the moment
a tree
falls in the forest
breaking branches
thrashing limbs
cracking wood
makes a sound
heard by just one
who tells the story
to friends
who were not there
an audience
unable to confirm
the moment
the noise
the disruption to
the peace of the forest
by words
misrepresenting and
unable to precisely
the moment

– bardo

I have reserved some space on this blog each week to be creative, and to post some fiction, poetry, art or prose. Writing a daily blog could easily get repetitive and turn into driveling updates. Instead, Wordy Wednesdays give me a bit of a creative nudge when inspiration strikes.


This language of mine is so filled with clever words meant to precisely describe many things. Other words have meanings that are soft, fluid and flexible that they are used to describe concepts so vast as to make the boundaries of those definitions fuzzy and flexible.

To me, sylvan feels like on of those words.

SILL - vann

Living in or simply relating to the woods.

To me, growing up this word had a fuzzy meaning that was almost opposite of it’s actual definition.

Sylvan meant a trip to the beach.

Not a great beach.

Yet a twenty minute drive from my house was a large prairie pond called Sylvan Lake. On a summer Saturday we’d drive out, swim in the shallow, muddy water, wander the path along the town, and eat candy or ice cream.

Or later, “Want to go to Sylvan this weekend?” As a teenager with driving license this was a epic getaway far away and out of town.

The shores of Sylvan Lake, the lake, is not devoid of trees by any means and I imagine now, knowing the definition of its alias, that once long ago it was revealed by explorers and granted a name because it was a huge lake in the middle of a woods. Today it is but a dent in the vast agricultural Canadian prairies, an impression in the otherwise rolling flat lands that happens to contain water, support a small town, and attract city folks for their weekend getaways.

I’ve since travelled to many beaches touching many lakes, rivers, oceans, and warm blue seas. It still echoes back to my youth when I hear this word, yes.

But my association with this word has mostly reverted to moments more like the photo in this post: the quiet of the woods, the majesty of a living forest, and the peace that comes from walking among the trees.


the fate of a tree brings a curious twist
starting as seed
on wind, through mist
tucked into the soil
spattered with rain
sprouting and growing new heights to attain
shrugging snow, budding leaf
basking summers often brief
sunlit evenings casting long shadows
brilliant colours before even more snows
year after year, decades pass, seasons withdraw
until fate arrives
as a wind
or a flame
or a saw
to be hewn and moved
lugged, logged and planed
milled into geometrically linear grained
or not.
maybe nothing more than a log for a fire
set hot
aflame and a flame to admire
to warm hands
and cook sizzling food
a curious twisting fate
from tree to fire wood.

– bardo

A cubic meter of firewood landed on my front lawn yesterday and I spent well over an hour carting and stacking it while feeling a bit bittersweet on the fate of these trees to become fuel for my future backyard fires rather than, say, lumber for the doghouse that I built a couple weeks ago.

I have reserved some space on this blog each week to be creative, and to post some fiction, poetry, art or prose. Writing a daily blog could easily get repetitive and turn into driveling updates. Instead, Wordy Wednesdays give me a bit of a creative nudge when inspiration strikes.

Douglas Fir

Look up but watch where you’re going.

On a recent trip to the mountains I was reminded of the diversity of the forest and the interesting world of trees. I may not work in the field, but I have a four year university degree in biology which included more ecology, botany, and entomology coursework than any normal lifespan should have to contain.

Even though it didn’t turn into a job, those four years earned me an immovable respect for the natural world and a firmly entrenched fascination with the diversity of living things.

I was looking up at the trees, but not really watching where I was going.

Of the many of varieties of trees I was looking at, and among the dozens of species that make up the mountain forests, there is one that has held my interest for a very long time: the mighty and curiously-named Douglas Fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii. It has held my interest not because it is necessarily an interesting tree, which it probably is in its own right, but because when I learned about this tree as a kid my best friend’s name was “Doug” and I always felt a bit jealous that he had his own tree.

Yet, the Douglas fir was most definitely not named after my school chum, Doug. It was in fact named after a nineteenth century Scottish botanist and explorer named David Douglas. He is credited (in the narrow bandwidth of European science) with first cultivating the fir which would later bear his name. He did this in his twenties. In his twenties!

I certainly did not discover or cultivate much of interest in my twenties. Though in my thirties I helped cultivate a daughter who is now a teenager and who is anxiously contemplating her future education. We spent nearly an hour last night having a heart-to-heart conversation, me trying to bear witness to her struggles to find a meaningful life path, and also empathize through recounting my plight of squandering a university education in an interesting field for which I still have passion but most definitely no career.

She is young and still looking up at those millions of trees in the forest and their possibilities.

I’m getting older and often watching my feet, trying to remember to look up occasional and admire that world around me.

Look up.

David Douglas died under mysterious circumstances at the age of thirty five, but the officially documented cause was still interesting. Like a cartoon villain in a Gilligan’s Island rerun, he fell into a trap hole on a Hawaiian island and was mauled to death by an angry bull while his dog watched from the edge the pit. I suppose it could be said he, being a young and ambitious guy, spent a lot of time looking up at the trees and what was under his feet ultimately got him in the end.

The moral of the story is that if you’re always looking up at the trees someone might name one of those trees after you forever securing your legacy… but also don’t be surprised if you fall into a hole to your immediate doom.

The parenting lesson is that I need to give my teenage daughter the ability to look up and admire those trees, take her to the forest (both literal and metaphorical) but that I also need to be a good dad and keep my eyes on the ground for her. Maybe those four years of university weren’t a waste of time after all.