Read, Scuff — the rest of the story

15 May 2023 – Remember this street corner?

You met it last post, when I started scuffing back into visibility a poetic sentence that began in a loop there on the corner, and then straightened out to run north on St. Geroge.

I read/scuffed/read/scuffed this much:

“Listen the buried stream gurgles its longing to return to daylight & moonlight…”

I ended with three dots, convinced there was more to find, north on St. George, but my scuffing foot was getting cranky. I promised to return, and look for the rest.

And I do!

I walk prudently in shade, in today’s oppressive heat, as laser bursts of sunlight break through the trees’ protective cover.

Back at the St. George / East 11th corner, I discover my scuffing foot will have no excuse for crankiness today: wind seems to have cleared all the litter from the stretch of sidewalk I still want to read.

You see? We are picking up where we left off, with that word “moonlight” closest to my feet.

I walk on.

to nourish





& you

The complete sentence:

“Listen the buried stream gurgles its longing to return to daylight & moonlight to nourish ducks bracken ferns salmonberry & you”

I find this hauntingly beautiful, magical. It brings powerfully to mind an equally anonymous artistic impulse I encountered in Toronto — the Stealth Art Collective — whose tributes i used to find out on Leslie Spit. I am sorry to see that their latest post is dated July 2022.Click on the blog anyway; it is worth the visit.

May the Collective return! And, if it never does, my thanks for all that it added, in words and transient art installations, to the Spit over many years.

Read, Scuff, Read, Scuff (Repeat)

12 May 2023 – I’m walking north on St. Geroge through residential Mount Pleasant, just about to cross East 11th. Quietly friendly and human-scale heritage homes; warming temperatures; the season moving from cherry blossoms (now carpeting the ground, not trees) to showy Iceland poppies.

Important further information, for what is about to happen: this area slopes northward to what was the natural end of False Creek before all the infill took place, and many now-buried streams lie beneath these streets, still part of an invisible watershed.

I’m looking about happily as I walk. I almost don’t look down, just there on that far corner.

But then I do. And, only faintly, faint enough & further camouflaged by dappled light & fallen blossoms that I have to squint and blink at it, I see one word inscribed — how long ago? — into still-fresh cement in a neat cursive hand.

The word is…


There must be more, I think, and i start to scuff dead cherry blossoms out of the way.

There is more! The words first spiral around the fatter space of the street corner, then carry on, straight-line, north on St. George.

the buried

It is so hard to read! I keep scuffing, keep guessing, keep reading.




longing to




& moonlight

Dot-dot-dot, because there is more. I’m pretty sure there is more. But that next stretch of sidewalk is encrusted with muck and yet more cherry bloom litter. Ya basta for now.

I’ll return, I will. And I’ll share the rest of the message with you.

Meanwhile, let’s all honour that hidden stream by enjoying our own daylight & moonlight. Let’s enjoy them like crazy!

Because we can, and it no longer has that privilege.


    "Traveller, there is no path. Paths are made by walking" -- Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

    "The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes" -- Marcel Proust (1871-1922)

    "A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities" -- Rebecca Solnit, "Wanderlust: A History of Walking"

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