At the Highland Games ScotFestBC

“It’s said the Highland Games originate from Ireland in 2000 BC and that they crossed the water to Scotland with the fourth and fifth century migrations of the Scotti into Dalriada (Argyll) and beyond.

ScotFestBC 2022

The Highland Games is one of Scotland’s oldest and most treasured traditions. It is a celebration of Scottish and Celtic Culture that has come through centuries of political uncertainty and turbulence to become a global event. Highland Games are held in Canada, the United States, Brazil, New Zealand, Australia and the list goes on.

ScotFestBC 2022

Bagpipe music has become the symbol of the Highland Games. The vibrant sound of the bagpipe bands stirs the imagination and harkens back to the mists of the Scottish Highlands. But there is a diversity of music that comes with the fiddle, harp and Celtic bands that tempt passersby to join in the singing. The Highland dancers seems to levitate high in the air, and the Scottish country dancers fascinate audiences with their progressive patterns.

The Highland Games include athletic and sports competitions with unusual names such as the Sheaf toss, Maide-leisg (from the Scots Gaelic), and the Scottish hammer throw. Perhaps the most well-known event is the Caber toss when the competitor attempts to toss a long, and very heavy, log end over end. The larger (upper) end must touch the ground first. The smaller end, which was held by the competitor, should hit the ground in the 12 o’clock position measured relative to the direction of the run. These events are complex and difficult.

ScotFestBC 2022

This is your invitation to join me at ScotFestBC, the 2022 British Columbia Highland Games, which is commemorating their 90th anniversary this year. The tartans and kilts, the Clan tents, and the food trucks are just over the hill.

The bagpipes are calling!

ScotFestBC 2022

The Drowsy World Dreams On

Welcome to Sunday Evening Reflection.

Tonight I want to introduce the poet, Walter Everette Hawkins, who was born around 1888 in North Carolina. He is the author of Chords and Discords (The Gorham Press, 1920). While his career was as a mail clerk in the post office of the City of Washington, he is known and remembered as a freethinker and poet.

The dedication of Chords and Discords was written as follows: “To the memory of a resolute Father, whose stern Christian Character finds agreeable balance in the pliant devotions of a kindly Mother and to the galaxy of Brothers and Sisters, whose kind indulgences have inspired my dreams, I dedicate this volume.”

I invite you to join me in reciting, The Drowsy World Dreams On by Walter Everette Hawkins:

The Drowsy World Dreams On

Walter Everette Hawkins

A flower bloomed out on a woodland hill,
A song rose up from the woodland rill;
But the floweret bloomed but to wither away,
And no man heard what the stream had to say,
For the drowsy world dreamed on.

Thro the frills of a curtain a moonbeam crept,
Till it fell on the crib where a nursling slept;
And a whisper and smile lit a wee dimpled face,
But none save the angels their beauty could trace,
For the drowsy world dreamed on.

A wee bird piped out mid the corn,
A rose bloomed out beneath the thorn;
But the scent of the rose and the birdling’s lay
On the winds of the morning were wafted away
While the drowsy world dreamed on.

And the drowsy old world’s growing gloomy and gray,
While the joys that are sweetest are passing away;
And the charms that inspire like the picture of dawn
Are but playthings of Time—they gleam and are gone,
While the drowsy world dreams on.

The Drowsy World Dreams on” appeared in Chords and Discords (The Gorham Press, 1920).This poem is in public domain.

Robert T. Kerlin, in his book Negro Poets and Their Poems, (page 125) says of Walter Everett Hawkins: “This is a faithful self-characterization—such a man in reality is Walter Everette Hawkins. A fearless and independent and challenging spirit. He is the rare kind of man that must put everything to the severe test of absolute principles. He hates shams, hypocrisies, compromises, chicaneries, injustices. His poems are the bold and faithful expressions of his personality. Free he has ever been, free he will be ever, striking right out for freedom and truth. Such a personality is refreshing to meet, whether you encounter it in the flesh or in a book.”

The Legacy of Terry Fox

Anything’s possible if you try”

Terry Fox

Simon Fraser University Campus was quiet today, but there was already a feeling of celebration. Spring convocation will be held in the coming days. The Simon Fraser University bagpipe band will lead the Class of 2022 procession to Convocation Mall, an open air auditorium.

I found myself standing at the statue of Terry Fox, which I have photographed many times over the years. Terry Fox has inspired many graduating classes with his words, “Anything’s possible if you try.”

The statue of Terry Fox is positioned where the procession of students, “capped and gowned”, will walk by on their way to Convocation Mall.

Eighteen-year-old Terry Fox of Port Coquitlam, was given a cancer diagnosis of osteogenic sarcoma just above the knee. His leg was amputated and he underwent 16 months of treatment.

Terry decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research in a Marathon of Hope to fund a cure for all cancers. His journey began on April 12, 1980 when he dipped his artificial leg in the Atlantic Ocean. He ran close to 42 kilometres (26 miles) a day through Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario. I remember the day, as do many Canadians, when we heard that Terry could no longer go on.

Terry died on June 28, 1981 at the age 22, but his legacy lives on. According to The Terry Fox Foundation website, over $850 million has been raised for cancer research in Terry’s name through the annual Terry Fox Run, held across Canada and around the world.

