Voices of The Air at the Abkhazi Garden

Their garden became the focus of their own artistic creativity.  Working with a magnificent site, they chose to explore its possibilities; not be stifled by its limitations…  Later in life Peggy would admit that “the garden became our child.The Land Conservancy

The Abkhazi Garden is known as The Garden that Love Built. 

The Abkhazi Garden, Victoria, British Columbia

The story of how Peggy Pemberton-Carter met Prince Nicholas Abkhazi, in Paris in 1922 is recorded in The Legacy on the website The Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden.  

After a long separation Prince Abkhazi and Peggy Pemberton-Carter met in New York and married in November 1946. The Prince and Princess chose Victoria as the city that would become their home. 

Together the Abkhazis created a garden, meticulously choosing plants that would enhance the natural beauty of their location.  Their love for gardening was demonstrated in their dedication to experimentation and constant refinement. The Land Conservancy preserves the Garden and honours the legacy of the Abkhazis.

Peggy Pemberton-Carter and her mother lived for a time in New Zealand, which prompted me to chose Katherine Mansfield’s poem “Voices of the Air” to recite by the pond that overlooks the garden.

Katherine Mansfield Beauchamp was a New Zealander poet, essayist, short story writer, and journalist from the Modernist movement.  Her writings explore complex issues that allow us to reflect upon the essentials of life. Her stories and poetry are celebrated across the world, and have been published in 25 languages

The Abkhazi Garden, Victoria, British Columbia

Please join me virtually at the Abkhazi Garden to recite Katherine Mansfield’s poem, Voices of the Air.

But then there comes that moment rare
When, for no cause that I can find,
The little voices of the air
Sound above all the sea and wind.

The sea and wind do then obey
And sighing, sighing double notes
Of double basses, content to play
A droning chord for the little throats—

The little throats that sing and rise
Up into the light with lovely ease
And a kind of magical, sweet surprise
To hear and know themselves for these—

For these little voices: the bee, the fly,
The leaf that taps, the pod that breaks,
The breeze on the grass-tops bending by,
The shrill quick sound that the insect makes.

The Abkhazi Garden, Victoria, British Columbia

Correction: The Video indicates the poem is entitled “Voices in the Air”. The correct title is “Voices of the Air.”

A Light Exists in Spring

Happy Mother’s Day!

This post is dedicated to my mother, Frances, on this special day.

Butchart Gardens, Spring 2022

Last week, Frances, Sarah, and I visited Butchart Gardens located on Vancouver Island. It rained most of the day, bestowing a soft and gracious mist to the Gardens. The cool humidity of the day enhanced the diverse shades of trees and greenery. The rain added vibrancy to the more than 185 different varieties of tulips scattered throughout the grounds, lining the pathways with spring exuberance.

Emily Dickinson’s poem, A Light Exists in Spring, came to mind as I walked the pathways. The rain gently tapped on my “Butchart Gardens” umbrella specially made with clear plastic to allow me to look upward to the cherry blossoms.

Thank you for joining me virtually at Butchart Gardens, on a rainy afternoon in Spring.

Butchart Gardens, Spring 2022

A Light Exists In Spring

By Emily Elizabeth Dickinson

A light exists in spring
Not present on the year
At any other period.
When March is scarcely here

A color stands abroad
On solitary hills
That science cannot overtake,
But human nature feels.

It waits upon the lawn;
It shows the furthest tree
Upon the furthest slope we know;
It almost speaks to me.

Then, as horizons step,
Or noons report away,
Without the formula of sound,
It passes, and we stay:

A quality of loss
Affecting our content,
As trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a sacrament.

Recuerdo by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Vancouver has two water taxi companies that run up and down False Creek, cross-crossing each other with graceful ease. The pilots seem to have a special language that only they know. From Hornsby Street and Granville Island to Spyglass Place and the Plaza of Nations, these taxis carry visitors from across the world, as well as serve as transportation for locals who want an efficient way to move from point A to point B.

False Creek Ferries and The Aquabus have stories that began in the 1980s.

The Aquabus been serving False Creek and the surrounding area since its inception in June of 1985 by owners Jeff and Margot Pratt. Originally operating with only one boat, the service quickly took off and expanded to include three more of the now-iconic Jay Benford-designed rainbow boats by the time EXPO 86 arrived in town.Aquabus

False Creek Ferries has proudly remained true to its origins as a family-run business, three generations strong, with deep roots in the community. With the former Olympic Village now a thriving new residential area, False Creek’s transformation is nearly complete. Touches of the past remain for those who look, though; a park named after a barrel factory, a reclaimed industrial building, or a little blue ferry chugging along, just as they have for the past forty years.” False Creek Ferries

Whenever I step into a water taxi, I feel like I have entered world that allows me to pause and relax as I watched the buildings move slowly by in a leisurely place. I am reminded of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem about a night riding back and forth on a ferry.

