Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wisteria Vine


Wisteria Vine
Our Chinese Wisteria vine is blooming.
So what?  Well…
They said it couldn’t flourish here in Zone 4.  They said it needs Zone 6 to thrive.  But here it is.  Chinese Wisteria, a three-year old plant growing on the pergola that shelters our back door.
They said it wouldn’t grow.  They said if it did grow, it wouldn’t bloom.  But, here it is.  Here it is with its sweet fragrance, twining its dark grey bark counter-clockwise around the vertical supports.  Here it is with its delicate oval leaves on waving stems 4 to 16 inches long.
We were surprised when we saw the tiny corn-on-the-cob shaped blossoms beginning.  Though we had hoped it would bloom, we didn’t think it would because all the experts said it couldn’t.  
What a delight to see the little cobs lengthen and turn purple-blue, to see tiny florets on a raceme!  And, not just one but many. There are more than a dozen stems with clusters of purple-blue flowers swaying in the spring breeze at our door.
Our Chinese Wisteria is blooming…so what? 
Well…it’s blooming, so there.

And...so there.



All photos are mine.

Sackville Waterfowl Park #3



During our walk around the Sackville Waterfowl Park,
we were in a cathedral of nature. 
We breathed fragrances of morning marsh air,
new leaves, sun-warmed wooden walkways
and wildflowers near the paths.


We enjoyed the textures of the cattails, the rough railings on the walkways, the bark of birches, the stiff grasses and rushes,
the weightless sensation of leaves, as we brushed by.



The views off the pathways were filled
with aging and growth...
nature happening everywhere.  We stayed on the paths,
and touched and took nothing.
The Park is clear that nothing is to be disturbed. 
It was enough to look, to breathe in and to walk.

 

There were brooks and meadows, swathes of cattails,
bowers of birch and everywhere,
sky and leaves reflected at water's edge.



There was beauty in the cattails and at every turn on the path. 
We had to stop
again and again to gaze and wonder. 
As we stared, we saw a hidden nest here, a wildflower there. 
We heard a warble or a trill or a squawk
or leaves rustling and a whir of wings.



And all the while, we strolled in sun's warmth
or in the kiss of dappled shade. 
It was sacred space.



We enjoyed the day
 and this place of sanctity in nature.

And felt better for the time spent.

As we left the Sackville Waterfowl Park, 
we breathed more gently on our way.


Note:
All photos are mine.
The phrases describing the Sackville Waterfowl Park
as a cathedral of nature and
as a sacred space were first suggested by friends,
so are not original to me.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sackville Waterfowl Park #2


The Sackville Waterfowl Park was established in 1988 as a joint venture of the Town of Sackville and Ducks Unlimited Canada.  The cooperation of Mount Allison University, the province of New Brunswick, the Canadian Wildlife Service of Environment Canada, together with corporate and individual supporters
made this park possible. 

Have you been there yet?  Admission is free.



Though we could have chosen a guided tour, we did not. 
 Instead, we began our walk at the Anglican Church
on Main Street, Sackville and guided ourselves.


A map of the Sackville Waterfowl Park is available
showing the pathways
 and each of the entrances to the park. 
To see the map, click here.


In addition to ducks, we saw Red-Winged Blackbirds
and this Tree Swallow who sat for a photo.



Most of the time, the Tree Swallows swooped over our heads,
flitting to and from their nest boxes.



This pair of Canada Geese took time to rest with their 5 goslings,
on a board floating in the water.



When the babies were ready to go again,
they swam off in a protected line.



We noticed a muskrat lodge hidden in the cattails and grasses.

 

And later saw the muskrat.

More about the Sackville Waterfowl Park tomorrow...

Words in red will take you to another site with additional information, if you click on them.
All photos are mine.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sackville Waterfowl Park


Have you walked through the Sackville Waterfowl Park yet? 
For the price of the gas to travel to Sackville, New Brunswick,
the park is yours to enjoy. 
Admission is free.


The Sackville Waterfowl Park is 55 acres in the heart of Sackville. It is managed by the Town of Sackville
with the help of a voluntary
Waterfowl Park Advisory Committee.


The park has 3.5 kilometers of trails
and boardwalks that pass through shallow fresh water wetlands
and low uplands.



We stepped onto the path
and before we had walked two minutes,
I was taking photos.

 

I couldn't resist the beauty, the birds, muskrats,
wild flowers, alders and birches,
so much to enjoy at each curve in the path.



I took many pictures, so many that I will spread
them out over several blogs.
The walk was amazing.  You'll see.


And more photos to come...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Great Blue Heron


Today at the Shediac River, we saw Great Blue Herons.


Not just one or two,


but bunches of a half dozen at a time


sitting in these distant tree tops


and then flying off to the south into deeper woods.

We wondered if there might be a rookery
just behind the tree tops. 

The Great Blue herons were beautiful to watch.
 
They have long curving necks, blue-grey wings. 
In flight their legs trail behind their bodies
and they fly with slow and steady wingbeats
and almost seem to float.

Watching these graceful birds was a memorable experience.

Gargoyle Guards the Home


A gargoyle guards the entrance to this home


watches over the garden's blooms


supervises installation of walkway and steps


eyes the soon-to-be vegetable garden


and the side garden paths


waits for the burst of colour from this peony bud.

Gargoyle guards and watches it all.

Friday, May 25, 2012

When is Garbage Really Just Garbage?


When is Garbage… Really… Just Garbage?

One person’s trash is another’s treasure.   I’ve seen proof of this over the last fortnight.
“Big Garbage” pick-up for spring happens next Monday.   For two weeks, people have been cleaning, creating piles, large and small, at curbside for the semi-annual garbage collection of big garbage.   We don’t have much to contribute; what we do have, we’ll put out Sunday night.  We live simply and don’t accumulate, keep clutter to a minimum.
One neighbour must be doing housecleaning in a big way.  He has a ten foot high cone of garbage in front of his house.  Another has garbage spread in a 50 foot swathe across the front of her property.
Treasure hunters are out in vans, in small trucks, in large trucks and in large trucks with trailers; they are cruising the streets.  They idyll their engines, move slowly, drive by the piles, then back up, leap out, inspect an item and throw it into their truck or back onto the pile.  Pickers drive by at all hours.  I’ve seen men with flashlights, after midnight mining the treasures.
I admit it.  I am fascinated.  What are they going to do with a cracked toilet, a broken sink, a single drawer, a television older than dirt, a defunct lawn chair or a mattress that looks like someone died on it, after suffering a messy illness?  I understand taking items that can be reclaimed for the metal, wood that can be re-purposed or plant pots that could be reused.  Perhaps someone who has mechanical abilities can salvage a lawnmower or a weed trimmer, a radio or a computer.   But, perhaps I am limited by my own imagination.  Perhaps…
Since our lifestyle is simple, most of our garbage is really just garbage.  We don’t have anything exciting for the pickers, no treasures, except an old rocking chair with broken rungs.  Someone who has carpentry skills and wood working tools could repair it.  We don’t and can’t.  I hope someone will want it and will fix it and use it. 
But…oh dear.  I have to confess.   We have skulked over to the ten foot pile and found treasures… two pieces of pressure treated lumber.  Why treasures? 
Because we can use them, of course.  
His trash has become our treasure.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Reflection



Reflection

Pond…
mirror
of deep sky,
of fern and leaf…
neighbour to moss covered stones, alive with
beetle and robin, chipmunk and goldfinch.
Ripples of splash
where ducks rest,
breathing life.

Pond
sings its
generous
song of quiet,
heals a world
that has forgotten
how
to mirror
Peace.

Photo is mine.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Morning Haze



Light.
Morning's
sleepy kiss
burns through this haze,
calls to life...bloom and leaf and love and you.

