Monday, March 25, 2024

A Wander Through my Mind


Nothing is so beautiful as Spring - 
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Gerard Manley Hopkins

When I opened my bedroom curtains this morning the fat golden full moon looked at me directly, as if to say, "Wake up, sleepyhead!" Now I sit here at my computer looking out on a cloudy morning that will surely brighten. One fat robin, red breast highly visible, sits in the neighbour's blossoming plum tree. Daffodils are nearly finished, and hyacinths soon to follow. A dark-eyed junco perches on the deck railing. I see the tiniest buds of lilacs beginning to form. Hooray for spring flowers. 

I confess that Spring is not my favourite season. She's too capricious. On days when the sun shines warm, the wind blows chill. I welcome the change of seasons, and there is much to admire - emerging plants, the turtles sunning themselves on the log in the pond, blossoms galore, and the increasing light. On the flip side, one might wear a down jacket, a raincoat, and go sockless in sandals all in one week. Capricious!

"The world is full of peril and there are many dark places. But still, there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater."
J. R. R. Tolkien

I've been stuck for words lately. Feeling unmotivated. There are ideas bubbling up inside me that are looking for expression. I am learning to wait for them like bulbs forming roots before bursting into colour. I'm also leaning more and more into staying away from media that encourages short interactions, such as Instagram and Twitter, and instead enjoying the thoughtfulness of blogging. But have you experienced how addicting those short snippets of irrelevant information can be? I am taking back my time and hope that it will result in renewed motivation and creativity. 

"You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine."
Annie Dillard

This week is busy with wonderful things. We have a birthday to celebrate (Tim's), Good Friday to observe, and Easter dinner followed by an egg hunt in the garden (weather permitting). I sat down this morning and made a lovely long list of tasks that I will enjoy ticking off one by one. 

I'll leave you with one little Easter memory. We usually visited my grandparents' home on Easter and Grandma had a special large chocolate egg hidden for each grandchild. I was the eldest and no matter how hard I looked, I couldn't find my egg. I found my sister and brother's eggs, and those of the cousins, but not my own. As I became more and more frustrated, my Grandma told me gently that since I was the eldest my egg was hidden in a more difficult place, and that I had done well in helping the younger children find their eggs. I don't remember where the egg was finally hiding, but I do remember Grandma's encouragement. 

Then there was the time I got stuck in the outhouse at my other grandmother's farm home while wearing my new Easter dress - a pale yellow linen dress with a hand-embroidered daisy on the shoulder. My mother made us new dresses every Easter and every Christmas. No matter how I loudly I hollered no one came to my rescue. They were all busy eating dinner and visiting indoors. I finally managed to pry the door open and escaped, thinking I had been gone for ever so long only to discover that no one had missed me. 

So that was two little Easter memories. Now it's time to tackle that list of tasks. Have a most wonderful day, and I'd love it if you shared any Easter or spring memories of your own. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Spring of Deception


Unseasonably warm and pleasant temperatures have everyone outdoors. Over the past four days I've gardened, walked along the water, kayaked, and hiked a coastal trail. We all know this false spring won't last, but we're making the most of it. 
Yesterday Tim and I hiked part of the Coast Trail, a rugged path overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It's one of our favourite places, a bit rugged with lots of uneven rocks to scramble over, and gorgeous ocean and mountain views at every turn. 

We met a number of people on the trail, all enjoying this wonderful weather. While walking we both go at a good pace, but we stop frequently to admire sights along the way. One of these serendipitous discoveries yesterday was a patch of Henderson Shooting Stars (dodecathedron hendersonii). It was the only patch I found, a little off the beaten path where we paused to watch a quartet of Black Oystercatchers.

The four of them (only two visible in the photo) were obviously in a meeting of some sorts, taking turns to whistle shrilly at each other through their long red beaks. Things calmed down when two left and only two remained. 

We'd packed a lunch and ate while stretched out on a rock shelf warmed by the sun. What a view!

On the way back we smelled it before we saw it - Skunk Cabbage (lysichiton americanus) - smells exactly like its name. It grows in wet areas and is one of the first plants to emerge in the spring. Do you have Skunk Cabbage in your area? In the eastern part of the continent I understand it's purple, not yellow. 

We met an elderly man walking with his dogs on the trail back to our car. He asked if we had seen the rock walls said to have been built by two women over a period of time, before he moved to the area in 1977. We'd never heard of it, but after he told us how to get there, we took a short detour. There are probably 100 feet of dry stone walls 1-2 feet tall meandering over the hillside in graceful curves. Now moss-covered, no one really knows their history. A puzzle indeed. 

The sun is calling me again. Tomorrow things will cool again, but what a treat to have enjoyed these pleasant days. 

