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Wore backpack to Ile des Rapides and back, about 11k, in the rain, to test new raincoat and see if I could make the distance without collapsing, in preparation for my summer walks. Said hello and welcome to wild parsley and foxglove shoots, pink leaf-buds on the wild rose twigs, glittery drakes and their demure ducks, redwinged blackbirds, a longstanding heron, and a bird who appeared subdued but turned out when in flight to have a wild yellow lining in his coat and a flashy white pocket square. Met hundreds if not thousands of snails on the glorious mudbank, shining in the rain and looking very much like entities with prettier and more efficient backpacks than mine. Found a bird cafe on the island in company of ravenous goose and fat robins - sat and devoured my brown rice, hummous, kale, cabbage and umeboshi, and a hemp heart buckwheat honey energy ball, and a cheese and onion sandwich for Virginia Woolf. The backpack weighs 15 lbs with my tent and gear in it, and we'll see how my muscles are in the morning. Will I be able to walk the 120k from Baie St. Paul to Tadoussac this summer?

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The maples in this part of the world are giving their sap to the sugar shack workers. Melting creek, wagon wheel, boiling sap, inferno, gauges and sugar on snow. We had the blessing of visiting one hard-working family in the Eastern Townships this week: at other times in the year the parents and sons produce vegetables, meat and honey. But in these few days when nights freeze and days are warming, the sap runs.  New syrup has a fresh blooming golden flavour mixed with the smoky maple taste, happening right now. Gratitude to the trees, to the family, and to springtime in Quebec.

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Halfway through my cafe au lait this bird appeared. I drew it in the sketchbook. I'd been fooling around with the golden spiral on the previous page. The barista and the baker came to see. They said the bird is a sign, like in tea leaves.
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On BC's Discovery Coast I lost Montreal's snow and found Sequoias, hearts of fern, carpets of emerald moss, a meadow full of bridal blossom, then the beach. And on that beach, someone had made a little hut. And on that hut, they had scratched a sign. I enjoyed this very much. So did three eagles who came to visit me, and a lamenting loon. Thank you, Quadra Island.

A Emerald
B tangle
C blossoms
D beach
DD hobbit hole
E avocado
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Does anyone in Montreal know what this is? The windows are broken on the derelict top tower thing. The concrete tanks below must have held something serious, and may yet do so. It's glorious.

towering industrial wreck lachine canal

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I've moved from the hood where tea comes in a glass bearing a peacock, to Verdun, where an off-duty clown waits for his bus, gigantic red shoes perched on his suitcase. He's off to sell ice cream for the day. A woman pours cereal for starlings on cafe tables from a box she found on the sidewalk. Behind the arena lovers throw snowballs at each other from a pile left by the Zamboni.

tea in a glass

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It's awning week at Jean-Talon Market - the annual time when vendors set up poles and awnings to move produce out into springtime. Here's a Crown Victoria station wagon full of awnings and poles, in front of awnings and poles that have just been set up. I saw this station wagon last spring, same time, same place. I guess LTD here means Lilac tops Dijon.

ltd crown victoria station wagon 300 dpi

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Portrait #3: Bald man all in black and white save for his royal blue sunglasses - jacket says "DUCATI meccanica". Motorcycle helmet on chair. He emanates self-sufficiency: he is "encased" (in leather, in his decision to shave that head - shiny & hard - in his black scarf snarled with deft pizzaz around his throat). But something vulnerable persists in the deep blue of his glasses, and he's reading a novel (now that he's stopped checking his phone).

Ducati Meccanica 300 dpi

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From sketchbook April 28th, 2014

I find it hard to read in a cafe, or to wear headphones to listen to music (impossible), as everything real and in-situ is far more interesting to me than the works of artistic genius through the ages.

...Even the No Parking sign and the pylons lined up at the market are more interesting to me than the W. of A.G.T the A.

Pylons 300 dpi

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From notebook, April 23, 2014

Now I am going to describe some people by their emotional or atmospheric emanations. I realize this is all very subjective. I am in a bookshop cafe two floors above the main street, having enjoyed a good (for once!) haircut, a matcha latte, and a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese icing. Small.

1. Woman in green scarf, tapered fingers, mischievous upslanted brows, elegantly spooning cappuccino froth into her lips on the end of a wooden stick. Young.

2. Sprawlywhitehaired (curls, long) woman slouched on her table, hunkered down like an animal crouched before the kill, purposeful. Tired but with a lot of fight left. Remembering things not too fondly, yet she remains far from defeated. (Moved before I could sketch her.)

Woman #1

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