Friday, October 21st, 2022

Tamarak in Autumn (Johnville Bog)


we went to Johnville




in autumn




we looked at




the ponds




we breathed in



the woods


Wednesday, August 17th, 2022

Sunset (Baie-Sainte-Marguerite)

We walked out around the rocks to the place where the belugas sing.




When we got back, the setting sun made wild roses glow.





I took so many photos of the sunset, each one better than the last, none of them real.

The only real sunset was the stained-glass one I saw upon the sky, but it is gone.

The sunset will return next summer, when we do.



Goodbye, water.

Goodbye, mountains.

Goodbye, sky.

Goodbye, Baie-Sainte-Marguerite.

See you next year.

Tuesday, August 16th, 2022

Ages of Things



Ten Years, Four Months, Eleven Days






Seven Years, Two Months, Twenty-Four Days






Unknown Age


Monday, August 15th, 2022

Silhouette (Baie-Sainte-Marguerite)

While Akiva busied himself building canals,








Iris amassed a small krill collection.






Β *Β  Β *Β  Β *Β 


Back when I was learning to work in the dark room, we were encouraged to study Ansel Adams. I pondered some photos and I read some of his words about technique. I was particularly impressed with his equipment and darkroom setupβ€” or lack thereof. I understood the importance of his work from a historical and from a conservation standpoint, but I had trouble “reading” landscapes in black & white.


What I remember most of all of it was his portrait of a man’s face. After discussing his photo he wrote, “I think this portrait would have been better in color.” That was remarkable to me, as I have generally preferred portraits in black & white and landscapes in color, and I was under the impression that Adams did everything in B&W. I hadn’t even known that color film existed during his lifetime.


I wonder what it was about the face that he thought would have been better in color. He didn’t explain. The only thing I can think that displeased him was the difference in drama between a mountain and a face. Mountains are dramatic in a way that allowed him to capture them in stark blacks and whites, expertly balancing the tones across the page. A face has more muted peaks and valleys, lending itself to the ambivalence of grey. Perhaps Adams was less sure of himself due to this lack of starkness. While most of us need color to comprehend the landscape, perhaps landscape is what Adams saw most clearly in any light. Perhaps Adams needed color to help him comprehend the human face.








Wednesday, August 10th, 2022

Goose Walk to the Coaticook

I wanted to bring the goslings somewhere new and different, so I loaded them into the basket of the cargo bike to go for a ride. I didn’t know that geese don’t like riding bicycles. It would explain some things, tho! I suppose if they liked riding bikes, they could bike south instead of fly. Unfortunately, our geese can’t ride bikes or fly. To make the trip to the river easier on them, I put a big burlap bag over the basket.


I biked through the woods until I couldn’t go any further on the cargo bike, then we all walked.




It may well be a kilometer between the bike and where I wanted to go on the river.




By the time we got there, the geese were too exhausted to swim.




They sat in the grass and had a big snack.




Akiva was not too tired to play.

He brought Orange Boy in the boat to the river.




Huge rapids! The boat capsized! AAAH! HELP!




We returned a different way.




Unfortunately for the geese, it was no shorter.

They forgave us eventually.


Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022

Walking the Goslings

If you bring a baby goose to water, it will swim.










Thursday, July 28th, 2022

Biking in the Rain

Sunday, July 17th, 2022

Playing Tanks

Not once, in all my childhood, let alone when I was seven, did I think of asking my father to play with me. He would take us to the pool, or he would take us all out to eat at a restaurant, or he would sit down on the couch to watch the TV news and eat two ice-cube trays of frozen root-beer cubes and offer me a taste. He taught me to ride a bike, and later, drive a car.


When I was small enough, sometimes he would play acrobatics. He would hold my hands, I would jump up to stand on his thighs, he would flip me upside-down then right-side-up and I would jump from his knees to the air and land on the ground. This was the best.


One time, when I was small enough to think his back really was the size of a horse, we played bucking bronco in the living room. Cate & Dan tried to ride on his back & got tossed off quickly with no desire to get back on. When it was my turn, I knew I could do better: I knew they weren’t trying hard enough. I climbed on, he tossed me off. I climbed on, he tossed me off. If I could just get my arms around his neck, I thought, I could hold on tight. I climbed on, he tossed me off. I was angry. I climbed on, he tossed me off. I was crying. I climbed on, he tossed me off. Mom came in from the kitchen to see what was wrong. I climbed on, he tossed me off. I was determined.


“Paul, you need to stop that,” she said.


“She’s having fun,” he replied, laughing. Full of adrenaline, I was determined. There were many times I would have preferred my mother intervene between my father and me, but this was not one of them. I knew that I could try harder and stick it out longer than my older siblings. I already had. I wanted to keep trying until either he gave up or I got on, but I was not going to give up.


“She needs a break,” said Mom. “She’s tired.” Now? Just when I was sure I was going to succeed, when I was going to prove I was stronger than my mean old siblings, I was told that I could not keep trying?


But I never asked him to play with me. He would do what was on his mind to do. If he ever did want to play, he’d ask, and in my head, I believe I remember every time he did. I may not have been afraid to be tossed off the back of a bucking bronco, but I was definitely afraid to ask my dad to play.


Akiva, on the other hand, has no preconceptions. In his little world, fathers are people who play with their children when the children ask. Fathers will postpone other obligations when children ask them to play. Following this line of logic, Gramps, just one generation removed, should play on request. Akiva, shy about many things, is not shy about asking Gramps to play. I watch. I say nothing. I wonder how awkward Dad feels and if he is going to take the easy out of finding something else he needs to do. When Dad miraculously gives in and plays with Akiva in the morning, I feel a temptation to intervene in the afternoon when Akiva again presses him for attention. I almost want to say, “Gramps needs a break. He’s tired.” I don’t, tho. I want him to stick it out as long as he can. I want him to pay attention.












Mom, on the other hand, played games with me nearly every time I asked.

I asked often.



Saturday, July 16th, 2022

Akiva Drives Away at theβ€”






Friday, July 8th, 2022

The Upper Trail