My birdhouses are empty now, so today I emptied their contents. We watched several sparrow families use the 1st house this summer, but we didn’t see any birds using the 2nd one. However, there were nests in both houses. House 1 has a 1-1/2″ diameter hole, while house 2 has a 1-1/8″ hole. The nests I removed were very different from each other, the first being very deep, from the bottom up to the hole, and rudely constructed of sticks and straws. The 2nd nest was entirely different, made of small soft threadlike bits and the top surface lined with fluff, that looked like fine cotton wool.
We had 5 days out camping around Southern Vancouver Island. On day 1, before we got to out first destination we stopped for lunch then went to a thrift store nearby, where I bought a typewriter for $10. I hadn’t thought to bring one along with me, but this seemed like an omen. If it wasn’t for that I would not have written these two poems. I present their edited versions, and some pictures. We had a variety of geography on this voyage, from the ocean to a lake to the alpine zone. Lucky for us to live so close to all this!
First stop was an ocean-side camp at a rocky beach called French Beach. We camped in the forest of tall trees, and rode our bikes down the road to the beach where we swam in the frigid water in wet-suits. This was on the Juan de Fuca Strait, looking across at Washington and the Olympic Mountains.
Ocean Beach Summer Night
Briefly a rush of truck tires from the road nearby
Then a softer sigh, we look to the sky
A raven so black whooshes through the air
Voyaging from perch to perch in treetop bare
Campers pass soundlessly with dogs
None barking, quiet like beach logs
Tiny flies flit there and here
End up dead in our beer
We pick them out and drink up
We have no fear
Next to us the water tap and garbage bins
Two outhouses, one women’s, one men’s
Through the trees waves endlessly pound rocks
Where earlier we stood without socks
Watched them rolling thunderously, splash
Sometimes offset, sometimes one great crash
A zipper dumping energy like a long liquid spear
Which makes its mark and instantly disappears
To reappear in the following frame
Tag for the ocean is a favorite game
Any hour may bring change
Fast, unpredictable as a sneeze
But tonight there is a warm breeze
And the happy waves play without fights
Like children do on summer nights
August 28 2017
French Beach, BC
Up the road a ways we camped on another coast, beside the air force. Jets and big choppers were flying around. We were on the inland waters, looking eastward into the endless mountain ranges of British Columbia. Some of the most inaccessible territory on the planet, yet so close by. There are no roads north from there, no “civilization” for hundred of miles, only countless square miles of forest and mountains.
The Force Is With Us
Roaring jets remind us how
Beside this camp an air force lurks
Ever ready to strike if called
Who or what we don’t ask
Sitting in this field of grass
Writing, reading as the sun sets
another long day in the car
another camping meal enjoyed
chirping crickets and songs of birds
announce the end of their day
chirping and hunting for prey
the road gets longer year by year
how long it seemed to get here
travelling is not so easily done
a short trip is as hard as a long one
or are we weary from the sun?
still, we do enjoy these camps
discovering new places like tramps
later we remember them again
forgetting how we endured pain
remembering sunshine forgetting rain
fondly recalling pleasures from simple things
reading by lantern light and optical illusions
playing cards against a chain link fence
warm nights and stars, noises from cars
snuggling into a narrow bed, banging your head
tired and dirty we are now
in a day or two we’ll have forgotten how
we walked across a field before bed
felt the cold descending, instead
sitting inside on comfortable chairs
do the wash, arrange socks in pairs
go upstairs to bed, turn on a light
lie inside the covers, say goodnight
set the alarm, close our eyes
sleep to be awoken by surprise
August 30 2017
Kin Beach, Comox, BC
From here we made a day trip to hike in alpine meadows. Driving from the beach we looked ahead across the valley to a huge glacier on top of the mountain. Once in the alpine we walked through a pristine wilderness of forests, lakes and meadows full of berries and flowers. Then a rescue helicopter arrived to help an older lady who was backing up to take a picture and fell off the boardwalk, breaking something in her shoulder. A strange sight to see a chopper setting down between tall trees into a tiny clearing.
We contemplated a trip to Oregon to see the eclipse but decided there would be too many people on the road, so we stayed in Victoria and watched it from the top of our mountain.
Fortunately the day dawned clear, and not a cloud in sight. We arrived around 9 am to find quite a few others already set up.
One guy was talking away to his phone making a selfie video. Others had their cereal box viewers ready and some were seated in lawn chairs under the shade of a beach umbrella.
Very few had the special sun goggles, but we did.
I made a pinhole box viewer and installed a camera with a macro lens, with which I was able to photograph the moon’s transit.
The results did not really do justice to the eclipse, however. I managed one pic by shading the camera lens with the sun goggles and snapping a picture directly.
That was the best shot. Although it did not get dark, merely dimmer, it did cool off substantially. We saw a 90% eclipse. As soon as the moon went past the maximum everybody departed. The summit went from 70 people to a dozen within minutes, and so too we headed back down.
I saw an eclipse once before, but I can’t recall where or when! I’m pretty sure I’ll remember this one.
Here are all four of my novels to date. The first three are newly published. All are available through the links under the BOOKS page on the header above, or by clicking on the book title image. Support typewriting – all of these were laboriously crafted on typewriters until my fingers were numb!
BRAINWAVES: Neuroscientist Robert Frank decides to experiment on himself when he discovers a way to cross the blood-brain barrier.
MATES AND MEN—A TRILOGY
The Sexy Synesthete: a rare medical condition leads Miles on a quest to discover meaning in his charmed but unfulfilled life.
The Short Fuse: the odyssey of Jerry, a man of little ambition sucked into a deadly game for which he is woefully unprepared and even less willing.
The Lost Friend: the sage ends in a package of thrills that carry on right to the final page.
AN ENGINEER’S GUIDE TO PARIS
Heller, a soon to be graduate engineer, goes to Paris for a short holiday before school is to commence. When his best friend doesn’t show up as planned, Heller is forced to face the fact that his life has been on auto pilot, and he doesn’t like where it’s headed.
THE GAME OF HEARTS
The lives of two young couples are intertwined when on the night of a full moon Helen and Joan, strangers, arrive at hospital where each gives birth to a son.
They say this is a cliche, but why is that? My friend Joe Van Cleave challenges you to prove otherwise in his series of typing videos, This is Joe’s Typing Assignment #5.
Port on a port wine table
A bistro by any other name
Wouldn’t be half as sweet
Have another slug of Dow’s Late Vintage
How sweet it is with tea biscuits
Irresistible as they are I sample each
Some more than once – I can’t help it
This evening should last longer
The sun sets on time every night
Nothing can stop it or the seasons
Time passes irrevocably
We exist in the present moment
Every taste of port and biscuit
Can last for an eternity or an instant
Solely dependent on savouring the moment
Pass the bottle
Now this thing has to be the lightest typewriter I’ve ever come across! It was made in England and sold at Eaton’s as a Playfair Feather Touch. The only metal I saw on it were a few screws, and every other part was plastic, including the type slugs, which have 3 characters each. This you could carry on a backpacking trip, if only it was likely to work. It did seem to work from my testing, but the tiny ribbon, about 1/4″ wide, was not inked enough and was all twisted, so that was an assumption. They were asking a ridiculous price for it too, so I let someone else have it.
This great generosity was well rewarded soon after when I picked up two real typewriters in succession, both very similar to each other and for a good price.
First was this one: