Earth to Ash

“Bully the Kid”

Geez, it has been 17 days since my last post, where has the time gone?  Now in my defence, I did have a lot going on in the last little while but…the dust has settled, the smoke has cleared and I am back in front of the keyboard doing this blogging thing that I love so much.  October was like a blink but the month has created some moments of creativity for me so I hope to share some of that in the weeks to come such as my cousin getting married so stay tuned.  In short, the ceremony was beautiful, the food was great and it was very nice to see some old friends.  Most of the family were there too and we all got the chance to spend a night together like the good old days.

My mother and stepfather stayed with us for the wedding which was a couple of weeks ago and I must say, we had a lot of fun and got in some good chats.  One of those chats we had is what lead me to make this post.  We were travelling downtown on a Sunday and my sister had been calling for my mother a few times but bad timing (mad tizzy to find a Halloween costume) just meant that mom would call her back when she could.  While we were taking a look around the Halloween store my mother finally took the call and spoke to my sister.  The call ended and my mother made me aware of what it was that my sister wanted to speak to her about.  I was instantly mad, it was about my nephew who had a experience with bullying just the night before and my sister was just letting us know.

My nephew has autism, he is a very functional independent young boy and so bright that it amazes me sometimes that he is even deemed to be.  He reads at a level beyond his years, loves conversation and is constantly wanting to know how and why things are.  He is a great kid and he reminds me of myself sometimes and now he’s getting bullied and I was kilometres away feeling completely helpless.

Like me, he too has a passion for bike-riding.  He loves riding his bike all around town and has since been visiting the local youth center which is something he used to shy away from before.  He is quiet and doesn’t like to be forced into engaging people and needs to be allowed to make those steps on his own.  He has accomplished that when it comes to this youth center, he was once scared to go but now he is there almost everyday.  He’s definitely a go-getter and if he wants something he knows he can do it but we always try to tell him that sometimes there may be obstacles.

Just a few nights ago he faced a big obstacle, he was hanging out and having fun at the center when some kids offered him an ice cream.  Accepting the ice cream and looking at it as nothing more then being friendly he thanked the young boy  and returned back to his seat to enjoy it.  It was later realized that the kids had spit in the ice cream before they had offered it to him and he blindly ate the whole thing without knowing.  It would have never been known if it were not for a young girl who told her parents who in turn called my sister to inform her of what had happened because she felt bad.  Mad was certainly an understatement for me at the time, I was full of emotions and the worst part was I couldn’t physically be there for him.  I blogged about bullying before and it was about me but now I get to see it from a uncles perspective and have to deal with those emotions, I especially didn’t like it.  Mother and I discussed it for a bit and I began to think about it a little more in depth and it got a bunch thoughts bouncing around.

Yes, I managed to make it out of high school unscathed but trust me, there were moments of bullying that I went through that weren’t pleasant experiences at all.  Now that I have a daughter that’s in university, several young nieces, nephews and cousins in high school I worry all the time that they potentially would be plagued with bullying.  I don’t let that worry consume me like most parents shouldn’t because it is another unfortunate part of life. This was a part of life that my nephew had to face and experience and no matter how much it hurt me, it had and was going to happen.  So my thought was initially the emotion that they were picking on my nephew because he was autistic but it quickly turned to  the thought of bullies just being bullies.

Here’s a honest question, have you ever bullied someone?  No matter the degree I’m sure a lot of you have bullied and there’s a good chance you’ve been bullied as well.  We all have an acquaintance with  the feelings that go with both.  I heard someone say that other day that what if we were all the same person but just living in different vessels of life, shouldn’t we treat each other like they were us?  I thought that phrase was a really good positive take on life and if true then yes I think we would treat each other differently but is that what it takes?  Bullies are scared of the unknown, scared of the different and sadly too scared to ask why?

Thinking about it since and after hearing that my nephew was doing fine after the whole ordeal, I felt better and it gave me faith that he dealt with it his way.  When we deal with things, they are our things, but when they happen to the people that we love and care for we feel panicked that we couldn’t swoop in and save the day.  Teach your kids about bullying, talk to them and see what makes them tick, find out what kind of friend your kid would make.  Bullying may always exist but as parents and role models we should do our part to teach our kids why it shouldn’t.

 

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Excuse Me, Sir?

I’m pretty much like a lot of people when it comes to getting older and  what I mean is, we all see ourselves as being slightly younger than we actually are.  I still see myself as a young guy in my twenties, my loved ones tell me I haven’t aged a bit and most people who know me and get to interact with me on a daily basis would consider me a 12 year old stuck in an adults body so my going theme is youngish right?  Well, the other day I was at Chapters having a look around  perusing a few books trying to score a good read.  I wandered around spending a little time in some of my go-to sections when I finally came across a book that I was satisfied with, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, currently reading it and I got say I like it alot.  Once my purchase was complete I started away from  the counter when I heard “Excuse me, Sir?”    I paid no mind and continued on when all of the sudden I heard it again but this time louder, ok so that made me turn around in curiosity.

    Yup!…it was directed at me, I had left my keys at the sales counter and this employee was trying to get my attention to return them to me.  So the “sirs” were all for me, lol, it was a funny moment, I thanked him for the gesture and made my way out the door to my car.  I turned the key and sat there for a second, I couldn’t help but to start to think about what had just happened, it was the first time that I had be called sir or at least the first time it kind of resonated the way that it did.  As I said I still think that I am in my twenties, so getting the sir was like a kick to the shin.  It did surprise me a bit hearing it but I’m glad that it happened because it got me thinking and since then I’ve been recalling some great memories.  I’m not sure what it was but it just created this moment of thought for me where I just started to really take in account that I’ve got some years punched, lol.

    My daughter was out the other night, she had asked me to help her with her university project.  (I’m writing whole post about it) The reason I mention my daughter is that its when I am with her that I feel my age, I look at her in disbelief that it has been eighteen years already that she’s been alive, poof just like that.  Seeing her go through her stages of life is surreal, experiencing all the same things as I did.  I take a step back sometimes and ask myself how was I capable of creating such a smart beautiful young lady like my daughter before me and why doesn’t she stop growing up.

    I’ll be forty next April (ouch) and trust me there are days that I do feel the milage on my body but I do my best to try to stay as in shape as I can which helps me maintain a healthy living.  Staying active is a very good way to stay young, physical activity can take years off your life and no matter what the age anyone can do it.  Want to feel good about yourself and get on Father Time’s good side well I suggest working out, that can mean anything at all that works up a sweat and gets the ol’ heart rate going.

    Age is certainly just a number and we mustn’t allow ourselves to get too consumed with the fact that we all must grow old.  Celebrities are the most notorious for trying to set the clock back or maybe just hit pause for the sake of their careers but it usually just ends up looking very apparent that they have gotten a little lift or a pull maybe a nip or a tuck.  In my opinion I take more notice to the work that they had done rather than what they were trying to correct.  To each their own and c’est la vie, people will continue to chase the fountain of youth but unfortunately we will all die trying.  Life is relatively short and the chapters  of our lives (not the literal Chapters I was buying my book) go by so quickly it takes moments like the one that happened to me to make you stop, slow down and realize where we are with our lives.  We may all be in different stage of our lives but look at how far you have come, what you have accomplished, experienced and how much you have grown as a person.  Think about the people that you love and the relationships you get to spend every day with, time is what gives us that, take your time.

    “When you get older the months will feel like weeks and the years will escape you so take stock of what makes you happy and surround yourself with it”.  – Theresa Douglas

    Being called sir for that moment is not something that I took to heart and I certainly won’t lose any sleep over it but it was a reminder that I am getting older.  I do need to take stock of what makes me happy and so should you, we all need to celebrate the years we have been alive and the years that are to come.  Don’t be someone who lets time slip away, make sure you use that time for its intended purpose and that’s doing the things and loving the people that make us happy.  We can sit there  and wonder where all the time as gone but believe it or not its been there all along we just need to take advantage of it.

     

     

     

    Leave Alone

    As I stare at the branches the leaves fall away,
    Barely able to hang on, the season won't let them stay;
    
    Their colors deep shades of orange, some the darkest red,
    I watched as the wind held you as you fled;
    
    Your journey has ended and you now have to go,
    Where will you land, how far will you blow?
    
    The tree can't hold you any longer for autumn is here,
    The cold is coming and winter is near;
    
    Life went on while you fell from grace,
    Nobody cared that you were displaced;
    
    Laying there damp against the rain-soaked roads,
    Scattered in whatever direction the cool breeze chose;
    
    In death there is beauty if we just wait to see,
    For in the place of just one fallen, there will someday be three. 
    
