Phoenix Riting! – January 20th, 2022

Phoenix Bee


After more than thirty years living on the Coast, I am amazed by how quickly the snow melts. It still seems like magic. One day, we are digging out from under a foot or more of snow, the next day bare green grass is everywhere. By the third day, it’s gone. For a Northern kid like me, it’s a genuine miracle. And now, it’s almost time for nettles, that abundant staple of springtime.


We did have a white Christmas, for those who enjoy such things (I’m not a fan), and now we’re back to the green, so I can ride my trusty e-bike again. I’ve learned, thankfully not the hard way, that e-bikes don’t do well in icy conditions, though I’ll ride in the rain and cold without a qualm. I’ll wait until it warms up a little to do some Denman exploring though–coffee at the Guesthouse sounds good to me. 


And there’s so much to do right now! Summits and roundtables and gatherings, my little head is spinning. All from the comfort of my cozy room, obviously, a mixed blessing. Something about a screen full of talking heads feels disconnecting, as though I’m trying to exist here-and-now and somewhere-else simultaneously, and my body doesn’t deal well with that nebulosity. On the other hand, real people are behind those talking heads, and I’m excited about the ideas, connections and possibilities of this event.


By the time this is printed, the Hornby Arts Digital Summit (three full days!) will be over, but as I write this, it hasn’t started yet. This free event is a means of building an arts communication network and support system for Hornby and Denman Islands. There will be presentations from other islands arts council representatives as well as First Nations representatives, and a lot of talking and sharing. I won’t be able to attend everything, but the schedule covers a lot of ground and I look forward to it. I hope to share some impressions next week.


I’ve signed up for a semi-local roundtable cafe next week as well, online also, of course. It does save on travel. I’m signing up for a lot of things right now, which is not my normal practice, but it seems a good way to begin this year. It’s January, and I’m bored and lonely for human contact, feelings that I hope these digital connections and events can mitigate. There’s no real substitute for actual eye contact and face to face presence, but I will take what I can get. Some years I’m happy to dive into my introvert cave, but even introverts have a hard time with extended isolation. How are you doing? Do you find winter difficult too? That’s one of the challenges of living in a small rural community, even when we aren’t locked down and distancing.


Paradoxes are everywhere. On the one hand, so much boredom, isolation and loneliness. On the other hand, many projects, possibilities and potentials are opening up. I sense optimism in the air, that we can create a new normal from the ashes of the old, which let’s face it, wasn’t the best of all normals. Perhaps going forward we will find a way to stay connected through these (shorter than most in Canada, but still way too long) winters. It’s the hardest part about living here, for myself and for a lot of people I’ve talked to. I hope we’re all managing to survive, or better, to thrive in whatever ways we can. I know it’s hard. Let’s come up with ways to make it easier. Don’t forget to breathe.


I want to hear from you! You can email me at, or if you see me on the street, at the Co-op, or wherever, I’d love to chat. And thank you to all who have done so already, you help so much.