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Life These Days


I only listen to the radio while driving. Occasionally I'll sit in the driveway for a few moments to finish a segment. Last Saturday I heard that multiple ferry crossings were cancelled due to an impending windstorm. Tim thought it would be a fine idea to go down to the breakwater and watch the waves. So we did. 

This gull perched on the breakwater railing looked for the waves just as we did. Instead, the seas were calm. The evening was lovely, with pinkish skies, little wind, and few people. I think they were all at home because of the windstorm. Out in the strait two large ships sat at anchor. We watched another round the point and slide into the strait, a container ship headed back across the Pacific. 

As we were leaving, a pilot boat left the harbour. We guessed that it was headed for the container ship. Ships coming through the Gulf Islands from Vancouver must have a pilot who is familiar with these waters on board. Once a ship is in the strait, no pilot is needed, and are taken off the ship to return home. As we walked back to the car the pilot boat zoomed across the water and slid in beside the container ship. We were too far away to see the pilot descend into the boat, but soon the boat returned to shore. 

And the wind? It showed up later that evening, howling and whistling around the corners of the house. Fierce indeed. 

A grocery store handful of tulips is nearing its end. I cut off the stems a couple of times as they grow and grow into ungainly length. My parents visited this week and we enjoyed a drive up island and lunch out. We'd hoped it would be overlooking the water, but instead we overlooked a yellow digger working beside the water. 

I made a couple of rice bags for friends this week. Heated in the microwave, they are warm and comforting when one feels chilled or has a sore neck or back. One friend is having work done on her house and has no heat in her bedroom. I suggested taking the heated bag to bed with her, as I do if it's very chilly out. I make the bags from flannel or linen, and then make a cover for them for laundering. 

We are expecting a sudden rise in temperature over the next few days and I am thrilled. I'm looking forward to getting out in the garden a bit. That's life around here these days - pleasant and ordinary. Filled with small pleasures. How are things in your corner? 

Saturday, March 09, 2024

Friday Favourites on Saturday


Spring is slow to arrive. We've had a week with rain, wind, and snow, and hail. And a wee bit of sunshine that I captured as it cast wonderful shadows on the living room mantel. We're happy for all the moisture as it means snow in the mountains that will feed the streams and rivers later on. I am looking forward to warmer weather, though, and am itching to get out into the garden more. We've begun pruning and trimming and I cleaned up one section of the vegetable garden. 

It's been a quiet week of ordinary things, minutes and hours and days falling gently upon each other, piling up in contentment and satisfaction. Here are a few things that have delighted me this week:

- The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams 
I highly recommend this book about books 
and the power of reading

- prunus tree blossoms, pink and white and oh, so frothy

- homemade sourdough bread

- bright patches of yellow daffodils seen from my 
kitchen window

- a little spring cleaning, so satisfying to see tidy shelves and cupboards

A bit of indoor gardening. Basil is leafing out nicely under lights and I'll likely be potting it up this next week.

And finally, one little incident that tickled my sense of humour. When I remember the linens at my grandmothers' homes, I remember how soft the sheets and pillow cases were. Soft and oh, so thin. This week, while changing pillow cases, one case split wide, and I laughed to think that I now had those same soft, thin linens. It's time for a bit of a refresh, I think. 

Tonight the clocks spring forward, not my favourite thing. There's talk of stopping it, but who knows if or when that will actually happen. Meanwhile, we'll change all the analog clocks and the digital ones will take care of themselves.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, March 01, 2024

Friday Favourites


On the sunniest day of the week we went for a little hike. The trail to McKenzie Bight is not long and it's easy going down, but one has to remember that going back it's uphill all the way. We were glad for our jackets and hats. A sharp wind took away much of the sun's warmth. Buffleheads and Surf Scoters bobbed in the water and took off in a hurry when a seal appeared. Gulls soared on the air currents.

Sunlit filtering through the trees is so lovely. And I think my husband is a fine sight, too. He likes to carry his pack even on short hikes, for practice. He's taken to carrying a extra pounds - of water in a jug -  just for the exercise. 

We found a shelf to sit on, slightly sheltered from the wind, and admired the wind ruffling the waves while we drank our tea. That's a very old thermos - he's had it since high school. The cup that comes along with it cracked and split so we bring along other drinking vessels. 

On another day, a friend came for coffee. I made orange scones that disappeared quickly. To a regular scone recipe I added about 2 teaspoons of grated orange rind, and then made a thin glaze with orange juice and icing sugar. 

I couldn't resist this bouquet of white tulips and blue hyacinths. They were tightly closed a few days ago, and now the tulips are almost done while the hyacinths emit their sweet fragrance. The hyacinths in my garden are barely visible, but soon they too will bloom. It's March and spring can't be far away in spite weather that ranges from hail to rain to snow and sun. 

Have a beautiful weekend!

Of Spare Rooms and House Guests

  If you've ever read L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables , you'll remember the importance of the spare room. It was a long-...