I’m sorting things out, in order to spend time with my father in the east. The Christmas cards for 2015 are in the mail. Doctors appointments, Max’s grooming, the vehicle checks and household chores are now being tackled. The past week has meant a lot of beautiful indoor time with booming thunder storms every afternoon. I feel like I’m on a retreat because the house is so quiet…just Max and me. I can eat popcorn whenever I want. In the evening, a glass of red wine. Last night, I baked salmon in parchment paper…fresh lemon squeezed over the beautiful pink meat. Every ritual seems lovely and intentional.
For the most part, it’s been productive and satisfying.
I’ve decided that my pond study will wrap up the morning of Mom’s birthday, July 27. I’ve walked the circumference of the pond at Frank’s Flats every day since October 13,2015 with the intention of taking a single Instagram photograph of a single location, a bush that grows at the pond’s edge. I have seen it through the seasons and watched how light changes everything. I’ve developed rituals around these observations, recording, writing captions, creating mental sketches and noting the changes in the animals and vegetation as time passes. I’ve much reference material now and in the autumn, I want to create a response to all of it. I’ve had some faithful followers as, for most of the experiment up until July, I’ve documented on social media (Facebook) as well.
Yesterday, at the pond, I observed the only two Ruddy duck babes, alongside Mom. The teen-aged Coots and Grebes are now taking diving lessons and doing so very successfully. Mr. and Mrs. everything are swimming further and further from their youngsters, although the teens still cry out helplessly and give chase, not wanting to be separated from, at the very least, their source of food. With the horrendous amount of rain recently, I fear that the Ruddy ducks’ nests have been drowned…the two babies that I observed, came to be only days before the first thunderstorms hit, so I’m guessing all of the other mothers were sitting at that time. I’ll see.
I think that flying lessons are beginning…I notice that the adult Coots, while remaining on the water, are flapping hard and traveling on the surface.
While I stopped putting out seed at my feeders (as a way of settling down the vole and mouse populations), I got emotional when I realized that Mr. and Mrs. Sparrow, in the vent across from my kitchen window, were trying one more time to nest. The children are crying ravenously with each entrance to the vent from Mr. or Mrs. I just need to see this family have a successful season, after two former attempts.
The crows are big raiders in this neighbourhood these days, as those adults also struggle to feed their demanding young.
As I reflect upon the last while, I continue to feel gratitude…especially for the lessons of nature and of solitude. I like slowing things down. I’ve been particularly inspired by a poem by Al Purdy, titled Detail and so I will post it here, along side a few photographs that I snapped yesterday. In 1981, when doctoral work was typed on typewriters…Elizabeth Jane Douglas wrote a thesis titled the Mechanics of Being Alive: Major Themes in Poetry and Prose of Al Purdy. This absolutely impacts my past year’s ‘work’ and ‘reflection’.
all winter long
… the apples clung
in spite of hurricane winds
sometimes with caps of snow
little golden bells
· · ·
For some reason I must remember
and think of the leafless tree
and its fermented fruit
one week late in January
when the wind blew down the sun
and earth shook like a cold room
no one could live in
with zero weather
soundless golden bells
alone in the storm