Thursday, October 14, 2021

October Daily 14: Autumn Days


"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." 
Anne of Green Gables

These are the cozy days. Temperatures drop and I wrap myself in a warm sweater. At night cold air drifts in through the open window and I pull the covers close around my neck. It's the season for copious cups of tea. 

Novels such as Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte are so full of the stormy weather that makes for good autumn reading. Sometimes I dip in and out of the stories where descriptions of gloomy woods, sighing winds, and bleak hilltops are contrasted with immense fires and the glow of candlelight. On a stormy afternoon, I have, on occasion, bundled up like a brave heroine and gone for a walk in the wind and rain, feeling very Bronte-ish. 

Other days are tinged with gold and remind me of September by Rosamunde Pilcher. L. M. Montgomery's novels of Anne often feature good seasonal descriptions - I think of the scene in Anne of the Island where she is at college and brings up a plate of crisp apples to eat by the fire. Such homey scenes are so satisfying to read.

When I studied for my French degree, I read a story by Colette - Un Soir (One Night) - describing a fireside scene into which two travelers are welcomed. It's full of sensory details that draw the reader into the scene.

"Une vieille eau-de-vie de prune, le café encore brûlant nous firent presque intimes. La lumière électrique, rare dans la région, l'odeur du tabac blond, des fruits, du bois résineux qui flambait, je goûtais ces charmes familiers comme les dons d'une île nouvelle. "

"An aged plum brandy, the coffee scorching hot, made us almost intimate friends. The electric light, rare in the region, the scent of blond tobacco, of fruit, of burning resinous wood - I tasted these familiar delights as if they were gifts of a new island."

"Is this not a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love - that makes life and nature harmonise." George Eliot

Brenda, from Life is Beautiful wrote a post about autumn reading that had me nodding my head in agreement. I'm sure you will nod, too, when you read her lovely words.

I also enjoy books that feature musings and meandering essays on the seasons - I think of Gladys Taber and her Stillmeadow books. 

An "atmospheric river" is headed our way this weekend. In regular language, that's a lot of rain. We'll be engaged in cozy indoor pursuits - books and sewing, baking and puttering, and perhaps a mug of hot chocolate as accompaniment. There will likely be a walk or two in between the raindrops, or among them.

I very much enjoyed my day of teaching and hope for more over the next months. It's always nice to know that I can say no if I have other plans. 

Do you have books you enjoy reading seasonally? 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

October Daily 13: Heron in the Mist


"He felt himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams." (J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Rings)

Mist makes a familiar landscape mysterious. On this particular morning at Elk Lake, fog came and went, shape-shifting - now revealing, now obscuring.

I walked along the lakeshore towards the heron who stood knee-deep in the water, motionless, but very aware of my presence. The mist drained sound and colour from the landscape, turning all to muted shades of grey. 

Silently, suddenly, the heron lifted off the water, spreading his great wings wide, long legs dangling and neck outstretched as he flew away in the fog. 


I am glad to come in from the cold to a fire and a hot cup of tea. Summer days are definitely past, and autumn full here. One morning this week I looked out to frost on the roofs. I feared for the dahlias and zinnias, but it didn't touch them, and I am glad. 

Tomorrow will be a busy day - I was called to substitute teach. I just added my name to the list, and this is my first call. It will be a bit strange to be back in the school where I taught, but I'm looking forward to it. 

Has the temperature fallen below freezing yet in your area?

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

October Daily 12: Square Kilometres and Pumpkins


I found this image of the outline of British Columbia, my province, overlaid on various other parts of the world. It gives some inkling of how large the land mass of BC is. I live on the Island outlined in blue in the bottom left of the sketch. 

Our population is 5.2 million, and it's concentrated in a few clusters, particularly southern Vancouver Island (where I live) and the lower mainland, ie Greater Vancouver. In most of BC's regional districts the population density is fewer than 10 people per square kilometre. There's a lot of wilderness!

Yesterday I noticed lots of families in the pumpkin patch beside the road, choosing pumpkins for Halloween. I took this photo on that misty morning last week. The pumpkins are sometimes grown in other fields and placed here for pumpkin hunters to find. 

Isn't this the perfect pumpkin? Wouldn't it make a wonderful carriage for Cinderella? 

What do you do with pumpkins? Decorate? Soup? Pie? 

Monday, October 11, 2021

October Daily 11: On the water


This morning we launched the boat and rode to Port Browning on Pender Island for lunch with friends. Cloudy skies and a bit of wind gave way to blue patches and calm seas. The two-hour trip went by quickly for the six of us. 

There are splotches of autumn colour in the forests, although the evergreens continue to dominate. 

