through the window

through the window

New England has sent us a storm today; the forecasters predict upwards of 50mm of rain. I heard it beating in waves against the windows last night, along with a wind that howls up from the valley and thrums under the eaves. The city is dark, and the black-paved streets and deep puddles swallow light and create bizarre reflections; down the street I see a bright yellow school bus leading a parade of cautious cars. Drivers hunch over their steering wheels, their windshield wipers just out-of-sync with those of the car behind.

I am heading uptown in an hour, knowing the rain will drive sideways as I scurry around tall buildings, knowing the water will pour in rivers down the steep alleys and my feet will get wet. I will wear my yellow rain jacket and walk quickly. When I come home again, I will run inside, dripping, rain-tossed and bedraggled. My glasses will steam up from the warm house and there will be fresh homemade bread and baked beans. And I will be grateful that it is not yet winter.

Photo taken on October 24, 2009


liquid sunshine

liquid sunshine

Our attitude toward weather is clearly biased. Despite the fact that we need precipitation to survive, wet weather is always bad weather, and sunny weather is fair and fine and good. Popular culture mostly reflects this. Think of the classic Harold Arlen song, Stormy Weather: “Life is bare, gloom and misery everywhere/Stormy weather, just can’t get my poor old self together…” Compare Rainy Days and Mondays (always get me down) and Sunshine on My Shoulders (makes me happy). Oh sure, you might hear Laughter in the Rain but you’re much more likely to be Walking in Sunshine.

I don’t know the origin of the term “liquid sunshine”, but I know when applied to rain it sounds much more pleasant. It’s a perfect illustration of the power of language to change how you feel about something. I’d rather drink from a glass which is half-full rather than one which is half-empty. Sure, I feel just as gloomy as the next person when the skies are dark and the rain is coming down in buckets, but maybe I need an attitude-ectomy. Maybe next time it rains, I’ll get out my jungle umbrella and go for a walk (instead of just standing on the front porch, like I did to take this photo). I don’t need more excuses to stay inside, I need more motivation to get out of the house. Would you like to join me? Come on, let’s go “walkin’ in liquid sunshine, oh yeah!”

Photo taken on October 27, 2010

rain, again

rain, again

It’s a wet day today. The sky is grey.
Car tires “slissssh” on the pavement.
I watch the rain against the window pane
As chickadees queue at the feeder.

The leaves are forlorn, scattered and torn,
Their autumn fire has faded.
The bare trees wait for a sunny break
And I am waiting, too.

Photo taken on October 15, 2010

fall falling fallen

Last night it was just starting to rain as I let the dogs out. It was dark. The porch light didn’t come on. I missed a step and fell. Aaugh! Ouch. I landed on the top of my foot and twisted my ankle. How ironic: welcome to fall.

I have fallen badly only a few times, but my first response is always fear. I don’t know why, but that surprises me. Of course, there’s pain, and anger (well that was stupid!), but mostly an intense awareness of how fragile I am, how close to breaking.

Not that I have a history of injury. I’m cautious by nature. So far (knock on wood) I haven’t broken any bones. But I have survived a head-on collision with a car while on my bicycle (because I was wearing a helmet), and a couple of years ago I had another bad fall that left me with a purple bruise on my face and dizzy spells.

I know it could have been worse. I’m thankful that my ankle is not broken, and I don’t think the sprain is serious. I don’t like pain, but I can put up with a little soreness. Still, I’ll try to keep my weight off it for a while. It’s raining, it’s cosy indoors, it’s a good day to stay home and be pampered.

Taken on October 24, 2009

Old Indiantown

Another rainy day, another grey sky, another day of being inside, looking out. Another day of puddles on the street, dripping umbrellas at work, and the smell of wet dogs at home. The streets — so full of life on sunny days — are sodden, dull and dreary. And here at the heart of the city, in old Indiantown where Main Street begins, there is no movement, no life, no human form in sight. Only the houses have eyes; they are the watchers, the keepers of time.

Taken on April 9, 2010


I was away from this city for a long time, but whenever I came back for a visit, I would take a few minutes to drive this hilly road. Highland Road does not go far, but it is steep and winding. It leads out from the North End and up along the top of the steep cliffs overlooking the Narrows, where the St. John River turns a sharp corner before flowing past Indiantown and Marble Cove and then rushing into the harbour at Reversing Falls (except at high tide, when the harbour rushes upriver instead). The road doesn’t so much end as peter out; the pavement stops but a rough dirt road continues around the corner. I know if I follow it, I will find the foundations of old houses and the detritus left behind by the people who used to live here, who settled along the river when the river was the only road, when the river and the forest provided everything. One day I will keep going, past the end of the road, and see for myself.
Taken on April 9, 2010