Tag Archives: story telling

Calling Mom

by Stan Hirst

Oh, hello Mom.  How are you? Is dad still doing fine?

Yes, we’re OK, no colds or ‘flu, that’s always a good sign.

Jody wears the dung’rees you sent, just about worn them through,

Billy’s now playing junior league, he joined the Boy Scouts too.

Oh, Tom’s O.K., working hard, keeping the herd close by.

The crops are in, what there is, prices aren’t too high.

Actually, Mom, that’s why I called. We won’t come by this fall.

Tom’s got a job. Yes, at the mill. Same work he did before.

Rains never came as usual here, things haven’t been that great,

We lost the soy crop on the bench, just couldn’t irrigate.

Extension guy says its all true – our rainfall’s changed for good.

Longer drought spells, lots more dry wells, ain’t doing what they should.

Oh yes Mom, I remember what Dad said back way when,

“In ’32 the rains failed too, the storms showed up and then?”

The extension guy was by last week and had a word with Tom,

Said folks like us had it good, but now we got to change, Mom.

Rains might come, so might droughts, we’ll never know for certain.

Making out that it’ll all pan out is just setting it up for hurtin’.

How is who?  Oh, Maxine Roux. She moved back to the city.

Sold her land to Pete’s Gravel & Sand, I think that’s such a pity.

So that’s my news. Life goes on. Que sera sera.

You told me once that resilience will take a person far

Prairie life’s not easy life, we’ll just keep standing tall.

Got to go now. I’ll call again. Love to Dad and all.




What’s your story?

by Jill Schroder

What if Einstein was wrong? “The world is made up of stories, not atoms.” Poet Muriel Rukeyser once said just this!

So, what’s your story?  Here are a few points to ponder, enjoy, laugh about, and share as we consider stories, their importance, the role they play in our lives, and bring awareness to our personal answer to the question.

In the beginning was Story. The caveman rushed back to his tribe and excitedly acted out his encounter with some Paleolithic beast. This was his story, and forever after he would be remembered by this story. Every story has a sacred dimension, not because of gods, but because a man’s or woman’s sense of self and their world is created through them. These stories orient the life of a people through time and establish the reality of their world. Thus are meaning and purpose given to people’s lives. “Without story we do not exist. “ This is how Catherine Ann Jones introduce her Writing Course The Way of Story.

We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart” writes Pema Chodron

What’s your story about troubles in the world? What about relationships – the difficult ones?   John Hume wrote “Difference is the essence of Humanity.  Difference is an accident of birth and it should therefore never be the source of hatred or conflict.  The answer to difference is to respect it.  Therein likes a most fundamental principle of peace: respect for diversity.”

Eleanor Roosevelt adds “We have to face the fact that either all of us are going to die together or we are going to learn to live together, and if we are to live together we have to talk.”

The more we take the welfare of others to heart and work for their benefit, the more benefit we derive for ourselves.  This is a fact that we can see.” Does this story of H.H. XIV Dalai Lama resonate with you?

What about love in our stories?  “No form of love is wrong, so long as it is love, and you yourself honour what you are doing. Love has an extraordinary variety of forms! And that is all that there is in life, it seems to me”  (D.H. Lawrence).

Moving to another dimension, I invite you to consider not only “What’s Your Story”, but also “What world do you want to see?”  Enjoy these images and let them take you on a journey of appreciation and wonder at the miraculous world we are lucky to inhabit.

Of course, there is a realm, a dimension of reality, where all words, let alone stories, drop away and become a limitation on and of the Oneness.  Still, there is much value in considering, enjoying, assessing, and choosing the stories that frame and reframe our lives here on the incredible planet.







In closing, relish these exhortations from (might you have guessed?) – Mother Teresa!

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.

Life is beauty, admire it.

Life is a dream, realize it.

Life is a challenge, meet it.

Life is a duty, complete it.

Life is a game, play it.

Life is a promise, fulfill it.

Life is sorrow, overcome it.

Life is a song, sing it.

Life is a struggle, accept it.

Life is a tragedy, confront it.

Life is an adventure, dare it.

Life is luck, make it.

Life is too precious, do not destroy it.

Life is life, fight for it.







Rain, restoring rain….

by Lillian Ireland


Sunlight, reflecting off the washed wet leaves,
leaves laden with dew and much needed moisture
from yesterday’s rain…

The cloudy, grey smoke covering and coating each cedar branch,
each maple leaf, each blade of grass, each blackberry leaf,
now, clean and green, strangely alive again,
washed afresh by the healing, restoring rain.

The glistening, even on the dead, fallen leaves
given up by summer’s scorching heat
lay scattered on the path
waiting to do their work and give back to the earth.

The path, no longer choking with dust, beckons me somehow
to find my way again, along her meandering turns.

