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I Like That
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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Marc Makes His Mark

Marc in the woods

Marc charges out of the dark
Like Clark, Clark Kent
Like a shark
Pulsing, full of life
Risen from a coma
Dropping his cloak of strife
He is perched on an arc
Like the horned lark
Vancouver Island park
Hark! Nature
Walks, talks, fishing, wishing
Marc is in his glory
Tells a story to his children
Marc makes his mark
Marc in the dark
Pitch black
He left in the dark
We can’t see his physical
He’s reached the pinnacle

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Marc Regimbal

I heard the news today, oh boy
My brother, Marc, is missing in the woods
He drove his car to catch some fish
We now all hope get got his wish

Friday, April 1, 2016:  My sister calls me to say that my brother, Marc, is missing. She explains that he went fishing on Thursday, March 31st at O’Connell Lake near Port Alice and hasn’t come home. She says that once they reported him missing, a Western Forest Products worker told the RCMP that he had seen a man of Marc’s description at O’Connell Lake that day.

Marc loves fishing
She tells me her son had driven all the way to O’Connell Lake but didn’t see him there nor his car at the lake or anywhere along the only logging road in and out. She tells me how they were counting on the search and rescue people to comb the area and hopefully find him. “Yes, me too,” I say. We speak a little longer about letting the experts do their job and how, for now, all we can do is wait.

“Please take care of yourself,” I say.

She whispers something softly, undiscernable into the phone and disconnects.

Later, that morning, I speak with my sister's husband, who explains that Marc had dropped into his office on the 31st to say that he was heading out to O’Connell Lake, to do some fishing. It was two-thirty in the afternoon. He tells me he thought it was a bit late in the day to travel that far. Marc didn’t see it as a problem.
“I drove to Port Alice myself. I drove around the town but didn’t see him or his car. Anyway, today, we decided to report him missing to the RCMP. Also, Sam, if there’s any news, I’ll be texting everyone. So, keep your phone nearby and charged.”
I offer my support of thanks. I wait for him to hang up.

I talk with my husband for a while about what I’d just learnt from my two phone calls. He shares his experience as a past search and rescue volunteer and assures me that the team on the north Vancouver Island are very skilled. “If anyone is going to locate Marc, they will. One of greatest thrills for rescue workers is to find their target,” he says.

My heart is heavy with sadness and I worry for the rest of day.

Saturday, April 2: Global News gives a description of Marc as a missing person. Brad texts me to say the announcement is posted on Facebook.

Port Alice RCMP are searching a remote area near O’Connell Lake for 62-year-old Marc Regimbal, who was reported missing April 1.
Police describe him as Caucasian, 5'9" tall, 185 lbs. with thinning, grey hair. He is known to drive a 2001 blue Honda Accord with the BC licence plate BW025F
Anyone with any information on Regimbal's whereabouts is asked to contact their local police.

I place a call to Marc’s estranged wife. We talk at length about the waiting game of having someone disappear and not knowing their whereabouts. I tell her I love her and that I will keep her up to date on things. She says okay to that.

I’m so sad, I take an Aspirin and lay down.

Marc with two fish
My sister posts on Facebook: This is my brother and I want him back. 62 year old explorer and adventurer, he was anxious to get us some fresh trout so headed off to explore places he's never been before. Problem is.... he went alone and now has been missing since March 31st. Love you big bro.

Later, my oldest sister calls me to say that her daughter saw the missing person report on their local news channel. We speak for a while about Marc having driven up the switch-back logging roads to the isolated lake. She asks about the terrain. I say that we've on that logging road and it is narrow, has loose gravel and switch-backs. “So, it’s dangerous?” she asks. I tell her it is very steep rock on one side and a long way down on the other. “Yes, it’s a dangerous road.”

I text my other brother-in-law, to ask him to call me. He texts back to say that my sister has called him to let him know that Marc is missing. He texts later to say, 'Maybe he got stuck somewhere.’ I text back that I love his optimism, always.

I hear my phone ringtone, oh boy
The sound promises an update
I’m told of plans to help find Marc
Scour territory steep and dark

My phone rings. My heart pounds with excitement. My thoughts go to a sighting and rescue. My brother-in-law said he would text, so this must be a big deal. It’s my son.

Mother and child reunion
“Hi, Mom. How are you doing?” He shares with me that I should put all my hope in prayer and also on the search and rescue teams out looking for Marc. He tells me that his friend once worked as a military search and rescue officer and that they have very specific plans to follow. His friend suggests the search can last up to ten days. He also tells me that his friend wants to assure me that nine times out of ten, the missing person is found. I thanked my son. 

Monday, April 4: 7:52 a.m. text message from my sister: ‘Hey Susan. I’m sure you’ve read my most recent FB update. I would have called you but it’s better on me to text. Physically, talking about it to too many people chokes me up and is too draining. Heading out to do some searching today will update you later.’