Photo is mine.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Vulnerability


I sit in a wooden chair beneath our crab apple tree.  The sky is blue, blue as my own eyes.   Breezes carry the scent of new mown grass and crab apple blossoms.  The last of the magnolia blooms unfold like pink tea cups on pale saucers.   The day’s only sounds are the far-off drone of lawnmowers, the squeals of children playing in the neighbours’ yards, and the plump buzz of gold and black bees as they heave over clumps of violets.   On the next street, I hear car doors open and close, open and close at a garage sale with “items too numerous to mention”…items now noticed and mentioned and sold.
All around me, life repeats its endless cycles.  And inside of me too, life cycles.  Life happens and changes…everywhere it is the same.   But, I can’t concentrate.   My mind wanders.   I fret.  I worry.  My brain buzzes like the bees.   I can’t stop it.
I am part of this cycle of life.  I began and I will end.  In between, I live and I am.
At 62, I am closer to my end than to my beginning.  I don’t give much thought to the end, to my mortality, not usually.  Perhaps, I believe it is a long way off and so avoid thinking about it yet.
Of late, I am mindful of my age.  I am aware of degenerating discs, of back pain, of decreased energy, of chest pain and aging.  Yes, aging.  
Why? 
Well, on Thursday, I spent the day, eleven hours of it in the Emergency Department hooked to monitors, and received X-rays, three sets of blood tests and ECG’s.   Then, after being so scared, breathes of relief; there was no heart damage. 

The doctor and I both believe the chest pains are a reaction to the anti-inflammatory pills that I am taking for my back.  The chest pains and nausea and weariness and pressure are likely not heart problems.   But just in case, I am booked for a Stress Test on Tuesday morning, first thing.   Just in case a partially clogged artery is sneaking up on me.  Likely, all is well.  But I am a worrier.  So doubts nibble at the edges of my mind.
I will heave sighs of relief on Tuesday after the test, exhale all my worry.  Then, the doctor and I will have to figure out the other possible causes for this chest pain and pressure and nausea.  Perhaps, it is something as simple as indigestion.   But, for now, “What if’s” plow through my head, creasing my mind with fretfulness, make it hard to be calm or to think.
I struggle to see the positives and the bright spots.  I stare at the dappled shade on my page as I write.  I see the shadows of the crab apple tree dance with the sunlight, the dark and the light together on my page.  Dark and light, these opposites are part of the natural world, part of the cycle of life, part of me.
Shadows and sunlight, pain and joy, worry and relief, vulnerability and reprieve are part of me and part of the cycle of my life.  Life happens and changes, carries me along with it…vulnerable and hopeful, frightened and joyful.
I sit in my wooden chair beneath the crab apple tree and I focus on life.  I focus on birdsong and bees, the sunshine and the peace of this afternoon.  I am glad to be alive, to be.  I am glad to be alive now, alive here, on this sun-blessed afternoon, grateful for this gift that is my life. 
And I hope my life, the life still ahead of me, contains joys and sunny days too numerous to mention.



Photos are mine.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day 2012



 
Happy Mother’s Day!
Happy Mother’s Day wishes to Julie, Pascale, Jeannette, Melanie and Melissa.  I send hugs and love, and gratitude for who you are, gratitude for all you do to make this earth a place where your children, my eleven grandchildren can grow and flourish.
Happy Mother’s Day to my mother. 
And for you a story…
On Mother’s Day, when I was ten (and for several years after that), I plagiarised a poem by Edgar A. Guest, as a gift for my mother.  The poem was called “She Mothered Five.”  Each year, I adjusted the words and the lines to make the verses appropriate for whatever was happening in our family of five children.  Guest’s sentimental verses about everyday life appealed to my ten year old sensibilities.  Mum mothered five of us for 25 years until my brother died in an accident; then there were four of us, four girls left.
When I was a teenager, I stopped stealing poems for my mother, switched to flowers or homemade offerings.  I remember going through an obnoxious stage where we called her “The Imperial Dragon”… yes, to her face.  She didn’t seem to mind.  Five adolescents required fire-breathing dragon-like parenting.  We all survived…sometimes toasted at the edges.
My Mother’s Day gifts and remembrances have evolved.  And they continue because it’s fun to remind my mother that I love her and that I am grateful for what she has taught me, for what she has given me.
Today I'm making her brunch and I’ll give her a bottle of Dubonnet; no doubt, she could have used that when we were teenagers.   I’m glad she’s my Mum and that she had the strength and the courage to mother the five of us.
I’ll tell her I love her… and, of course say "Happy Mother’s Day."

Photo is mine.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Spring Blooms


First Daffodil

Flowers of the Norway Maple

Branch of Flowers on the Norway Maple

Flowers and New Leaves on the Rowan Tree

Squills Hiding in the Pathway


Weeding and planting have taken over from writing and poetry. 
One creative activity is replacing the other. 
 Oh, to find a balance.
Photos are mine.