    

    No Pattern to the Mist

    Hearing the rain reminds me of nights stayed in,
    There was always something soothing about the wind;
    
    The house shaking with every blowing gale,
    The lights would blink, the lights would fail;
    
    An extra blanket may be needed, it's bound to get cold,
    Holding the covers tight, the heat I must hold;
    
    The winds and rain violently crashing against the glass,
    Each and every gust so much different than the last;
    
    Whipping at the window no pattern to the mist,
    Sometimes the sounds would allow me to drift;
    
    I lie in bed staring at the ceiling,
    The storm outside sometimes defines how I'm feeling;
    
    As the rain pours down I get lost in my thoughts,
    I recall the memories I had almost forgot;
    
    Nowhere to be and nowhere to go,
    Whistling of the wind as it continues to blow;
    
    Tonight I’ll curl up to the howling pitter patters,
    For now at least nothing else matters.

    Daily Prompt: Value

    “Value a moment of your life that makes you smile”.  So much goes on in our lives that we don’t take advantage of the smaller moments.  I went outside today and the first thing that I noticed was how much the trees have started to change colour.  The dark reds and palette of oranges were vivid, distinct, a sure sign that the season was changing before me and at the same time it made me reflect.

    I took a moment and listened, in the background, maybe a few neighbor’s across the way I heard a power saw.  The sound of a power saw for me has a lot of relevance, my grandfather used to use one all the time and when I hear one it reminds me of him.  I remember this one saturday morning as a young kid, I was planted comfortably on the couch wrapped in blankets anxiously awaiting the start of the marathon of cartoons that would surely keep my attention well into noon.  Just as the cartoons were about to start, right before dungeons and dragons I heard this noise, it was deafening, what was that god awful racket?

    At first I tried to power through it, maybe it would soon stop and I can go back to my animated bliss with no interruptions.  There it goes again, this time no matter how lazy and comfortable I felt I had to investigate what was ruining the start of my weekend.  So I got dressed, actually I just threw on a three times to big jacket and ventured outside to see who was the culprit and hopefully put a stop to all.

    I made my way down the side of the house all disgruntled when I turned the corner.  I looked across the yard ready to maybe get mad at an uncle, they were like brothers to me and I would have leverage to get them to stop.   Nope, it was pop, he was sawing up wood, the smell of sawdust hung at my nose and the sun had this certain tinge, for some reason that moment was itched in my memory forever.  I stood there watching him as he made calculated cuts to the wood in front of him, there was something tranquil about watching a man who never once in my life showed me that I wasn’t anything but his son.  Yes I was his grandson by blood but he was my dad by his choice.  He was there when no one else cared, he was the man that I valued in my life and someone for whom I respected until the day he passed.  I miss my grandfather terribly but I valued our time together each day of my life.

    That morning, and that moment in time, I realized that he made a lot of sacrifices to make sure I was well taken care of.  The wood he was cutting that day was brought on his own back, a metaphor for taking me on as his own responsibility.  From someone who was raised by their grandparents something as simple as sawing wood for me symbolizes how much I value my grandfather and his selfless gesture of being my surrogate dad.  I value everyday that I got to spend with that man, he taught me a lot in my young life and some of it I didn’t realize until I got much older.

    The picture attached to this post reminds me of that time, the time when my grandfather took it upon himself to be my mentor, to be my hero, to be my dad with no questions asked.

    I miss you pop.

     

     

     

     

    via Daily Prompt: Value

    I Miss the Shot

    I went for walk a couple days ago and spent a little time in the basketball court, the air was brisk, the sun beaming down, just the perfect conditions for a pickup game.  Both the basketball court and tennis court  were free at the time, a sight like that in my youth would be like finding a dollar each time you looked down, pure win.  Growing up I lived on the court where I played basketball, tennis, a lot of volleyball and well hockey was just a staple and a given growing up in small town Newfoundland, Canada.  Sports like those were a constant in my life and a constant in the lives of my friends, we all had the same passion for high school sports with a camaraderie that still exists today.  Certainly, we have all moved on with ours lives but if we happen to run into each other today we immediately start reminiscing of missed shots, long car rides and that time we all got in trouble for someone stealing a Crash Test Dummies CD.  Sports did that for me, it provided some of the best years of my life and I think every young boy and girl should get a chance to play something and challenge themselves while they make friends doing it.

