I didn’t even know they did that! The Montreal summer has been alternately cool, rainy, stifling, brilliantly sunny and now, at last as the August moon conquers the sun, the days are sunny, warm and decorated with demure white clouds. Finally, of the several sunflower seeds I planted in pots on my balcony one has shot up and delivered its golden rain of pollen. Will it have time to make a crop of seeds I wonder?
A sinister squirrel came creeping around yesterday but I chased him away. He had better not have any designs on my sunflower!
Last Sunday I went hiking with a dear friend in the country. It was very hot and humid. Rather than hiking it was like wading through treacle. However we did it. The trail was in the Eastern Townships near Freiligsburg. I just loved the colors in the fields that surrounded us.
Summer is almost over but I don’t mind. This friend who comes to sit close to my park seat will stay all winter,
Keep on submitting. Don’t misunderstand. The rejections were bland enough, kind enough, respectful enough. My mistake was hoarding them in the little dark closet in the back of my mind. “ There I have a chance. They’re smaller presses so I have a better chance.” Both rejections arrived on the same day. So…. out come the folders, the pink revision pencil and off I go. Fix it, Polish it, send it.
A hummingbird just visited me. He visited my flowers really but it still felt like a cheery reminder of how many wonderful things can happen to me. No, they don’t just “ happen”. Most of them … I make happen. If I hadn’t planted and watered the flowers, the hummingbird would not have shown up. Where did he come from? I live in a condo, one in a whole set of condo blocks . Not much in the way of gardens or blooms here. It is true that a large and beautiful park is right on my doorstep but it is green, rather than floral . So, the hummingbird was a little miracle.
Another wonderful thing happened today. I was officially accepted as a hospitalera by the Canadian Company of Pilgrims. In a beautiful setting on the Ottawa River I finished my training in how to greet pilgrims, how to manage an albergue, how to give back to the Camino de Santiago that gave me so much . A happy day!
I’m still in Covid jail but whether they let me or not, I walk in the huge park next to my house. I cannot stay in the house. That’s why winter is so hard for me. Don’t worry, I follow the rules – I go alone. I never speak to anyone – well, there was that guy practicing his violin but I stayed really far away. But really, how often do you see a guy practicing his violin in the park? I’ve only ever seen someone practicing the bagpipes. He was a wise man!
This woman had the right idea. The weather is great – not too hot and a bit windy. I was glad Canada Day passed off without any nonsense up in Ottawa. I spend my days on the balcony in the boughs of a delicately leavy tree nursing my sunflower and some other seedlings that are surprisingly popping up in pots.
Reminds me of my dad making elder wine and all the bottles popped in the side-board cupboard. Granny was cross!
All is blooming and soon I will get out of this Purdah … I hope!
I finally succumbed to Covid. For a couple of days I complained about a stuffed up nose. I felt uncharacteristically tired as I trailed across the hellishly hot parking lot of our local shopping centre. Was it some extreme hay fever brought on by the lush foliage of summer? Was I shamefully out of shape, diabetic, simply old? My three beloved grandchildren came to sleep over as they often do. I sent them home early ( unheard of!) as I was dog tired from not having slept well the night before. As soon as they left I fell asleep and awoke completely disoriented with a full on fever. A friend called. “ you sound like you have Covid.”, he said.
Whaat? Covid? Four times vaccinated, a veteran of dorm sleeping last fall on the Camino Frances….I couldn’t have Covid! I dug out a box of rapid tests and, sure enough … a positive result. Just goes to show you shouldn’t let your guard down. Who knows how or when I got it but the first 36 hours knocked me off my feet and into my bed where I slept in increments of three hours. Each time I woke up wondering if it was day or night. I was awoken by vivid dreams of my mother demanding that I fly immediately to British Colombia ( she’s been dead for ten years) or a totally convincing fire alarm that was only ringing in my dream. I read. I scrolled Facebook. I watched the start of ten lousy Netflix movies ( recommendations please) and today, the third day I feel better. So far none of my family show any signs of illness thank goodness.
My only annoyance is that I must self isolate. Tomorrow I will find out for how long. In the meantime I sit on my little balcony and read and hatch nefarious plans for “ when I am better”
Elizabeth says if you wait for the sun around here, you’ll never go out. Yes, the rain forest isn’t just the Amazon. It’s the cool green giant trees reaching up, falling, rotting, feeding other life. The mosses and lichens play out their seasons as the cool soft rain and the sea winds keep everything slow cooking.
I walked about ten kilometres in the rain, something I would never have done in the noisy city. The rain didn’t seem like an enemy, just part of the day.
Today we took two ferries to get to Hornby Island. There are many small islands off Vancouver Island and we went to explore Tribune Bay and the forest and bluffs nearby. The ferries are small – one is a cable ferry that is pulled across the channel to Denham Island. We tried to do this expedition on the Victoria Day weekend but it was too busy to get a spot on the second ferry. A cloudy mid-week day allowed us to complete the second jump and enjoy quiet time in the deep green woods and along the pristine bay.
The shells and wildflowers were beautiful and perhaps best of all – there were hardly any other people. Am I turning into a misanthrope? No, but sometimes quiet and space are the great treasures of our age.
There were other critters to greet like this deer, a snake and some sea eagles. A couple of ponies were enjoying their trot along the beach too.
Some of the flowers were unknown to me. It is a treat to come across a species that is mysterious in its special allure. The trees are wonderful too – all sorts of conifers. This one let out a cloud of pollen, like smoke when shaken. Old favorites like pink roses just coming into their own and cammomile daisies mixed in with colored grasses. “Like a Monet landscape” said Elizabeth. I am a lucky woman.
We had a wonderful day today walking in fern and tall tree forests down to the shore where we sighted eight bald eagles. How lovely it was in the cool woods walking down a steep trail to the rocky shore. Out on the channel between the Island and the mainland huge container ships passed each other. They were so far away that at one point it looked as if they would touch noses but, of course they simply glided on by. These wonderful birds flew close above our heads to land in their high nests in shoreline trees.
When we drove into town after our walk we grabbed a coffee at the square next to the harbour and found another eagle perched on one of the masts.
We caught sight of the charter plane coming in from Vancouver. What a lovely day! Thanks to my daughter for such a beautiful excursion.
She stands at the gate of my daughter’s property on Vancouver Island. She is old and the “tree guy” says she’s on her way out. The white branch fell off during a winter storm.
She has lots of places where bark isn’t growing and the white inner core of her boughs can be seen. But she’s opening up new leaves and keeps on doing her “ tree” thing. At her wide base flowers and moss are well established. The daffodils that were blooming at her roots are over but she’s got plenty of forget-me-nots and sturdy thistles to keep her company.
I sat out in the sun, tempered by a brisk wind this afternoon. I was reading a wonderful book but finally, feeling rather chilly and curious about a raven visiting my tree I went in.
The raven was making a strange call, like a couple of notes on a flute. It was a far cry from Poe’s croak, but my daughter assured me it was his Spring call. Sure enough, he flew off out of the newly green branches of my companion towards the sea. That tree has such spirit. Let her hold on another decade or so.
Not often I glimpse a view of the Rockies when out for my walk. My daughter’s home on Vancouver Island offers this treat. I walk down beside the swift-flowing Oyster river until it joins the Straight of Georgia. It was quite muddy in spots as it rained heavily in the night but the high winds forecast did not appear.
Some of the path runs very close to the river and I’ve always been leery of the footing there. Turns out my instinct was right as a whole section had sheared off complete with some trees.