The Sparrow

False Creek May 2015 037

Sparrow statue in False Creek Athletes Village

I stared at the numbers before me, studying and comparing what was there and what wasn’t.

I am fortunate to have an office that has stands of evergreen trees beyond the parking lot of the business park that I work at.

A wall divides our building from the trees.  The wall as been built from giant concrete blocks that resemble pieces of Lego.

Beyond this is a drive way that sees cement and dump trucks traveling its length on a daily basis.

It’s not so bad, believe me.


I cross the 2nd Narrows Bridge daily and my place of work is just on the other side of it.  You can see the industries along the shore line where my office is located.

Along the drive are a row of trees very obviously planted as they are spaced uniformly along its length.  I would say they are relatively young trees, maybe 5-7 years in age.  Behind them are some of the older evergreens that survived being cut down when the business park was being cleared for development in this part of the North Shore.  Still there is a lot of forest that surrounds us which I am so thankful for.

9. Before2. After

Office renovations are under way.  Before the walls went up…you can see the wall that I speak of and my office under construction.

I am blessed to see eagles on a daily basis.  There are a few nesting around here.   We are also a stones throw from the ocean as well, and in fact we are at the mouth of Deep Cove.  A beautiful area.

I will watch as the eagles circle high above in languid grace.  Many of the mature eagles have a wing span of six feet if not more.  I find them mesmerizing and beautiful.

They circle overhead seeking food.  Crows will often gather about and dive bomb toward the eagles trying to dissuade them from their nests where their eggs or chicks are roosting.

Queeens Park April 2015 044

This was taken with my cell phone.  You can see the big guy up in the right hand corner

Crows have a strategy particularly if the eagle is getting too close to their nesting grounds.  Typically there will be at least three crows that position themselves at certain points around their enemy, then take turns diving toward the bird in an effort to divert their attention perhaps?  They never actually make contact, however, and I’ve never really witnessed just one crow pursuing an eagle.

I’ve also watched as seagulls practice these protective tactics as well.

The younger eagles are at times persuaded to look elsewhere, but the older ones are not so easily intimidated.

And watching an eagle dive for food!  Wow!  Quite the sight.

Crows are carnivorous as well.  I wasn’t aware of this fact until about a year ago when I was still working in downtown Vancouver.

I was sitting at my desk, once again pondering sets of numbers before me (pssst…I’m an accountant :))

A sparrow landed on the balcony edge outside my window then hopped down to the deck.


I smiled as I watched the little guy forage for food, leftovers of any kind.

A moment later a crow swooped down grabbing the sparrow in its claws and pecked it violently.

I let out a screech as I was stunned by the violence of the attack.  A moment later the crow flew away with its prize.

It’s a dog eat dog world I suppose.

So as I sat working on this glorious spring morning, from the corner of my eye I caught sight of the sparrow in flight almost as quickly as it hit the glass pane window.  It was a loud and vicious sound that resonated through the office.

We all turned and looked and I rose from my desk and tried to look down from the second floor where my office is located.  I couldn’t see anything so I went downstairs to see if I could find the little fella.

male sparrow

If the bird was in distress I know of places that can help.  I stepped outside and began searching through the manicured shrubs that grace our store front.  I saw the bird then laying on its back, feet pointing skyward.  Its neck had broken immediately then.

I felt the rush of emotion I always experience when I am witness to a death of this type.

I went back upstairs and retrieved a cloth to wrap the bird in then went to the back to dispose of it.

Heat still emanated from the body now coddled in the cloth. At least the little sparrow didn’t suffer.

And as the day progressed I managed to grind through yet another day with small victories along the way.

From time to time I thought of the sparrow.

When I had gently picked up the bird, the eyes seemed to have an element of surprise expressed in them.

Had this little guy uttered a fowl expletive when he realized the error in his flight path.  How long had this little one graced the skies?  Then I wondered what their life expectancy is.  Later I discovered that they can live for up to 23 years in captivity but out in the wilds it is typically 2-5 years.  The average being 3 years.


