Goundhogs and Fireflies

img_20200618_200022356It’s summer with all the luxurious roses and the brilliant buttercups that enchant a young photographer. Today’s image was made by my granddaughter who has suddenly developed an interest in photography.

It is tremendously hot in Montreal and the good weather has been holding for days. I thoughtlessly planted a lovely rosebush on my mother’s grave about 10 days ago and watering it has been something of a chore. Because of Covid 19 access to the big mountain cemetery has been limited to late afternoon and  evening. Only one entrance can be used by cars. I am on foot and that means I have been getting my exercise by walking from the gate at the higher level through the old section with its wonderful trees and monuments and then up a steep incline to the top where my mother’s black headstone sits baking in the merciless sun. Fortunately a dear friend has been giving me a lift from time to time. Besides the inaccessibility of the site, the taps set here and there for relatives to water their plants and shrubs have mainly run out of water. I scout around on lower levels to find a tap that works or when I get a lift bring my own water! We met a widower the other day who promised to water my mother’s precious rose bush. It  is already blooming with many pink blossoms. However, I know I will not rest until the heat wave is over and I can trust rain to once again take over my duties.

The groundhogs, you ask? I saw two lovely ones up in the cemetery and then, as if to remind me of my responsibilities the next day – – a fat one in my city garden. He was bustling away under the fence. When he heard me he turned as if to say, “Well, is there a problem here?” and off he went.

Fireflies appeared that evening as I was watering my plants in the blessed darkness. I have a stubborn clematis that does not want to open its magnificent purple blooms, but it too will yield to the heat and length of days. In the meantime the little flashing lights, pulsating with mysterious life in the dense leaves, remind us that other lives, other forces are at work.

A Visitor in the Garden






What a long time since I wrote…..almost ten days. We had a long weekend. It used to be called Victoria Day and then that didn’t seem quite right for Quebec and so it was called Dollard des Ormeaux Day and then someone found outs that DDO, far from being an upholder of French Canada was, in fact, a traitor to the cause.  Now we call it Journee des Patriots.   I wonder how long that name will last.

Renovtions are going along very slowly in my little house.  Furniture is covered with sheets and I search and search for the most banal things.  We are at the plastering stage.  I keep telling myself all will be well and that it will pass but it is a bit like an eternal moving day.  The weather was wonderful on the long weekend and since it was unbearable in my house, I stayed out in the back yard and transformed a very ugly little desk into something better.  Mindless jobs like stripping furniture are good when one is alone on a long weekend.  Instead of brooding about not walking arm-in-arm around the town, I scraped away layers of ugly paint with stinky liquids and a heat gun.  I sanded and scraped and finally painted.  How satisfying it is to apply milk paint. That’s an old fashioned paint formula they used to use in the old days.  It doesn’t smell bad at all and it dries in about a minute.  I will get new handles as the old ones don’t really go with the color.

I bought plants for my window boxes today.  I have lavender and small leaf basil and rosemary in pots in the back too.  That brings me to the visitor.  I saw a fat groundhog who turned his stubby tail and scampered away ( well  it was more of a lumbering) as soon as I came out.  I hope he does not start to munch on my tender plants. Perhaps he will bring good luck and I will walk arm-in-arm before long.