Sunlight, forests and oceans are gifts for living life, making human connection and exploring the vibrance of Earth’s beauty. I play and exercise outside whenever I can. It lifts my spirit and makes me feel connected to nature, family, friends. It boosts creativity, sparks joy and heals.
If I’m feeling down or tired, a hike in the woods, listening to the ocean or feeling the sun warm my skin does wonders. Playing in nature revives mind, energy, calms my being and brightens the day. Six words tell my truth.
Running through forest oxygen for soul.
Splash of puddles walking in rain.
Sunlight on skin in dancer’s pose.
Swimming cold seas makes skin tingle.
Sound of snow crunching beneath feet.
Climbing up mountains toughens me up.
Wind kisses cheeks as I pedal.
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Sometimes an urge overcomes me and I want to play the way children do instinctively; without holding myself back. I’m tempted to act, but don’t because of fear, nerves or risk of embarrassment. Sometimes, I free my spirit and go with my gut. Six words tell my truth.
Sing out loud like a rockstar.
Cry out loud until body trembles.
Laugh until I pee my pants.
Scream out loud to the forest.
Run free, fast until I’m breathless.
Dance the way my soul dares.
“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” – Albert Schweitzer
(Featured photo: “Balancing on Rock”, Photo by Natalie McMillan)
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We asked British Columbians how the C-word affects their lives – the beauty, truth, humour and ugliness. Here’s what they said in six words and more.
A visual story album of how the “C word” has affected our lives in British Columbia. From photographs, artwork, graffiti, personal 6-word stories written from adult perspectives, 6-word news glimpses and community snapshots to document uncertain times.
It takes thoughtful effort, collaboration and imagination to create a project like this. We may have different lifestyles, beliefs and perspectives but we all have stories to tell.
Just like the feature photo story, “Finally time to take our time”, I ask that you please take a reflective moment to read each and every six word story of this projectand discover the meaning behind each one.
This is what we saw through our Corona-coloured eyeglasses in our beautiful province of British Columbia, Canada.
Our album opens with Part 1: Six Word Stories with Photographs or Artwork written, created and submitted by adult volunteers of this project.
The feature photograph of this project(black & white photo of girl blowing dandelion puff ball) :“Finally time to take our time.” and the above six 6-word stories were written and photographed by Claudia Ho Lem.
“Peace in the garden; waiting, remembering.” Story & painting created by L.W.
“My eternal love for our elderly.” Story & photo by k.m.
“I just want to hug her.” Story & photo (of Carol’s mother) by Carol Carter.
“Celebrating from afar on joyous occasions.” (on missing the ability to celebrate in person with the whole family) Story & photo by Bruna Lazzano.
“Inner lives blossom. Lives are close.” Story & photo by Mia Logie.
“Good snatched away, hope will triumph.” Story & photo by Gerry O’day.
“Newfound respect for full time parents.” Story & photo by Jeff Winskell.
“Realizing you’re out of toilet paper.” Story & photo by Natalie McMillan.
“Sometimes cheerfulness shows in unexpected places.” Story & photo by Jenny Morgan.
“Retreat, Rethink, Resign, Reset, Rejuvenate, Reverie.” Story & photo by David Geary.
“Just happy to be getting out.” Story & photo by Steve Bush.
“Let the outdoor games begin!” “Done!” Story & photos by Victoria.
“No panic. We are here. Now.” Story & photo by Jim Derricott.
“Peace and freedom without Covid 19.” Story & photo by JB.
“Wife’s first haircut? Husband: guinea pig.” Story & photo by Dolores.
“This s**t has driven me to…” Story & artwork by P.B.”
“Covid pictures instead of rainbow pictures!” A mother’s perspective on the subject of her daughter’s recent drawings (depicting the corona virus). Story & artwork, Anonymous.
“Feel great when the body moves.” By Erina.
“Wishing to the star…seeing friends.” Ryo found the first star of the evening and immediately wished upon it to see his friends. Story & photo by Erina.
Above four 6-word stories written by Shaya Sy-Rantfors.
Above story & photo by Shaya Sy-Rantfors.
“No work – more time to garden.” Story and photo by Nancy.
“Utter satisfaction – growing my own food.” Story & photo by Jenny Morgan.
“They painted the hearts upside down.” Story & photo by @captphilevans.
“Vision becomes reality – functional, natural art.” Story and table created by Kristen Buckley. Photo by A.B. (Yes, she made this table. It’s an old growth fir sourced from a timber furniture design business in Squamish, designed from a raw slab that started with bark and all! Legs sourced from Ontario and then the slab was sanded and finished with love.)
“A minefield of gratitude and resentment.” Story & photo by CSP.
“Mama. Yes. Mama. Yes. Mama. Yeeeeeeesssss.” Story & photo by Susan Little.
“Hugs overpowering uncertainty, fear and sadness. “ Story & photo by Judith Reyes Metcalfe.
“My loves, delicate balance, life continues.”Story & photo by Anna Parkes.
“Time erases memories. Memories erase time.” Story & photo by Susan Little.
“From chaos, freedom emerges, commute-free.” Story & photo by Susan Smith Alexander.
“Faith in God is believer’s shield.” Story by Agnes Dalisay. Photo by Sophia Stewart featuring her sister, Raquel Stewart.
“Quarantine yoga. It keeps me grounded.” Story by Christine B. Photo by C.B.
“Finding my sunshine inside and out.” Story by Mary Chang.
Next is Part 2 of our album (during PHASE 1): Photographs documenting what we’ve noticed around our community.
“Playground.” Photo by Shaya Sy-Rantfors.
“Sidewalk.” Photo by P.B.
“Handmade.” Photos by C.B. & J.M.
Next is Part 2 (continued) of our album (during PHASE 2): Photographs documenting what we’ve noticed in our community.
Photo by Cecilia Graber Larrea.
Photo by KS. Inspired by W.C.
Photo by Natalie McMillan.
“Beauty, truth, humour, ugliness, nature, art.” Story & photo by M.C. (graffiti artist unknown)
Next is Part 2 (continued) of our album (during PHASE 3): Photographs documenting what we’ve noticed in our community.
(PHASE 3 PHOTOS TO BE UPDATED/CONTINUED)
Lastly, Part 3 of our Album:List of British Columbia and Lower Mainland Highlights During Pandemic, in 6 Word Points:
Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau
36th Premier of BC, John Horgan
Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia PHO
Dr. Teresa Tam, Canada Chief PHO
Adrian Dix, BC Minister of Health
Nigel Howard, sign language hero
First death Lynn Valley Care Home (March 9, first death in Canada)
All British Columbia Public Schools Close (March 17)
Community centres, libraries, non-essential services close (March/April)
Spring camps, extra-curricular activities cancelled (March)
Playgrounds, skateboard parks, ski mountains close (March)
Some parks, trails, parking lots close (March)
Beaches, most parks, trails remain open (March)
Restaurants offer take away service only (March/April)
Dental practices offer emergency dental only (March)
Long hair due to salon closures
Social distancing, hand washing, face masks (March)
How Coronavirus took Lynn Valley article (Globe & Mail, March 21)
Local distilleries make free hand sanitizer (March)
Pots, pans, applause at 7pm nightly (for health care workers, March)
“Growing up in Quarantineland” by Margaret Atwood (Globe & Mail, March 28)
Bonnie Henry & Theresa Tam Art Mural (March)
Free online education, fitness, mental health etc (March)
Trudeau sends a message through Lego (April)
Homeschooling begins online with public schools (mid-April)
Parents f*cking hate trying to homeschool (ongoing)
Parents appreciate teachers more than ever (ongoing)
Dr. Bonnie Henry’s John Fluevog shoes (April)
White Caps face-masks to save Aquarium (April)
Government Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
Income Tax filing deadline extended June 1
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) support
Rent, mortgage, student loan financial support
Restrictions ease Victoria Day May weekend
We enter Phase 2 for Covid
Cruise ships not welcome for summer (May)
6 people gatherings, still no travel
North Shore Bowling closes for good (after 59 years! due to C-19, June)
Several businesses re-open, others close permanently.
