Three in One Post

This is a three-in-one post. If you read all the way to the bottom there are links  to two other guest posts as well. 

I am letting you know right now – no painting happened this week. In fact, I am not sure why I thought I might get some painting done this week as I was off on a road trip to celebrate one of my special person’s ninth birthdays.

Complete with backpacks, ferries, coach lines, city buses and two feet my daughter and I made the trip over to Vancouver and back again. Okay, we had a diaper bag and my big camera too, plus 7½ week old Coen in a bjorn front carrier. It worked great because Josie could tend to the baby’s needs at any point which is not so easy in a car. Here we are on our return trip having peppermint tea sitting in front of the most beautiful big bay window in the old railway station that is now the bus station in Vancouver.

And yes, we are in McDonald’s. My first visit in about 20 years. They always say that McDonald’s doesn’t sell food but an experience. This was the case here. That window seat overcame any resistance I had. Then when I went to the counter and found I could buy a peppermint tea and it came in a paper compostable cup, I was in! This reminds me to never say never because someday you might.

As I reflect on the most amazing three days with family, I thought about how yesterday, starting early in the morning, we began to go our separate ways. No fuss was made. They were quiet good-byes. One after another we parted until there was just me left to return to Mayne Island. Deeply held connections released until we have a chance to get together again.

When I hear of families who have big explosions and fight their way through a visit I am often puzzled. What makes it so we can slip into a time together, enjoy each other’s company and slip back out again with my feeling enriched, blessed and a love that is shared? It is not that we are a perfect family. We have many human shortcomings. We have the usual challenges and worries that come with life. We are not a well off family but we have enough for quality food, basic shelter, health care and sometimes a wee bit more. Educationally we are all over the map. This diversity leaves us with an implicit understanding that learning and intelligence are only loosely related to our formal educational institutions. We are, on the whole, pretty-ordinary-though-sometimes-quirky, folks.

If you were observing, you may think nothing much happened during our visit. You would be right. We went for dinner one night to celebrate my grandson Arrow’s birthday The next night we had Smokies and Greek salad on his actual birthday with a small chocolate cheesecake topped with nine candles before the hockey game started. That was it. Simple. I don’t even have any pictures of the candles being blown out. At nine you still love your birthday but it is a bit embarrassing to be the centre of attention and have everyone singing happy birthday. That combination of pink cheeks and smiling happiness is just too vulnerable for a photograph. It would take away from the moment instead of adding to it.

Including the one above, here are a few photographs I did take. Are there any clues in these? What is it that made for such a special time?

A little family couch time.

It is the first day the cousins meet. I think there might be a life-time bond of friendship forming already.

The birthday invitations for a friends party on Saturday are done up using Photoshop with a little help from Dad.

The small antique wooden table they are working on in the kitchen is the same table I bought for my son when he first set up his own home at about 17 or 18 years old. We sometimes keep things in our family for a long time.  While other times, things go off to new homes between us or to friends or are set out on the side of the street for free. Items with a primary use or a story seem to hang around the longest. Little is found to be needed and wants are carefully considered and then indulged.

Auntie has a chance for a cuddle .

The cousins hanging out on the morning we are leaving. 

When I asked Arrow if he found it hard to hold a wiggling baby, he replied: “Not really. It is easier than playing video games.” So there you have it.

Sprout question: How does time with your family support your creative expression?

Also, this week I have two guest posts up that I encourage you to drop by for a read.

They are:

When the Ground Tremors” at Alison Elliot’s Life by Design.


Word of the Year: Bold (Terrill Welch)” at Stacey Curnow’s

Midwife for your Life’s Blog.


All the best of the weekend to you!

© 2011 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Purchase photography at

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

FromMayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Terrill Welch online Gallery at

Enchanted Bouldering Forest

I should have known when I saw the two shamans in full ceremonial garb, who turned away from me as I passed, that something special was going to happen soon. But nothing could have prepared me for the enchanted bouldering forest.

It was the second day of my visit with my daughter Josie, who is due to have her baby at the beginning of March. We had been for a short hour-long hike the day before. This was after we went to her ultrasound appointment and I got to see baby O through the wonders of technology. We didn’t have anything planned for this second day. It was like drawing a free card. We could choose anything we wanted.

After a bit of thought Josie ventured “well, we could go to an enchanted forest where there is a tunnel, and large boulders? I found them once and have been wanting to go back when I had more time.”

How could I resist? She packed up some snacks, grabbed the full first aid kit and water bottles. I stuffed my pockets with some tissues, tied up my hiking boots and picked up my camera. We were off.

Finding the trail head was easy enough and the trail looked well used near the beginning.

Josie tells me that it took her a year-and-a-half and more than three trips using hand-drawn maps acquired from word of mouth to find this bouldering spot. So the specific location of our adventure shall remain classified for the protection of mystery and wonder.

It is not long before we come to what looks suspiciously like a mountain bike jump.

Then the first moss-covered boulders  seem to rise up as if they fell from the sky. Which they probably did.

