Smoking pipe

One thing I have learned these past few days is that everyone has their stories.  So obvious but it’s also something we forget.  The theory is far removed from deeply knowing and remembering to respect them for their unspoken story.  

Cougar, 1996

Mark has the creative eye to capture stories visually. That is why he was a photojournalist, telling stories with his pictures.  But there were also stories behind the stories.One of his more famous photos ‘Cougar’ was for a story for Beautiful BC magazine.  He went out with the cougar researcher to track some radio collared cougars. They were within 400 ft of at least two cougars but could not see them or photograph them.  They only knew they were there in the bush, right next to them because of the radio signals.  A few days later a cougar tracker phoned Mark to let him know they had caught some troublesome cougars and were relocating them and did he want a picture?  The two cougars were in a cage about the size of an average living room.  The tracker opened the door of the cage, brandied a ruddy big stick at the cougars ready to beat them off Mark while Mark ducked into the cage, fired off a roll of film with his motor drive, retreated out of the cage reloaded and went back in for more.


So many pictures, so many stories.

Adrianne before her husband disappeared while sailing in July.
He had wonderful stories. 

The lab technician, a young woman around 30, who took six vials of Mark’s blood the other day had a story.  I don’t know her story nor how she knew Mark’s unfolding story, perhaps the specific blood tests told her or perhaps intuition, but she knew.  She came over to me after and put her arm around me and quietly told me it will get better ‘I know.’ she explained ‘I am a widow too.  Just remember that things will get better.’

5 thoughts on “Stories

  1. Oh Liz, such poignant, powerful writing. And you've picked such perfect photos to accompany this post. That cougar photo! So many memories of dining with that fellow snarling from the wall nearby. . . and that compelling narrative-at-sea, the woman with the pipe, which was interpreted in a colourful canvas by Line Osmundsen. So much in that beautifully composed black and white photo, truly a work of art.I saw Tauno and Cathy and James and Mark heading off yesterday and wondered if the doctors and nurses would have any idea of the challenging trip to the hospital. Glad to hear it brought Mark some comfort. Hope you can find some as well. xoxo


  2. great to hear these stories and see the photos. It brought back something I had forgotten–Mark as a man about town with his camera slung around his neck, working for the paper. One day (long before I actually knew him) he shot Sophie holding shakily onto one of those little walkers for the ice rink. He got the tentative look (kind of brave, kind of scared) on her 4 yr. old face so perfectly. Now I know he probably scanned that rink and found the face.


  3. Dear Mark: No doubt you know much more than we do, how much it sucks to be writing this to you. In the scheme of things, we haven't known you that long, but you always had a larger than life presence for us on our visits to the Howell's, whether you and Liz were there or not. Like many others, much of our memories of being with you revolve around food…PLUS wine. Your culinary skills are well documented in your blog. We've seen you work seemlessly in every position in the kitchen – master chef, sous-chef, chief bottle washer and winer/diner. Lars particularly enjoyed those occasions when he could also take opportunities with you to push Jerry's buttons – always, of course, in your good-hearted way – while Helen was amazed to learn about the latest advances in technology, photography,or just being out in the wild. We will always remember the twinkle in your eyes, your impish good humour, and your kindness. Our visits to Protection Island will never be the same. And Liz… we know it must be a super-hard time for you right now. Please take care and don't be a stranger.


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