If I could give you all the answers,

I would.

If I could save you from all the hurt,

I would.

But if I keep you from all that the world has to give,

Then I’d be denying you the chance that you have to live.

If I save you from your very first heartbreak,

You will never know True Love.

If I gave you a reason for every little thing,

You will never know everyday magic.

And if I shelter you from all the Hate,

You will never know the need to stand up against it.

You must live little darling,

And that can sometimes feel like too much.

But you must live little darling,

Because otherwise, you’ll miss out on all the fun.

If you never fall,

You won’t know how great it is to fly.

If you never fail,

You won’t know how to get up again and try.

If you never hurt,

You won’t know what it means to heal.

And if you never cry,

You won’t ever know what it means to feel.

You must live little darling,

But know – you’re not alone here.

We’re all just living little darling,

And with that, there will be nothing to fear.

I can’t do it all for you, my little one,

But I can teach you what you need to know.

I can’t do it all for you – I’m sorry,

Because you and I, we both need to grow.

Eternity lives in moments.

In the most desolate and desperate situations, hope can shine and miracles do happen. Know this and be well.

I remember the details with perfect clarity of that evening of Dec 23, 1997. Amanda and I were returning home on a snowmobile from a overnight cabin trip with friends in the middle of Labrador, our home. It was a lengthy trip over the frozen lakes and we had left in the mid afternoon with another couple of friends but got separated along the way because we had to make a stop to switch gas tanks. Not long after we started on our way again, I was sitting comfortably and listening to music on my Walkman when Amanda yelled “look out! We’re going in!” Through the ice we went, Amanda went to the left of the ski doo, I went to the right and immediately submerged into the frigid December waters of a Labrador lake.

Time did not stand still. It simply did not exist. The whole world, my world, was eternal. There was no beginning, no end – just that moment.

I can still feel that sensation of weightlessness from falling into the water, like a dream where I’m flying. Then I felt a pull, dragging me down, like icy tentacles grasping at my legs as my clothes started to weigh me down. I was enveloped in absolute terror trying to keep my head above water, then utter hopelessness with ice breaking under my arms over and over and over again as I tried to get out of the water. Light turned to dark, day to night, and then miraculously I was out. I have never been able to recall that instant other than exactly as I described – fighting to get out of the water and then *poof* I was sitting on the ice. I remember feeling like I woke from that dream to find myself sitting there. Not knowing how I got there but knowing I was given a new chance. I can feel the ice underneath me as I crawled to Amanda and we remembered enough from survival lessons in health class kept our distance so as not to break the ice again. We argued. I told her we would not give in, that was not an option. Together we made our choice to not give up, then we screamed for help. We screamed. I can still feel the ripping in my throat. Jagged, tearing screams into a clear and quiet night, reaching nothing. You could see for miles and there was nothing. No one. Time did not exist. I could see the lights from the iron ore mine, I was trying to determine how far they would be if we had to crawl that way to get off the ice. I could feel nothing of the cold, even for being soaked to the core with layers upon layers of soaking wet clothes. I knew the threat of hypothermia would become imminent as well if our situation didn’t change soon. Then another miracle, first a distant sound of a rumbling engine, then a bright light staggering in the distance. How, I will never know. It defies explanation how our screams were heard over the roaring engine of s snowmobile. How we were seen in the middle of the lake when we never should have been there. But we were.

There, the 3 of us, rode to the highway on a snowmobile meant for one. I was on the back, barely holding on, screaming again inside as I felt the ice breaking under my feet as we drove off. We arrived at the highway to flag down anyone that would stop and take us to the hospital. And so there, once again, a miracle, after a few hours of observation, tightly wrapped in warm flannel blankets, once the shaking subsided, neither one of us had hypothermia, no one else from our party had been in trouble (which was my fear) and we were released to go home. I tried not sleep that night. I felt I had just squeaked past death’s hand too many times that evening that I was not going to be given any more chances. Eventually though, sleep took me.

I may not have gone on to change the world, but my world was changed from that moment. And from there I’ve helped create 2 new precious worlds and with that I know, without a doubt, miracles happen. Miracles are real.

Kevin Collins Photography

Back in October our family had a free weekend, so a last minute decision, and we ended up at the Toronto Zoo. We used to have a membership several years ago but found that we weren’t going enough to justify it.

They were having a Halloween weekend, and kids that dressed in costume got in for free, so naturally, it was crazy busy there. I brought along my new Holga 120WPC and a Nikkormat FTn and am fairly happy with the results. I was using a zoom lens I didn’t even know I had. I primarily use prime lenses these days so it was fun to use something a bit different.

Camera: Nikkormat FTn
Lens: Magnicon XC 70-200mm f/4.5-5.6
Film: Rollei Superpan 200
Developer: Blazinal (1+100) at 20.0C for 60 minutes
Scanner: Epson V850
Catalog ID: 2019-042

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Oct.30/17 4:30am

It was an appropriately creepy Halloween time walk early this morning. The wailing north westerlies dominated the pre-dawn landscape. I hate these winds. These winds lend voices to things otherwise silent.