The rains have been heavy over the winter. Water runs down through the moss and off the bottom of the rocks.

I look back after we have passed. In awe, I pause.

Josie smiles and says “what is next gives me shivers even though it is amazing.”

This is when the strangest thing happened. I took a few photographs and could see orbs in my photographs. The tunnel walls were dripping on the outside. So I thought it might be that. I took a couple more photographs. Still there were these strange glowing blurs in my photographs. Then I looked at my feet. There were clamshells layered in the dirt. I looked in the tunnel. There were old clamshells washed clean by rain dripping through the cracks between the large stones onto the floor of the tunnel. I thought for a moment. We were a good 30 minute hike into the woods from the ocean. Then I said “no wonder you get the shivers, there are spirits here. See these shells. This is an old midden.”

If you look over to the bottom right you will see a faded area. I am pretty certain that a spirit being was sitting there watching our passage as we went further into the forest.

I look back again. It is a habit from years of walking in the woods. If you look back you know what the return trail looks like. It gives a person a chance to create mental markers so you can find your way.

Steps away from the tunnel and it is hidden from view and the curious eye. We walk along for awhile through the trees. Coming to a power line we start to climb in altitude. There are trails leading off in all directions. Josie recounts her directions. The second outcrop or rock bluff we must turn off. Going deep into the woods we climb in and out of a creek bed. The ground is saturated and we must be careful to find firm footing. We keep walking through small openings of gary oaks and back into the big firs and cedars. We are still climbing and going deeper into the forest. We muse about whether the bears are out of their dens yet and could there be a cougar in the area. Coming onto a ridge there is a recent deer carcass almost picked clean. But no sign of anything else.

Finally, we find the first pink ribbons. It is the beginning of the loop trail to the boulders. We keep left. We keep climbing. Slowly. We are both getting tired but we know we are almost there. Then through the trees we spot something. Could it be?

Our first bouldering boulders are in view.

There are more.

And more.

I am not going to show you them all because some of the mystery must be left for each person who comes into an enchanted forest.

We take a break and have a snack while we look around.

I see Josie thinking “I could climb that one.”

I am thinking “Yes, but maybe not today.”

Bouldering is done without ropes and these sandstone rocks must be swept free of moss before climbing.

Safety mats are stuffed away in the rocks along with cleaning brooms.

We do not linger long. It has been two hours and we still need to hike out. We estimate it should take us about an hour.

The trail has had little traffic at this end. At first we can’t find the next pink ribbon to give us direction. We wander back and forth having lost the trail. Neither of us want to back track so we keep looking. Ah, there it is. Though the trail is well ribboned, the deer trails are more prominent. We pay close attention. Finding one ribbon after another we complete the loop. From there the way back is familiar and easier going.

Three hours later in total we are back at the car, a little tired but invigorated by our enchanted bouldering forest adventure.

For a week of doing nothing, I must say, I really did find more time to do what counts.

Sprout question: What did you do that mattered the most this week?

© 2011 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Purchase photography at

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Going to the Birds

Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend on Mayne Island was beautiful. So I thought you might like to come with me to one of Creative Potager’s favourite beaches at Reef Bay. Wear your sneakers. It can be slippery. The tide is coming in fast. We might get wet.

There it is. Still here even though we have been away for weeks.

Look way out to the end. See where those seagulls and other shorebirds are? That is where we are going. Make sure your hands are free so you can balance. And watch your step… there are some big cracks between the rocks – wouldn’t want to lose you in one.

Remember the tide is coming in so keep your eyes open to ensure we can get back to shore… without swimming.

Ahhhhh, so beautiful. Water reflecting the world around it.

Oh, look! There is a family enjoying the beach too.

Now where were we. Yes, the birds. Let’s see if we can get just a bit closer.

I don’t know much about shorebirds other than there are all sorts of different kinds of seagulls and those black fellows in the foreground with the long bright red beaks are black oystercatchers.

If we crouch down maybe we can get just a wee bit closer and have a good look around. Oops! Be careful. Here comes a gull in for a landing.

This gull in front is such a show off. It is like he is saying “look at me.”

The little birds behind him sitting with the other gulls are black turnstones which are unmistakable when they fly. I call the zebra birds. They are fast and hard to capture.

Here goes a lovely gull overhead.

I am fascinated by the repeating shape of the bird and the neck of land. It is like seeing an echo. Away it goes… wait a minute what do we have here?

Seven eight lay them straight. ..

View full resolution and purchase image here.

Oh No! One mighty squawk is all it took!

Look at them go!

Well, I guess we better start pecking our way back to shore. Should only take a short while. Ah yes, dry land ahead.

Are your shoes still dry? No skinned knees? Good! You were lucky.

Sprout question: Have you ever let your creativity go to the birds?

SEA, LAND AND TIME MAYNE ISLAND calendars . For a week at redbubble, until 11:00 pm Thursday, October 14th London time, there is a promotional sale. Get three calendars for 15% off or six for 25% off. Retailers can contact me directly to order at wholesale price for more than ten calendars.

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Purchase photography at

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada