chapter lx

Archive for May 2009

Well, I missed all the pink trees blooming in the South, but here are some that I turned around for. You can see how lush everything is.

Trees in bloom

Trees in bloom

I worked on Tuesday. The boats there are so large and beautiful. The Picton Castle has just returned from a voyage around the world, and the Bluenose II is here for only a short time. This is home for both of them. It was very busy on the wharf Tuesday, warm and sunny and tourists out strolling, but it has been rainy and chilly since then.

The Picton Castle

The Picton Castle

Working on the Castle

Working on the Castle

Bluenose II

Bluenose II

View from the booth

View from the booth

Since it is still awkward to do anything fine – the stitches come out Monday, this has been a chance to take care of other tasks; getting papers in order, making phone calls, sorting pictures on the computer. It is amazing how many there are, with no order and no easy way to find anything. When I think of the boxes of photos that waited for years to be labeled and sorted, I guess nothing is new. In a way it is good not being able to just pick up knitting or crochet, but having to think, what do I want to do now?

It is an apple!

It is an apple!

This beauty is right outside my front window, blooming now. In front of that is a weeping cherry.
So lovely

So lovely

When I look across the harbour now, it is so green. We have had a few days of really beautiful, warm, up in the 20’s weather but today it has turned chilly again – I’m sitting here with a scarf and shawl, it is raining and dark. I have lights on at 4 in the afternoon, here where it doesn’t turn dark until almost 9. It is thundering, too. It sometimes sounds like the whole sea is thundering, rumbling, deep and long. Ah, the price of paradise.

I have begun working. I will be selling tickets down on the wharf for tours of the harbour on the Eastern Star, a 48′ wooden ketch. I will have a chance to take a tour as the season starts. I’m glad to have some income, it will be fun to be outside, meeting many people at the heart of Lunenburg. The first day, though, trying to adjust a shelf on an old metal office cabinet, I sliced my right index finger pretty deep. I knew right away I should go get a tetanus shot – dust, mold, who knows what, but ended up with four stitches as well. A nuisance, kept me off the computer for a few days, better now, but still awkward typing, so this will be fairly short. Doctor said, no washing dishes, yard work, laundry, lots of red wine. A sweet young doctor who just came back from four years practicing in Illinois but came home when his colleagues began harassing him for treating indigent patients.

I have been thinking, what is this blog? Not really a journal, where I am recording my most private thoughts – it’s public for goodness’ sake, anyone can come here. It is somewhat like the column I wrote for Northwood Review – I do have you, whoever is reading this, in mind when I write. That means all those who I love, all I keep with such fondness in my heart, all who care enough about me to check in now and then to see what’s new. It is also somewhat of a personal record, and does require a certain amount of discipline.

What I hope is that this conveys some sense of place, where I am and what is it like here, and with that in mind, I will strive to make that more vivid, especially while it is still new, with beginner’s mind.

But here is what I’ve been thinking. I would invite anyone reading this to contribute your place, give a snapshot of where you are, what it means to you, what you like about your place. I have always preferred collaboration to solo performances, and would encourage you to take a look around and describe it in some way.

There are whales and puffins here. I have never seen a puffin, and look forward to them. I guess they come around July. It sounds like July and August are when the town really buzzes, although I have been surprised at the variety of activity that is available since I got here. Two months tomorrow, holy cow!

I heard a man who studies whales on the radio last week. He is also a jazz clarinet player. He had been listening to whale songs, and realized that there is structure to them, and that a group of whales will learn the same song and then alter it, and all the whales in the group will then alter it, on and on. He went out with a group with microphones and speakers, and they listened to the whales, and then he started playing clarinet through speakers into the water, and the whales started singing along! Imagine, a pick-up session with whales. What wondrous creatures.

I promised myself I wouldn’t let another day go by without posting. Had to fiddle with the photos to upload, and I’ve just come back from another wonderful concert. I’ve heard such a variety of music in the short time I’ve been here. This one was in the beautiful St. John’s church again. It was young people from Iqaluit, Nunavit and Halifax. The group from Nunavit came to Lunenburg because they had a cathedral there which was destroyed by fire in 2005. St. John’s also had a fire a few years ago, and this congregation has been raising funds to rebuild the church in Iqaluit. So, the children from Nunavit are throatsingers and drummers. It was enchanting. One of their leaders then performed a couple of his own songs; the drums are skin stretched over a hoop, which is waved as it’s played. His graceful movements were as much song as the drum and voice. He sang a song of missing loved ones, and one to seals. The Halifax group was a string ensemble, and they were enthusiastic and great. There is a series of early music coming up in the summer, and a folk festival in August that has been going on for about 20 years, and on Sundays during the summer there is music at the bandstand in the center of town, and I don’t know what other delights lay ahead.

