Sunday, October 31, 2021

Autumn Remnants

"Everything is not gone yet."
RICHARD JEFFERIES, 'Just Before Winter', 1889

It's rather unspectacular as sentences go, I know, but my attention was caught as if in a spidery web when I read the line—it wouldn't let me go. I've been slow reading through an Autumn anthology these past weeks, a collection of seasonal essays and poems from authors old and current. I like dipping into the writings of nature enthusiasts; they help fill my thoughts with sensory imagery when I can't get out to explore the natural world for myself. So there I was enjoying Mr. Jefferies' observations as the Autumn of 1889 drew to a close on his English countryside. I was drawn into his notes that the chill winds crept along harvested fields and whistled through bare branches, when he suddenly noted that 'everything is not gone yet'. He'd discovered singular plants in sheltered spaces tenaciously hanging onto summer in spite of the brittle autumn air.

I, too, am surprised.... and elated to see what still blooms in our own garden even though it's the end of October. We've had no killing frosts or snow so far, which is somewhat unusual for northerly Alberta. Instead we've had two glorious months of autumn's changing beauty with gradually cooling temperatures and none of the kind we're more used to—where one day it feels like late summer only to wake the next morning to the biting teeth of winter, yes, sometimes as early as September. But not this year.

A quick stroll through the garden gave me these simple pleasures: the clematis opening new blooms on her trellis, Peace Rose setting fresh rosebuds, our potted strawberry plant with ripening berries alongside new blossoms, bright pink geraniums along the walkway, and a tiny fistful of fragrant carnations, all nestled against the backdrop of burnished leaves, fallen berries, and leafless limbs. 

" There's a whole world out there, right outside your window.
Don't be a fool and miss it. "

I won't tell you what the weatherman forecasts as we begin a new month. As for today, I'm taking my delight in these remnants . . . everything is not gone yet.

* * *

I'm wishing you a beautiful week ahead,

Photos in this post are mine

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Tuesday Telegram

" I consider it a good rule for letter-writing to leave
unmentioned what the recipient already knows,
and instead tell him something new. "

* * *



Friday, October 15, 2021

One Ordinary Moment

" There is something very sensual about a letter. The physical
contact of pen to paper, the time set aside to focus thoughts, the folding
of the paper into the envelop, licking it closed, addressing it, 
a chosen stamp, and then the release of the letter to the mailbox 
- are all acts of tenderness. "

It started last evening. I sat down in the light of my cozy desk lamp after supper feeling a little out of sorts in my soul. It was only eight o'clock and twilight had melted into the dark—I certainly didn't want my thoughts dissolving into that inky blackness. I've been thinking of my good friend who is running for council in our upcoming municipal elections and have been meaning to jot her a note. With pen in hand and her bold, beautiful personality in mind, I searched my stationery collection for a card to match that vibrancy. The bold golden sunflower set against a dark blue background was perfect.

Note written, addressed, stamped, I slipped out the front door into the cool evening to drop it into the mailbox across the street... where the half moon, accompanied by one lone star, glimmered over the neighbour's roof top.

The out of sorts feeling disappeared. I saw so clearly again what makes me happy, what continues to offer beauty and reason in this weird world: the simple ritual of writing a card to encourage a friend and the short jaunt from front door to mailbox...'in the misty moonlight'. It brought me back to my senses. That is what my world is mostly made up of these days. Simple and quite ordinary but sometimes utterly stunning. In the words of an unknown someone, it's the power of the ordinary.

On that tiny note, I'm away to get on with the rest of my day. A picnic and drive out into countryside are in the offing. Perhaps another note or two will be written, now that this blog post is finished; I look forward to walking them to the mailbox in the warm autumn sunshine.

PS. If you're wondering why I didn't show a photo of the card I sent, it was safely in the mailbox before realizing I was living in my next blog post, so a photo didn't happen. 🥰 

Wishing you a heart happy weekend,

Top Photo: Image by Tookapic from Pixabay

Saturday, October 09, 2021

Friday Five on Saturday


" Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when
everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been
saving up all year for the grand finale. "

It's Saturday morning and the sunrise washes tree tops in golden light. When I think about it, it's the slant of the light this time of year that I love the most.

I love all the seasons, but the truth is I love Autumn most of all. Reasons why include: the wondrous beauty of nature in its stunning glory; the garden really looks its best—it takes all season to come into its fulsomeness; that comforting feeling of finding favourites recipes for homemade soups and stews; the sense of wrapping your fingers around a warm mug; brisk air against my face in the mornings; stomping through crunchy leaves; sipping a pumpkin latte.


Just for fun. Beth Moore shared the list below on her Twitter page the other morning. I used to love these kinds of lists found in the old-fashioned ladies magazines of my youth. So I joined in. Share your choices in the comments, if you like....
1. Cashews or almonds? Almonds, but not almond milk. 
2. Driver or passenger? Passenger - it's hard to take in what's interesting or beautiful when one has to keep her eyes on the road.
3. Reading or listening? I prefer reading, unless it's an audio book on a road trip.
4. Dramas or comedies? Upon reflection, I tend to pick dramas more often, even though I love a good comedy. 
5. Sports event or theater? Definitely theater. Thankfully, I married someone who also likes music concerts and art galleries better than sports events. Lucky me.
6. Cake or pie? Pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving; otherwise a slice of cake never goes amiss.
7. Chips or popcorn? Cheetos crunchy cheezies are first, then potato chips, then popcorn.
8. Music or silence? Will not choose - both are necessary to my soul's survival.
9. Mountains or beaches? As a girl, it was beaches. As a young adult, it was mountains. Now it's gardens and parks.
10. Dogs or cats? I love cats, I like dogs.



