False Creek Church

I stepped out this morning just after sunrise. I walked slowly and carefully through the walkway. There was a very strong lingering smell of skunk. I would have liked to have seen one, but at least there was the reminder that there are creatures of the earth, going about, living their lives in the nighttime before we emerge in the daylight.

In this city of more than 600,000, I was alone as I ambled along the seawall. What a rarity. What a joy. How can we not look up? We don’t look up enough. The clouds were beyond description in their glory. The skyscrapers across the Creek, towering, shimmering pinnacles of glass, slipped into perspective beneath these incomparable acts of creation.

Geese rose in pairs behind me in the fields. Calling, calling. A cormorant with a brilliant red slash of colour along his beak, dove successfully for little fish that he gulped after each surface. I stood and watched the sun break cover from a humongous cumulus pile up and its beams hit me smack in the face. I needed that. I closed my eyes to it. Bless me, I am here. I heard a soft splash below me; a river otter slid up and down through the water, hugging the shoreline.

Two years ago, on March 24th, I waited to hear word of another granddaughter being born of my daughter in Texas. Waiting is anticipation, held back excitement, an undercurrent of nervous worry. Life skirting death to birth. While I waited, to calm myself, I looked up the website for The Cloud Appreciation Society. I scrolled through photos from all over the world of the most magnificent clouds: asperitas, mammatus, lenticularis, altocumulus, cirrus, crepuscular rays and shadows.

I decided to sign up right then and there. I’ve been a cloud watcher, a sky dreamer all my life. A few clicks later I had joined my tribe.

Diem Lexi Rojas was safely born and joined her family here on earth. A few weeks later my certificate arrived in the mail from England, and now hangs framed on my wall. It commemorates that morning’s vigil.

The Cloud Appreciation Society

We do hereby certify that

Diane Toulmin

joined this society on

24th March 2015

and will henceforth seek

to persuade all who’ll listen

of the wonder and

beauty of clouds

Member 38075 Number


I made my way back along the stone curve of the seawall, stopping periodically to stand in praise of the sky’s ever changing hymnal. When I can lift my eyes and feel myself a part of the great heavens, I am grateful for any time of solitude under God’s sky. I felt the slumbering giant of urbanity stirring behind me, and as if on cue, dog walkers with leash and coffee cup, neon joggers with sunglasses and headsets, began emerging from their human lairs.

Time to go home.

Good Life


……..for Diem, xo.

2 Responses to “False Creek Church”

  1. Anita says:

    Oh Diane,
    this is already my favorite post and I have yet to dive into the rest! You have a beautiful way of orchestrating words together. This post gave me goosebumps. Please write more! It soothes my soul.

  2. Chris Pratap (your friend at Oxfam) says:

    That was such an inspiring read. You must get such a smile whenever you look at that certificate and remember that specific day and what it affirmed for the future.

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