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.
It's interesting the roundabout ways in which we get what we want. I wanted another day vacation (actually I'd like many more, but let's not go there just yet), and here I am at home on the couch with stitches in my knee thanks to a careless move when building a sheet-metal shed yesterday. It's not that bad; I'll be back at work tomorrow, but when I woke up this morning it hurt a lot and I couldn't walk. Instead I managed an awkward painful hop-shuffle-drag gait across the house and called in sick so I can keep it still for the day. I'll have to work on a more comfortable way to get those other vacation days. Speaking of vacation, we just had an excellent week of freedom. We built a shed, swam at several new old beaches, cleaned the house and let it get messy again, harvested onions, had some dear family moments and saw an old friend, and explored tide pools. Again, please (though maybe without the shed).
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.
I go out into the garden before I'm fully awake in the mornings, last tendrils of sleep wrapping around the trellised peas and eyes a little blurry in the light of the already blue sky. My purpose is to pick greens for the rabbits' breakfast, but it is also a lovely way to start the day. This morning there were two juvenile crows just waking up in the big tree by the house, stretching their glossy black wings and shuffling their feet, looking down at me in the garden and making soft groggy sounds, and a squirrel already busy in the tree's higher branches. Last night we watched the Canada Day fireworks from our front porch. It was so nice to be home, and to lean against my husband on the porch rail. Earlier in the evening, we had walked through the park to the footbridge and watched all manner of boats streaming by towards the inner harbour- rowboats, kayaks, paddleboards, powerboats. People also drifted past on their bicycles, some with pockets bulging with beer cans, and families walked by in hordes, lugging blankets and lawnchairs. Coloured lights expanded in circles, hovered for an instant, some shimmering as they faded. Their spidery smoke shadows lingered longer, illuminated in the dazzling brightness. But you've all seen fireworks before.
Better still was the swimming in the afternoon - we slipped into a lake that was refreshing but not cold, shallow rocks to dive off, and I swam past water lilies, out to an island and under overhanging Douglas fir branches laden with cones and a steep shore covered in fireweed and pink spirea.
I made a crazy hippie necklace today, with a quartz point hanging from a large faceted chunk of blue kyanite, the rest a frenzy of twisted silver wire and gemstone beads. I made it for fun, not thinking I would actually wear the thing, and playfully named the creation "dreaming happiness" as only an ornament involving a large chunk of kyanite and multiple other coloured crystals should be called. I did try it on to make sure it was a reasonable necklace size though, and ended up wearing it to the grocery store, and out for dinner, and I felt so sad and mopey after I took it off this evening that I put it back on and am wearing it now. So that's that.
I'm not sure if I realized before beginning, but gardening is a labor of love. That, or folly, but we are just novices. I've been tugging out some kind of nightshade with white flowers and fruit like small green tomatoes. I had yet to identify it so left a few of the robust, sprawling plants in case they turned out to be a lovely elephantine wildflower that we planted in a misguided attempt to decorate the garden borders, or perhaps the best crop of accidental eggplants this island has ever seen. It turns out the stuff is American Black Nightshade, so I will definitely be removing the rest of it tomorrow. My greasy hair drove me to the garden (I know, the shower would have been an excellent choice, but the weeding really needs to happen around here somehow), where I weeded with angst and ferocity, and also patience and some mindful and methodical mulling, for hours. The moonrise found me sullen and tired, though the full moon shone bright opalescent in a gradation of sky all smokey blues and lilacs. I barely noticed the sunset light up hot pink along long, low clouds in the west. Later, in a lull in the dull popcorn sound of amateur fireworks and the wails of sirens towards town, Venus and Jupiter appeared, glowing brightly very close together, well beyond the branches of the big pine tree that towered over us. The darkening garden was quiet with the small rustles of an evening breeze, moths' wings, birds settling.
In the gray morning, I watched an otter swimming in the clear water by the mermaid statue on my way to work. Sleek and playful in the small, lapping waves, it made me wish for summer beach days. On my way home, in the sunny afternoon heat (yes!) I watched an otter climbing and sliding on rocks below some people who were lounging in the sun. The otter kept creeping closer to them, then scuttling back and rolling happily in camas and tall grass. At home, the garden is my new favorite place. We stayed out there, planting, weeding and watering until the last rays of sunlight disappeared over the fence. Some of our salad greens are starting to come up, and the onions, and the raspberry transplants are sprouting new canes. Tomorrow we'll be planting beets and again battling the buttercups. Ranunculus, that rascal, is my least favorite plant. If it were safe for rabbits to nibble I'd feel quite differently about its adventitiously sprawling growth.