Author Unknown


I walked along the sea wall on a relatively warm winter's morning. a  cold spell had just lifted from the streets of Vancouver, leaving piles of snow melting on the sidewalks for pedestrians to dodge. All of the snow from the seawall had been lifted thanks to the warming effect of the Pacific Ocean.

I live inland, far away from the ocean, so as I approached the water the familiar sound of sea gulls lifted my heart despite the cloudy day.

I passed the docks tethering the sea planes waiting to carry passengers into the sky. Their bright blue and yellow stripes added some much needed colour to the gray day.

I passed a man fishing for "anything he could catch, after all, it's the ocean. I wondered what he could actually catch, a star fish? Would the fish even be safe to eat?

I kept strolling along, mesmerized by the soft, quiet movement of the water, trying to remember exactly what it looked like. Of course, I'd forget almost as swiftly as the water's persistent movement would continue to challenge my understanding. So, I settled with taking a picture with my phone.

I came across a bottle floating and I thought back to this article I read about a man who had found 83 messages in bottles. He had made it his hobby to try and see where these messages came from. He had even managed to meet one couple who launched a message on their wedding day.

The bottle was floating away from the shore, so I quickly abandoned any hope of retrieving it to check for a message.

Then, I spotted something inside. It looked like an actual message! A woman was passing by and I pointed it out, excitedly. She didn't seem as interested as she glanced and kept walking.

There was no way for me to get the bottle without also getting completely soaked, so I took some photos and continued on my way. Seeing that bottle got me excited, added some pep in my step and for awhile it felt like the sun was out, even though it just started raining.

I quickly put a photo on Instagram and was content, even if the mystery was never solved. I continued on my journey along Coal Harbor, with my heart full of excitement.

Later that night I sat in my hotel, satisfied after a nice dinner and put my feet up. I was sitting with my art supplies spread across the table, with my mind wandering around. I thought of that man who tracked down the original writers of the message and I wondered if maybe the person who sent it was like me, a lover of social media. Perhaps they also  put a picture online. So, I surfed Instagram for the hashtag I used, #messageinabottle.

Once you wade through the sea of cheesy message in a bottle stock photos, irrelevant quotes and photos of albums by the Police, you just might get lucky enough to find this photo. A few hours after I passed by, a couple of people took advantage of the lowering tide to retrieve the bottle.

They posted photos of their heroic retrieval, as well as the message they found inside. The message they found said, "love is a meeting of two souls, accepting the dark and the light within each other, bound by the courage to grow through struggle into bliss."

The author of this poem, like the writer of the note, remain unknown.

The title of the painting is Author Unknown. I painted this with acrylic paint on a stretched canvas 12" by 12" in size.


Erin StaggComment