Hoadside Attractions

exercise your creative imperative!

Holding Flight in the Palm of Your Hand

I: The Mist Net

bisecting known aerial routes
the mist net marks an ethereal
and abrupt end to the flight path,
inverting sky and ground;
its captives tangled, dangling
in netted pockets
fitful frantic fluttering,
arresting flight

II: The Bander’s Grip

immediately establish
the sure but not stifling grip;
extract the small song-strangled
bird from its
head-rush-inverted hold
in the mist net
secure enough to subdue,
preserve its strength
exhaust the possibility of a flitting escape

the hold like an ace’s split fingers on the fastball,
white-breasted nuthatch (WBNU) held between distal knuckles
of forefinger and middle finger,
fingertips closed gently around its neck
with just enough force;
delicate miracle wings contained
in the palm, thumb and remaining fingers
cradling a frantic heartbeat.

Lift a thumb to measure the wing chord
turn a palm upward, lift your thumb to free the belly
blow an alien wind on its belly to check for fat stores.

the hold is reverential,
preventing  injury to the legs
thumb and forefinger free to
secure the leg for banding

Dip the bird into its rubber tube
to be weighed, take its head back in the grip
at the other end

Marvel at this flyer
as you inspect for age and sex.

III: Field Marks

the eyering of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet;
the double breast band of a Killdeer
black caps
swept-back crests
notched tail
colour of the lore
whisker mark

IV: Field Notes

  1. Be careful of the song sparrow,
    Lying passively, kicking suddenly free.
  2. Flickers are apt to scream a lot.
  3. Never use the bander’s hold on the raptors,
    but rather use the ice cream cone grip,
    Which works great on kingfishers, crows, jays and grackles
    and which looks exactly like you think it should!

V: Release

place our weary interlocutor
in your open palm
the release low to the ground
listen for the brief indignant song
wonder at how quickly…

and when you had flight
in the palm of your hand



It’s a feeling for the likely spots
sun-mottled pockets woods deep,
rising from muddy stream gashes,
bright grass-masked swamps;
not too many leaves collaging the forest floor, mind;
better the needles of conifers,
a rust backdrop to the delicate chanterelles
proclaiming their golden yellow
in bold muted voices.

It’s a thrilling trespass,
for its discoveries:

intervals of disappointment,
blood-orange decoys,
sodden improvised paths,
geotagged goldmines,

the quiet gloam of the forest,
punctuated by birdsong;
the rare percussive thump of a bird
roused from its nesting ground.

The chanterelles are audacious in their smallness;
even close you might miss them.
They like their space, congregating in small choirs,
preferring isolation, their dipped caps pushed low.

Kneeling to the mossy ground,
you feel the pull of your back.
There are no roots, but you’ll want to
reach, harvest low into the pungent earth.

There’s a spongy nick in response to the
curve of the knife gliding through flesh,
a few strokes of the brush to keep dirt
out of the cloth bag.

This ritualized act of organic rebellion,
this foraging pilgrimage to the elemental,

emerges from woods,
lingers at the shared table
fruity and loamy in the nose,
singing on the tongue.

  • July 5, 2017

2018 Eden Mills Young Writers’ Workshops, The Hundred Story Wood

The Hundred Story Wood, Eden Mills Writers’ Festival’s day of workshops for young writers, will take place on Monday, September 24, 2018. This year we will host the day in Eden Mills, at Rivermead and the Community Centre. We have a creative day planned for aspiring young writers. Our outstanding author mentors this year are Pasha Malla, Catherine Graham, Clair Tacon and Amy Stuart. Visit the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival site at emwf.ca100StoryWood

Registration is limited, so book today. Please contact Adrian Hoad-Reddick, for speedy answers to your questions!



The Vocabaret – August 6, 2014

Word Hold 'Em for August 6, 2014
Jenn Dimples Lee has a decent score, due in part to her knowledge of the word ‘ARVAL’ meaning a funeral feast. You can claim the Word Hold’Em pot with some clever word-finding.

The Vocabaret – August 4, 2014

Chessnuts by Adrian Hoad-Reddick
Crack this chestnut by inserting the letters into the intersecting grid to form two words.

Answer from last day: SNARES DRUM.

The Vocabaret – July 31, 2014

Russo (July 31, 2014)
Get the letters in the grid!

Answer from last day: HIJACK YAKS.

The Vocabaret – July 25, 2014

Another great act in the Vocabaret. Pull up a chair, friends. Pencils are on the table....
Another great act in the Vocabaret. Pull up a chair, friends. Pencils are on the table….

Answer from yesterday: OFFERS FISH

The Vocabaret – July 24, 2014

Russo for July 24, 2014
Get in the grid!

Answer from yesterday: ABHOR DOING.

The Vocabaret – July 23, 2014

I’ve started to title my puzzles after my favourite authors. This one is named for Richard Russo!

Answer from Yesterday: DRINK SUITS

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