The trees moan as they bend to their demands.

Their leaves shiver on the branches. Wires scream with warning, pushed to their limits, and the street lights sway ominously. The cacophony leads me to take a different route than normal, away from the overhead dangers. The dead leaves on the ground are momentary companions, pitter – pattering along with me until a gust comes and they escape fervently, breathless as they swirl away. Behind me the the skeleton leaves are foot steps gathering closer and closer, until I look to see that no one is indeed there, only to find that they were disguising the actual footsteps beside me.

I come across empty lots,scarred black and desolate this early morning. With huge hulking metal mountains parked in a silent corner. The chain link fence rattles keeping whatever it needs to keep out, out. Or maybe in. I hustle past not wanting to find out which.

Finally! Back on the home stretch. Relief is quickly surpassed by dread – this home stretch is dimly lit. The only light from the street lamps is canopied by trees dancing freakishly in the wind, making the sidewalk a psycho disco of strobe light shadows.

I pick up the pace, I’ve had enough of this nightmare, and I just want to be home, safe. My imagination has run wild with these wailing north westerlies, and it’s time to find refuge. I walk, in the darkness , as quickly as I can. Ignoring the sounds around me but sensing and heeding their urgency. I’m being chased by these shadows, and the otherwise voiceless are screaming at me to leave.

I feel like a modern day Ichabod Crane making his way home late at night after the party. Finally assured that all will be well, I was no more than 4 minutes from home – relief! However, the lights momentarily flicker, then, just above the treetops,on the path I normally would have been on, an explosion! The exploding pumpkin head through the covered bridge. Happy Halloween 👻

Today is just like many other days. We’re rushing around, wrangling kids, trying to get them dressed in clean clothes and fed a decent breakfast and bonus points for getting them to brush their teeth and maybe sometimes, or all the time like in my case, this side-show shit hits the fan. There may or may not be yelling and words you normally wouldn’t want coming out of your mouth may be directed right towards your kids for JUST NOT LISTENING! The drive to school or daycare is in silence(only if you’re lucky), you kiss your kids goodbye👋 and race off to the work you’re already now late for, throw your butt into your ergonomic chair in front of your computer and (deep sigh of guilt) think to yourself – was all that, all that yelling and rushing and swearing and stress really worth it?? For this?

Well, is it?

This scenario gave me pause today and me made think – where are my boundaries? Where is the line where I say “No, this isn’t worth it”? Where is the level of stress to the point where I can say “I need a break, I need some help, or I need to get away” ?

How can I make boundaries without feeling like I’m letting someone down? How can I draw the line in my life where I commit to it being the enforceable point between ‘manageable’ and ‘too much’? More importantly, how do I make others see and obey that line?

I can’t do everything, and my super-mom friends that I’m always in awe of can’t do everything all the time either. But we try. We succeed. We fail. We persist. And at the end of the day we just hope our babes believe the honesty in our voices when we say “I love you.” 💖


The house was quiet and still, where once you couldn’t escape the noise. It was mostly happy noise, not always, but it was life. Life’s noise. The ringing of the phone, the tv in the living room with the volume way up, the laughter among friends, and the screaming between sisters. That day the air was heavy and stale, waiting for movement, for a breath to keep it alive and fresh. Shadows hung in every corner, low clouds that eked into every crevice and made the light heavy and dim. In the corner of the counter, where it had always been, stood a coffee maker. The white of the plastic had yellowed from years of use and cigarette smoke in the house. The glass carafe stained brown and chipped on the spout, where when you poured the coffee it would leak down the side of the carafe and sizzle against the burner creating a noxious steam. It still had a half a pot of coffee in it with spores starting to grow. I don’t know how long it had been there, it didn’t matter.

That visit, with me standing there once again with my mother and sisters, was like an exhalation. An exhalation of life, more than just one, an emptiness so complete and final, yet also, endless.

This is death. This is grief.

Grief is death left for the living. It is a vacuum. A black hole. There is no air to breathe. No ground under your feet. No voice to speak, no sound to hear. It is a void, profound with nothingness and at the same time, all encompassing, all consuming. Grief is the penance we pay for having known someone who lived a life worth loving. I closed my eyes and the vision of my self, the self that grew and developed there, slipped away on a sigh.

I stood barefoot on the warmed planks of the splintering deck, a coffee in hand and the grace of the sun upon my face. It was a cool morning, June in Labrador. I knew I had to leave soon. I knew leaving meant so much more than getting on a plane and saying, “see you soon”. It meant leaving everything I had ever known behind – forever. My home, my childhood, and my dad were all dead.

To the lost boy

He approaches me with anger once again

but this time I don’t back away.

I stand my ground, no longer fearful of him

I choose to listen.