Monday, April 4: My sister on Facebook: Received recent update.... After covering pretty much all of the logging roads by truck, quads, and on foot, and searching from overhead with helicopter and plane, the Search & Rescue team have exhausted their resources and the Campbell River team have headed home. Local people are continuing to look. We are heading out when its light as well. Thank you to the S&R team and everyone else who has been helping. ....Love you big bro.

I hear my phone ring, soft, oh boy
I clutch it tight and read the name
The announcement comes, I release a gasp
Mom, Marc’s been found. He’s passed.

My phone rings. It’s my son. He tells me that Marc has been found but he is deceased. Somebody found him in his car at the bottom of a ravine. Apparently, he died quickly. His car was found in water.

I tell him that I’m so sorry. I was hoping that Marc was just missing and would be found alive. He agreed that would have been good. I’m crying and am overwhelmed with grief. I share with my son that Marc was getting to know us again, and we were getting to know him, again. Oh, what a sad time for us.

O my God! O Thou forgiver of sins! Bestower of gifts! Dispeller of afflictions!
Verily, I beseech Thee to forgive the sins of such as have abandoned the physical garment and have ascended to the spiritual world.
O my Lord! Purify them from trespasses, dispel their sorrows, and change their darkness into light. Cause them to enter the garden of happiness, cleanse them with the most pure water, and grant them to behold Thy splendours on the loftiest mount.
~ Abdu’l-Baha

Marc Regimbal ~ my beloved brother

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Take a Refreshing Hike

Elk Falls
On Saturday, August 22, 2015, my stepdaughter, Misty, and her son Niko, strolled along with Frank and me on a hike to the Elk Falls Suspension Bridge, a project by the Rotary Club of Campbell River.

Three dynamic things stood out for all of us; the wonderful wide well-tended paths; the spectacular views along the assortment of trails;

Niko on a trail 

Mushrooms on a log

Frank on a bench ~ family in background

Niko on suspension bridge

and the nerve-wracking heart-stopping sensations felt when we looked down, way down into the gorge through the gratings on the staircases leading to and from the suspension bridge and on the swaying bridge itself.

View of Elk Falls

Our visitors from Kamloops are avid walkers and encouraged Frank and me to relax on the benches offered at almost every trailhead.

View of original water pipes at trailhead

I’m a walker also, heading out almost every day but recently I ache with a persistent feeling of stepping on a thumbtack at the heel of my left foot. By the time I get home and sit down with my feet up, another throbbing presents itself from that heel to my knee.

Susan on a log

Note to self: explain my symptoms to my doctor next visit.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Hummingbird's Wish

Colette lives here
I notice a decorated billboard at my familiar feeding site and hover over it. I  recognize my friend's name. The sign looks happy and I trust it to be safe. I wave my wings over to a screened window and look inside. Many of the faces are familiar, but there seems to be one missing. My food and sweetwater provider is not there but I look further and I'm pictured on a bottle along side these words - The happiness of sunshine, hummingbirds and flowers, and infinately more.

Colette is celebrated

I hope my kind friend has filled my feeder this morning. I flutter around the side of the house and notice a collection of my favourite flowers. I flicker over and dip my beak into each pleasant encounter. I am startled by the sound of a banging door. I flap to my safe haven in the trees.

Colette's friends
Clusters of humans come into the yard and sit on chairs, stand to face each other, hug one another and lift drinks to their face. I feel that my familiar friends are sad; sad like me because my caretaker is not around. Colette's gentle hands provide me and the other birds with crushed and whole seeds sometimes jazzed up with peanut butter. She places flavoured drinks in the trees and always cleans the porch railings for us to perch on. I wish she were here. My friend’s presence provides a calm and caring oasis in a dangerous landscape. The energy of this group feels much like her. The have kind, sensitive and laughing hearts.

Colette my caregiver
I look carefully at an image of my buddy and realize she is two-dimensional. Even with her not in the yard, I know of her past, feel her presence and imagine that her future is bright, filled with blossoms, love and images of me, and her human friends, in her new place. For now, I am here and wish for the day I meet up with her – my generous human friend.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Take Me To Your Heart

By the time Frank and I arrived in Bennui, a small town in Jiangsu Province China, the final draft of our book The Little Red Book Teaching ESL in China was at the publishers. The experiences and strategies I learnt at this senior middle school could have filled another chapter.

My days in Benniu were filled with English conversation, reading, writing and listening classes. I shared my lesson planning and curriculum development with three other foreign teachers. I learnt a great deal from them including the consequences of putting my foot in my mouth, once too often. I’ll share that story with you another time. Frank's days were used in full retirement by venturing out to the nearest massive city. He explored there and made good friends.

Surrounded by my students, as in all the schools I had taught, was fantastic and offered great rewards. The enthusiasm of the young people and their kindness to me were sometimes overshadowed by the politics of the Chinese education system. Although the schedule and general curriculum were dictated by the school head master, using songs to teach the English language often enhanced our teaching capabilities. The students enjoyed the break from rote learning in their other classes.

