WHAT IT IS                                                 

Sitting on a lump of granite, Jackson was fascinated by what was staggering down the road. The creature had the general shape of a corgi with a face resembling that of a sheltie with a full and fluffy tail that a bulldog might envy. Her ears, stiff and pointed, were fur filled as was the rest of her body, a German shepherd pelt, thick and black with strategically embedded strands of tan to add confusion to the mix. Jackson watched as she occasionally stood on her hind legs, chipmunk style, and surveyed the surroundings as if looking for something specific.

This is some of her story; in an odd twist of fate, she was given the name Mister and she had travelled with a young couple from Yellowknife who decided on a whim to walk to the North Pole as a sort of protest against a planet on fire. Inexperience and impulsiveness caused them to  perish on day thirty-five; Mister was saved by search and rescue, flown to an animal shelter in Ontario where she was adopted by an egg farmer who unfortunately succumbed to salmonella. Having heard of the exploits of the translucent man, Mister hit the road in search of the translucent man to tell him what she seen the day the young couple died and to implore him to abandon his immense pursuits of grail. As sad as it was for Mister to think of the pain of obliteration, her trek revealed the carbon-soaked towel flapping in the wind of the revenge traveller, the conference cadet, the Arctic eco explorer and the ones whose behavior rest on a high enough plane that not even rocket mush or a stratospheric noxious brew would modify conduct, let alone imply something in their thinking was askew. The world didn’t need more witnesses or more clarification or more hope peddlers pleading the benefits of green economies and sustainable developments while trash talkers embraced dollorama squander then rolled their eyes at planetary capacities with the end game of technology liberating us from a technological tyranny, or at least a human tyranny twisted from technological threads. Mister’s resolve to predict and pronounce that showboat distress was a fool’s errand subsided when she looked at a mirror and saw not herself but a loveable Jackson looking back. A dog should not cart around human burdens, although they are gravely linked to these inevitable outcomes and Mister could not help but think her kind was on the deck of a sinking ship. In the instant Mister transformed from a messenger of doom into a dog’s dog, she wished for nothing more than dog sniffs, delicious treats, rambling walks and a world not so taken with its own bluster. It was near the Arctic circle, on an abandoned army base where Mister found a ghost orchid; the translucent man nodded…nothing surprised him anymore.


Graham never related to the word sleep, his rejuvenation was a mixture of a hypnotic image and a sensory nightmare that fixated in his head before swirling incessantly like a September hurricane ready to pummel unsuspecting townsfolk. He was one of those who thought the weakness of insight was the cloud cover that halted progress, that maimed the straight line to a fraternity where place was not a destination but a position to be earned, then cherished, then defended. Graham considered himself banished from the inner circles and gatekeepers as they rode a proactive agenda to self-actualization which excluded men like him – while using men like him. The Dirty Lifting was the rumination that inspected Graham’s insomnia, fortifying his belief that all men were born unequal and the propaganda from the other side was not only better, but better suited to the human condition. Dropped on this earth to serve a collection of options, he chose his with little care selecting a numbness neither hot or cold, neither inspired or tiresome. 

Looking out on Plot 82, Graham bristled at sight of four crop dusters, now twisted heaps of metal strewn across the fields, steam and smoke rising their flags of surrender. Walking ankle deep in dismembered mechanical insects and their biological foes, he confronted the numbness that brought him to this place…a destination that had no purpose and no defence. Radio voices crackled, INSECT agents reported, another full moon reveals, and the flight of the fight seemed primed to go on forever. Graham picked his poison years ago and the fruit of that decision was a tasteless bile that delivered him to a fence that he, or no, one could sit on. If it was the face of defeat he was now looking at, Graham would stare down the beast…if it was the face of renewal he was now looking at, Graham would alter the weakness of his insight.


blog photo 212 flyWHAT IT IS

A Caribbean vacation was exactly what Sapphire and Cricket needed after the shoot out captured the killer of their parents. With the trial over and the man locked away, it was time to put the whole experience behind them.

Nevis possessed the tranquil lifestyle and laid back vibe they were looking for, so with suitcases packed and flights booked, Sapphire and Cricket soon found themselves walking along Pinney’s road, watching the soft waves push against the sandy shoreline. Bathed in the warm sun and sweet ocean breeze caused both to reflect on recent events and perhaps it was this susceptibility  that led the pair off the main road into a tiny cluster of brightly colored houses where children ran around at break-neck speed and adults lingered on the street side porches. One house in particular caught Sapphire’s eye with its deep marine blue wood shingles and brilliant yellow trim and its hand written sign in the front window….FORTUNES READ!

Aquena greeted the couple warmly, but instinctively knew it was Sapphire who believed in her gifts. Sapphire was ushered into a darkened back room and shown nine decks of cards, of which three had to be chosen. Three cards, one from each deck, must be selected and given to Aquena face down. She then left the room leaving Sapphire to complete her instructions.

It seemed like forever, but Aquena returned and held her hands over the three cards, explaining two cards were journey cards and the third and most important, was the destiny card. She turned them over slowly and with great purpose. The first a desolate, dry image; perhaps a desert. The second a bridge and the final card was an image of a pale, sickly man holding a child’s teddy bear in his arms, the teddy bear looking exactly like Ellie. The loud buzzing sound of a housefly and Aquena’s forceful voice urging Sapphire to heed the cards, caused her to stir from a thoughtful state and she walked slowly toward the front of the house where Cricket was waiting.


Adnan sank deep into the leather chair and although a tall man, it made him feel much smaller than he actually was. A businessman’s tactical advantage, he thought, as he waited for Slim to arrive, another tactical advantage…make them wait. The office was clean, quiet and professional, except for a small teddy bear perched on top of a file cabinet. Adnan believed it to be out of place with the rest of the office, but assumed it held a place of significance to Slim.

