Recent Reads

Are my readers thinking that I’ve only been picking up litter the last while?  Might it be the quality and content of my posts that are giving them this impression? Suffice it to say that many other things have been keeping me busy as well.  It has been a varied, and in many ways challenging, Lenten journey, thus far.  But, in so many ways, I’ve grown in understanding, interests and spirituality. 

Given my typical ‘heady’ choice of reading, I have spent the past few weeks reading novels that move rather quickly.  I even took up my friend’s challenge to read a mystery book, a genre that I avoid for some reason.  At her prompting, I picked up The Lighthouse by P.D. James.  While I can’t say that I would read another James mystery,  it served its purpose by taking me to another place and causing me to escape for a while.  I liked the Combe island setting very much and found myself, at times, wishing to visit such a dramatic and inspiring coastline.  I remember that while spending a week in North Rustico on Prince Edward Island this past summer, I sometimes experienced a sense of mystery because of the sound of raindrops on the roof of the cottage at night…the isolation from other properties.  When I looked out into the dark of night, it was a complete darkness…such a huge contrast to living in the city.  Staying on an island, surrounded by the power of the Atlantic Ocean, gave a sense of vulnerability.  The book, The Lighthouse stirred up that remembrance.

The next book I read was The Divide by Nicholas Evans, author of The Horse Whisperer.  From the outset, the book was captivating, given the discovery of the body curled up in ice.  For me, the novel didn’t sustain itself, although I did take an interest in the different expressions of activism, portrayed.  Again, I responded to the rich description of the landscape and what the divide had come to mean to the various characters in the narrative.  This, again, was a setting that I would love to experience for myself, in fact, I feel as though I HAVE been in such places.  The relational content, the broken marriage, was not as interesting for me.

And finally, in the past three weeks, I’ve read The Birth House by Ami McKay.  Dora Rare is a beautifully written character.  I was once again, taken by the setting, Nova Scotia during wartime.  I enjoy the type of novel that shows us strength and resilience in characters.  Ami McKay achieved that very well.  Dora is resourceful and strong and works against the attitudes of her wee village.  Throughout the novel, she is in search of a particular sense of freedom and needs to challenge the ideas of her family and the culture of her community.

I have made this letter longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

Changing the Landscape: One Bag at a Time

Monday, March 5, 2012 3:45 p.m. -4 degrees  Everything is white outside…swirling…cold.  My gloves got wet with the garbage I picked up today and so my fingers became stiff as I worked.  I tucked them up into the hand of the gloves.

Snow Man, No More

Max and I spent an hour picking…our findings included a blue flip flop and many bits of fast food packaging, in fact, a whole bag full!  Yesterday’s snowman had been destroyed, but the great news is that the six bags I had left at the bin previously, have been taken away!

Thank you.

A gent from the parking lot had just finished up adding oil to his vehicle…he was cold…I didn’t grab his name, but he DID agree to snap our archival photograph.

Max-Man and Moi

The thing about this project is that, looking from a distance, the garbage is hidden.  Looking close-up, the water’s edge is loaded with plastics and bits of discarded packaging.  The grass is entangled in long strips of plastic sheeting and grocery bags.  Our perceptions of things can cause us to go on ignoring the filth and the destruction of our environment.  It’s time for each person to take the time to really see.

I try to leave out the parts that people skip. Elmore Leonard

A New Week

Bridge Street: July 29, 2011

It was a humid night.  Nothing moved.  I thought a lot throughout the night, even after writing a blog about bees and bee keepers and bee books.  I just couldn’t sleep.  The sky was grey on Bridge Street this morning; the first day of rain since my arrival and I lacked the motivation to go out and collect one misty drizzle-filled photograph of a house on Bridge Street.

Subsequently, here are my words.  I dawned my hoodie and put socks on for the first day of my vacation…then the shoes…and loading Max into the van, headed for the Belleville off-leash area.

When we arrived, there were some other owners and their pooches, but it looked to me like I might have had an umbrella in order to fit in perfectly.  But, have I ever really been concerned with that?  A drizzle soon turned to a down-pour, but given the Ontario- air, it was still warm.

And suddenly I went to that experience of ‘memory’ and I returned to warm Ontario rains of my childhood.  While dog-owners raced to their cars, pulling disappointed dogs behind them, I began my second loop of the park.  (This is where the head leans back and the open-mouth turns to the sky…this is the moment when a person actually smiles in the rain.)  Max’s body extended into a streamlined figure bulleting about the park in a wild frenzy of squirrel-chasing and bounding through the trees.  We were both so happy that I just had to come here tonight to write it down…the happiness is written down here…a reference for me when I might forget.

I returned to Bridge Street where I hung out with my Mom and read  Sisters in Two Worlds.  I will finish this one off tonight.  I continue to feel amazed by women and their hands…the work they do, the lives they touch.

Being here on Bridge Street is a blessing.