, a conference centre, underwater galleries, performance spaces, and restaurant. The link with Simon Fraser University promises some important work will be accomplished and excellent educational opportunities will be made available. The comprehensive array of alternative energy systems will be a showcase unto itself.

pods energy system

I was very impressed with the passion and dedication that surrounds this project. The foresight and potential is significant.

Have a look at the website – https://www.openpods.com/what-we-do/

Donate if you feel moved to do so; I did.

Smoke and Reflections

From a clear, blue sky and green trees to smoke and blackened trunks. There are no blue skieswords to express my sorrow for the devastation that has descended upon so much of our beautiful province.

We didn’t stay in the camper last night; couldn’t face breathing the smoke all night long. We stayed at the 100 Mile House Ramada and turned the air conditioner on full bore.

fire damage

We headed out into the smoke this morning and are still seeing chilling evidence of how close the fire had come to a lot of smoke-heading outhomes. Most of the ones we’ve seen so far were only separated from the carbon blackened landscape by the narrow strip of pavement (Highway 97 and 99). I can only imagine how frightening that must have been. I guess Life with a capital L can be kind of scary at times.

We lived in Lone Butte many years ago and remember fondly the big blue skies, clear lakes, and clean air of the Cariboo region. Here’s hoping for clear, blue skies in the very near future for everyone in BC.

 

 

Post Navigation