And that evening as I stepped up to the microphone to present my first book launch I thought briefly about the little bird who’d died so suddenly.

Later that evening, having made the decision to stay up and watch David Letterman’s final show, I thought about the cycle of life.

And at 1:00 AM when I finally slipped into bed, just before sleep claimed me, I wondered if that little bird had a companion or community that would miss him.

And as those tendrils of sleep claimed me, I was reminded yet again of the fragility of life.

In My Own Write The Beauty of Fragility




In Twenty-Four Hours



I could begin by telling you it was a dark and stormy night. I wouldn’t be lying as clichéd as it sounds.

And for the record, most nights are dark at some point, though not necessarily stormy.

I had gone for a run with my running clinic. It’s been tough lately, but over the last few weeks a new resolve has begun to emerge.

I will be working with a personal trainer effective November 1, 2014. I am going back into training mode.

I want to get healthy, I want to get conditioned. Come January 2015 if I feel I am prepared I will enter into training for the ½ Marathon in May 2015.  No more excuses. No more feelings of defeat.

The other night I dreamt I was running through Queen’s Park. It was still dark out and I was greeting the trees, the air, the moon, the earth…and I felt so light, so alive…

Then I woke.

Sunset Beach Sept 5, 2014 181

It was a dream of what I used to do a little over a year ago. I realized in that moment how much I want that simple pleasure back. The tears stung my eyes as I curled up into my pillows.

I’ve got several goals that I want to bring to fruition over the next little while and the only way I know how to do this is to buckle down and get ‘er done!

In any case, let’s get back to this dark and stormy night of mine.

I had puttered about the place when I got home. I made dinner and cleaned up.

Then I worked on some old photographs, scanning them into my computer and giving them new life to share with family and friends.

A few ideas popped into my head regarding stories for future books. I’ve several on the go now. I think I have a story to be told in every genre at this point.

I was happily tired when I slipped between the sheets.

Nirvana claimed me swiftly and I fell into a deep and restful slumber.


I like to keep my bedroom window open just a bit to keep fresh air circulating year round. Else wise I find it can get just a little too stuffy.

There is something very comforting about curling up in my blankets with the cool of the room surrounding me. The exhaustion of the day found me melting into my bed as each muscle tensed then relaxed gratefully.

I was a good two hours or so into this night’s sleep when something drifted softly over, caressing my face.

I was being summoned back into the waking world.

A strange howl now filtered into my ears as I was drawn from the realm of sleep. The sensations of my faced being stroked caused alarm.

It was a rude awakening at this point. Disorientated, my eyes popped open. I was in a defensive and combative mood as I rose from the sleep state.

Above me a white billowy thing hung in the air. It was massive, big man!



From somewhere a scream erupted. It was from me as my brain now began feverishly to put together these events and respond accordingly.

The howling that had assaulted my ears upon waking began to dissipate and with it the white billowy omnipresence that, for a nanosecond, held me captive in all my vulnerability.

Awake, well kinda sorta,  with this heart of mine pounding like a jackhammer doing triple time I followed the visage of the white billowy thing.

It had drifted off toward my bedroom window.  A moment later my laughter filled the room as I curled up to one of my pillows.

The white billowing menace had been the sheer curtain that adorns my window.

I decided to get up and calm myself and watch the storm play out for a bit.  I must admit I love a stormy night.

Trees were being punished ruthlessly as the wind factor fluctuated between 85 – 100 km per/hour.

Sounds of things being knocked over or tossed about added a certain credence to the power of this thing.

And the rain, well it would come down in sheets then nothing.

I suppose the wind was just raking the storm clouds across at such a rapid pace and squeezing every cloud dry in its wake.

I smiled as I thought of how fresh the air would be in the morning and with that I returned to bed.



