“As for me, I know nothing more than miracles…” ~ Walt Whitman

As for me, I know nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under the trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love,
Or sleep in bed at night with any one I love,
Or watch honey bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon…
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown,
Or of stars shining so quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring…
What stranger miracles are there?”
–  Walt Whitman 

Sitting at this table looking out over the silhouette of three mountains and a glacier highlighted against a peachy background that fades to varying shades of blue before reaching darkness…. I feel the cool night breeze lift the hairs at the back of my neck, under my ponytail.

It feels good and I take a moment to shake my messy hair out and step out into the night on the deck, taking in the preternatural feeling only twilight evokes, that special time when shadows take life, stumps become predators and your imagination can run wild if so inclined.

My imagination however, is only concerned with the stars tonight…the Perseid meteor shower that promises to be spectacular with clear skies and for me,complete absence of city light pollution. I can already see an immense portion of the galaxy hidden from my eyes on the mainland and it makes me smile like a child again. These are the stars of my youth in the northern interior and these are now the stars of this summer of midlife.

I turned 45 on this mountain, and if I make it to 90… well then I’m halfway there…since blogging about Site C New Years Eve last year, a startling streak of white has appeared at one temple, and new lines are here on my brow…and I am ok with that. This is a no botox zone and every wrinkle has a story behind it I can assure you. How this world became so shallow I’m not sure, but I intend to age naturally if not conventionally. 😉

Shaking my head, I feel even more pine needles falling out of my hair, and laugh. I’m sure there is a bug in my ear somewhere and my legs are a myriad of bruises and horsefly bites from hiking hot mountain meadows and climbing over logs and rocks where I swear to God those flies just lay waiting for a victim to appear. One took a chunk of  my ankle out and when I first felt the bite and reached down to whack at it,the damn thing was holding on with its little fly legs and teeth! Some women like diamonds, I’m pretty happy with some baking soda paste to take the itch off … 😉

There’s something to be said for picking up your life and moving it somewhere completely new, to a place your heart feels at home in.And there is more to be said about reaching the point in life where you know, with all certainty who you are,what you want to do with the rest of the time you have,and where you want to do it.

It’s not a change that happens suddenly, it’s more like the beating of moth wings against the screen door here at night… subtle but continuous…delicate and fragile…and then one day the fear of the unknown is overwhelmed by the knowledge that not following that dream is far worse than the fear of failure…and that moment my friends, is a powerful one.

And so here we are. In the mountains going feral until the time when we can move into our forever home in a few weeks. It’s so utterly and completely fulfilling to see city born children embrace the unknown and some very real fears and concerns. The day after we arrived a sign went up warning of a cougar in the area-yes I know, don’t give her a drink, ha ha -and the next morning we saw it leap across a rocky outcropping across from our place. Reality check, 101.

Day 2 lesson? Wildlife encounters… and how to be present in the new surroundings. This is how I grew up and it all came back easily.Teaching them how to track prints in dry and wet dirt. How to tell in a grassy meadow what kind of animal walked, what size it was and how long ago.Where and how to find out who your animal neighbours are and how to deal with them if encountered. How to listen to nature and respect that it has no care whether you are there or not…

And they rose to the challenge within a few days when coming back from a hike we encountered the aroma of decaying blood, a smell hunters would associate with a kill site. Knowing we had a cougar in the area, they reacted with the exact response I had advised and calmly we took another route on guard.No hysteria. No drama,even when faced with the potential for an encounter.

When we were all safely inside, I had to laugh.In the city I had witnessed more drama over a spider on the ceiling than I saw here with a cougar in the bush…I was so proud, because I saw a respect for the absolute need to understand that here you are part of the food chain- even in rural areas- and that nature has no emotion. It is, what it is, in all its brutal, beautiful and majestic glory… and I know they will learn more about life living here than they ever would have anywhere in Metro Vancouver…

As for me? I’ve been running in and out while writing this, looking at the sky and already seeing balls of fire unlike anything I’ve seen before shooting across the sky.I wish on every single one like a child: patience for those without, empathy for those in a position to change peoples lives, understanding and if not acceptance, tolerance for those across religious and partisan lines.. and for me, the ability to continue to see the beauty around me, the hope, the joy even when everything seems to have gone to hell in the world…

My neighbour Ludwig is playing big band music tonight, and it weaves its way through the trees and breeze in a magical way I can’t describe, but can only feel.. standing on the deck in the absolute darkness of night I think of Van Gogh because…

” I know nothing of certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream….”

