Tree Frog Tattoo by Sylvie le Sylvie

pacific tree frog tattoo by sylvie le sylvie

My first tattoo. Inked and finalized by Sylvie le Sylvie.

Pacific tree frogs (Pseudacris regilla) are the most commonly heard frogs in British Columbia. They can change their colour in a matter of minutes. As amphibians, they live their lives in two worlds: the submarine life of a tadpole and the semi-terrestrial life of a grown frog. They embrace the elements of Earth and Water, making their homes in each.

The hind legs of my frog are represented by a feather and a leaf of the broadleaf plantain (Plantago major). The feather is a representation of elemental Air. Broadleaf plantain leaves are used to soothe stings and small cuts. They are like natural bandaids!

The square together with the intangible circle represents the altar, a sacred space, with its magickal circle of power.

Surrounding the altar are four offerings. In the upper left is the flower of the bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva), an edible, if bitter, taproot. Following clockwise is a representation of solar Fire: the sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani). An ammonite fossil (Ammonoidea) resides in the lower right corner. As the remains of an extinct mollusc, ammonites represents the element of Water and mortality.  Elemental Stone (or Earth if one prefers) is represented as a quartz cluster (SiO2).

These were not the original symbols and meanings, though the central image of a frog and its connection to the four elements has remained consistent throughout the three year revision process.

From the beginning I was keen to design the tattoo myself and have that design translated by a tattoo artist to better fit the medium of skin and ink. I wanted to have the tattoo inked in my home town of Nelson, BC. After careful consideration, I found the work of Sylvie le Sylvie, of the Timber Tattoo Co. Animals and plants are plentiful in her work, which has a rich, black and white, aesthetic. After a consultation, she made several changes to the design, arriving at the finished product a week later. The tattoo was inked on a drizzly morning on the day after the vernal equinox.

This is my first tattoo. It may not be my last, but for now I could not ask for a more magickal connection to nature, the elements, and the mineral, floral, & animal kingdoms.

My Return to Angling: First Rainbow Trout

It has been a long time since I last went fishing. I used to when I was a kid and my father would take my brother an I out in an old, top heavy motorboat. I remember receiving a green tackle box for my birthday one year, and the obsession that it sparked in me.

Last week, I was hiking by a local lake and saw two anglers at the shore. On an impulse I returned to town and purchased a rod and tackle.

Today, I had an opportunity to stop by a promising site on my way home from out of town. It was an overcast, yet warm day which threatened rain and I had the small beach to myself. Only three casts in and dinner arrived at the end of my line in the form of a 12″ rainbow trout.


Pulpit Rock Day Hike

Perhaps the most well known hike near Nelson BC is Pulpit Rock. Pulpit can be seen from almost anywhere in town on the side of Elephant Mountain (real name Mt Nelson). The climb is short but steep and results in a panoramic view of the city of Nelson.

It has been a long time since I have gone on this particular hike. The trailhead used to be on private property and the trail was poorly maintained. Now it seems that great improvements have been made. There is a new trail head on the side of a public road and stairs have been installed along some of the steeper parts of the trail. I was a little overwhelmed by the steepness of the trail, something which had lessened in my recollections. Nevertheless, the trail was very enjoyable, if a little short. The view alone is certainly worth the effort.

On my way back down, the need for new footwear became readily apparent. I am trying to avoid buying new things as a part of my experimentation with minimalism. So I have been putting off purchasing new hiking shoes for a while and the tread on my current pare is rapidly deteriorating. I slipped and scraped up my hand while stopping myself from sliding all the way off the trail. Before I go on anymore hikes, I will have to buy a new pare of hiking shoes.

Trail Riding in Nelson BC

One month ago, I mentioned that I would be moving away from Vancouver, a decision which prompted me to declutter and to aim for a more minimalist lifestyle. The move has come and gone. Thanks to a generous offer of aid from my childhood teacher, I once again find myself in my beautiful hometown of Nelson, British Columbia.

Life is slower here than the bustle of the big city. I have had to re-adjust to life in the slow lane. In Vancouver, there was always something to do, a place to go, or a person to see. In Nelson, not so much. These things which require no effort in the city, require motivation and the willingness to get off one’s ass and head outdoors in a city of 10,000 people.

After spending the first week and a half indoors job hunting, I decided to see just how well my city bike could cope with the easiest of Nelson’s many mountain trails. The Nelson Salmo Great Northern Trail runs between the two cities for a complete distance of approximately 48 kilometres. Growing up, our house was directly beneath a section of this trail which quickly became a familiar haunt for my brother and I. This morning, I decided to revisit this stretch of trail which runs south for approximately 4 kilometres, the end of which is marked by two old railway trestles. I threw my bicycle in the back of the car and drove to an access point in Uphill Nelson.

Nelson from Mountain Station

The trail if very flat, though the entire stretch of trail slopes gently upwards. There were a few hikers whom I passed in the first few minutes though after that, I had the trail to myself. Along the sides of the trail, previous travellers have left behind inukshuks and round rings of piled stones, even an old volkswagen which I recall being there ever since I can remember. The first three kilometres were spent peddling steadily, shaded from the sun by the spruce and cedar trees which grow on either side of the trail. Continue reading

The Ocean’s Harmony

​Standing on a cliff,
The rim of the galaxy.

I look down into the deep
The waters rough, call out to me.

They break across the rocky shore,
Washing clean my memory.

Angry tides pull at the coast,
Folding it back into the sea.

With half an ear, I listen to her cry.
The end of some great symphony.

Then I learned to hear the Ocean.
“Open your ears.” Says she.

In that quiet; the shouts, the cries!
I thought they were meant for me.

But they were meant for a world long turned deaf
To the song of the seven seas.

To late, I see the ground fall free,
Open beneath my feet.
Waiting for me to fall towards
The end of eternity.

Old Man Winter

When gazing at a snowflake,

falling in the field,

listen softly to the wind.

“Love is all around.” He sings.

His voice is the rustle of branches.

His drum, the silent falling of snow.

Look onward gently.

Across the frozen ground he dances.

His form, the swaying of trees.

His steps, the moonlight on their branches.