Saturday, October 20, 2012

One October Day

Early morning mist.
It was a gem of a day. It started with fog so thick I could not see my neighbor's house. The sun burned it off by nine, shedding gold across the yard and making the air mild as milk. There are no song birds left - the mornings belong now to the crows and the jays and the raucous geese. The pond is awash with hundreds of Canada geese discussing their winter plans. They splash down, eat and groom, gabble together and lift off again, trailing water like discarded diamonds.

Hundreds of geese gather on the pond each fall.
There are three mute swans on the water this year, a cob, his mate and their single offspring, still covered in its youthful gray feathers. They float among the geese, their graceful necks and gleaming backs a contrast to the dark, chunky bodies all around them. The pond this morning seemed a water color in progress with the leaves tinted red and yellow, vermillion and orange. Geese rose and fell, flying into and out of my camera frame, their wild clamour beating against my ears as their wings beat against the wind.

The mated mutes and their still-gray offspring.
I spent some time tidying the garden beds and then sat on the outdoor swing watching the breeze-borne leaves play catch across the lawn. The laundry snapped and danced on the line. I brought a book, but the caress of the sun on my cheek, a sudden swirl of wind-cast leaves, the strident call of a jay, all kept pulling my eyes from the page. Finally I gave in and just sat, drinking in the golden light, soaking myself in warmth and beauty until I was sated and sleepy. Somewhere I read that heaven is what we make it. I'd make it a day like today.

Water color in progress.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Rainy Day Thoughts

I met a woman the other day who was wealthy beyond even my dreams. Her house is exquisite, her possessions numerous and lovely, every one. Between them, she and her husband have several cars, a townhouse in the city besides their mini-mansion here, closets full of expensive clothing, travel stickers on their luggage from exotic places and, when needed, maid service. She has a few weeks left to live.

I drove past her house today in my 13 year old car. I was wearing slacks and a sweater from a second hand shop, sipping tea from a worn travel mug, wearing shoes I've had for years, watching the orange and yellow leaves spin through the rain, and realizing just how rich I am as well. And happy. And grateful. All her beautiful possessions that I thought, briefly, to envy will be just things to dispose of in a few weeks. She has not seen her estranged children in years; I miss the Bean's presence while she's napping!

I learned the ten commandments years ago in another life lived as a practicing catholic. 'Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods' makes sense when comparing one's life with another. That poor woman has nothing I want.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Seldom do I get the chance to write two posts in one weekend, but it was raining...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Early morning sky
Yesterday the temperature at 6 o'clock in the morning was a crisp 29 degrees. The sky above the horizon was pale, pale blue which deepened to azure as the day progressed. Leaves spiraled and whirled and danced on the breeze, falling like rainbow bits onto the grass. I spent a restful day behind the cottage untangling and cutting bittersweet vines from the trees that remained after this summer's culling. I dragged my old dreaming bench from it's hiding place in the upper trees and set it in the sunshine overlooking the yard. Next spring I shall plant tomatoes and squash in the tilled patch behind the rhubarb. I gathered what the frost left of the delicate pink fairy roses and the brilliant orange marigolds and put them on the window sill. They are wee bits of summer sun against today's rain spattered windows.

Last of the summer flowers
Early this morning raggedy gray clouds marched along the horizon and the trees lashed against a wet sky, their branches tossed back and forth by a strangely warm wind. The lamps are lit in the cottage and household chores wait patiently for me to tackle them. At Daughter's house I dash about, following the Bean as she patters around the house. I wash  piles of dishes, climb up stairs and down with loads of laundry, cook meals, read picture books, play games of make-believe, cuddle and feed the new baby, and relish every minute of my time there with my happy little family.

Baby Lili
There I am a younger, more active version of my older self. Here at the cottage my pace slows. I'm loathe to break the silence with the roar of the vacuum, unwilling to move quickly to get the dusting and washing done, happy just to sit and read a book or write or watch a film. I nap when the urge strikes, sometimes in the sunshine, sometimes under the quilt. I can feel myself unwinding and recharging. As painting is a quiet activity, I'm off to put a coat of fresh white enamel on the old metal shower and on the little metal cabinet my landlord found languishing on the side of the road. That should keep me busy until nap time.

Friday, October 05, 2012


No photos yet - I've left my camera at my daughter's house - but the latest granddaughter has made her entrance. The Sprout was born October 2 at 2:35 a.m. She weighed over 8 lbs and has enough black, wavy hair to run a brush through. She is, of course, as cute as a bug's ear. A little cursory research indicates that babies look adorable to adults as a result of genetic programming; a little natural incentive to insure we take care of the infant. Big eyes, button noses, rosebud mouths - they'll get us every time.

I've been spending at least three days a week at the Bean's house tending to her while her parents worked. I'll continue the practice during my daughter's maternity leave, establishing a routine to which the Bean, and now the Sprout, can grow accustomed. It's grandmother heaven, I tell you. There's never a dull moment what with playing with blocks and clay and dolls and trucks (the Bean is well-rounded already), changing diapers, tying bibs, cleaning up mealtime spills, and enforcing nap time, during which I run about picking up toys, doing laundry, preparing supper and collapsing for an hour myself on the long, low sofa. Added to all that now will be the feeding and cuddling of a newborn. I will surface into the calm, quiet world of my cottage at the end of each week, sink into the comfort of my own mattress, immerse myself in books and long walks, and recharge for the middle of the coming week.(Anyone whose retirement is dull should seriously consider becoming a grandparent!)

All of us will gather this weekend to celebrate the Sprout's birth and the Bean's second birthday. There will be cake and ice cream and presents and laughter. And love, lots of baby snuggling, congratulatory hugging, cheek kissing, eye sparkling love.