Indeed… a bit of dreaming is what we all need… I’ve started book one and well… there is enough for book two already.

Dream that dream with me.

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other” doesn’t make any sense.”

~ mevlana jelaluddin rumi – 13th century

Since I read my first book of rumi’s writings and read this passage, I find myself reminded every time I find a luscious field in summer…. high with timothy or wild grass, rife with daisies bobbing their heads as they reach, reach for the sun… the wind blows lightly that rustling dry sound not unlike a million tiny wind chimes, delights the ear and cools the skin…

I can’t help but walk, hands dragging lightly through the grass, the scent of summer in the air until a feeling of complete and utter peace overcomes me.

This is the field I imagine rumi speaks of… one where we are free of judgment, free from conflict…where we are free from labels of left and right, gender or race, your way or my way and things get done because it’s the right thing to do, not because it serves any other purpose.

Maybe one day, I’ll meet you there…

27 thoughts on ““As for me, I know nothing more than miracles…” ~ Walt Whitman

  1. so pleased for you, Laila….one day soon, when you’re settled in….We’ll drag Kim up and have a visit. Might be longer drive than to your old neighbourhood, but a much nicer, and less heavy traffic drive. ;0) Glad you and the gang are enjoying your new digs

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t wait 🙂 And yes its much nicer here. Love my incredible Surrey friends but not missing the city at all. And now we have a big yard to have a lovely gathering in 🙂


  2. I’m not sure it’s a good idea to spread the secret that living outside large cities allows a quality of life that is unique and enriching. Then again, if you enjoy miles long traffic jams, parking meters demanding $6 an hour, bars that empty at 2am, street activity that continues until 4, eight stores in one mall selling the same shoes, emergency sirens instead of songbirds… the city is the right place for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Laila – if you live to 90, never stop writing pieces like this. If you do, you will have lost that little guiding light of faith which tells us all, but even more tells you, that you still care. I may have told you – after all at my age I’m entitled to forget things – when I was a little boy my mother and I would lie on the lawn and create figures from the clouds. If Mom saw, say, a rabbit and I couldn’t make it out, she would laugh and say “Rafe, you have no soul”. I’ve never forgotten and when trying to save something from destruction, I always ask, “man, have you no soul?”

    You have a beautiful soul, your most important possession. Keep showing it whenever you feel like it for its a message we all need to hear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so beautiful,your memory of you and your mum on the lawn. 🙂 Your soul is beautiful too Rafe. You’ve always been an inspiration to me. Thank you. Much love. ❤


  4. Man, oh man, Laila…..if you can even enjoy the black flies, what til you see the Orcas and the Humpbacks, the schools of dolphins and the beautiful golden sea lions. And, after awhile, the deer are seen as often as the village dogs. But, t’is the beach for me. Find one with your name on it. Go visit regularly. And it gets better…..wait still til you can just lie there and think for awhile………the hubub, chaos, details, obligations and madness eventually fading to gone. Eventually. That kind of quiet takes longer to achieve. Good news, that sense of ‘community’ you wanted, it will likely already be there and full of good people. You just have to knock on the door. And, as a further incentive to living rural – I have not heard a siren out here in twelve years. The din of the city is crazy making for me now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well I’m not loving the horseflies and they grow them huge over here!!! Yes, yes and yes to all the rest! And I already have a beach with my name on it. Gorgeous exposed rocks and pools at low tide, it seems to be a nursery area for young fish and critters. Amazing how clean and wonderful it is.