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    I remember the first time that I made a high school team, it was volleyball.  I had signed up using the clipboard signup sheet that was always hanging from the coaches door, dangling from an old piece of wool that someone must have brought from art class.  For the three days that followed I kept dragging myself to tryouts, each day at 3:15, all intimidated, nervous and unsure that I had what it took.  To make matters worst my best friend had actually backed out the day of, so I was really swimming in the deep end now with most of the team consisting of the whole ninth grade, a grade up on me and I was only familiar with a couple of the guys.  By the time the last tryout was finished I did get to know everybody but as a consequence to that I then learned that there were only a few open spots so I didn’t really get my hopes up.  The two days between the last tryout and knowing if I had made the team were brutal, the suspense nearly killed me.

    The day had finally came, the team had been picked and we were to be notified by the coach personally if we had indeed made it, if he dropped by the classroom that would be a good thing.  It was pushing 3:00 on a Thursday afternoon when there was a knock on the door, it was coach, I immediately started to try to read his lips.  I couldn’t make out what he was saying  to the homeroom teacher but after what felt like an eternity he finally addressed the class and spoke three names, just three and those name were “Paul, Paul and Ashley”.  Never had my name ever sounded so soothing to my ears, I was instantly relieved, all that hard work had paid off and I was now part of an actual team. (true story see below)

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    High school for me just kind of happened and I believe sports had a lot to do with that, I kept good grades, actually my grandmother deserves the most credit for that but playing sports was more like a luxury for me and being a good student allowed me that luxury.  I see kids playing sports all the time, they’re fun to watch, there’s too much negativity in the world so we need more of the small things and we can find that in our kids.  We watch them as they walk in our own foot steps and we vicariously start living through their success because you can relate to how genuinely happy they are playing a sport they love.  A few years ago my daughter actually took up sports for awhile, she called one day to tell me she had made the volleyball team, I was so proud, and she was doing on her own merit.  I remember barely containing myself hanging on her every word, I was a proud dad, it was indeed  a moment (sniff).  Although she moved on from sports as some kids do, she did get the chance to experience sports on a team level, she had some fun and created bonds for life.

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    Speaking of bonds, playing outside as a kid was how I met most of my friends, we played hockey on the street all the time.  There was my friend Colin, one time he must have taken a full 30 minutes to get suited up in our makeshift goalie gear only to then take a rock to the lip on the first shot, he was done.  Oh yeah, a guy by the name of Corey who had a the heart of a Stanley Cup champion, he loved road hockey.  There were moments of my life where shooting a few hoops was a way to talk it out with a buddy, or maybe we’d make plans for the next day with a few jump shots before we called it a night.  I remember walking home as a teenager from a school dance with a close friend of mine Willie, who has since passed on, sometimes we would shoot hoops until the sun came up, just chatting it up while taking layups on a dimly lite basketball net.  I’ll never forget that, and I will never forget him, he was a good friend.

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    When I was a kid I would visit my dad for a couple months of the summer, his sport was tennis which then became our sport.  He would bring me to the local tennis club and kick my ass up and down that court each match we played but I kept wanting more, some day I’d beat him, it was happening.  Every morning and again that same evening I’d battle my father back and forth trying to anticipate his next move, closing the gap and finally getting close enough where I might pull it off.  We played all summer one year barely missing a day.  I enjoyed that time with my father, for the first time in my life I felt we had connected through sport and for those tiny moments nothing else mattered.  We bonded a lot that summer and I learned more and more about him as we continued to play.  It was like we were getting to know each other on a different level and I am just now looking back realizing how happy I was.   He did a great job pushing me to my limits and taught me the lesson of being humble, I learned how to lose and I learned how to win.  I have him to thank for that, he showed me that you can be good but there will always be someone who could be better, so try your best every time and make sure to have fun.

    That’s the thing about sports, they bring people together, they teach us a lot about ourselves.   Not only does sports help us physically and keep us healthy but it can be very helpful mentally as well.  Physical activity can help with stress, you’d be surprised how good you would feel by just getting outside and tossing the ball around.  I always look for opportunities to get outside with the nephews and nieces when they visit and they love it, there’s nothing like chasing the kids around the  yard and teaching them the concept of a game.

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    Standing there at that moment and looking in at the empty court I couldn’t quite stop but think of the days where courts like the one before me would have been a forwarding address for me at one point in my life.  Take advantage of those moments as often as you can, time flies by so fast so have fun as much as possible.  Get out there and kick the ball around, walk to the park and shoot some hoops.  Go ahead and put your household title on the line and challenge the kids to a game of horse with the loser getting the dreaded dish duty.