Wednesday I muscled through work as a host of issues seemingly tried to impede my progress. I was indeed grateful for the day’s end.  I had gone for my nine month check*up regarding the cancer thing.  Everything looks great and they extended the period to four months before the next one.  I can dig it.

I had waited patiently for an hour after my appointment time before I was in fact ushered in.  Now I headed off to the third floor to offer up some blood for their ongoing research.  I had agreed to do this way back when, thinking that if I could help in some small way then perhaps it’s worth it.

I don’t know that I’ll continue with this, however, as the blood lab at the Cancer Agency sucks.  Not once in the year and half that I’ve been dealing with them have they been able to draw blood without butchering a few veins.

I have deep veins that are also known rollers.

images (4)

I always pass this information along to the whomever is burdened with the task of extracting blood from me.  Every other lab I’ve ever dealt with never has an issue and have always managed quite easily with this knowledge to do the job swiftly and professionally.

Not the Cancer Agency.

I graciously informed the young woman as she wrapped the rubber band around my arm to do so tightly and I made a fist.  The vein rose immediately.  Did she get the needle?  No.

She started to flick it with her finger then press down on it.

“It’s ready.”  I informed her pleasantly.

She gave me a dubious look then continued to flick her finger and press down.

I had that sense of dread now as the vein was sinking fast.  Still she got the needle ready, inserted it and started to dig around.  I was pumping my fist furiously trying to bring it back hoping it would pop again but I knew this was to no avail.  The vein had collapsed as it often does yet she continued to try and find it.

I closed my eyes and sighed.

Sheepishly the technician removed the needle and covered the area with a cotton swab and taped it down.  She apologized and said that she would get her superior to perform the task.

Then she disappeared calling “Ruby…oh, Ruby. ”

Ruby was apparently very busy.  I would have to wait.

I’d had to go and plug the parking meter once already and now I sat hoping that  I still had some time left on the hour that I’d added.  Dark thoughts entered my mind as I considered the possibility of a traffic ticket.  It wouldn’t be the first time that I’ve been in this position and there are a number of traffic tickets that I simply refuse to pay.  I really believe that parking should be free for patients.

In any case Ruby sent another technician in to do the job.

The woman smiled confidently at me. “Having problems are we?”

Curious comment.

“No.  I’m not having any problems, thanks.” I smiled back.

She gave me a curious look in return and I once again explained the issue with my veins.

She wrapped the rubber band around my left arm now as the right one was done and the bruising had already begun to spread beneath the cotton swab.

I fisted up and the technician told me I shouldn’t do this then tried to loosen my fingers.  That good ‘ol sinking feeling returned as I explained that this was the best way to get the vein to pop.

She looked at me stonily and I got thinking about the meter that was ticking.

I released my fist and she began to whack my arm with two fingers and press down.  Oye!

I watched rather detached now as she slapped the crux of my arm trying to get the vein to show itself.  Then her eyes drifted down to the vein that runs prominently up the forearm.

I didn’t even have time to object.  The needle was out and in within a heartbeat.  This was not a good place and I am certain she knew this.  The blood flow was slow so I began to pump my fist to increase it.

Our eyes met then and whatever she’d been about to say was swallowed.

I wanted to punch Ruby in that moment and I don’t even know who the hell Ruby is.  Frustration washed over me in a way I don’t like.  The bruising was already beginning and it took a couple of minutes of pumping my fist before the three vials of blood were collected.  Removing the needle she placed a cotton swab on the entry point and my thumb replaced her finger.   A black bruise at least one inch in diameter had already formed.

She was contrite.

So I do believe I’ve held up my end of the bargain with regards to the research.  If they want to continue with it then they’ll have to allow me to go to the blood lab of my choice as I’m done with that one.

Fortunately no parking tickets were littering my car so I drove back to work with the radio cranked singing out of key.  The frustration now released and gone.

