Brighter Days Ahead. Hopefully.

Almost there. And wow has this month flown by. And even though our own family Solstice gathering was waylaid by our nemesis The Evil Vid (…um, Covid 19) I still spent copious hours in my kitchen baking stuff. Much of that has been sent to my son and his family, my daughter is a baker so she doesn’t need any goodies- she’s well stocked, and some I’d given as goody bags to neighbours. But I did get a little carried away. Biscottis anyone?

Almond Biscotti, one of many trays
Shortbread

And aside from the fact that I sent out all my Happy Solstice cards spelled with Happy Soltice, this isolated winter season went without a hitch. You would think I would’ve caught the mistake after the first card, but no half measures for me, all in or nothing. Apparently.

The book of short stories came out, ( ahem, thank heaven for spell check) the one with two of my submissions. It’s satisfying to see it in print, somehow feels validating. The neighbours that launched the project managed to raise about five hundred dollars so far towards our Beacon House renovations, not a bad start.

I will include both stories in my next two posts. As for any other writing – I haven’t done any. Nor have I set foot in my studio. Baking seems to have filled my creative needs rather well over these weeks. And my waist line. The biggest threat to my risk of expansion is the fudge I make each year. But I was clever this time, only making what I was sending away as gifts…no wait, there was the first test batch that, well, had to be checked for smooth, creamy texture. Can’t be gifting grainy fudge and a mis-spelled card.

The cards I sent were photos, mounted on card stock, that I had taken. Some from my poppy series; the year my otherwise dormant front veg garden sprung up in an amazing swell of vibrant flowers, and then also some I took while walking on Newcastle, a large provincial park island adjacent to our island.

Now I find myself in that Netherland between Solstice and New Year. That fuzzy zone where the day of the week is inconsequential. Do I eat, sleep, or learn a new language. It feels like a holding pattern, waiting for the starting gun, my feet against the running block…tick, tick, tick. But when the ball drops at the stroke of 2021 (2021! Can you believe it?) what am I expecting? And why put too much expectations on that stroke of midnight; which I don’t normally, but somehow this year’s end feels deserving of a fresh start in every sense of the meaning. Here’s to brighter days ahead ~

Morning walks

Taking a daily early morning walk is a practice I’ve begun to do, and find I am relishing this time I spend; pre-dawn, just enough light to see where my foot falls and where the pot holes lie. Where I live we have gravel roads, and only a couple of street lights. There is no traffic, no sidewalks. Only sea, and trees, and sky.

Living on a small island has a multitude of benefits, one of which is the carefree ability to walk at any hour of day or night in relative safety. Here I am among an extended family of sorts. As I pass houses I know many of the people inside who are just beginning to stir, a light being turned on, a fire being stoked in the wood stove. Many of them I’ve known for over thirty years.

If I hear a shuffle behind me in the dark, it is a deer moving from its night resting place, or an owl swooping from its oak branch perch, or just the wind.

What I love about my morning walk is the solitary time. Because it’s dark outside I’m not distracted, my mind and imagination can work. I can move my body in a rhythmical stride and it becomes almost a walking meditation. I will encounter no one on the road either, not until seven perhaps, when people are on their way to the ferry or their boats, or bringing their dogs out for a walk, or joggers.

On my most recent walk, I had a clear insight into a perspective on the story I’m currently working on. By the time day breaks I have made my way to the South end of my island to watch the sun rise, and I find some inspiration in some photographic opportunities, feeding my creativity further. These walks are like an “Artist’s Date” for me.

“Bridges”
Early morning rainbow, looking west over Nanaimo

And as the sun rises I feel all the opportunity and potential that a new day brings with it. I’m always lifted by this, optimistic for what I could do in a day, eager to start, even if I don’t start anything of note other than the laundry. And I’m grateful even so.

Day dawning over the gulf Islands

Poppy

 

I was overwhelmed with a plethora of wild poppies in my front garden this spring, and lucky me. They proved a fascinating photo study. Capturing the clear slant of the morning sun as it rose over my cedar hedge gave me gorgeous opportunities to explore the poppies crepe like translucence.

I have a large portfolio of these beauties that I will share over the next few weeks~

I use only my iPhone 8. No filters.

Kootenay Time, Spring in the Rockies

Boarding the B.C. Ferry in Departure Bay that takes Bob and me to Horseshoe Bay on mainland Vancouver we begin the drive to Kimberley in the East Kootenays, an area over 27,000 sq. kilometers in south-east British Columbia stretching from Spilimacheen down to the Montana border and lies between Banff and the Kootenay lake; tucked between the Purcell, Monashee and Selkirks of the Columbia Mountain system and the Canadian Rockies.

From Horseshoe Bay we drove on the # 1 hwy to Hope then took the Coquihalla or the #5 as far as Kamloops, then back on the #1 that took us up into the high mountains and through the Glacier National Park to Golden where we spent a night, making it an eleven hour drive. (not including the two-hour ferry ride). From there it would only be a two and a half hour drive following hwy 95 directly south down to Kimberley.

Last year I was here at the end of May and first weeks of June and it was HOT, but May? I’ve been here for four days and although cooler it’s been sunny and windy. Friends back on the coast are still getting lots of rain and single digit temps. Too bad. 🙂

I’ve tagged along with Bob because he is working again in the area our daughter and her partner live, so we can get in some visiting time, me more than he unfortunately as his hours are long without days off for the two weeks we’re here. A visit made even more special because our daughter is in her second trimester with their first baby! They had also booked a week “pre-delivery” vacation to Mexico that coincided with our second week here so we’ll happily look after the four-legged grand babies Dexter and Jackson, their two chihuahuas, for a week. When they return Bob will be finished his work and we’ll have more relaxed time to spend a few extra days with them.

More to follow!

 

B.C. Ferry from Departure Bay Vancouver Island to Horseshoe Bay Vancouver.

 

Glacier National Park, east of Golden, B.C.

 

The Columbia Basin, Windermere area along hwy 95, heading South B.C.

 

 

Whats in a Picture?

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A thousand words. His story is in the central placement of the cracked hearth, the brick and mortar, the rectangle opening on the one side of the hearth, the space between the hearths’ lamps, the blue sphere above, the ladder against the wall, the small yellow halo near his forehead, the free-form black paint strokes in the painting before him, the broom handle, the light filled open door, the placement of his face.

I was taking some Insurance pictures of the little house my  good friend here is renovating to sell, and what surprised me later when I looked at this photo was an immediate realization that the array of random objects convey so much about this man. That it’s rife with symbology. Now, I understand that a home will of course contain items that represent the individual who abides within, and because I know his story well from a 20 year friendship, in this image it’s not only the objects but also their placement within the framing that jumped out at me.

He  stays in this house only occasionally once or twice for short periods in a given year when he is not traveling elsewhere – which is most of the time- so it is sparse, containing just the basics.

 

Ariel Studies

I have been drawn to the clouds lately, I suppose when I  began looking up more often at the amount of Chem trails; their long straight lines across the sky’s expanse. Then I became fixated on the dynamics of these straight line clouds juxtaposed with the “organically” shaped clouds.

Now I’m just fixated on clouds.

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