Sunday, October 25, 2009

Forecast: Intermittent Light

My camera is always looking for flowers, for colour, for signs of blue sky. It has been grey for so long - all but one day since October began, but today there were small pieces of blue. The moon was there, too, between all those clouds - a pale waxing crescent. And there were wild asters still blooming - frills of petals surrounding more than a dozen yellow suns.

Summer and fall have been so strange this year. The leaves do not know what to do, so they keep hanging on. Usually, they would have fallen weeks ago.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunshine/Blue Sky

Today the sun shone. It has been cloudy for so long, I have no idea where my sunglasses are. Last week's snow is gone and the grass is still green - that last gasp of summer kind of green. My mom and I cleaned up my yard today - raked and bagged leaves, pruned perennials, planted tulip bulbs, swept sidewalks. By next weekend the leaves in the front yard will be on the ground - just a little more raking and we will all be ready for winter - the leaves, the trees, the garden, the grass. Me? I do not think I am ever really ready for winter, but sunny, summery pictures like this one help.

"Beauty is not a luxury but a strategy for survival."
- Terry Tempest Williams

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Green and White

It is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada I am trying to be thankful for snow, but hoping that it is not permanent. The leaves on most of the trees are still green, the grass on the lawns, too. It is perfect snowman snow - sticky and wet. We should gather all the children we can find and start rolling and rolling huge snowballs, changing the white world back into green. In my backyard the lap of my poetry chair is white. The picnic table, too. And the leaves of all my lilies and peonies are heavy and drooping - the first night of frost was also the first night of snow. But the sun shone a little today, melting some of this away. I so much prefer the company of flowers to the company of snow. Lucky for me, the mums are still blooming, the sedum, too.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Stars On Her Toes


Anosha, at school, six years old with so many rules to learn - indoor shoes, outdoor shoes; Grade 1 Swing Day, Not Grade 1 Swing Day. Front of the line, back of the line. The classroom air fills up with words. With words and directions. "Everyone line up now. Everyone sit down now." But words, for her, are like the wind, impossible to hold, hard to see. And so, because words just blow, I take pictures for her. Swing. Book. Chair. Indoor shoes. Outdoor shoes with stars on her toes. After recess, after the swings, wearing her indoor shoes, Anosha draws and sings her own private song, letting me in, just a little. "Draw eyes. Draw eyes. Draw a shirt. Draw a shirt. Draw pants. Draw pants. A triangle! A square! A house!" My walls fill up with her pictures, my heart with her song.

My days, as a teacher, without my own class, flit by. A little of this. A little of that. Too many meetings with adults, too few with children. But then, there are gifts like this - 30 uninterrupted minutes with Anosha - her wide-open eyes, her glowing skin, her small hand holding a marker, her little song, pictures emerging in front of my eyes. For me, there is no greater joy in teaching than learning from children - sitting beside them, watching them, listening to them, following their lead so that I can be let in. They are the best teachers of all.

Summer View From My Kitchen Window

Summer View From My Kitchen Window
I am already more than a week into my summer holidays and just beginning to settle into this greenest of seasons - so glad to be at home with my windows and my light. I am just learning how to post these blogs, spending too much time in front of my computer, not enough time with the sky.  The morning began with thunder - an hour of pouring rain and thunder!!  Long after sunrise, the sky was still dark and ominous, but then suddenly the sun broke through. I put on my garden shoes, grabbed my camera, and went out to the flowers . . .   

After the Rain

After the Rain
After all that wild weather, the day lily leaves were covered with such quiet raindrops . . . 

After the Rain

After the Rain
One side of my yard is lined with leafy peonies - the grandmother of all flowers - pink, white, deep, deep red.  I have been deadheading the flowers all week long, but this one, just opening, survived the storm. I have lived in my house for nearly twenty years; these peonies were here long before I moved in and with any luck will be here long after I am gone.