  5. How wonderful a post you write! I was laughing, crying, enlightened and inspired all in one post. I was there with you, in spirit, looking at the sky, walking through the forest and meadow. I sure find it strange to not have bug and swallows darting around like when I was young.
    My husband and I are heading up to Prince George on Sat. My first visit! I get teased because it is on my bucket list. It became more urgent for me to see it after your post many months ago.
    Thank you for all the hard work you do and your dedication to the causes in BC. I’m glad to hear you have a more tranquil and inspiring place to live and work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your kind words are lovely, and appreciated. 🙂 And I am happy that you are going to see PG! Make sure you go to Cottonwood park along the river and see the Ancient Forest just east of town. Its beautiful country up there and many lakes and special spots to see withing a short drive of town.


  6. Thank you for this, Laila. As I sit here with my morning coffee, readying myself for the morning of picking peaches for those less fortunate than I, your blog has a calming effect that also comes with working in the shade of fruit trees on a hot summer day. Sometimes, when I’m filling boxes with the precious, delicate fruit, I pause to look across the valley and give thanks for for my good fortune.

    The feral horses used to appear from time to time, but no more, as they have been auctioned off to people who (hopefully) plan to give them a better life. The deer, however, come to feed on the bounty in the early morning and late afternoon hours.

    I feel blessed, just as I felt blessed when I lived and worked on the waters around Vancouver Island. To wake in the morning to a pod of whales swimming by, or seals basking on the rocks, or a family of deer standing on the beach, or an eagle swooping down for a fish is something you will no doubt experience, now that you live near that Pacific playground.

    Thanks again for all you do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beautiful and yes that calm that comes with things one enjoys is fulfilling and needed. I see so many people out there fighting the good fight 24/7 and I try to tell them to take a break, enjoy what is around you no matter where you are and count your blessings. Those breaks sustain your spirit so you can continue the good fight, the awareness building and everything else.

      It’s so important to realise that hope and courage comes from building that spirit within and lifting up others as well. My break this month is all about that 🙂 Thank you Gini


    1. 🙂 Thank you, I don’t often show this part of me but this kind of writing I love so much as well. It flows and appears effortlessly and I am happy you enjoyed it.


  7. Wonderful piece Laila.

    Spent two weeks in the wilds of northern Alberta last month and had similar experiences. Strange how solitude in the wilderness somehow reminds us we’re all in this together.

    I’m currently reading “Sapiens” by Yuval Noah Harari and it’s a good reminder that we lived a very long time on this planet in the natural surroundings that now only comfort most of us on occasion.

    I’m guessing that’s why you’re so passionate about a certain crown corporation stealing that natural way of life from those who depend on it for more than occasional comfort.

    Good on you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It might have a bit to do with it Lew…. 🙂 The Peace Valley must not be flooded. That’s not just a place to enjoy the incredible scenery, its home, its work, its ceremonial and part of that areas peoples, heritage.

      The biggest failing I see in so many politicians is a lack of connection with the areas impacted by their policies. When you love something, when you respect it, you are more conscientious. I don’t see a lot of that in this government. And some of the bureaucrats only care about their own backyards and not those of others.


  8. Okay, I get it! You’re no longer planning to come for a visit or to go fishing. ( A lot come to ‘fish’, not so many to ‘catch’). So, if you provide me with an address I’ll send you one, smoked.
    And even if you wanted to, its enormously expensive to get off the Rock, and back on again. I don’t blame you a bit!
    Enjoy, as I know you will.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Welcome to Vancouver Island. It truly is lovely here. If you are ever in Comox, note the deer will use the cross walk to get from the golf course in town, to the park below. I kid you not.

    There is still great wilderness around and you’ll find lots to write about over here also. Nanaimo is about as far south as one needs to go and going over to the GVRD, there isn’t anything there that you can’t buy here. Housing is less expensive. Local politicians can be seen at any number of events or just walking around town.

    Came over in 2000 and just forgot to leave. Its like the Mainland was 40 years ago.

    Nice post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, everything we need is here, and if not you can go to Nanaimo. And I know those deer you are talking about..lol.. happened right in front of us and the kids were howling in laughter!


  10. Laila, I enjoyed every word, in fact I savoured them. You will flourish there, of that i am certain.
    You have an understanding that is required to let your surroundings give their gifts to you and you have a heart that is open to receive them.
    I am so happy for you!


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