Sunday, July 21, 2019

from kindness

Otter Coop is a store that invites wandering.
It's a grocery store,
and a clothing store,
a shoe store,
hardware shop,
farm supply store,
garden centre,
tack shop,
card shop,
coffee shop,
toy store,
post office,
My dad loved shopping there because he could sit down and enjoy a mug of coffee and strike up a conversation while my Mom and I loaded our carts with jugs of milk and cartons of eggs.
Time has hastened onward and I shop alone now.
 I fit grocery shopping into the gaps and chinks of my days as needed.
The other sort of shopping, the window and wander sort of shopping is taken as needed too.  Like a prescription of sorts.
Sometimes my life slips into automatic pilot and I feel like Rip Van Winkle. It is as though I catch up to myself. There is even that gradual awareness of wakening. A remembering.
It was on one of those wanders that I found myself standing in a gardening aisle lined floor to ceiling with bags of bulbs and tubers, their bright cardboard packaging startling me to a standstill.
Dahlia, Hosta, Day Lily, Begonia, Gladioulus.
I reached out and pulled one from its hanger, turning the packaging and squinting into the sawdust for signs of life.
A little shoot of green was there.
A desperate shoot it seemed to me.
I couldn't buy (rescue) them all of course.
I turned to go as my eyes drifted up, up, up to the top row.
Oh, Gloxinias, with their giant velvet bells.
Ruffled bells.
And giant velvet leaves too.
My parents always had Gloxinias. Regal red, luscious burgundy, blooming in a window amidst the green tangle.
My father in-law had them too. Always.
I stood on tip-toe to reach one down and had to use another package to inch it forward on the hook.
As I turned it over and over I could see a sturdy little shoot of tender green, bravely sprouting.
I felt a desperate pity, like looking at an abandoned puppy on a doorstep, waiting to be rescued.
I rushed to the till, averting my gaze from all the rest.
I planted it and watered and hovered.
Up it came.
And up.
Seemed kind of leggy.
Maybe the light, filtering through the blinds just wasn't enough. Light filtering forest is different from light filtering kitchen window blinds.
Humid mountain air and stream side is different from being watered with a drinking glass of tap water.
I put it outside where it could look up and see the sky.
There should be a comfort in that I thought.
And it would feel the fresh cool rain for once.
I hadn't considered the bugs though.
The Canadian bugs.
Their eyes lit up with joy.
They fell upon my poor Gloxinia as though it were expensive imported cheese.
It's back in the kitchen again, recovering from my kindness.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

eyes to see it

This photo was taken in 1930's Blue River.
I was a child of the 60's, but I recognize it in a moment.
In fact, because it is so familiar, I had failed to really LOOK at the picture.
I had missed the reason someone bothered to raise viewfinder to eye and snap away.
At first glance, the distant hills with their comforting contour, the wooded shore, the clump of birch are all so Lake Eleanor.
(though we always called it Blue River Lake)
And I can't help thinking the diving platform seems mighty close to shore.
(It was later moved somewhat but not enough. My brother dove from it and broke his wrist on the bottom of the lake which he arrived at too quickly)
It wasn't until this morning, as I wandered through a file of old black and whites that I paused and really looked at this picture for once.
And that is when I noticed it.
Out there in the middle.
On a log.
Stately as a king.
A heron.
Or crane of some kind.
Not something I ever saw growing up in Blue River.
Not something the photographer had grown accustomed to seeing either.
And so they took the picture.
There was no zoom feature.
No crop or resize available.
So the marvelous, amazing, unusual sight remained exactly where it was.
Out in the middle of the lake on a log.
In the center of the photograph.
Right in front, for anyone with eyes to see it.

Monday, July 15, 2019

upcyled birds

Upcyling is a joyous thing.
 Paint chips snip snapped into birds; cards for my bird loving Aunt.

Sunday, July 14, 2019


Blueberries are ON.
It doesn't take long to fill a pail in the cool slanting light of evening.

Row after row of blueberries, 
some large and tart, some shiny black and tasting of cinnamon.

Nearby, grapes of autumn are soaking up the sweetness of summer.

Raspberries are soon gone for another year.

And early apples scent the air.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

year by year

For several years I gave my Mom hydrangea. 
It was always one giant pom pom of petals in a pot like a great, pink topiary, and when they finished flowering, we planted them out in the garden.

Pink they were and pink some remained. 
Others morphed into every shade of purple, changing year by year.

July Garden

Roses; tier upon tier, upon tier. Great heaps and drifts of them.

We didn't plant them. They came with the house, and were already well established when we arrived. Except for a wonderful peach/orange one that is getting more flamboyant every year.

The hollyhock weren't planted by us either, although they are in very different spots now. They drop their seeds willy nilly and have gradually edged their way around the lawn.

Hosta are so amazing. I love all of them. They have giant leaves in every shade of green. These are especially oversized, blue-green with especially generous flowers in lovely lavender.

And, these are garlic scapes. The stems curl and coil like preening geese. A gaggle of garlic geese.

The garden is a wondrous thing in July.

Saturday, July 6, 2019


I knew the children would all be in bed when I stopped by one evening.
No chance to say hello or goodbye.
But then a head appeared in the window,
popping up like a gopher on the prairie.
I paused, one leg in the car,
almost leaving,
then curved my fingers aloft into a heart sign.
Up in the second story bedroom window, her small hands did the same
I signed 'i love you'
as did she, a little echo
while I blew kisses like a departing opera singer.