     

     

    Broken Wall of Color

    (Old poem I wrote while staring across from my office window in 2006 at of a graffiti-filled wall)

    By: Ash Douglas

    Broken wall of color,
    how the years have left you behind.

    I see your every crack,
    I see your every line.

    Someone has painted you a picture,
    Oh how very humble.

    Now you sit and watch the world,
    As the banks beneath you crumble.

    No one seems to notice how long that it has been,
    How long you have sloped how long you have leaned.

    But has I gaze out my window each and every day,
    I know it will it won’t be long  before you fall away.

    For years you did your job and time is not your friend,
    Broken wall of color, when did you begin?

    Coffee, Tea…maybe a Latte it be?

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    Most people that I know don’t seem to be able to function without the help of caffeine.  I barely manage to get a good morning out of  most until they have received their first hit.  Coffee is definitely a “start the day” type of drink, it certainly does it’s job waking us up,  just the perfect guzzle of gusto as we run around trying  to coordinate our morning routines.  Coffee is a must for a lot of us or it just ain’t happening, our brains don’t seem to function until we we get a breath chilled sip of that beverage of beans, ahhhh.  Drinking coffee in the morning is second only to stepping out of bed, people go crazy for the stuff, I see it every morning with the zombie filled lines slumbering in zigzags and coffee shop parking lots infested with slow moving vehicles as they all jester to be the next to have their order taken and finally get on with their day.  I get anxiety just thinking of having to idle my way through that every morning but eh? I don’t like coffee.

    OK I said it, I don’t like coffee so I can’t appreciate the  worldly need for a morning cup of joe.  I like the smell but just can’t get pass the flavour, I have never craved a morning coffee, never had that insatiable lust for a double double.  I drink tea and everyone laughs at me, well no they don’t, but it is a conversation piece where I do have to defend myself (some did laugh).  Look, I grew up with my grandparents so I was having regular tea time as young as I can remember, my grandmother would have one at the ready every night at eight o’clock, I miss that sometimes but I have a lot of fond memories of those days.

    If tea or coffee is not your thing, there are a lot of alternatives, way too many to mention.  I have tried some of these other drinks like lattes, espresso’s and cappuccino’s to mention a few and they all have their hook.  The specialty coffees tend to come  at a higher cost but they also come with an assortment of milks, whipping cream, chocolate and there’s this thing that goes “whoosh”.  So many whimsical handles and made up fancy coffee names that distort the fact that you are getting a heroin shot of caffeine, but would you look at that whip cream.  How people get their caffeine has evolved over the years, there are coffee shops popping up all over the place and they all offer a variation of the same arsenal of addiction.  These extended stay java shops are the perfect havens to pull off a good read, write the perfect post or just sit and chat over well, coffee.

    Like most things that taste good, moderation is also important, too much can really hurt you and in some cases should’t be consumed late at night, screws up your sleep.  People who suffer from anxiety have attributed coffee or caffeinated drinks as a trigger for episodes of manic or distress.  People will always drink coffee, adults do it all the time but beverage companies have now targeted kids as a market for caffeine and energy drinks are the result.  These drinks with their catchy flavours offer your average teenager a shot of caffeinated adrenaline for their marathon game night or maybe for a long cramming session the day before the test.  It’s not good and parents really need to monitor what their kids are putting in their bodies, too much can really be harmful.

    We all start our days differently but one common similarity is starting with coffee, there’s something ceremonial about it, I get it.  Every morning people everywhere wake up and fill the pot, steep the bag or pull the “whoosh” thing, it gives us a sense of realness to our lives.  We all need something that helps us get through the day, help us through a rough patch or maybe something that brings out our best creativity.  Go gather around a good cup of coffee, a cup of tea can make that news go down a little bit better and definitely join a friend for that latte.

    Here’s to your morning, and here’s to your routine now don’t forget to put the coffee on.

    How do you start your day, any rituals that is an absolute in your morning routine?  Leave a comment and share.

    Mom  

    (Something I found that I wrote for my mother a long time ago)
    
    Happy Birthday to my mom, to my lovely mother;
    your beauty compares, to no other.
     
    Your eyes always glow and twinkle when you smile;
    I think back at old times and thought for awhile.
     
    I’m blessed to have a mom with such a big heart and warm soul;
    Every day of my life my love for you grows.
     