A torrential rainfall greeted the drive home.  I had packed up to hit the gym after work and as I snaked along the highway at a leisurely pace the exhaustion of the day began to settle in.  News of the young soldier who was gunned down at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa filtered in over the radio.  Like the majority of Canadians I felt a deep sadness settle upon me.

I came home and let the sofa envelope me as a I fell into a light sleep.

A half hour later I got up and made dinner and watched the news of the days events.

final of crpl

This photo was taken a few minutes before Corporal Cirillo was gunned down.


A gunman with ties to some radical ‘religion’, ,and I use the term loosely, had killed Cpl. Cirillo then waltzed over to the Parliament to shoot up the place.


And you know, being chosen to stand guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a huge honour for those selected.  The guns they carry don’t have bullets in them.  They stand for those who’ve fallen in combat.

Whatever entity the gunman felt he was serving and that will embrace him in the afterlife won’t be a fair and just one, of this, I’m certain.

A young man, a soldier, father, son, brother, friend, lover had his life stolen

.cirillo w dog


And as I crawled into bed all I could wonder was why?

Twenty-four hours had passed and now I lay mourning a young man I’d never met who was everything to so many, whose energy was fabulous.

Rest in peace Cpl. Cirillo.



Summer has come.  The gentle breezes, the soft scents, the torrential rain.

Vancouver can be a bit unpredictable in June, weather wise.  I went to the Solstice party I always attend.  This year we had no bon fire.  It was raining.  So we curled up inside and I drank some of the best mead I have ever tasted. Now I am of the mind to make some of my own for the winter solstice.

I was thinking of summers past today.  Lazy days on the beach with friend playing in the water.  I haven’t had my toes kissed by the surf yet this year.  It may have to wait until I get through the surgery, but it will happen.

I met with the anistigiologist last Thursday.  Everything is a go.

Soon I will bidding my reproductive organs adieu. They have served me well.  My uterus housed my daughter for just over nine months.  I could not have asked for a greater gift than what was delivered from it’s contents 30 some odd years ago.  I got to thinking that perhaps I should have a little ceremony to honour them before they leave my body.  It may sound strange, then again perhaps not.  I think I will do that just out of my own need to acknowledge this part of me that will soon be removed.  I need to thank it for containing the cancer.

I signed up to be part of the research of the BC Cancer Society.  They will keep parts of the uterus to examine the cancer contained.  If this can provide them with one iota of information as to why these things occur, it will be worth it.  Also, I will be required to go down and provide additional samples over the years.  I can withdraw at any time.

Understanding the whys and wherefores of this thing we call cancer is important to me and to many.  So yes, I will participate quite willing in the war to gain further knowledge and hopefully one day eradicate it.

Some of the questions that are asked during this latest round are indeed strange as they were in the first round.  I was asked if I drink.  Yes, I told the nurse.  I enjoy a few brews on the weekend.

Our eyes met and she asked me, ‘Can you stop?’

I regarded her for a moment.  Interesting this to ask I suppose.  ‘Yes, I can.’ I told her.

Then she asked me about a living will.  I could bring all this information with me to ensure…in the event…that my final wishes were followed through with.  I regarded her for a moment.  I know that it’s mandatory for them to make these inquiries.  Still, it was a moment that was rather compelling.  In surgery things can and do go wrong, horribly so.  Again that frailty that I am so unfamiliar with flooded me.  “This could kill me.” whispered with agonizing honesty.

That steadfast voice followed it.  “But it won’t.”

I smiled at the nurse.  “It won’t be necessary.  My daughter is well advised of my last wishes.”

Now this is not altogether true, though I did touch on this briefly with her today, I know I must sit and have this nut bar conversation with her and I am playing it out in my head a bit.  It sounds a little too weird to verbalize at this time, but I know that at some point within the next few days, I need to let her know where all the insurance policies are.

My passing should not be complicated.  Take any organs of value to assist others, burn the rest.  Have  one helluva party for me.  Raise a glass and smile in remembrance of the life I lived and the being that I was.