The annual Terry Fox Run has become a tradition in Canada with more than 650 communities involved in fundraising for cancer research.

This year the Terry Fox run will be held of September 18, 2022. For more information, I invite you to visit The Terry Fox Foundation website.

Walking in Nature with Myra Viola Wilds

This past week, I discovered the poet, Myra Viola Wilds, when her poem “Thoughts” came flying into my inbox. This is the poem that came to me as I walked a forest path on Burnaby Mountain. I find that walking in nature is a form of meditation that encourages reflection. It is a time for poetic words.

I invite you to join me in reciting, “Thoughts,” by Myra Viola Wilds.


What kind of thoughts now, do you carry
In your travels day by day
Are they bright and lofty visions,
Or neglected, gone astray?
Matters not how great in fancy,
Or what deeds of skill you’ve wrought;
Man, though high may be his station,
Is no better than his thoughts.
Catch your thoughts and hold them tightly,
Let each one an honor be;
Purge them, scourge them, burnish brightly,
Then in love set each one free.

This poem is in the public domain.

The poem “Thoughts” is included in Myra Viola Wilds’ collection,“Thoughts of Idle Hours,” which can be found on the Internet Archive, There are several download options from which to choose. My choice was to add “Thoughts of Idle Hours” to my Kindle Library.

From the preface to the collection:

I send out my first little book, “Thoughts of Idle Hours,” trusting it may find kind, considerate friends. Should I live to finish the second edition, I hope it will be a great improvement over this my first. I was born at Mount Ollie, Ky., a little country place. I lost my eyesight from overwork and eye strain at my occupation, dressmaking, in the year 1911. For three years afterward, I went through a very severe illness. On March 10th, 1914, at 3 a. m. I awoke out of a sound sleep and wrote my first poem, “Sunshine.” In eleven months and seventeen days afterward, I had written the contents of this book. The question has often been asked, who writes your thoughts for you since you are blind? I will answer here. Every line and verse in this little volume has been composed and written with my own hand notwithstanding the loss of my eyesight.

A copy of each verse I retain in my own handwriting, after this, they are copied in a book by my husband. I beg your kind consideration of the plain, simple verses herein:

I do not seek Wealth, Fame or Place,
Among the great ones of my race,
But, I would pen in letters bold!
Some thoughts! perhaps to cheer the soul.

Ampersand by Ricky Alvarez

“Life is nothing without friendship.”

Marcus Tullius Cicero

I often use the ampersand in my writing, but I never thought to consider the origin of this symbol, until I encountered Ricky Alvarez’s sculpture, Ampersand.

The ampersand (&) is an ancient symbol that can be traced back to the 1st century A.D., to Marcus Tullius Cicero and his slave, Tiro.

Tiro, who was educated in Latin and Greek was an invaluable secretary to Marcus Tullius Cicero. As statesman, lawyer and orator, Cicero required Tiro to write down his many speeches quickly, without errors. Tiro’s response was to invent a shorthand system that, according to what I have read, would last more than 1,000 years. The ampersand was included in Tiro’s system. In Old Roman cursive, Tiro brought the letters E and T together to create a ligature to replace “et” the Latin word for “and”.

Cicero and Tiro must have been kindred spirits. In 53 B.C. Cicero freed Tiro. They continued working together until Cicero’s death, at which time Tiro published some of his patron’s speeches and letters as well as a biography.

Ampersand 2014 by Ricky Alvarez

The ampersand resembles a broken infinity symbol, reminding us that nothing lasts forever. But there will always be an ampersand between “You” & “Me”. This piece captures the history and culture of “love locks” found throughout the world. You are encouraged to add a lock to the installation and contribute your own story to the piece.” Ricky Alvarez

Ricky Alvarez is an installation artist, born and raised in Mexico City, now working from Vancouver Canada. Ricky works with raw and evocative materials to construct unconventional applications and produce a visual narrative that is subjective to each viewer.

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now!

A few weeks ago I received Sally Cronin’s invitation to participate in a series of posts that would explore the idea of “I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now!”

Sally Cronin writes: “I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.”

Serendipity was at work. The timing of Sally’s invitation was optimal because plans were in place to meet up with my siblings in Victoria, British Columbia to celebrate my youngest brother’s early retirement.

Milestones are both an ending and a beginning that create a pause, a space to reflect on where we have been, what we have learned, and what comes next in our life. It is a time of thankfulness, even if there are moments of uncertainty on what is waiting for us around the corner.

Life presents many challenges as well as opportunities, grieving as well as gladness. At 18, I envisioned a much different life than the one that I lived. When I look back, I realize that every success, every disappointment, every joy, every regret, every decision has led me to where I am at this present moment. These experiences and memories are embedded within my soul, giving me strength and joy as I continue on my timeline.

A special thank you to Sally Cronin for her enthusiastic support of creative endeavours.

I am honoured that she included me in the “Then and Now” series, alongside brilliant writers and storytellers. Sally creates compassionate communities that span the globe.

I invite you to meet up with Sally on her blog Smorgasbord Blog Magazine, which was created to be a watering hole that provides a wide number of topics to chat about. It is a place that welcomes lively conversations and fresh perspectives.