We were often entertained throughout the year by attending music events put on by the teachers to promote their students’ talents. One of those occasions was a show where a group of fine boys sang
Take Me To Your Heart by Yin, Wen Chi/Ho, Chi Hung.

Being among young ones makes me feel young again.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Losing Colette

On March 22, 2015 ~ 3 Baha, 172 B.E., my sweet older sister, Colette, ascended to the spiritual world. When she was born, her qualities of glorious self awareness, wisdom and passion for life were transported home from the hospital on her older sister’s lap. From her beginnings, Colette was bathed in love and developed a strong sense of loyalty to those around her. Her youthful years were spent as a rambunctious and carefree spirit with mature clarity for her responsibilities as an older sister to her five younger siblings and a devotee to her older sister. She met her soul mate in high school and spent her married life as a loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend.

One of my favourite memories of her athletic playful character took place when our family lived in Thompson, Manitoba. She was ten years old; I was five. The great outdoors was our playground even in minus thirty-degree weather. We enjoyed a raucous game we called Cowboys and Indians. The partially built houses behind ours became the adventure landscape for our escapades. Colette was always the sheriff and we two younger girl siblings were her deputies, while our brother played the villain. We ran around hard and with purpose until called in for a meal by our mother.

I joined her in song one day when she announced that her boyfriend had proposed marriage. Going To The Chapel became her theme song for as long as it took her fiancĂ© to achieve his university degree. Afterward, she married the love of her life and lived peacefully in a small apartment filled with daytime sunbeams and the fragrance of familiar love.

Colette’s adventurous spirit was a true wonder. She was tomboyish in the meadows, on hiking trails, alongside fast flowing streams and fishing with her outdoorsman husband. At home, she was domestic and gentle with her first baby and again with her second. Her playful manner provided her boys and her grandchildren the pleasure of life to its fullest. She devoted her attention and purpose to those around her and rarely complained of the pains developing within her aging body.

Sixty-three years. Not a long time but a great time for her to have explored the abstract wonders of love, enjoy quiet serenity while sitting on a bench lakeside, full participation in galloping around with her children and grandchildren, holding hands with her husband, chatting for hours with her oldest sister and sharing her empathy with everyone she met. Her beauty and service are welcome in the life ever after.

Prayer For The Departed

O My God! O Thou forgiver of sins! Bestower of gifts! Dispeller of afflictions!

Verily, I beseech Thee to forgive the sins of such as have abandoned the physical garment and have ascended to the spiritual world.

O my Lord! Purify them from trespasses, dispel their sorrows, and change their darkness into light. Cause them to enter the garden of happiness, cleanse them with the most pure water, and grant them to behold Thy splendors on the loftiest mount. 

– Abdu’l-Baha

Friday, February 20, 2015

A Bucket List Scratch

The smell of horse manure filled my nostrils and flowed through my mouth, blanketed my tongue and gathered in my lungs. I exhaled and drew in another welcomed breath. I closed my eyes and smiled with delight and anticipation. Tears filled my eyes as I walked toward Frank.

“Honey, this is an amazing surprise. I would have never thought in a million years I would be getting horseback riding lessons for my birthday,” I said

Frank shrugged his shoulders like it was no big deal. It is a life-size deal to me. I had commented, some while ago, that I’d like to learn how to ride a horse as one of my ‘bucket list’ items. Sometime in March 2015, I can scratch it from my wants.

I had only once, in my 20s, ridden a horse. That many years ago, the getting on part was the trickiest for me because I had to stand on a fence and kind of jump onto the large animal’s back. The group leader stuck my feet into the stirrups but they never stayed there. Once the horse started walking, I gripped the horn and worked feverishly to keep my running-shoe-clad feet in the slippery foot holds. On the flat open terrain the large beast bolted to a destination it only seemed to know. The thing followed the other horses in no particular order after the other riders trotted their steeds in various directions. When does this become fun? The posse sometimes rode in single file or scattered in all directions through the groves of trees and when going up hill. I was forced to nearly lie down on the horse’s rump during a steep descent, and pull my feet up onto the saddle in a yoga position when we splashed through a river. Rushing across an open field was the most uncomfortable. I had no control whatsoever of the mare. The adventure finally came to an end after the mount and I bolted across the yard. The horse’s destination was the barn likely to get something to eat. My butt was sore and I needed help to dismount. It wasn’t elegant.

So, now I’m going to get proper lessons. At an up coming ladies’ equestrian event, we’re going to be using English saddles (they don’t have a horn to grab onto), wear a helmet (never wore one as a kid on my bicycle) and I’m wearing the cowboy boots I bought on my last year’s trip to Montana. Just to be safe, I think I’ll sport a pair of Depends because they would provide soft cushioning for my derriere. Yahoo!

Step used to mount steed

One version of an English saddle

Some call this a good luck symbol