The Alchemy of Hope in the Age of Loneliness

“The dark is rising,” I say to my friend, Vanessa, a photographer who has called to tell me how a bird fell out of the sky and landed at her feet, dead, during her morning walk. She is obsessed with birds. She has hundreds of them in her freezer. Songbirds collected and given a second life captured in chilling, beautiful tableaus where they appear piled and presented like a cake, falling lifeless around the figure of a woman, or held in hand, the colours persistent, their forms perfect, even in death. “The birds are dying. They will continue to die. … Read more “The Alchemy of Hope in the Age of Loneliness”


Thoughts on Home

It’s a Very, Very, Very Fine House

In the life I lived before coming here, I dreamt of this home. Not precisely this little house perched on rock hanging over the ocean, but nearly. I want there to be space for family and friends, I want water, I want land, I prayed and somehow—in ways more magic than real—here we are.

Some days, I wake to the sound of the insistent ocean, thinking of all the thing I do not know. What is the name of that tree that sways in front of my window? Why are there seven dead … Read more “Thoughts on Home”


In Search of the Practical Life

Cortes, a life. Photograph by Vanessa Filley

The are mornings where the sky turns orange and then pink and the ocean becomes so still it appears that it is the stable force and the sky is the tumultuous one. On these mornings, I am drawn like a sleepwalker, only awake, out the door and into the ocean. I stop for shoes. Rocks and oysters and barnacles will wake a person up from their dream life faster than coffee and far uglier.

In the summer, the light shines through my window just after 5 a.m. I have watched it now for nearly two years as it does it’s … Read more “In Search of the Practical Life”


Fog. Light. Life

Photo by Isaac Gillespie

The fog lays over our little island like a child tucked in the bed for night. It’s as if we are all being called to say our prayers and retire the day’s events. There is nothing surrounding us… there are no little rock islands to which to paddle, neighbours to greet, or mountains to reach. Will there even be a tomorrow? Everything that came before is soft like yesterday’s dreams. Some of it vaguely menacing, some of it not.

The light is short, with the darkness out competing it by hours and the fog lending its hand decidedly toward the … Read more “Fog. Light. Life”