    I miss you all the time, I wish I was near;
    To give you a birthday kiss; to hold you my dear.
     
    Another year as gone by, another year has passed;
    Some days we have cried some days we have laughed.
     
    You’re a special person mother, so giving of yourself;
    Happiness is all you seek, more than treasures and wealth.
     
    You cared for us all, and always there you would be;
    Whether it was the role of a daughter, or a mom to three.
    
    I wrote this today after thinking of you;
    I thought to myself what can I do?
     
    So read these lines and listen to what I say;
    I want you to celebrate your very special day.
     
    And remember birthdays are but a number, just one more trip around the sun;
    It’s your time now mother so go have some fun.
     
    Love Ash

    Home is still home…

    I’m just now getting around to posting about our holiday back in Harbour Breton this summer and it was everything that we had anticipated, it was a great trip all around.  We took each day as it came and as on the fly as it was we actually got a chance to do everything that we had set out in our minds to do.  Our goal was to make sure to see everybody and do a few things that we used to do when we lived there ourselves, simple as that.  It’s been about three years since we travelled home so we wanted to make sure to make to the most out of it.

    One of the first things that I did was take a quick drive by the home that I grew up in.  It feels weird now returning home without my old house to visit, the house although virtually the same had this unknown feeling about it, like my chapter and the chapter of my family there had been finished.

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    I took a long look across the harbour, so many memories came rushing back, for a moment it felt like I never left, everywhere I looked evoked emotion.  The rolling hills with the calm shoreline created the perfect backdrop to my moment of reflection, it was nice and a great way to kick off the visit.

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    The trip home was a drive and then some so for the first night we mostly just talked, got caught up and enjoyed each others company.  Family gatherings are a cliche without trying to be, you all pile into a common room of the house, energy all around you, everybody talking over each other, we were home.  Kids tugging at your shirt tales, dogs barking at every thud, food coming from every angle, there was a controlled chaos.  We talked until the early morning hours but it was getting late and there was a whole new day before us.  We all began to turn in when it came time to delegate rooms, we snagged the room with the superhero sheets, my inner nerd rejoiced.

    A highlight of the trip for me was the fact that I did manage to get to borrow a bike and get two bike rides in, I was so happy that worked out, something else that was on my trip home bucket list.  The first one was an impromptu ride with my nephews, they loved every second of it and I was glad to have the opportunity.  A flood of memories came back as I cruised the streets like I did as a kid, it was surreal, I could almost feel myself back there.

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    We were’t sure how long we had for this spur of the moment adventure but you know what? I was too busy reliving my childhood to care, with the kids leading the way we were now heading to the beach.  I must of went down that dirt road a million times as a kid, it was a great ride down memory lane, the trail was not letting me down, what a ride.

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    About a quarter of a ways we ran into my uncle in law who is a very talented photographer, we did the stop and talk and he asked for a photo op so we got our picture taken, it’s the one you see below, by the way here’s a link to some of his other work.  With a short walk across the beach we were on our way again, there was just one last leg of the ride to go.

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    Bike ride, check, now we were about to take a boat ride for a boil up.  We were feeling quite spoiled as guests and it was only getting better, we all climbed into my brother in laws’s boat and he proceeded to pull away from the dock.

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    As we sped down the harbour, with smiles all around, I couldn’t help think of the time I would do the same with my grandfather as we ventured out fishing or beach combing the shoreline.  The two dogs, Max and Major were loving it, you could tell they really enjoyed getting out in the boat and we were glad to be tagging along.

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    It was decided due to the wind that day that we would opt for an alternative spot to pull ashore, this gem of a location was second to none, we landed on the north side of Jersey Harbour and right next to the M.V. Home.

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    I took a walk with my littlest nephew Brandon and we went berry picking, the berries were everywhere.  It was like our own personal berry drive thru, blueberries to the right and raspberries to the left.  Because of the views all around us, I couldn’t help but to take a moment and reflect upon the fact that people had once lived here some time ago, I was once told that horses once roamed wild and galloped free on the banks of the shoreline, it was indeed a different time, a time I’m sure somebody misses everyday.

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    We had scallops by the shore, roasted wieners by the fire and marshmallows because come on, you got to have marshmallows.  We spent the time combing the beach, exploring the wreckage, and skipping rocks as far as we could.