And I look around me, at the colours, the beauty, the fabric of this world.  I feel it embrace me. Too much still lays before me to discover.  Death will not occur.  It cannot.  At some point it will.  I know this and accept this.  Just not now.  Not like this.

And when I say that I’m scared, that this is frightening to me, know that I mean it.  Despite the brave face, the spirit that I am determined to keep uplifted, there is that small part of my human psyche that says ‘but what if?’

I can only trust that my intuition is correct and that this is not my time.

Too much love still needs to be dispersed.  So much to still be experienced, so much to be explored.

Last night I was at a writer’s group meeting.  We were discussing marketing.  At the end, a rather odd conversation broke out.  I spoke about my love of language.  How two people can say the same thing, yet one will say it with such eloquence and passion.  That is what I love about it.  When spoken from the heart, the beauty of its context can be mesmerizing.

So I will go and take my photos of summer’s night.  Next year at this time I will be at Stonehenge.  I want to watch the sun rise over the blue stone and feel the magic of the place infuse me.  It will happen.

Blessings to all of you.

The rains have now let up and I am going to head out and take a few pictures of this beautiful evening.  The life force that surrounds me grows stronger.


I went to a fundraiser last night after work.  A young man 37 years of age has cancer.  He has undergone intense and aggressive treatments and then suffered a heart attack in the mix of things.

Steve has a young family.  He is fit, takes care of himself and his loved ones.  By the show of attendees at this event it is evident that he is well-loved.

I have never met Steve.

A woman who I went to school with had posted the invitation on Facebook.  It really just reached out to me.

It’s tough when your world goes sideways and the last thing you want to be confronted with is how to pay the bills.  Yet it happens everyday to people.  And somehow it doesn’t seem fair, does it?  But then life really isn’t about being fair.  You take the hand that is dealt to you and do the best you possibly can.

This event gave me the opportunity also of touching base with a woman I have not seen in some 35 years or more.  It was a delight to see her again.

I have been looking through the shadows of my past and extracting the beauty that did in fact exist in my life at that time.  There are a few gems well worth pulling forward and embracing.  One of the things I have been doing is touching base with some of the people I knew back in the day.  Val was a great gal in school.  No nonsense, real and she still is.

We all had our secrets, our fears that we never disclosed.  Perhaps growing up is still very much like that.  We posture and pose in our insecurities.  Oh, I am certain that some don’t have these little hiccups but for many the growing pains we pass through can at times leave very deep scars.

Still, it is your choice to remain subdued by their impact or grow and expand as a result.

Tonight was a good excuse to connect with someone I had not seen in years.  Just to say ‘hello’ again.  To let them know they mattered to you at that time in your life.  That they were good, they were real.  I think sometimes about how many lives we touch during the course of our lifetime.  Some meetings are brief, some are lasting but they all shape who we become to some degree.

For so many years I was caught in a vortex where I lashed out, blaming whomever was within striking distance of the hurt that I was living with.

The heart bled out, alone, fractured, wanting….

The times that love was offered I treated it with suspicion.  My reaction was often accusatory in nature.

I found later that the wound remained open because I was lacking a certain component in order to allow the heart to heal.  That little thing known as forgiveness.

On Thursday night I was at the engineer’s office as usual working on the books.  My phone rang and my daughter was on the other end sobbing tearfully.

She has been having issues with a certain corporation (BC Hydro…cough…cough).  They wanted to charge her some foolish ‘deposit’ eight months after she opened the account with them.

Receiving yet another ‘Final Notice’ she dutifully called them to try to straighten things out.  The account is paid in full.  There should be no issues.  This time, however, she lost her cool.  She screamed obscenities and various profanities in her conversation with the agent.

The additional costs were waived at the end of it all.  When she called me though she was not upset that they had threatened yet again to cut-off her service.  No, she was upset that she had yelled at someone who was just doing their job.