Five of our group ordered the burgers that the Port Browning Marina Pub is famous for, but I opted for the fish tacos. Everyone was happy with their selection and we ate outdoors at a picnic table with the warm sun on our faces. There won't be too many more days for that as the month goes on and the weather cools. 

We sailed home under sunny skies, relaxed and contented. This evening's dinner was turkey dinner leftovers, always delicious. 

And so another Thanksgiving holiday weekend ends. Thankfulness persists. 

Sunday, October 10, 2021

October Daily 10: And there was feasting and happiness


I set the table the night before, and then added a couple of places in the morning when our youngest called to say that the little girls were much better and the whole family would come. Hooray! And so we all gathered around the table, so thankful that we could be together.

After dinner the five grands played on the living room floor and my heart swelled to see them all engaged - the older ones interacting so sweetly with the younger. 

I caught this little moment when Cora put her hand into Felix's. 

There was turkey and all the trimmings, and for dessert, pumpkin pie (brought by our daughter), traditional apple pie, and Apple Frangipane tart. Almost everyone had a little bit of each one, with whipped cream. 

We give thanks to God

 for family and love,

for jobs that we enjoy,

for delicious food and warm clothes to wear,

for friends to share laughter and tears,

for our country of Canada

where we enjoy freedom to worship and celebrate.

Give us hearts that are open to sharing and listening,

Help us to encourage others,

to build up and not tear down.

Give us wisdom to walk each day with purpose and intention.

Now to relax. Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 09, 2021

October Daily 9: On a Misty Morning


Late this week wee woke up to our house enshrouded by fog,  and I thought it would be fun to visit Island View Beach, and see the views from there. On the beach the fog dissipated quickly and the sun blazed low and fierce behind me as I walked. 

Gulls making plans for the day.

The sun climbed quickly up the sky. 

I grew up in the BC interior, more familiar with lakes and rivers than the ocean. In Grade Five we learned the poem Sea-Fever by John Masefield, and I developed a romantic interest in the sea that was highly imagined for we rarely, if ever, went there. 

It was in my late 20s, when we lived in Ecuador, that I first spent time at the shore and developed a deep love for the incessant waves, the long sandy beaches, and the salt air. Almost twenty years ago now, we moved to Vancouver Island, and beach took on a whole different meaning. Here were rugged intersections between land and sea, scattered with rocks large and small, and tangles of enormous bull kelp strewn on the sand or drifting in the water. Currents and waves are tumultuous, and everywhere the deep green forests march almost to the water, making the access to land impenetrable in places. 

I love it all. There is nothing like walking a beach, be it sandy or rocky, for unraveling a tangled mind. 

Friday, October 08, 2021

October Daily 8: Thanksgiving Preparations


Harvest celebrations have been marked for many many years. First Nations peoples, European villages and towns, and cultures around the world have celebrated the harvest for many years, giving thanks for good yields and food that would see them through the winter. 

The first Thanksgiving celebrated by Europeans in Canada was initiated by the English explorer Sir Martin Frobisher, in 1578, with a meal of salt beef, biscuit, and mushy peas, in gratitude for having safely arrived at what is now Nunavut. 

We'll be enjoying turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and all the trimmings, and giving thanks for God's goodness throughout this past year. 

The family is gathering here - 13 of us, we hope, as one family may not be able to make it because of colds and congestion in the children. 

Today I polished the brass and ironed the linen napkins. As I worked, I thought of Riobamba, Ecuador, where we bought the brass many years ago, and of the linen napkins that once belonged to my mother-in-law and are well over 65 years old. She didn't use them often, but I do, so I doubt they will be in any condition to pass down to my children, should they want them. 

Pie crusts will soon be chilling in the refrigerator, and I made a couple dozen pumpkin-shaped dinner rolls. They are in the freezer and will be warmed before serving them. 

Although the holiday is Monday, we almost always have our dinner on Sunday and Monday is delicious and easy leftovers. 

I love Thanksgiving as it's a wonderful and relaxed time to get together with family. From my experience living the USA for a short time, and living with American ex-pats in Ecuador, I think the US Thanksgiving is imbued with greater significance, more like our Christmas, it seems. Canadians celebrate more during the Christmas season. 

Sir Martin Frobisher's chaplain preached a sermon back in 1578, "exhorting them especially to be thankefull to God for theyre strange and miraculous deliverance in those so dangerous places (sic)."

Certainly, we have all been through much these past 18 months, and can give thanks for so much abundance and protection. 

Tomorrow will be more cooking and a bit of cleaning before everyone arrives on Sunday. 

What's your favourite holiday / feast day?

October Daily 14: Autumn Days

  "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."  Anne of Green Gables These are the cozy days. Temperatures drop a...