She chose you over me,

anger thinly veils the absolute desperation.

I can see that now.

She didn’t, I respond and quickly follow up,

but I know it must feel that way.

The rage I see bubbling up suppresses,

ever so slightly,

as to not spill over.

We played out this scene before,

a hundred times, a thousand,

and yet this time I reveal the truth,

When she lost you, she lost herself.

And we never saw her again.

Owen and Victoria Stack

After a tumultuous attempt at landing in Wabush,NL our plane was redirected back to Sept Isles,QC where I had previously been waiting 10 hours. Irritated and exhausted, I released myself from the constraints of the airplane seatbelt to get off the plane once again. I looked down the aisle to see frustrated faces and lips moving with expletives. Through the sea of anger I saw one face shining brightly, like a beacon on that forsaken flight. Owen. At that point, I don’t know his name but I do know he is special.

Inside the airport Owen bustled around the terminal in his Montreal Canadiens adorned wheelchair, chatting with everyone who will listen. He is 3 years old, has a fondness for Queen, Superman, and the pictures of my cats on my phone. I tell him I have a son his age too and we discuss the finer details of Paw Patrol. He is returning from the Shriners Hospital in Montreal, he was born with Spina Bifida and will require a double hip replacement in the near future and was visiting the hospital for a check up. His wheel chair, customized with the Montreal Canadiens vinyl and lighted front wheels, was gratefully funded by the residents in his hometown, and mine, of Labrador City. An expense that otherwise couldn’t have been afforded by the family on their own. The next morning we arrive at the airport once again, and after nervously debating whether to ask or not, I ask to take their picture. I wanted to try capture the true beauty before me, the kind that makes strangers into friends, a community of travellers, with him just being there. Just being Owen. Victoria, his mother, refers to Owen as “my treasure” and he certainly is a gift to everyone who are lucky enough to meet him.

I have found that social media in all it’s trendy immediacy has a way of creating an emotion in me very suggestive and powerful. Only recently have I been able to decipher this as Lust and a little longer to realize the difference between Want and Lust. Here’s a brief list:

– The White House: not that White House ( gawd no) but A white house. All the design trends lean towards minimalism and the serenity of neutral. It looks amazingly appealing and I Lust for that after seeing those photos. So I took a moment to break down that Lust into the rational and logical form of Want. What I actually Want is order and organization. And cleanliness. I have 2 young boys so these are all fleeting occurrences.

– Insta-influencers: These are very beautiful people. They have perfect faces, bodies, families, hustles, and houses. I Lust for it all at first glance. But here’s one thing, I do not look like them and I never will. I have an awkwardness that shines brighter than any bronzer on the market and that no amount of cover-up and contouring can change. What I actually Want is something entirely deeper – it’s confidence, authenticity, and the ability to inspire. It has nothing to do with the actual skin products they use or the clothes they wear.

So here’s my point, and I do have one, sometimes at first glance we’re deceived by initial impressions influenced by others. We’re pointed in a direction we are led to believe is correct only because all the lights illuminate that one path. If we just take a moment to take in our surroundings and truly reflect on what we Want maybe, just maybe, we’ll find our own path. It may not yet be forged and can seem frighteningly unaccommodating but sure enough, with you leading the way, that wander through the woods will lead to everything you’ve been looking for and more than you’ve ever expected. ✨

This scene has played out in my mind a million times and it still haunts me. I think it’s time to say I’m sorry.

The telephone rang breaking through the calm of the evening.

Isn’t that how all tragedies start? A simple phone call.

Maybe my parents had been waiting for it, I don’t know. In all my immature stupidity I wasn’t aware of others, only myself. Always myself. My mom answered, and called for Dad. He was seated in front of the TV in the living room in his chair, the one you vacated the moment he got home, I was on the couch. This seemed to be the extent of our closeness, watching tv together silently. Sometimes I would muster up the courage to make a comment to him about the show we were watching and be rewarded with a response. He’d never know how much that answer would mean to me, how at that moment I’d feel a significant part of his life. But that didn’t happen that night. That night, I was the one without a response.

He went to the kitchen to talk on the phone, or rather, I think he just listened. Then he came back and fell into his chair. I had never seen him this way before. I didn’t dare say anything, I just watched him, feeling increasingly anxious that this person in front of me was not the man I had known my whole life. This was a different person. An individual that I had never known. He looked at me, looked through me and said “well that’s it. My brother is dead”, his voice cracked at that last word, shattering that seemingly unbreakable shell, and he crumbled and cried. Still, I said nothing. I let him suffer in front of me, as alone as he could be because I was nothing. I wanted to go to him, comfort him, this stranger in front of me, but I did not. Instead I quietly felt his pain as my own, and realized terribly that this illusion in front of me, the one I held as infallible force of a father was instead just a man who had endured loss like the rest of us. Just a boy, alone and sad.

I’m sorry Dad.