Scratching an Itch


It’s been at me lately, this itch to get at this blog again.

With the pending winter holidays has come the usual number of annual social gatherings where I’m asked  by those who haven’t seen me in a while, “So, Hilary, what ARE you up to these days?”  Chances are, my answer will be different from the last time you asked.  If I tell you about the last six months that have passed. you’ll hear some tales of travels, of family, of a kitten, and perhaps even of gainful employment, thankyouverymuch.

But if we’ve never met and you ask me what I do and I’m feeling particularly cheeky, I might tell you that I’m a writer and photographer.  Even as I hear myself saying this, I will itch.  I itch because I have not written — nor photographed — much of anything over these last six months. Still, there is a voice in me that gently pokes at me and says, “Hey, I’m still here.”

And look, see, here I am now, I am writing.  And so, with relief, we can carry on.


I am in love with Oliver.  The town, I mean (though you’re a very nice chap, Oliver, wherever you are).  What, you don’t know Oliver, BC?  The self-proclaimed Wine Capital of Canada?  It’s about as perfect a small town as you can get, with all the small town excitement that goes along with that. Meaning absolutely nothing happens here.  I love it.

It started snowing here the day before yesterday, a couple hours after we pulled in from Vancouver.  Here’s what it looked like on the porch just before it got dark this afternoon (i.e., at 3:30):DSC_0450

These little birds visit the feeder all winter long. DSC_0452

There are cotton-like tufts on the bushes that look like Dr. Suess flowers:DSC_0458

The mountain is glorious.DSC_0462

My car is dirtier than it’s ever been in its whole life.DSC_0469

This is how I know I’m in Canada.Flag

Cat Stevens is singing gently out of my MacBook Air (the first big present I’ve bought myself in a long time).  Cat and I are both miles from nowhere. I have a cup of tea from Salt Spring Island next to me.  The tea is cold.  (I always forget when I pour myself a cup of tea that I just poured myself a cup of tea.  By the time I remember, it’s cold.  Every time.)

You know how I said nothing happens in Oliver?  It’s not true, really. They’ve got concerts and a movie theatre and a restaurant (or two?).  There are wineries to visit.  There’s an art gallery. But on this five-day trip, like most other times I’m here, the only reason I will leave this warm and cozy house is to stretch my legs and give the dog a little walk, or maybe take a picture.  There seems to be enough time here to write and photograph, two things that I love doing.  Love love love.


When it comes down to it, that’s all I need.  Enough time. If I can remember that, I can also remember that there’s always enough time.  I, like you, am grieving yesterday’s terrible, horrible, unthinkable shooting of innocents.  We are reminded that every moment is precious. Every moment is all we have.  And it takes but a moment to scratch an itch.


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