lake

Lady Lake's gingersnaps

 

I like mornings. Enough so that I'm glad to be awake for the grey world to slowly be suffused with colour, even if I fall asleep again later once all the light is in the sky. I like seeing the orange squares of light in the window frames of the neighbouring houses. I like seeing the colours, pinks and yellows, flow from the sky into the landscape, and the drained sky to slowly turn blue.

This is kind of a strange place, with gulls wheeling by and the wind always ready to whip up strong and hearty. The garden in the back, all dry grasses and bent plants, is flooded. One night I dreamt that this whole flat area, the garden and the field next to the house, were underwater and there was a great shallow lake with ducks milling around outside the bedroom window. I went out the window into a boat.

Lady Lake's Ginger Snaps a family recipe...   2 1/4 cups flour 1 tsp cinnamon 1 Tbsp ginger 1/2 tsp salt 3/4 cup butter 1 cup sugar 1 egg 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses 1/2 cup chopped candied ginger

In a medium bowl, mix together dry ingredients, then set aside. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add egg and continue beating. Add molasses and blend well. Gradually add dry mixture to creamed mixture until incorporated. Stir in candied ginger.

Chill dough overnight. Scoop with a spoon and roll into small balls. Roll these in granulated sugar to coat. Press flat. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes, careful not to burn.

we drove

IMG_8374 We went on a road trip last weekend back to the mountains. Our destination was Nelson, nestled in a narrow valley with a long lake-river running by. I had a list of places I wanted to have coffee or get food at and tea blends and favorite products to buy. There were friends to visit, a few stored possessions to collect, and I wanted to see the splendor of the fall colours and say goodbye to the house that we are selling.

It rained heavily the morning we left our island home. From the ferryboat, the mist hung heavy on the shorelines we passed, long tendrils of cloud clinging to the tall conifers. I glimpsed a bald eagle through sheets of sideways rain.

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And then we drove, and drove and drove, for hours. Mostly Jer drove while I read aloud to him. I drove a long winding section through high country, bright reds, oranges, pinks and yellows sweeping by under now-blue skies.

Next, a magnificent landscape of Ponderosa pines and rolling hills; sagebrush; magpies; dry crumbling mountains laced with silver, gold and copper; the shimmering Similkameen, shallow and wide, rolling on down over rounded river rocks.

It was raining when we drove into Nelson, the beautiful lake peaceful, but the excitement of the day had been lost to the kind of dream-shattering conversation that sometimes only long hours in a vehicle can bring. The placid water and yellow-leaved cottonwoods then served as a backdrop for us to build new plans and dreams over subsequent drives along the lake shore that weekend.

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Twice now, we've swum in the small lake naked. Sunlight on pale skin, bodies moving freely in the fluid lakescape; the movement of my arms stitching me to the surface. Small feather-winged seeds and insects drift along, snatched up by big glittering dragonflies. Fork-tailed swallows dip and dive, sending up arcs of spray as their swoops skim the surface, butter yellow bellies filled with tiny transparent wings in the blue sky. There's a silvery film on the ripples in the water and where the tall firs and cedars touch sky. Beyond all but the unseen, ravens glide. Their flight traces infinity symbols in the cloudless expanse. Refreshed, we buy vegetables on the way home. Also peaches, yogurt, apples, butter, a battery and blueberries. The car ride is hot and smelly and as we enter the city the magic is gone. IMG_8220 IMG_1556 IMG_1530

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If I look back on this post a year from now, here is what I want to remember: a fire rainbow in the windswept mare's tails clouds above the city at lunchtime; excellent coffee on many a morning boosting morale; picking and eating small precious handfuls of the summer's first blackberries; swimming, arms reaching, body skimming through the liquid landscape of the lake; homemade pizza; finally giving myself a much-needed footrub; evening walks to the tune of peaceful and yolky sunsets. IMG_8184 IMG_8186 IMG_8188

July 8

Somehow when I think of summer I tend to picture lazy days spent reading novels in a hammock or bare feet sun-browned and barnacle-toughened padding along dry forest paths. This summer has not been that. It's been full, hectic, busy, the kind with too many workdays. Last month was my high school reunion, which I emphatically said I would avoid, but a chance encounter, a random comment, and all of a sudden we had tickets. An afternoon at the lake with old friends was just as good as it ever was, and felt so overdue. The reunion itself was both incredibly awkward and far more fun than expected. It was interesting the way people looked like themselves, but more, or less, or different than back then at any rate, everyone wearing ten years differently. To my great frustration, I spent the whole next week wishing I had worn my polka dotted dress instead. Ridiculous. This past Sunday morning we slept late and stumbled around the house confused and unsettled. The sky was an eerie sepia-orange-pink, the inside of our house at midmorning was dark as evening. We hoped that a storm was rolling in, and would bring rain, but it just brewed and brooded until we couldn't take it and drove across town in the muggy heat to the lake my husband swam in as a child. I had to turn on the headlights in order to see the console.The sun was a red disk in the smoggish sky and a faint taste of smoke told us what we had begun to expect: this was forest fires. The winds had shifted, bringing to our awareness to what's going on in much of the rest of this province, and it was like a mild version of the July I spent up north last summer.  At the lake, the green of the trees was almost fluorescent in the twilight-zone kind of light. The water was refreshing, normalizing, and we returned home in the afternoon able to pick up the threads of tasks we had scattered in the morning.

The reach-tug of the waves along the shore this morning while I walked home from my job in town was validating and soothing to some piece of me that wants freedom and creativity above all, that struggles to meet the schedules of the mundane and hopes pockets of time would open when wished for and treasures would show up on the most drudging of days. I did see a northern flicker and a host of robins though, so that is something.

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