Category Nature

It’s spring: Welcome to the killing yard

Spring is here and my back garden is about to turn into a killing yard. Or perhaps a charnel house for the carcasses of birds and mice unfortunate enough to have been caught by our erstwhile tabby, Jumper. I say unfortunate enough, but I really mean untalented enough … the cat rarely catches birds. Despite […]

I knew homeless Pete before he was homeless

I won’t share his picture just in case you recognize him – or perhaps his ex-girlfriend – through their association with me. Not that he wants anonymity – he appeared in the newspaper after all – but when you move from prosperity to homelessness it’s gotta be hard to come face to face with your […]

Escape from a frozen lake

Walking on water – that’s what we joked we were doing. We were on Stoney Lake, near Lakefield, Ontario, with the water frozen deeply enough so snowmobiles could drive across it. Riders had cooperated to keep everyone safe – orange stakes pounded into the ice marked a safe route across the snow-covered ice. A highway […]

Reindeer and penguins and dogs, oh my

If you ever want to lift the spirits of an overworked, slightly cynical bunch, bring an animal to work, the more exotic the better. Putting concerns over allergies, fears and hygiene aside, the unexpected arrival of exotic beasts into our workplace  brought everyone together and left us relaxed and smiling. Santa brought a reindeer to […]

Joy found – and lost – on a winter’s walk

My daughter keeps asking me to go on “our winter walk.” What she really wants to do is recapture a moment we experienced last year. It’s now etched in her memory. And she wants to replicate it. It was like this: the snow had fallen gently all day, covering the trees, the houses, the sidewalks. […]

Sunrise from the bedroom window

Waking up to a sunrise is a wonderful thing in the deep, dead of winter. Mornings are difficult when they’re deep and black – there’s little incentive to get up and get going. But watching this morning’s sunrise bloom in the sky, washing out last night’s thin crescent moon still in the background, brought an […]

Active reading

As my daughter and her friend race down the ski slopes, I stay in the lodge. I look up and out the window. The slopes framed like a postcard. Blurs of colour speed down the hills while the frosty air slips into my comfort zone when the doors open. I look down to my book […]

What we found shooting moose in Algonquin Park

During a hike in the middle of the Canadian wilderness, I bumped into a guy I’d met on a plane going to London about 5 years previously. I was in Algonquin Park. Just finishing up a quick hike – a break from driving down the highway looking for moose. We were returning to the car […]

Night driving to the edge of the falls

When I want to be alone sometimes, I take a drive. One of my all-time favourites was a midnight run to Niagara Falls. Here’s a description of that drive slightly edited from an article I wrote for the Independent on Sunday. One evening, between Christmas and New Year, I wanted to escape the hustle of […]

Gilding the Gourd

Gourds are taking over our house these days. From big orange pumpkins to misshapen varieties that make us giggle in disbelief, they are scattered over tables and on the front porch. The latest is the traditional jack-o’-lantern my daughter carved and painted for Halloween: But at the beginning of the month we picked up these: […]

On a bad day, this lifts my soul

After a day like today, I daydream of mountains. Of a place that reminds me of good times past and more to come. Everyone’s got somewhere that, no matter where they are, their soul can escape to. Mine’s near a place called Dingle on the southwest coast of Ireland – the westernmost tip of Europe […]

Rockin’ my garden

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