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    It was so peaceful there, the ocean  was swaying in and out teasing it’s tides and drawing concern the odd moment from the skipper.  Time seemed to have stood still, the air was warm and the smell of smoke was therapeutic in a way, it was like the rest of the world was put on pause.  Sometimes it’s the small things that give you the most satisfaction in life and it’s unfortunate we don’t take the time to do those things more often.

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    It was time to pack up and head home, with Brandon assuring that the gas was topped up we began to load up the boat and begin our venture back.  The return boat ride was just as beautiful as it was when we left, getting to see the harbour again from that perspective as we steamed along was a moment we surely will not forget, day two proved to be quite rewarding.

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    What’s one thing that you got to do when  you get home?  Give up? You got to visit the local “best fries south of everywhere” restaurant.  You know, that place with the secret recipe for gravy, no trip home is complete without that.  My fiance and I took a seat at a table that was in a place that look exactly like it did when we were teenagers, it was pretty nostalgic. We had the place to ourselves and just talked about our trip up to that point, it was like we were in a time capsule.  After taking a look around and while waiting for our food we started to share old stories of the place, so many memories triggered by the smell of chicken fingers dancing around your nose and it smells exactly the same.  The food didn’t disappoint and it was just as good as we remembered and now we had the visit to the restaurant checked off our list, so far, so good.

    Like I mentioned, I managed to get in two bike rides and the second was by myself, the town was my map and I had no idea where to start.  So off I went, I zoomed by the post office, zipped past the bridge that connected both sides of the harbour and decided to head down toward the area where I grew up.  I got off the bike for a second and took a picture of my street where I grew up.  It looked so small, how could twenty or so kids jam a hockey game in place as tiny as that?  The amount of hockey games that took place in the spot pictured below I couldn’t count, but I can certainly recall the Stanley Cup moments we used to relive, good times.

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    I biked virtually the whole community and if it wasn’t for dark I would have kept going, I knew I wouldn’t get the chance anytime soon so I was getting my fill.  It was a beautiful ride and it also proved to be quite the workout as well, there was so much to see and I still didn’t get a chance to see it all.

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    The bike ride was fun and I got to retrace some of my childhood steps, it was nice to incorporate my current lifestyle into a visit to the small town where I grew up.  It has been maybe twenty plus years or more since I was biking the old neighbourhood, I’m happy that I made a point to do it.

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    On the last night of our trip we went to my brother in law’s cabin, it was about an hour away from the Harbour Breton and for us, it was a hour that we shaved off our trip back to Mount Pearl the following day.  The cabin road was modestly marked by two poles that signalled the beginning of the dirt road leading the way to the cabin which was nestled deep in woods overlooking a huge pond, it was a beautiful piece of land.  As soon as we pulled up you could notice the abundance of berries that were ready to pick, I took a bunch with my first swipe, how convenient.

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    As the evening drew near and the sun began to set we started to make a fire, the evening breeze was calm, the flies were staying away and there were s’mores in our future.  As mentioned the cabin overlooks a pond that stretches for miles, a loon call in the near distance reminds you that you’re on mother nature’s door step. That night we sang songs and played music with everyone lending their voice to tunes we knew half the words to. The best times are the times that just happen, much like that night, an impromptu song and dance was all we needed to cap off a wonderful retreat.

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    There was a certain calm about being off the grid, no notifications prompting your attention, no status updates, no city traffic, nothing at all to create stress, just a quiet that was very welcomed…thanks Travis and Juanette.

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    The morning of the last day of our visit the birds were chirping and the smell of the trees filled my lungs, this was god’s country for sure.  I started to imagined throwing it all down and staying in the country forever and living off the land and turning to a life of the bush people, but quickly realised this was me I was referring to.  Though, I can’t stress enough the need for experiences like these, we need them, it does wonders for the soul.

    We left that cabin that morning feeling happy, a little hungover, but happy.  We spent a great night in the woods with our family which had put an great big explanation point our trip home, so with all the goodbyes said, we took to the road and headed back to the city.

    When we decided to go home for our vacation this year we had no idea what it would be like, but the one thing is for sure we are so glad we did.  The time was spent with family around us, chats of a time gone by and conversations of what’s to come.  I used to say  that home is relative to where you are, now I stand corrected.  Going home to where you were born and raised, you know, there’s a whole familiar feeling that starts to fall over you.  Of course you can make happiness anywhere you live in the world but spending a subtle moment to return to where it all began has proven for us that no matter what, home is still home.