Cabe (age 5) nailed it!

The drawing above was made by Cabe, a five-year-old boy living across a busy street from the Broadmead Mall in Victoria, British Columbia. His older sister, Quillan, was responding to a challenge to produce a picture and a story about the wild nature in and around her neighbourhood . Her reward would be a Nature Canada Canoe provided by Nature Canada, the oldest environmental advocacy organization in Canada Cabe wanted in.

You can see Quillan’s contribution and those of the other successful participants on the Friends of Shoal Harbour website Friends of Shoal Harbour have partnered with Nature Canada to promote the concept of “naturehood”, the nature in your neighbourhood, the nature accessible for you to both enjoy and protect and that is how a boxful of canoe toys was available to distribute.

Cabe’s simple and direct response resonates with me. It seems he caught the essence of naturehood: shift your gaze from the bustle of busy streets and you might see wild birds flying. Starting the story with “Once upon a time…” suggests that it is memorable and the story is darkened by the opening’s suggestion that it happened a long time ago. Cabe is still at an age when such observations have not yet become banal. Would that we could retain that freshness of vision as we age. Cabe earned his canoe.

Approaching Roberts Bank

Pale green sea,
yellow-bands of Fraser’s silt,
blue mountains of the Coast Range,
and grey-white clouds ashore…
this gentle southwest breeze.

Soapsuds clouds advance above the hills;
turbulence and buoyancy and drag,
concepts engineers display
to justify the architecture of these forms,
do not satisfy today.

Let us talk instead of simple beauty,
involuntary gasp at revelation,
when all we see is marvel.

Three ducks flying,
Four hearts beating.

(BC Ferry, June 2018)


Sea Otters

Sun bright
on a shingled beach,
wavelets on a falling tide
roll the pebbles in a ragged rhyme

On this edge,
I might have missed them in my squinting reverie,
the otters, five sleek forms
craning their necks to see
who could have stumbled on their private frolic.

I stood blinking and would have called out “Brothers!”
and falsified the gap.
But I held still,
and the otters swam, and ate and nuzzled.
The best part is…

they looked at me.

(Seal Bay, July 2001)


2 thoughts on “Cabe (age 5) nailed it!

  1. What a wonderful gift of children’s drawings this is AND, omg my God, what beautiful poems you have written. I feel somewhat speechless. >


  2. I wrote a comment to this in February but looks like it never got through. I really liked seeing Cabe’s drawing and the other drawings kids did for the contest. And really like these poems. The sea otter one reminded me of a sea otter I watched for a long time years ago in BC – the otter looked at me for a while too. Also makes me think of very playful river otters I’ve been lucky to see in Nova Scotia.

    Approaching Roberts bank really conveys that beautiful part of the world. There is something about the light and skies there that is very specific – in my experiences of coastlines.

    I remember hearing a raven fly overhead when I was a little kid at Blue Spruce Lake. I was lying down in the snow looking up at the sky and thought it was magical to hear the sounds of the raven’s wings.


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