As we end the month of April which celebrates poetry, join me in reciting Recuerdo by Edna St. Vincent Millay.


By Edna St. Vincent Millay

We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable—
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon;
And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.

We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.

We were very tired, we were very merry,
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
We hailed, “Good morrow, mother!” to a shawl-covered head,
And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
And she wept, “God bless you!” for the apples and pears,
And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.

Earth Day 2022 – Invest in our Planet

April 22, 2022, the world commemorates Earth Day.   

Habitat Island, Vancouver Seawall, Olympic Village

Earth day is both a celebration and a call to action. 

Jane Goodall’s message landed in my inbox this morning confirming that this Earth Day, “it’s more important than ever for us to understand that every individual makes a difference.”

Climate change, sustainability, preserving and protecting our health, our families, and livelihoods – these words have profound relevance as we become more aware that our well-being is tied to each other and contingent upon each of us making a commitment to living in peace with our world.

My father introduced me to Henry David Thoreau when I was a teenager. I still have the book my father gave me those many years ago, which I take out every April 22 to read a passage in honour of Earth Day.

Henry David Thoreau influenced my views on living sustainably. Best known for his book Walden, a reflection on living simply and close to nature, Thoreau’s lasting contributions in the areas of natural history and philosophy continue to influence modern-day environmentalism.

Habitat Island, Vancouver Seawall, Olympic Village

According to Our World in Data, more than 4 billion people – more than half of the world – live in urban areas. A robust connection between nature and urbanization will be a critical element for maintaining biodiversity and well-being of all who call earth “home”.

According to The Nature Conservatory, ”urbanization has been a major driver of habitat loss over recent decades, but this trend can be shifted with better planning for sustainable urban growth and use of natural solutions, careful management of protected areas near cities, and integration of habitat into cities.”

Join me as I walk the Vancouver Seawall by Habitat Island, Olympic Village and experience nature in an urban setting.

Happy Earth Day 2022.

The Crystal Gazer by Sara Teasdale

Winter loves poetry.

The daffodils and cherry blossoms have arrived to herald the coming of spring, but Canada loves winter. When I lived in Northern Manitoba we were not surprised when snow appeared in the middle of June.

Tonight, in celebration of poetry month, I have returned to a poem I recited on a clear Vancouver winter day in February.

The Crystal Gazer by Sara Teasdale

I shall gather myself into myself again,
I shall take my scattered selves and make them one,
Fusing them into a polished crystal ball
Where I can see the moon and the flashing sun.

I shall sit like a sibyl, hour after hour intent,
Watching the future come and the present go,
And the little shifting pictures of people rushing
In restless self-importance to and fro.

Welcoming April with Rainer Maria Rilke

April is National Poetry Month!

Kergord Woods, Shetland Islands

Spring, with its renewed energy after a Winter’s rest, awakens our hearts to the words of poetic inspiration. April invites us to celebrate its arrival with a reading of poetry.

Poetry is one of the oldest creative endeavors – an art form that has the benefit of diversity. Haiku, sonnet, spoken word, epic, limerick, ode and so much more. Each generation adds to the collection that has come through the centuries.

With poetry, we explore our innermost thoughts, feelings and impulses. We experience the world around us through vivid descriptions and the sound of words reverberating within our souls.

Join me as I recite the poem “In April” by Rainer Maria Rilke

In April

Rainer Maria Rilke – 1875-1926

Again the woods are odorous, the lark
Lifts on upsoaring wings the heaven gray
That hung above the tree-tops, veiled and dark,
Where branches bare disclosed the empty day.

After long rainy afternoons an hour
Comes with its shafts of golden light and flings
Them at the windows in a radiant shower,
And rain drops beat the panes like timorous wings.

Then all is still. The stones are crooned to sleep
By the soft sound of rain that slowly dies;
And cradled in the branches, hidden deep
In each bright bud, a slumbering silence lies.

Kergord Woods, Shetland Islands

Kergord Woods

Amidst Shetland Island’s wild and beautiful scenery, with its deeply indented coasts and enclosed steep hills, stands a solitary forest. Kergord Woods, located in Weisdale, is the only substantial woodland in the Shetland Islands. Planted between 1909 – 1921, the trees thrive, despite harsh winter weather, and invite woodland birds to make their home among their branches.