Sunday, November 22, 2009


It's the end of November and the geese don't know what to do. Actually, they seem to have just decided to stay as long as they can. No snow. No ice. No snow. No ice. I went walking at the bird sanctuary to today, along the floating docks, the leafy paths, the abandoned railway tracks. It was calm and quiet. Well, it would have been quiet without the geese. No matter how far from the water I walked, their call was the background to everything. "Let's not go anywhere. Let's just stay here. Let's not go anywhere. Let's just stay here." One voice connecting to the next and the next and the next. You could not hear where one ended and another began - a happy cacophony of geese.

This path would usually be snow by now - a ski
trail instead of a walking trail - all those trembling birch trees without any leaves, without any trembles. In the summer, its all whispering leaves - chickadees, warblers, finches. Today there were a only few chickadees and, of course, thousands of geese. In just 8 more days it will be December. How long can this last?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How the Sun Rose

A middle-of-the-week posting. Very unusual for me these days. BUT this morning, on my way to school, driving over the Salter Bridge which takes me from the south to north end of the city, which crosses a hundred railway tracks - train cars covered with graffiti, clanging and banging, I turned my eyes to the east and there it was, the sky - coral, pink, blue, yellow. "I'll tell you how the sun rose - a ribbon at a time." Thank you, Sky. Thank you, Emily D.," I thought. I wanted to stop mid-bridge and just stare at it, but that would have meant stopping traffic and probably causing an accident or two. All the way to school, I kept my eyes on the sky as it kept changing. The sun rises so quickly. When I arrived, I pulled the camera from my bag and took these pictures. At school, my little group of nine year olds - all new to Canada, new to English, had been painting sunrises and sunsets, jabbering in Punjabi, whispering in Tagalog, laughing hysterically when they tried to teach me words and I had no clue how to approximate their sounds. Their sunsets on the wall and the pictures in my camera were another kind of language. We painted, we talked (English), put words around the room, and then they wrote poetry - very sweet sunrise/sunset poetry. If I had the poems at home, I would post them. But they are at school, on the inner windows of the hallways, a brave attempt to bring the sky inside with us, rather than leaving it at the door each morning when we enter the building.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Smack Dab in the Middle of November

The exact middle of November. Sunlight. Blue sky. Calm water on the river. Unrippled reflections. On a day like today, or yesterday, or tomorrow it is not hard to be grateful for the leafless trees, the invisible world made visible - all the nests of songbirds who are now gone. Nests that hold sunlight and sky - another kind of song.

In the trees, just off the path, a blue bird house. It's been there all along. Where have I been? Nearly every day in the the summer I walk along this same path, but seldom wade through the weeds and burrs to get to the other side. Obviously, I need to do it more often.

The sun sets early these days. During the week, it is hard to get home in time to walk in the light. If I was in charge of the world, tomorrow, Monday, would be declared a holiday, just because it is the middle of November and there is no snow on the ground and the sun is shining and the evening always comes too soon.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Where have I been for the past two weeks? I really don't know. Obviously, not anywhere near my blog site and not anywhere near a camera. Two weeks ago we reset our clocks. Two weeks I ago I began to lose my days. The sun is just rising when I leave for school, just setting when I get home - not enough light for any outdoor pictures, not enough light to keep me as awake a I would like to be. Today it was brilliantly sunny and 13 degrees celsius - a very unNovember-like day for us. My nephew and I raked leaves. When he got tired of raking, he threw himself down on a pile of leaves and said, "Cover me up! Cover me up!" He waited for people to walk by on their way to the church next door. When he heard them coming, he leapt out, shaking off the leaves and roaring, as they passed by. They were not as shocked as he hoped they would be. But still, he said, "Do it again! Do it again!" So we did. Over and over again. It was perfect picture-taking weather, but my camera was not at my house, so we have no pictures to save the day. Now it is evening and very dark - the moon is waning. Each evening, when I walk, I realize how hard it is to see clearly in the dark, harder still to take pictures. But that is no reason not to pay attention. Here is one of my favourite "walking-in-the-dark" poems:

- Robert Francis

Keep my from going to sleep too soon
Or if I go to sleep too soon
Come wake me up. Come any hour
Of night. Come whistling up the road.
Stomp on the porch. Bang on the door.
Make me get out of bed and come
And let you in and light a light.
Tell me the northern lights are on
And make me look. Tell me clouds
Are doing something to the moon
They never did before, and show me.
See that I see. Talk to me till
I'm half as wide awake as you
And start to dress wondering why
I ever went to bed at all.
Tell me the walking is superb.
Not only tell me but persuade me.
You know I'm not too hard persuaded.

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.