The layered grief of summer’s intense heat
and blanketed smoke from the flagrant, vagrant fires
kept me away…    too long.

Today, I am home again as the sunlight reflects off the leaves
leaves laden with dew and much needed moisture
from yesterday’s rain…



Burnt Memories

by Graham Rawlings

Listening to the distress surrounding the people who have been unfortunate enough to need to be evacuated from their homes during the recent wildfires in British Columbia evokes memories in my own life where fire has been a factor. Those memories are not only visual but also include the smells and sounds which are stored away to take me back to those earlier occasions. Some are frightening, some sad, and some traumatic.

My family was caught in the Black Tuesday bush fires in Hobart, Tasmania in 1967, a tragedy that claimed 64 lives as it swept through the suburbs of the city and beyond. It was fast, devastating and had long term repercussions on people and the community in general. Hobart is dominated by Mount Wellington to the west and the slopes overlook the Derwent estuary to the east. Over the years residential development had occurred on the picturesque slopes particularly where sea views were to be had. The dominant trees were eucalypts. Within five hours not only were those lives lost but 7,000 people were left homeless, 900 were injured and 80,000 head of stock were also lost. The fire jumped from crown to crown with frightening speed as the trees caught fire explosively. Miraculously our house did not catch fire despite the proximity of high trees, yet neighbours lost theirs. I was out of town in the north of the island during the worst of the blaze but my wife and children were evacuated to the beach a kilometre away and huddled there under blankets as red-hot cinders rained down on them. Fortuitously in the late afternoon the wind changed direction and the fire was redirected back on its path but the main damage had been done by then.

My recollection is not only of the smoke but the pervasive smell of burnt wood, a smell that would come back to me long afterwards but also reawaken earlier memories of another event many years previously. Others write of the silence as people counted their losses and looked towards an uncertain future as the fire moved on. That silence was not long lived however as the chain saws burst into activity with damaged trees being felled and owners enlarging their properties hopefully to minimize future risks from fires in the regrowth.

Yet that smell of burnt wood reawakened another earlier smell in my memory, that was in 1944 when the village in which I was brought up some 20 miles north of London, UK, was on the line of incendiary bombs dropped en route from the Thames to the De Havilland aircraft manufacturing plant in Hatfield. Walking to school took me past the smouldering ruins of our local grocery store bombed just the night before and that smell of burnt wood was never to be forgotten. A frightening experience.

Another but different fire was in a totally different environment. I was responsible for a large camp established in the bush in southern Nepal for the investigation of a potentially large engineering project. For logistical reasons it was set up close to a village on the trail from Tibet in the north to the Terai and India to the south. This linear village had houses and shops strung out along the road. There was a constant hive of activity with porters bringing goods from the north and buying, selling, cooking, and sleeping on the street at various times of the day and especially during the heat of the pre-monsoon season. Long chains of sheep and goats meandered along the road, their keepers scouring the woods to cut vegetation to feed the animals. Workers from the village acted as labourers for our camp and drilling operations.

In the middle of one night I was awakened by flames shooting some ten metres up into the air in the centre of the village. Two houses were on fire from a cooking incident gone awry. The villagers were in a panic and nobody seemed to know how to prevent the whole village from burning down. Water was available only in very limited quantities. A group from our camp who hastily rose from their beds to see the dilemma realized that the only solution was to create a fire break by tearing down some houses. This proved to be successful and after several hours the village was saved. Only as morning light broke could we see the devastation and impact on the village. Those villagers whose houses were lost were able to move into our compound and be fed for several days as they were able to rebuild, a remarkably quick process using the local materials to hand. There were very different burning smells here as one might expect, not the smells of the eucalypts in Hobart, or the cedars and firs of BC, but of the amalgam of cooking smells and burnt belongings.

These fire events will always be connected in so many ways in my memory. I thought that they had largely been forgotten but the sounds and smells bring back those memories in a very vivid way. Every event is different as the two most recent events in western Canada at Fort McMurray, and now in the Cariboo, demonstrate. However, one thing that they all have in common is the wonderful way that people come together to fight fires and then help put the communities back together again.



Kechika Wild

by Louise Goulet


The sun was sinking below the ragged mountain peaks,

bathing the valley below in a warm golden glow.


A light wind was drifting up the steep valley slopes,

caressing the shivering saffron grasses and the silvery willows

who were shimmering against a crimson sky.


Below the river was lazily meandering, sparkling in the dying light,

past dark spruces and emerald oxbows.


A moose was feeding mid-calf in a crescent-shaped slough,

water and green grassy ribbons dripping from its mouth.


Time had stopped as I stood entranced above the valley floor.


Mysterious chemicals pathways were engraving in my mind,

for decades to come, this time, this place where I had come to be

and where a part of me still is; all senses tingling, in awe,

overwhelmed by the beauty and wildness of this untamed world.


September 2009

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