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I’m Allen.  Thank you for e-stopping by.  In 2005

my wife Jude and I, dismayed and disgusted by

American politics, sold our home in California

and moved to Canada.  We took our cue when

U.S. tanks crossed the Iraqi border.  No sooner

had that happened, Rumsfeld and others, so

cocksure about WMD’s the day before, said that

they might have to poke about a bit to find them.


In 1966 I was a college dropout with a pregnant girlfriend.  In what I still blame

on a spike in my testosterone level, I joined the U.S. Marine Corps.  I spent six

months of my service in and off the coast of Vietnam.  I helped sort out the dead

and wounded, an experience that resonates in my life to this day.  That war, like

the Iraq war, was started by a president who misrepresented the truth.  And it

grieves me to see a new generation become cannon fodder.

All we were seeking in Canada was a fresh start in a nation that chooses its wars

more prudently.  We wanted Permanent Residency so we could sponsor Jude’s

two teenaged sons and my grandkids if the draft was reinstated and they didn’t

wish to take up arms.  We wanted to do this off the grid on some acreage where

we could pursue self-reliance.


This blog is about what we’ve found: a life we couldn’t have imagined when we

left the states; a home bursting with friends and fulfillment, humour and hope;

a farm abuzz with the astonishing lessons of nature.



BLOG TITLE: of all the poetry I’ve read, the line that stays freshest in my mind is:

“Let now you soul in this substantial world some anchor strike.”  That’s from “An

End to Travel” by Robert Louis Stevenson.  Although Bob was referring to dying,

I take it as elegant advice to find where you belong and stay there.  I don’t believe

in blooming where you’re planted.  I’ve been in too many sterile to hostile soils

to adhere to that.

A few years after we moved in, I took the photo of the rainbow and the apple tree

in the middle of our property.  I’m an agnostic.  By no means did I interpret this

as a sign of celestial approval.  But as random chance goes, it was impressive.

BLOG SUBTITLE: this is a rift on a line from Dante’s “Divine Comedy”: “Abandon

hope, all ye who enter here.”  It was inscribed over the gates of Hell in his epic

poem.  Some historians contend that it was also over an entrance to the infamous

Andersonville Prison in the Civil War.  My version substitutes “hype” for “hope”.

I’m asking readers to shed what’s not important so we can discuss what is.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2011 9:00 am

    So relieved I reread your heading and you hadn’y said to leave all “type” behind.
    Bon voyage, our west coast friend!

    • January 27, 2011 7:58 am

      Hi, guys. I’m trying to figure out how to do that line in a bigger font. Thanks for dropping by. You’re welcome anytime. Stay warm and safe in your more typically Canadian winter.

  2. michael grady permalink
    April 24, 2012 7:37 pm


    • April 25, 2012 9:06 am

      What exactly caused the “Eureka!” moment? I said a lot of things in ’05.

  3. Anonymous permalink
    June 9, 2012 6:47 am

    As “ex-pats” of 2005 and visitors to your land we are enjoying very much your blog. I finally went back to the US to visit in 2010. Glad to be here. Having a Royal Family is such a distration and such fun. Judith

    • June 9, 2012 10:47 am

      HI, Judith, and welcome to the blog. Please say “hi” to Peter.

  4. October 11, 2013 6:41 pm

    where are you and why do you close comments? i went to the last post and was going to ask what you thought of the ‘shut down’… he comments were closed!!!

  5. Anonymous permalink
    January 15, 2015 7:59 am

    Allen, I’d like your permission to print your Idle Wise as a “public service” in a column in my local newspaper, where I’m editor. Could you please let me know and, if the answer is yes, tell me what credit you’d like. – Thanks, Kate

  6. Josephine Modica grover permalink
    February 10, 2016 6:10 pm

    I came across this blog while looking up cc Courtney -my father was friends with him and did s play called murphys canyon . I sit here tonight with a copy of the show from 1968…

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