Campgrounds set to reopen June 1
Voluntary return to school June 1
Parents fear making “voluntary” schooling decisions
Part-time school, staggering start hours
Elementary 50%, Secondary 20% – in class
Playgrounds being to re-open June 1
When will this f*cking pandemic end?
Waiting on vaccine to be created.
“Be kind, be calm, be safe.” (Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice)
Phase 3 last week of June
Non-essential travel and film production resume
Careful travel allowed within the province
US Border non-essential travel remains closed
Many hotels, accommodations, resorts resume operations
Gatherings larger than 50 still banned
Limit the people within your bubble
Continue hand washing, social distancing, cleaning
The “C” Word: Six word stories written by children, ages 6-14 to document these uncertain times (a 2020 time capsule snapshot) and the importance of friendship.
Nine years ago, I became a new mother shortly after I moved to the North Shore. The early days of breastfeeding, endless diapers and sleepless nights left me confined to the house, exhausted and — lonely. I was in love with my newborn son, but a piece of me missed part of my previous world, adult companionship.
A few months later, I discovered a local StrongStartBC centre, a free early learning drop-in program in my neighbourhood. (“It takes a village to raise a child”) It was in that bright, welcoming activity-filled room that I formed lifetime friendships with a group of strong, independent, super women and mothers (and a few super dads) over daily cups of hot tea, coffee and freshly baked cheese biscuits. When StrongStart closed each summer, we invited new and familiar families who lived both on and off the Shore to join us for play activities we organized throughout summertime and expanded our village over the years.
We shared tales of wisdom, headache and heartache about the chaos and the joys of raising little ones while our children formed their own playful friendships. Together we hosted play dates, exchanged free babysitting, confided, cried, offered advice, spoke of dreams and fears about parenting. We shared pieces of our inner selves (the humans we were before parenthood) which revolved around fragments of time sketched in between crying babies, toddler tantrums and defiant five-year olds.
It is because we became parents that we became friends the day we all met in that bright sunlit room in Norgate, or were introduced on that first day of kindergarten, or when old friendships revived upon parenthood. That community connection transformed into a foundational piece of our friendship and parenting history.
Over the past five years, a handful of the families moved away from our community to distances as short as a two-hour ferry sailing to as far away as a plane trip to see kangaroos. It’s not often I visit the friends who still live nearby because of our busy lives. Now, it will be much longer before we see each other again or be granted permission to hop on a ferry or book a plane trip to see the others.
We’ve all been faced with the rules of isolation and the notorious “C word.” We can’t visit in person – even if we stand two metres away and may only interact through phone calls and social media. We inevitably pass through time lapses where we don’t attempt to reach out to anyone at all – because we’re overwhelmed with anxiety, fatigue, homeschooling or struggling to remember what day of the week it is.
Here I am nine years later feeling – lonely again, for adult friendship. But today, we hold hands together in spirit because I know we’re all thinking of each other and all of our children.
Some of our kids still play together and I see them grow, while others are “mind’s eye Polaroids” captured at the ages, stages and varying degrees of cuteness of when they last played together or before they moved away – as if they haven’t grown over the years although I’ve seen countless new images of them on FaceBook.
The “C word” affects lives worldwide and it’s clear that during these unsettling times we’re in the midst of making history. Today we’re reclaiming our village that we built nine years ago and reconnecting ourselves through the words of our children across the globe. When our children grow up, it is my hope that they develop similar meaningful friendships that will provide them with the support they’ll need when they become parents, or maybe their playful friendships of today will blossom into adulthood.