Inventorying the room for other oddities, Adnan noticed a housefly crawling around a window ledge and it immediately took him back to his boyhood in India. Before the visitors transformed into a human form, they looked eerily similar to this insect, large bulging eyes but with more hair and no wings… a look that took some getting use to. Most of them died off within weeks of their arrival, but Miles Hobbson did not, and he was the reason Adnan now sat in Slim’s office.

Hobbson was a Cringhig, a kind of maintenance man, aboard the ship from Mizar. Soon after the ship landed, the Mizarian who was selected to remain on earth was struck and killed by lightning and it was decided that a maintenance man could be spared for the return trip, thus Hobbson was left behind. He was given the J-Drive, a set of instructions and sent on his way. Unfortunately, the instructions were incinerated in his adoptive parent’s house fire on Nevis, and he was left with a device he knew almost nothing about. Adnan now waited for Slim with the intent of negotiating a fair price for the J-Drive.


blog photo 211 blackbirdWHAT IT IS

The stark red numbers of the cheap alarm clock had Graham entrenched in a staring contest he would not win. He rubbed the brows of his eyes in hope of victory, but 3:06 AM was the reply. As he did every time he woke early, his right hand grabbed his left and searched for his two missing fingers; still missing. Trying not to disturb the other sleeping agents, Graham snuck into the kitchen, sat down with a glass of orange juice and became bemused at a strange looking orange teddy bear perched on the refrigerator.

Like most sentient teddy bears, Babs could remain inert for hours or even days and when necessary weeks at a time. Sitting straight and stoic, Babs listened as Graham’s numerous tirades filled the kitchen. Chief among Graham’s rants was the fact INSECT just lost two thousand robotic nano bugs in a fight with No.1’s elite group of insects. Graham’s visceral reaction and obvious distain for No.1, made Babs relieved that he didn’t know it was her who advised No.1 to strike before the robots were fully ready.

While the morning light wrestled into visibility, Graham received a call from Rene Boudreaux in Louisiana. Rene had found the missing four pales of 1,4 Dichloropropene and he and five CHAPS were personally delivering the cargo to Lake Springfield later that week. A beaming Graham left the kitchen and Babs slipped off the refrigerator, congratulated a blackbird on his singing prowess and returned to her cabin.


The conductor said it was a problem with the track, then he said a swarm of grasshoppers flew into the engine’s air intake and finally he admitted that for some unknown reason, the diesel engines just stopped working. An overnight layover just outside Indianapolis was good news for Justine Flagstaff and  her beloved teddy bear Leo. She gathered up Leo and her belongings and readied herself for a peaceful night at Mae’s B&B.

On a privately owned, left handed dirt track some eight and a half furlongs long, just outside Greensburg, Indiana a teddy bear sat on top of a flagpole and was soon joined by a dragonfly. The tete-a-tete lasted long into the night with speculation being the only certainty as to what transpired. The night watchman claimed to have heard ticking sounds, reminiscent of the telegraph that then morphed into unfamiliar musical notes, then into syllables and finally words. The confused watchman related that the point that is infinity keeps shifting in this terrestrial world with the abstract rush into oblivion not born of conscious thought, but more of a stupor state of indifference and ignorance. The path stumbles along, gathering up essences for examination and dismissal, more examination and more dismissal until the whole exercise gets lost in political rhetoric, economic bravado and social voodooism. The i’s get dotted, the t’s crossed and the point that was infinity gets changed again. It is most likely that beyond infinity is some kind of paradise a dragonfly may wonder, why we didn’t take advantage of already, because we have it, we had it, but still alludes the clean grasp, the solid hit.

This world of abstractions didn’t touch the dragonfly or the teddy bear in a direct way as they sat on the flagpole, but like a tsunami, they, and the singing blackbirds, would be swept up in it and deposited in a place where paradise was scarce and the point of infinity would change again.


Can a turkey soar?


turkey vulture 3
Turkey Vulture Soaring



The National Bird and Mammal Institute in Ottawa, Ontario recently loaned the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry a trained turkey vulture for help in the sighting of forest fires.

The excellent eyesight of this bird makes it especially useful for night observations. The pictured turkey vulture is responsible for detecting two forest fires and one cabin fire in its first week of service.

Unfortunately the cabin fire destroyed the structure, but the two individuals occupying the cabin made it to safety.  Sapphire took this photo of the bird as it flew overhead.



Every year the World Champion Kite Flying Contest is held near Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, Canada. This year, however, contestants from Ontario and Quebec threatened to boycott the event due to inconsistencies in the judging of the event.

Complaints have skyrocket in recent years, with kite flying clubs complaining that the aerial component of the events were not consistently judged.

To address these concerns,  the Board of Governors of the World Championship event has hired a trained turkey vulture to fly among the kites and render final judgements.



                                                              WHAT IT IS
My brother has loudly declared on many occasions his distrust of soothsayers but his bias towards science has caused him no end of problems as well. When an old gentleman from Tomiko Lake said he knew of a green frog that placed pebbles in the shape of constellations, Cricket had to see this himself.

Our ride along Hwy 64 was uneventful and when we arrived at our destination, the hunt for the green frog was on in earnest.

Unfortunately, Cricket never found the frog.  Instead, he slipped on some wet rocks and was swept down this fast-moving creek.  I took this photo just as Cricket popped up from beneath the water.



As often as she can, Sapphire makes a pilgrimage to this waterfall to collect a few containers of water.  She uses this precious liquid to water a special rosebush given to her by a lady from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.

Sapphire claims that the water gives the rose a most robust quality and it even allows the pollinators to travel great distances.  In fact, it is said, pollinators of this rose may have been seen as far away as the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens in Vancouver, British Columbia.