She felt horrible that she had treated someone in that manner even though she had apologized for her behaviour before the conversation ended.

I felt a quiet pride at this moment.  This lovely woman who I’ve been blessed with raising was feeling grief over something like this.  Her consideration for another just made my heart burst.

God knows I have had such dealings with these organizations in years past and I was far less accountable for my behaviour.  And these days that is what I am working on.

So, yes, I will accept an invitation to help support another person in their battle for life.

I hope Steve survives.  I hope he lives a long, full life.  If I can send this out to him for his well-being consider it done.

We fear death.  This goes without saying and yet I can say will all honesty that I don’t fear it so much as I do feel that my time is limited in all that I want to have done and experienced in the time that has been allotted to me.

And it is not bucket list stuff that I am talking about either.  I don’t want to jump from a plane, race down white-water rapids or run with the bulls.

I just want to get to that place where I appreciate the moment that I have right now and know it.

Have a great day.

Yet Another Shooting…why?

This day started so beautifully.  I got up and went for my run.  It’s getting good and cold out now, but what a way to wake up in the morning!  The air nibbled delightfully at my cheeks and once I got my sweat on, well, just a fabulous run.  I got ready for work and on the drive in the day that was unfolding before me was yet another artistic masterpiece.  Angry gray clouds were parting and snow-capped peaks rose above them that gave this sense that we were in a dimension beyond the third.  The Sun was hitting the snow somewhere above the clouds that just made them come alive in  a whole new way.  I thought once again how blessed I am to live in this place.

The workday was well underway when the first reports filtered in that a shooting had occurred at an Elementary School in Connecticut down in the States.  That was followed by the numbers.  Twelve, fourteen, eighteen.  At last count twenty children, six adults and the gunman….all dead.


And I feel angry at yet another senseless shooting, as I am sure we all do.  I am tired of the excuses for the so-called ‘right to bear arms’.  Guns have one purpose and one purpose only and that is to kill.  Do I believe that everyone should have the right to have a gun in their home?  No.  I have listened to these guys that belong to the NRA spout off about it for years.  Of course I am familiar with Charlton Heston raising the gun above his head proudly proclaiming that you would have to rip the gun from ‘….his cold, dead hands.’

That it’s in the USA’s constitution and that is what everyone stands on.   This is what I will say as eloquently as possible to this matter.  ‘Fuck your constitution!’

Twenty children died today.  The number is mounting yet still the availability of guns is frightening down there.  I live in Canada and every time I travel to the States, it makes me very nervous to walk into a sporting store or a Walmart and find a huge selection of guns.  Perhaps when the Wild West was being tamed, a gun may have been necessary.  Everything can be modified to better serve society as it exists today and should be.

Oh, no doubt the media will jump on this and tear apart what this guy was all about.  Why did he dislike his mother?  (She was apparently one of the people shot and killed.)  And if he had mental health issues, how the hell did he get his hands on a gun?  Two days prior a shooting in a Portland, Oregon mall.

Come on now.  Give your head a shake!  Get rid of the guns, please!  Whether the USA wants to believe this or not, what happened today is felt worldwide.  The sorrow so many of us feel at this moment is devastating.  I cannot comprehend that just prior to Christmas, my child would be shot dead in an institute of learning.  It will affect not just those who lost their children, but their families, their friends, and all of the kids that were in attendance at that school today?  How will they feel the next time they walk into a classroom?  Will they now be prone to panic attacks and now be stunted by fear?  God I hope not.

Please, get rid of the guns.  They have no purpose in your homes.  They are not protecting you from anything.  In fact, you are in more danger owning a gun.  So please, do the right thing and get rid of them and demand that the portion of the constitution that speaks to this be repealed.

If I have offended anyone who own a gun in the USA and who supports their right to own one, I say this to you.  Go to the families who lost a child today and tell them why you have the right to own a gun.

To the families I wish you my heartfelt condolences and pray that you will find peace.