"...it is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,
do not walk by
As the sun hit the snow on my neighbour's roof, thoughts of vanilla icing gliding down the sides of a layer cake spring to mind. It is a scene for a Christmas card even though it's only mid-November. Winter came with aplomb last weekend, and we're still kinda finding our way out from beneath the snow piles. Not to mention adjusting to the thermometer that has been as jumpy as any serious watcher of the recent US presidential election results—first, the temperature falls way below freezing and then surges back up into melting mode, then drops again.
Maybe we're all a little jumpy these days, what with so many things going on that threaten to pull our minds off kilter. I woke up the other morning with a dream still fresh in my mind—I worry when current world events end up in my dreams. In the dream I found myself in a crowd of people. It all felt quite normal and fine, people going about their business. I suddenly remembered it's Covid and I don't have my mask on! What! How could I have left the house without it, and I knew there wasn't an extra one in my bag. On top of that, what I found most unsettling was that no one was wearing a mask and no one else didn't seem to notice or care. Thankfully, I woke up.
To settle my rattled nerves (wink), in the afternoon I pulled out a recipe from my old Purity recipe book, the cookbook my mom gave me to tuck into my hope chest decades ago. I went straight to the easy one-bowl chocolate cake recipe. After gathering the ingredients and beating them together for the requisite minutes, I poured the smooth chocolate batter into my shiny new cake pan, sorely tempted to lick the wire beaters and drag my finger to catch the drips along the edge of the bowl. I tend not to do that anymore, wondering if it's safe to ingest raw eggs. Setting the timer, the minutes couldn't tick fast enough as I anticipated serving still-warm slices (with vanilla ice cream) for our afternoon tea. It fit the bill, steadied my nerves, satisfied my taste buds, and made an ordinary afternoon feel silky smooth and carefree. Although delicious, we opted not to have seconds.
* * *
A dear friend asked the other day how I was doing these days, noting I'd been quiet here online. Yes, it's true and replied that I didn't have much to say at present, not publicly anyway. Even as I keep one eye on the world events going on around us, one thing that occupies my time and imagination is a writing project—that slow as molasses memoir I started some years ago and work away at it when I get inspired. I took it out to work on during November.
Sad to say that something like wolverines must have gotten into my files when I wasn't looking, for what had been, I was certain, well organized notes and proper first drafts back when I stopped working on it were now in some unholy mess. Surely I hadn't left it in that condition back then! It took me days to sort everything out again, getting familiar with the working table of contents, deleting all the duplicate material found in various documents—oi vey—how many times did I start that same chapter? Eventually I got it all sorted and organized..... and now we're down to some actual writing. Progress is slow but moving onward. Sometimes I'm inspired and other times, well I carry on, for my writing buddy reminds me of something author Nora Roberts is attributed to saying, "I can fix a bad page. I can't fix a blank page."
* * *
In the midst of that, with the garden now wrapped in its winter thermals, Rick has turned his attention indoors and has been painting our living/dining room. We've had a cheerful yellow for years and have always loved the colour. But we've purchased a gorgeous new painting to celebrate our upcoming wedding anniversary, and it requires a fresh new background. Moss green was our choice for this wall in our dining room area. The painting is by Edmonton artist Robert Lemay. We love his work and are excited for the day our painting is delivered and hanging in its new home. We'll be sure to share pictures. In the meantime, here is a peek at what we are working on:
Feature wall in Moss Green with Queen Anne's Lace White
for the rest of the walls
Hydrangeas by Robert Lemay (4' x 6')
photo from gallery website
* * *
I pulled out my Mary Oliver poetry this week because someone I follow on Twitter, John Blase, suggested reading her work and to do so "while listening to Ava Maria as the sun also rises slowly and ever so surely". His words felt like a breath of fresh air, and so I took him up on his recommendation. Here are links to the Bach/Gounod Ava Maria version (voice) and the Schubert Ava Maria (violin), should you wish to take your own moment of slowly b.r.e.a.t.h.i.n.g in something fresh and lovely on a Friday morning. And if you don't have any Mary Oliver, read what makes you come alive.
Something else I'm very much enjoying for my bedtime reading is Patrick Taylor's novel An Irish Country Christmas. It's still some weeks before Christmas in the wonderful, slightly looney community of Ballybucklebo, so the novel's timing fits rather well in our real time as our own build up begins. I can't help thinking of James Herriot's crowd on All Creatures Great and Small. And for some reason actor Christopher Timothy, who played Herriot in the original series, springs to mind when young Doctor Barry Laverty, family doctor not veterinarian, tends his patients alongside his flamboyant senior partner, Doctor Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly. Together, the two good doctors encounter country folk who entertain, irritate, and cause them, and us the readers, to appreciate them for their quirky, beautiful humanness. It's one of my favourite stories, among several, to read at this time of year.
" Maybe the desire to make
is the piece of God that is inside each of us. "
MARY OLIVER, Devotions
* * *
Wishing you a beautiful weekend. Stay safe.