Meanwhile, nature enchants.


It is Sunday morning and I look out my kitchen window, alarmed at the silence. There are no bird songs. No pigeons cooing, no seagulls screeching, crows cawing, sparrows singing…

I took a walk into the park on Friday. Looking out over the ocean into the haze, eyes, stinging, feeling heartbroken for Earth.

Meanwhile, nature enchants.

A beaver glided by peacefully at the lagoon.

Continuing on past the ducks and heron.

Sparrows always make me gasp with delight.


Breathtaking. In very aspect of the word.

The sparrow is mightier than the machine

This morning, at the 23 bus stop in the West End, I heard the overwhelming LOUDNESS of humanity– cars, buses, construction, garbage container being dumped into a truck, a plane overhead, motorcycles.

Cutting through all that noise was the song of one little sparrow. One little sparrow with a song so much mightier and awe-inspiring than the machines surrounding us.

China marker, watercolor, acrylic on newsprint, April 8, 2019

And at that moment, a lilting melody lifts to the moon as a single sparrow sings.
Lisa Ann Sandell, Song of the Sparrow

Bird spotting with a yellow legal pad and a walk in the park.

I walked around Lost Lagoon this afternoon.

In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.
Robert Lynd

I found a heron nest on the ground after a windstorm broke a large tree branch.


I saw signs of early Spring.

And hope springs eternal.  What else did I see?  Well…

There is an unreasonable joy to be had from the observation of small birds going about their bright, oblivious business.
Grant Hutchison, The Complete Lachlan

Every bird at the marsh filled us with a little light. I wondered if I was just so simple that this was all it took. But then I thought, I’m lucky that this is all it takes.”
Lynn Thomson, Birding with Yeats: A Mother’s Memoir

A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on it’s own wings. – Unknown

She decided to free herself, dance into the wind, create a new language. And birds fluttered around her, writing “yes” in the sky.
Monique Duval

I’ve given myself space-time.

This week started with some bristling uneasiness.  But instead of falling into fear and trying to figure out next steps, I decided to give myself this week to take time– to NOT FIGURE THINGS OUT.  To give myself some space and time.  Some space-time.

Be in the questions, yes- but allow whatever comes- to come.

I asked myself- what if I trust fully?  

What if I don’t try?  What if I trust that all is aligned and in place now?  What if I trust that I simply need to make a space in which to be and breathe?  To not force?  To do good work?  Not desperate work?

I am in the midst of this taking time time- and my heart is beating a bit easier.

Time does not mean making more time- it’s about allowing the unknown.  If a question comes up- I won’t fixate on fixing, but allow the answer to come in its own time.  It doesn’t add to the to-do- it allows for space.

Space-time today included moving myself out of my studio/bedroom/living room— and into nature.   I had a hunch that if I walked with a don’t know mind, allowing myself to discover treasures in the park- that I would get some clarity on some research I was stuck on.  Knowing that once I looped around the lagoon, I would know what I needed to know.

Some treasures in the park:

I looped back to my block, and indeed- an aha! answer came.

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” ~Lao Tzu


Stanley Park. Birds. Angel whispers. And Pledge Drive.

I walked around Beaver Lake today.  I was infused by the profound beauty of nature.  Warm sun.  Blossoms.  Skunk cabbage.  Herons were dancing in the wind above the lake, ducks were courting and playing, chipmunks and squirrels scurrying.  Chestnut-backed chickadees and red-breasted nuthatches landed on my hands.  I describe the feeling as angel whispers.

I took a few photos.


And drew my collected observations:

Drawing 1: March 28, 2016. China Marker on Newsprint 16″ x 24″

Stanley Park Scenes 72-hour PLEDGE DRIVE!

Until March 31, 2016 9 PM PT.

I am raising funds to renew and upgrade this blog and to purchase art supplies!

For every $20 pledged, I will draw a new scene from my daily observations of animal and bird activity in Stanley Park.

Pledgers of $20 can choose to receive the upcoming e-book version of Drawn Together- Maintaining Connections and Navigating Life’s Challenges with Art by Roar and Kat Thorsen!


You can choose to purchase a drawing for a $75 or more donation.  

The rest of the drawings will be donated to EVERGREEN HOUSE residential care facility, Lions Gate Hospital, North Vancouver to celebrate my father, Roar Thorsen (who lived at Evergreen House 2007-2012 and who loved drawing and being outside in nature) and to thank the staff who made our lives so happy.  