A pot of these pansies has been breaking my heart this week with those deep-seated purple petals. If possible, they are even more intense now than in the summertime, and I cannot get enough of their exquisiteness. I keep going outside to drink in yet another moment.

The garden wanes and these stalwart beauties will soon succumb to the frost. As is my autumn ritual for some years now, I have taken a farewell walkabout in the garden, touching the petals of this flower and that one, thanking them for bringing us so much joy this past summer.



" Is this not the perfect autumn day?
Just the still melancholy that I love—
that makes nature and life harmonize. "

The brilliance of autumn colours has peaked in the last week or so. Many trees are now muted in tones of brown sugar and dove grey, the intensity faded. Leaves that once fluttered above my head line the streets in crinkly troughs. Blue jays, spread further afield over the summer, begin to gather nearer to the peanut dishes set in the garden, shrieking their disgust when they are empty. Definitely a sound of autumn - haha.


" Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever. "

It's Thanksgiving this weekend here in Canada. No big family gatherings for us as restrictions are in place to help with high active Covid cases. But a little turkey and fresh cranberry sauce, a scoop of mashed potato and a generous helping of stuffing with gravy will certainly go a long way to filling this heart with gratitude and gladness.

* * *

Wishing you a beautiful weekend,

Photos in this post are mine,
except the last two:
Pumpkin image by hudsoncrafted from Pixabay
Plate image by Matthias Cooper from Pixabay

Friday, October 01, 2021

Hello October: Seasonal Musings and Books

" The end of the summer is not the end
of the world. Here's to October . . . "

There are times when I lament the passing of another month. September was lovely this year, and I am loathe to let it go though I have no choice in the matter. But this morning, I was reminded of why I could look forward to this first day of October. Not only do I get a ripple of pleasure from the small ritual of flipping the calendar page, wondering what shows up next, I also anticipate the arrival of the latest monthly newsletters from two of my favourite authors: Louise Penny and Alexandra Stoddard.

No matter what I'm feeling when I begin, I know that Louise, in the midst of informing readers about her latest writing ventures, often makes me laugh at some witty remark. And while she's reminding herself, she invites her readers to take courage, like Gamache, because life is still full of goodness in the midst of sorrows, tragedies, and pain. And as for dear Alexandra, she remains my long-time inspiration to choose to live life as beautifully as one can, no matter the circumstances. And even as we age, she reminds her readers to 'Be here now' in the moments when they unfold.

These lovely women invariably set the tone for the coming weeks. I didn't realize until this morning how much I look forward to their offerings every month. Their newsletters are posted on their respective websites so you can read them there: click for Louise's and Alexandra's. Or, you can sign up, if you want their missives popping into your inbox each month.

I wrote something from Louise's newsletter into my journal this morning, and I share it with you, for it speaks to me: 'Who knows the blessing of the sun except those who've emerged from the shadows? Who recognizes goodness, longs for goodness? Who is attracted to kindness, except those who have known the other? . . . Life isn't about being fearless, is it? It's about digging deep and finding courage. Finding we are braver than we ever thought possible.'

Virginia Creeper on the side fence

Our autumn kaleidoscope continues to play out scenes of colourful displays. Drives into the countryside have filled our joy tanks to the brim. As I mentioned before, we've had a perfectly lovely September. Oh sure, there have been some blustery, rainy days - and news on the Covid front nearly swamps us with sorrow for the pain of so many. But even as we take time to bear witness to the suffering of others, right dab in the middle of it all, there have been so many sweet moments of exquisite beauty to help lift our shoulders and brighten the path.

Deep drifts of leaves pile up in corners, under trees, in the garden beds, and along driveways and fence lines. Our young six-year-old neighbour was out gathering the colourful leaves one afternoon after school. He was quite ambitious in his quest and created quite the pile for the compost bin. I had to smile in chagrin, though, when I woke the next morning to find his hard work, along with his mom's and toddler sister's, had all been in vain. For there was another dump of leaves overnight from their big tree. As for myself, I am not a raker of leaves—I love the confetti of leaves laying about everywhere. If anyone feels the need to rake, be my guest; as for me, I'm enjoying the variegated bedspread of nature's handiwork.

* * *  

On other news, I'm working on a current family photo album for my mom. She says digital photos are fine, but she can only look at them on her computer. 'Tis true for many amongst us—there is nothing like holding an old-fashioned photo album in our hands while looking at the faces of those we love. Maybe even pressing those pages to our bosom, when getting together in person is still a thing to carefully consider for so many of us.

One novel I'm reading at the moment is an old time favourite: Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery. Set in the autumn and nature's richness described in ways that only LMM can do, Anne writes letters to Gilbert about her experiences as the new Principal of the girls high school in Summerside. Autumn scenes in the book mingle delightfully with the real life setting outside my window and creates a mood that makes me happy.

I am also working my way through the seasonal anthology Autumn with Editor Melissa Harrison. Already a good friend, the pages are penciled and starred with favourite lines. One line from contributor Nick Acheson caught my eye this morning: 'Yet even as winter's dark and cold and damp are presaged by the yellowing, dying vegetation all around, you spot a fresh little violet flower on a chalky bank. An autumn gentian, peeking bravely into bloom as all else fades.'

Made me think of my self-seeded Johnny-jump-ups who create tiny surprises around the garden this late in the season. They are still blooming, if you can believe it!

On that note, it's time to wrap up. I hope you have a beautiful weekend, and I wish you grace and heart's ease as we begin our travels through this new month.

Heart hugs,

Today's photos are mine