I asked the children to write six word stories about how the “C word” has impacted their lives in order to document their emotions, expressions, thoughts, feelings, discoveries and observations during the pandemic and to enable them to share these “six word story time capsules” with their own children someday.
This is what the children of our village wrote:
“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.” – Winnie the Pooh
“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.” – Woodrow T. Wilson
“Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget.” – Unknown
Featured photograph: “Ready to fight Corona!” (girl in orange jumpsuit) Isla, Age 9. Photo by Jennifer Morgan.
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My brother-in-law, “Mr. B” volunteered to teach the children of our families educational lessons during the pandemic. “The Learning Village” (our online school, named by his 9 year old daughter) is comprised of Mr. B’s mindful curriculum and nine students (cousins and friends) ranging in age from 6 to 12 years.
For one of the lessons, after discussing the Corona virus, students were asked to draw a character or comic of a “virus” and talk about what people need to do to stay safe. Other lessons focused on music, emotions, mindfulness and meditation. The students look forward to their lessons with Mr. B, get a chance to see the faces of their friends online and parents get a 60-90 minute break from their kids, three afternoons a week. It serves as an meaningful practice and an introduction to what future organized online learning with our teachers and school districts might look like during this time.
Mr. B asked me to teach a lesson on “Six Word Stories”. Our class had a thoughtful discussion about the legendary “first six word story” written by Ernest Hemingway, “For Sale: Baby shoes. Never worn” and then I asked the kids to create their own six word stories inspired by the above photograph featured on this post.
Here’s what the children of “The Learning Village” wrote.
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Family, friendships and love relationships deliver love, heartbreak, happiness, sorrow, conflict and understanding. If I reflect on the past, sometimes I understand the meaning behind my struggles and challenges I face today, knowing those relationships form a part of who I am, but do not define me.
If I embrace the present, I possess the choice to make a positive change or slip back and trigger the anxiety of yesterday by reliving it along with any guilt, shame or anger I experienced during those moments or relationships. Most days I make the brighter choice; the anxiety doesn’t disappear but my perspective shifts and gives me hope. Six words tell my truth.
Opening space within myself for love.
Change initiates from self, not others.
Peace finds way through common ground.
Reconnecting without judgment of past wrongdoings.
Forgiving self and others for failing.
Light at end of the tunnel.
Reuniting families brings hope to soul.
Relationships blossom when our hearts connect.
Holding hands together as a unity.
Feature photo: “LOVE. It’s all you need.” 2007, sand artist unknown. Photo by MC.
Marching onwards, I continue to reflect, transition and embrace change even if it scares me. Change is a life-long process. Facing my fears is personal growth for mind, body and soul. Six word stories tell my truth.
Melancholy passes, light eventually shines through.
Make choices that promise personal transformation.
I continue to self-reflect, take time for self-care and transition. Six word stories tell my truth.
Cherish the basics – sleep, water, sunshine.
Be true, give freely to others.
Take pleasure in moments for you.
Discovering something new about old friends.
Accepting, embracing change, transitions, the unknown.
Finding vibrant life in unexpected places.
Eat chocolate cake, not every day.
Make way for love, play, laughter.
Play outside – rain, shine, snow, thunder.
February Meaning & Symbolism
“Coming just after January, the month of new beginnings, is February. From the Latin word Februarius, meaning “to purify“, February was known as the “Month of Purification” during ancient Roman times. It is a transitional time, finding itself just after a month of reflection and new year’s resolutions.”
For 2020, I promise myself to take time to contemplate what matters most to me. Managing the precarious balancing act of parenting, relationships, fitness, work and the chaos that comes with everyday living is a constant challenge.
Keeping it simple puts my life into perspective. Six word stories tell my truth.
Exercise:Activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness.
Since January 2019, I’ve been challenging myself to train harder to exceed my usual limits in the realm of exercise.
For me this means, attempting exercises that fall out of my comfort zone, setting monthly fitness challenges that force me to persevere or signing up for races that scare the hell out of me. “Six Word Stories” tell my truth.