The past couple days have been glorious. I don’t know if it’s that, or just finding a new rhythm in my life here, but I have felt a new energy. Finally finished clearing all that horrid bamboo from the back; four loads of it to the dump. Now I can decide what to put in all that space. There are three large pines, so what would be happy growing under pines? I’m wondering if a few rhododendrons would be happy there. And then there is a slope that will be mostly shady once the trees are leafed out.

All at once they bloomed

All at once they bloomed

Talking about trees, it seems that yesterday they all decided it’s about time to blossom. I think the one next to the driveway is an apple – will know in another couple days. I’m pretty sure there is a weeping cherry in front of that.
Blossoms

Blossoms


I moved all the furniture around the past couple days, and hung paintings; I think you have to be in a place for awhile to know what should be where. It makes it look more settled, not so perching here but I have put down stakes, or nails in the walls. I am going to look at a love-seat pull-out on the weekend that I found on Kijiji – attention, anyone who would like to visit, there will be a spare bed.

Part of the rearranging furniture was to maximize the view. The desk was in the back room, facing a wall, which was not how I had imagined it at all. In my dreaming this, I saw sitting at the computer, looking out at the sea, so moved the desk to the front room where I can look out the window at the water, and sky, and boats and birds. So the back room has the sewing machine, and a dresser for storage, and lots of things still piled on the floor and still lots of room. And I changed the bed to the opposite wall, and it seemed to open that room too.

I have finished a sweater that had been put aside for too long, and stenciled a baffed out little table that I bought, and made a shopping bag besides all the work in the garden.

Trips to Bridgewater tend to take all day – it is about 1/2 hour away, and I try to get in not more than once a week, to do laundry mostly but there is also a large grocery with a good selection. I don’t know, now, what takes so much time when I go in, but there you are. I met a kitten yesterday who will be ready to come home with me in a month. Sweet little black cat – aren’t they all sweet? with a white bib and a little orange on one ear. I liked her face and feel like we will be friends when we get to know each other.

The farmer’s market opened today – will be every week though the summer. Not much in season yet, but there were lots of baked goods, plants, homegrown beef and pork, and fish. I have been eating much more fish here, of course. A whole package of smoked salmon for $5, lobster $5/pound although I don’t have a pot large enough to cook a lobster yet. I can’t wait for fruits and veggies to come in season. There is someone who makes homemade sauerkraut which I understand is a local favourite.

I am blessed to be here, and to have this time.

Mother's Day flowers from my sweeties

Mother's Day flowers from my sweeties

It has been raining steadily for about fifteen hours now, as much as I can tell; I wasn’t awake all night, but it sure looks like it rained through the night, and has continued hard all morning. The only other place I can remember where it rained without stopping was Florence. Molly and I were there one summer, and I had never seen rain come down like that, so hard for such a sustained period of time. In the Great Lakes region, you’ll hard rain for about twenty minutes, maybe a half hour, and then it drizzles and spits. In California, does it rain?

I think this will be good for all the growing things. I can see that battling the bamboo in the backyard is going to require constant vigilance – already the pieces I broke off last week are coming back strong, standing three and four inches high. Let’s hope for a warm sunny weekend to get out there tending the garden again. There is still a daunting pile of old stalks to be dealt with somehow. There are two ways I can think of to handle them; either break them up and put into bags for pickup, or load them into the van and take them to the dump. Lunenburg is very good about recycling and composting. There are four separate streams for household garbage, with color coded bags and alternate week pickups.

Went to my first St. Vincent de Paul meeting in Bridgewater last evening, and was greeted warmly by the members. I am pretty impressed with what they are doing here, covering a huge area. They get about 50 calls a month from people who need help with electric bills, fuel oil, wood, furniture, clothing. They are able to help nearly everyone who calls, and have pretty healthy support from the parishes. I do love those good hearted people who become Vincentians. Certainly not the only good hearted people, but united by a spirituality.

Picked up a sewing machine at a flea market, and when I got it home there was no power. I went back to the flea market, after trying everything I could think to make it run. I thought maybe there was some trick I just wasn’t getting, and the woman I bought it from could help out, but when I got back she was gone! So my friend David who sings in the choir took it home to see if he could figure out why it wouldn’t work, and did! It simply needed a new plug, and now I have learned to thread it and have a working machine. There is a sweater I’ve been knitting too long that I want to finish before starting another project, though. By the time I get near the end of a sweater, it is so boring that I can’t wait to be done with it, I don’t even like it anymore.

No photos today. I want to get some yellow for next time – yellow daffodils and forsythia everywhere now.

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