There are a few memories I’d like to take into winter with me. I’d like to remember the hot breeze on my forehead, the warm sun against my back. I’d like to remember the whispering of the pines and the tinkling of the poplar leaves as they dance in the wind. I’d like to remember the hot sand beneath the soles of my feet, and the soft grass tickling my bare toes. I’d like to remember this: standing (carefully) in the dappled shade of a thorn tree, hearing the buzz of flies circling lazily in the noonday sun, gazing at the wide open field under blue blue skies.
Taken on August 11, 2010
Deer are common here — so common that they are considered a nuisance. Gardening columns and nurseries contain lists of “deer resistant” plants. Newspaper articles talk about the pros and cons of “deer culling”. When people mention “the Millidgeville herd”, they’re not talking about a social clique. My parents used to be able to grow bulbs and shrubs in their garden, but now the few plants that survive are protected by chicken wire. Our tulips were destroyed before they even bloomed this spring, and yes, there were deer tracks in the ravished garden bed. In the field behind our house, we often see two or three deer, and the dogs know they’re there even when we don’t. Not even the experts can agree on why the city’s deer population keeps growing, so it seems that we have to learn to live with them. I still think it’s a treat to see them appear… as long as they stay out of my vegetable patch!
Photo taken on July 16, 2010
I didn’t get to the beach this summer. We could have packed a picnic lunch and the dogs and some toys and found a sandy spot to sit and enjoy the sun and the sea. There were some glorious summer days, and we did had time to spare. We had time to putter out in the garden, except for a few days when it was too hot to do much of anything at all. But the time slipped away.
Now that summer is at an end, I’m beginning to remember what it’s like to be cold and to have to wear multiple warm layers whenever I go outside. I’m beginning to see the calendar fill up and the busy days that lie ahead. And I’m beginning to think I should have gone to the beach, at least once.
Taken on August 23, 2010
Fairgrounds and cotton candy are almost inseparable. When I was younger, I needed one serving of cotton candy each year, to complete the experience of going to “the Ex”, just like I needed one day on the beach to properly appreciate the summer weather. In recent years, I haven’t always made it to the fairgrounds, let alone the beach; time just seems to have been speeding up. But yesterday, it was too perfect an evening to stay home. So we went out to “the Ex” — the one I remember from my childhood — and strolled by the brightly lit rides and the carnies at their games, and soaked in the fun atmosphere. We visited the chickens and the drooping flower displays and watched the dog agility demonstration. But this time I bypassed the cotton candy and chose a caramel apple instead. It was delicious.
Taken on September 1, 2010
Red is strong and smart and active and full of mischief. Red is comfort and plaid shirts and wool socks. Red is danger and anger and love and everything that makes your blood boil or sing. Red is a rocket and a camera and a very fast sports car. Red makes a big room cosy and conversational. Red is hearts and roses. Red is cherries and chili peppers, spaghetti sauce and apples. Red is the colour of luck and celebration in many eastern countries. Red is the colour of our flag. Red is barns and tractors and rosy cheeks on a winter day. Red is the candy you eat last, because it’s the best.
Taken on August 23, 2010
Yesterday the wind switched direction, blowing strongly from the south. It was a relaxing wind, warm and full of dreams. But it felt like fall. Last night I went out and talked sternly to my tomatoes, still green and undersized. My feet were cold in their sandals. This morning at 6 am it was still dark, only a hint of blue in the east. I can feel the change coming, the nearness of autumn, the breath of snow on the air. No, it’s too early, I cry… but I know in my heart that I cannot stop the seasons any more than I can make those tomatoes grow faster. So I am spending as much time as I can outdoors, basking in the last of the summer sun, trying to store it deep in my bones to last through the winter.
This is the growing season. Everything is growing full tilt — flowers, weeds, vegetables, trees — and producing to its fullest. Everything looks its best in this season, and not only the flowers. Painting and re-siding projects are all over town, and if you can’t hear any hammering or sawing, there will at least be a lawn mower running somewhere close by. This is the time of year to be outdoors, to enjoy the fine weather and the sheer variety and vibrancy of life. In winter this will all look barren and cold, save for a splash of colourful paint on the house down the street. Take nature’s example to heart: don’t just live — thrive!
Taken on June 23, 2009
This small sandy cove along the Kennebecasis River used to be a busy beach in the summertime. I remember we used to take our bikes, or sometimes we’d walk, taking the path that cut across the field and through the woods. The water is not too cold — not nearly as cold as the Bay of Fundy. It used to be a full service park, with a raft out on the water, and an ice-cream truck. I even took swimming lessons there one summer. Now there’s not even a privy or a garbage can, but people still go there. It felt good to see a few people there the other day, spending a warm afternoon at the beach, just like I remember.
Taken on April 6, 2010
The fields are really beautiful at this time of year. In the wild space behind our house, the wildflowers have grown tall in the summer sun. I can see Queen Anne’s lace, goldenrod, yarrow…. and lots of other plants I can’t (yet) name. If you look closely, you might even find a few raspberries and blackberries as well. And everywhere you look, there is lush growth, a riot of greenness that is such a sweet gift after the barren brownness and harsh whiteness of winter. Here’s to you, sweet summertime!
Taken on July 15, 2010
Yesterday, when we drove by this church in Black River, just outside Saint John, the sky was cloudy and fog was gathering in the creek valley down the road. On the day I took this photo last year, it was a perfect early summer day. We were heading back to town, driving with the windows down and enjoying the fresh salt breeze off the Bay of Fundy, when we saw this little country church. It may be true that travelling via the winding roads and small communities is much slower than taking the highway, but the views are much better!
Taken on June 7, 2009
We had fresh strawberries the other day, tiny little wild red berries that burst with flavour. My partner found them growing in the field behind our house and picked enough to make a cup, enough for a handful on our cereal, and then another handful cascading over our cappucino frozen yogurt later on. On Canada Day, we had fresh cultivated strawberries from Nova Scotia. My mother dressed them with a sprinkle of sugar and a generous dollop of whipped cream.
I think of that scene from the Lord of the Rings when Frodo can’t remember the taste of fresh strawberries, and I wonder how I would describe this taste — how can remember my first bite into a fresh strawberry that has never seen a refrigerator or 40,000 miles in a truck, this burst of flavour that is so instantly delightful in the mouth? If I was Frodo, I think I would have said: I need a little help remembering, please let me taste a another one…
Taken on June 22, 2009
Note: We are going to Nova Scotia today for a week’s vacation. I’ll be back to post again next Monday.