Tuesday, January 26, 2016


A slow wet morning. I should stop here, lie down, have a nap. But no! Must … push … on -- despite the heaviness in my legs and eyes.

This morning I walked the marshy bowl bordered by Fraser Street, 16th Avenue, King Edward Boulevard and Prince Edward Street. Everything that fell from the sky last night – everything that was not absorbed into the earth – had pooled up in the strangest places – places one does not normally notice under normal conditions.

A few years back a friend who lives in the area told me how a corner bungalow at 18th and Prince Edward was razed to make way for a two-storey house whose foundation required piles over a hundred feet long because most of the block is bogland.

A bog. Like the one where I grew up, an area we called PW Bush because it bordered Prince of Wales High School and because it was a bushy bog -- at least until the early 1970s, when developers turned it into the Arbutus Village shopping mall.

So much goes into and comes out of bogs. When I was at university, my archaeology professor told us about Tollund Man, a 4th century Dane who was found in a peat bog in Jutland -- perfectly preserved! His last meal, based on the undigested contents of his stomach, has been described as "a kind of porridge."

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