Roar and Kat at Evergreen House April 2012

Pledgers can choose to have their names included on the donor list!

To pledge:

Donate via email transfer to

or donate via PayPal


If you are pledging to pre-order the e-book include a note/email address with your donation!

If you wish to purchase an original drawing (they will be shared here) for $75.00, include title of drawing and your mailing address with your donation! 

If you enjoy my art blog, please consider a small donation!  THANK YOU!

Pay attention to the birds: Part 6- Starling

Ah, the birds— and their delightful ways— this time of year in particular.  I just LOVE watching them!

And I love when I feel something extra special in a particular moment that makes me stop and pay attention.

The other day, I observed a flock of starlings.  I know many people call them rats, greasy rat-birds.  But if you really stop, and take a close look, they are absolutely stunning.


I identify with these little commoners.  I find it so therapeutic to study them, and embroider their detailing.  It reminds me to take time to STOP.  To OBSERVE the beauty around us.  Indeed, I feel most at peace when embroidering my drawings in solitude.  Why?  Is it a question that needs to be answered?  What makes you feel at peace?

So what was it about this particular moment?  What lesson did I need to learn?

Let’s look up some symbolism.  Here are some fave findings:

Starlings… are messengers from the spirit realms. They actually are a wakeup call and reminder that changes in situations are coming. Usually for the better. They signal the end of one cycle and the beginning of a new one…

The first changes will be spiritual, (these have already begun) which will start the “domino” effect of your physical and logical life as well. Though it may seem that things are getting more complicated in these areas first, this is actually a shaking off of the dust and the opening for the new. [source]

Starling teaches how to behave within a group setting – how to be effective and assertive without becoming a bully. Communication is important to Starling people; however, you must be careful what you say, for people may take it incorrectly or blow it out of proportion. Watch your own sensitivity to other’s words. You might be reading more into it that is truly there. By learning Starling’s behaviors, you can live peacefully within your community of friends and family. [source]

See other bird posts:

PART 1: Kingfisher

PART 2: American Robin

PART 3: Pigeon

Part 4: Hummingbird

Part 5: Sparrow

POST: They let their wings down…

POST: Dead messengers

But the one thing that eases anxiety- always, no matter how tired I am…

There have been so many changes in my life.  Good ones overall, that’s for sure.  But I find myself paralyzed in the mornings these days by anxiety.

Some days are better than others.  It all makes sense with all the stuff going on, all the changes, the bankruptcy, the move, the losses, the gains, the new life.  But, I am hard on myself.  Very hard.

Let yourself fuck up now and then, my therapist told me years ago.

So why do I let myself feel like a fuck up as opposed to being easy on myself, free in the knowledge that I can ALWAYS hold my head high?

It’s the little girl in me wide awake, traumatized by bullies, feeling small.  Voiceless.


Self work. Self work.  Self work.

I pull out my tools:

mind map out my to do’s.

micro-step my day, simplify.

Even avoid certain things on my to-do that trigger me.

I  journal– pour out whatever comes off the pen onto paper.

I reach out to friends.  I read.  I blog.  I build my network.

I create create create.

But the one thing that eases anxiety- always, no matter how tired I am- is to get out into nature.

To take it all in.  Works every time.


Dear Mother Earth!  I think I have always especially belonged to you.  I have loved from babyhood to roll upon you, to lie with my face pressed right down on to you in my sorrows.  I love the look of you and the smell of you and the feel of you.  – Emily Carr

Swans fixing their nest. Looks like it collapsed on one side and an egg rolled down.  Stanley Park, Vancouver BC
Swans fixing their nest. Looks like it collapsed on one side and an egg rolled down. Stanley Park, Vancouver BC

You must be very rich, said a grade 8 student to me the other day when I told her about all my projects.  My heart sank for a second as I thought of the $19 in my bank account, but I responded with, Yes, I am.  

For I am rich with the gifts I was born with, the talent I have developed, rich in the relationships I have built through art, rich with family. Rich for waking to a new day and being able to walk, to listen to the baby herons, to watch the swans, to walk in the woods with my nephew and my dog.

To know, each day is full of new possibilities.

The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time. – Abraham Lincoln

My nephew, Henrik, and my dog, Tobey, Stanley Park, Vancouver BC
My nephew, Henrik, and my dog, Tobey, Stanley Park, Vancouver BC