sunset

evening song

There was a long-drawn sunset this evening, all golden rose with children throwing frisbees in the park, a few wisped curls of cloud in the sky. As if it had been a nice sunny day today. But I wasn't fooled. This morning it was overcast and muggy, the kind of weather that makes you feel prickly. At lunchtime it was still hovering between clearing up and starting to rain. So I cleaned the house. I must confess that I am the type of person who would rather move furniture than mop the floor. Yesterday I shoved coaxed the fridge across the kitchen, and immediately vowed to never let it return. Now, instead of looming mismatched beside the stove and blocking two entryways, it fills the weird corner. This afternoon I stepped into the garden. We have doors that autolock. Most of the time I remember this, and stuff a key in my pocket or prop the door. I shut the door behind me. Oh. I spent the next three hours weeding. I could have gone over to my landlord's house for help, but stubborn pride joined forces with the fact that I'd been wanting to be out in the garden all day, but busy house tasks had kept me from it. And the weeds were really bad. Our salad greens, though gaining height, were dwarfed by volunteer thistles. I have to say it was a peaceful way to spend the afternoon/evening. At times, the only sounds besides my internal chatter were the wind strumming conifer needles and the robins' morning and evening song that transports the sun. Once, a nuthatch scritching bark, crows laughing. The neighbors and their children and their dogs. At the time I had stepped into the garden, I was thinking of changing into shorts and a tank top. By the time Jeremy came home and found me I had swatted a mosquito and was shivering a little.

A year ago at this time, I was up in northern Alberta for work. There was still snow on the ground when I arrived, and then the boreal forest set about showing me how it does spring. Extravagantly, teemingly, gloriously. I wandered around, aspen-struck (swooning over the sea of trunks of my favorite tree to paint), with my plant and bird ID books in hand. Magpies lived in my backyard. Seven of them, and they were loud and playful and curious. Here are some photos from then and there...

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everything I hope for

The rabbits are sneaking up on the houseplant behind me. The cat is at the door, scratching first on the inside, then on the outside. The other cat is on the couch trying to convince J to nap with her. Just a normal evening at our house. The sun descended behind the sky's ragged hem of blue mountains, all streaks of pink and orange fire framed by branches yet to leaf out. This morning it did the same thing but in reverse and with a great deal more magenta.

We drove out to the lagoon to look at birds through battered binoculars. Ever-present and yet-to-be-properly -identified gulls wheeled around and hopped playfully on the beach of broken shells. Mallards, pintails and widgeons dabbled in shallow water in the late afternoon light. In a moment that was like a rush of breath, two swans flew in close over our heads and then disappeared on the horizon, their graceful bodies huge. It felt like a gift.

Recently, I had a thirty-minute wait after work before J came by with the car. I found a bench in the sun and sat quietly with myself, the sun in my eyes and its warmth on my skin. I have fallen out of the habit of daily meditation, and it felt so good to come back to myself there, the warmth and light of spring awakening me too to the present. We have gotten lazy about our evening yoga too, but small poses work their way through my body in the course of the day.

Today when I got home, I found a sunbeam. I carried blankets and pillows to where the floor in the front hallway was a crisscross of light and painted relief of many years' scratches. Spring here is so delicious this year. It is everything I hope for in a spring. I know it's early for most of the country but these are the rhythms I was raised with and I often found myself impatient with the mountains' slow melt and fickle reruns of winter.

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generosity

I'm staying up "late" to write this (with a 4 a.m. wake up tomorrow, bedtime shifts much earlier) because it feels important, a kind of commitment to myself. The cats have just come in from their evening posts on the front steps, and we're settling in. Today began with a nervous drive to work and flew by in the way that balancing baking trays and trays of tarts and pastries on a timeline does. Not a single stall on the way home today (!) and I was stuck behind a bus too.

This evening we came home smelling of hay and horses. We filled big bags with loose timothy hay swept from the floor of my uncle's trailer*. At $30 for a medium-sized bag at the pet supply store, it felt almost like driving home with a car full of sweet-smelling gold. I am so grateful for the generosity of our relatives here. Last night we came home with three dozen multicoloured eggs after visiting J's parents.

Driving out to visit my aunt's horse with our car full of hay, the sky glowed vibrant pink and orange behind tall Douglas-firs and old Garry oaks. It rained a little this afternoon, in a soothing, refreshing way. Sometimes life on this island seems so delicate and precious. Soon endangered Garry oak meadows will fill with resplendent waves of purple satin flowers, white fawn lilies and pink shooting stars. But looking down at the smooth rock and gnarled roots, I'm reassured.

* if anyone in Victoria is looking for a good source of hay please let me know

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reining it in

Today has been a day of catching up. I lay in bed late, head aching too much to want to move. White sunlight streamed through white curtains and bounced off white walls and eventually the bright flaunts of a nice day got me to roll over and put my feet on the floor. When I work the early shift, the house goes a bit feral. I spent the afternoon reining it in.

I meant to be handing out resumes this afternoon but I needed the whole day to catch up at home. I find peace of mind much easier to find when I can clearly see the floor and counters. My horoscope this morning hinted at tension this evening regarding not accomplishing everything I set out to do. I got the tension out of the way early by being hyper defensive about the resumes at lunch with J. We went for a sunset walk along the breakwater later, and I drove and it went okay, and frangipane tarts happened this evening but I'll save those for tomorrow.

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