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August 12, 2019

Standing Down

By Maryanna Gabriel

     Was she going to return? The next morning passed. Nothing. The following day I was watchful. Nothing. No. Wait. A half hour past the expected sighting time I was gardening and heard the unmistakable tick-tick of the diesel engine. I tried not to leap towards the road. The Honda passed my house and parked at my neighbour's right beside me. I peered out. Okay. She was one of those. My neighbour runs a gym and she was apparently showing up for a 6:00 a.m. class. I stared at the vehicle parked just past my driveway. Yup. Black Honda. An Alsatian in the front passenger seat peered back at me. Ohhhh. This explains the odd and stealthy parking. She was letting her dog do his business. I stared at the plate and memorized it. So. Maybe I imagined the whole thing. Maybe she has nothing to do with anything except walking her dog on private property. Honestly? I just don't know.

    Time to stand down. Not enough evidence for a conviction. The slain yellow flowers have the comfort of knowing that many offspring will continue and that they have not died in vein. 
I really have to relax. Clearly.

August 11, 2019

The Case Of The Return Of The Black Honda

By Maryanna Gabriel

     Maybe it was an eco-evangelist. We have quite of few of those. These well meaning individuals viciously flag invasive species with red markers in public parks to the point where one wonders who and what the real problem is when one is just trying to enjoy a stroll. Or the broom. My. People massacre the poor things with their lovely coconut scent feeling quite justified. I have had one turn black on the driveway and at the time I suspected it was poisoned. That was years ago.

     These summer days I am to bed with the dark and up with the light. Once again I was out and about and lo, at 5:30 a.m. the black Honda returned. The steady tick tick of the diesel engine was unmistakable. I listened as it turned into a different driveway this time. It went half way up and halted. By now I knew the modus operandi. It would be several minutes before it returned. What was she doing, I wondered. Maybe she was massacring my neighbour's shrubberies. I paused to quickly change clothing into something dark so that I could be camouflaged. Again the stealthy tick tick as the Honda backed out and returned to the road. I stood in a grove of cedars and watched. The Honda very slowly drove by the house clearly checking out my property. My heart thudded.This situation is clearly flabbergasting. 

August 10, 2019

Sleuthing Amid The Shrubberies

By Maryanna Gabriel
      A hot new day dawned and I thought to make my way to the field of blackberries
across the way in the cool of the morn at 5:30 a.m. The sheep were at the far end and still seemed to be asleep. I began picking.

    A Honda came through. It is a dead end street and feeling watchful I re-positioned myself. It went up a drive. The vehicle halted part way up on private property which I thought was really strange. I continued picking. After some minutes the Honda started and slowly crept down the road as if it was trying to avoid detection. My ear tracked the muted tick tick of a diesel engine. It slowly approached my property and, damn, if it didn't stop at the scene of the crime of the slain flowers of yesterday. Perhaps they were looking for the plastic whorl?

     My heart thudding and colander in hand, I sprang to the gate which was awkward to open and came through. I stood completely still amid the shrubberies. I wanted to be sure to see who this person was and what they were doing. The Honda started up and ticked past me. A pretty, mature, blonde woman was positioning sunglasses onto her nose a slight smile playing on her lips or was I imagining it? She didn't see me. Was I supposed to spring out waving my colander and confront her? What would Trixie Belden do? Or Miss Fisher? Thoughtfully, with black berries in tow, I returned home. 

August 9, 2019


By Maryanna Gabriel


   "Who could have done such a thing?" I stared, appalled.

     I had just been admiring some wild flowers that were blooming spectacularly in front of the property. I was so moved 
I photographed them in fact. I came into the house
Spectacular Blooms In Front
for a short time and then went back out. Slain. An act of senseless brutality. Someone had cut them down. A black plastic whorl lay beside them as if the culprit, in a hurry to escape the scene of the crime, dropped it. I chewed my lip and wished the loss of the missing piece rendered his or her weapon of mass destruction useless. I picked up the seeds and spread them noting that the roots had been dug out. Nervously glancing up and down the street I wondered at the quiet and speed of the crime. I had heard nothing.

      Does it make any sense? No. Not at all. Sometimes just minding my own business in my peaceful shangri-la trying to avoid the invading hoards isn't enough. There are a lot of people on the island right now. 

August 3, 2019

Being Still

By Maryanna Gabriel

     The neighbourhood is still this morning. Everyone has gone someplace or another, wherever it is that people go on long weekends, presumably waiting in ferry line-ups. I hold still in the eye of the storm and am finding everything I need.

     I love this quiet. No machinery. No noisy neighbours. Just the birds talking to me as the sunlight plays with the raindrops. The branches shimmer like diamonds.

August 1, 2019

New Directions

By Maryanna Gabriel

    Once the robins and I have finished arguing over the blueberries in the patch below it is a scramble around here. The determined tidiness of the garden goes by the wayside. Blackberries are sending tentacles through the fence, the grape is growing over the apple tree, the jasmine has ascended a fir minding his own business, and prickly vines and dying foxglove are overcoming the Buddha statue. It is all I can do to keep up with the watering. There are beans to bring in and carrots to coddle. My attention is drawn elsewhere on a major front or two and thus the garden, as always, reflects my inner state.

     Simon Fraser University called me today. "Hello", I said. I am accepted. It is a serious writing program I am now in. The University of Toronto work continues. I am skipping double time. None of this willy nilly, hither and yon, with the blogs here. I have to word smith. There is a writing evolution happening. It is kind of exciting. Where is all of this going?