Monday, August 12, 2013

i miss out on one of the sweetest pleasures of summer.  balmy, starlit summer nights.  and especially the silvered hour of nightfall.  it's rare that i can sit and sink into the nightness around me and enjoy the gentle air on my skin.  and if i do, i can't be alone.  there is safety in numbers.  i have a fear.  i don't have many fears that control me.  but this one, i admit, has quite a hold on me.  i'm terrified of bats.  and our lakeside neighborhood is quite full of them.  swooping into our yard nightly on quite a strict schedule.  and at the cottage, it's much the same.  and at the farm.....don't even let me think about that.  you see 39 years ago, we moved to the farm with it's elegant limestone farmhouse, graceful gardens and waving fields.  but one of the first those silver moments as the day fades, my parents were pushing me on the swing that hung from one of a dozen huge elm trees in the yard and bats started to pour from the eaves.  at first my parents were lost in the idyll of the moment, and they thought the air was full of swallows.  until my father shouted, 'those aren't swallows, they're BATS'
my father is a determined and driven man, so the next morning, he had a ladder up to the eaves and with a putty knife and pink insulation, he spent the day stuffing every crack and possible opening there was.  and then night came again.  my little slope ceilinged room so sweetly tucked under the eave, seemed attacked from
above.  the rush of flapping bat wings, trapped in the attic now, thundering  above my head and the squeals echoing and bouncing between the stone of the walls and my ceiling.  there was panic.  my father had done his job well and the eaves were frighteningly secure.  the only escape for the adventurous few was directly into the house. 
i don't need to continue do i......the 7 1/2 year old that i was, has never recovered from that day.  believe me, that wasn't the end of the drama, but, i panic and hyperventilate and shriek at the first dark swoop and flap of wing.  i don't care how many mosquitos they eat. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

so, this morning i had the best shopping spree.  it was a combination of shopping online, having a brilliant personal shopper and being on an exotic  vacation all rolled into one.  when my friend marc left for south africa in early may, i told him how i wished he could bring me back oodles of gorgeous african cottons and that i was jealous of all the amazing fabric that he would have such easy access to.  well early this morning, as i was cleaning the kitchen, while the house was still, i got a text.  marc was hitting the fabric district of cape town, and taking me along, via text.  the next couple of hours there was a stampede of colorful photos coming to my phone.  he went from store to store, going through rolls upon rolls of endless fabrics, searching the best deals, making sure they were 100% cotton, and sourcing the fabrics he thought i'd like the best.  it was fast paced and such a rush.  non-stop for hours.  i was giddy through it all.  and in the end over 50 metres of amazing fabric that i will cherish and use delightedly to bring a new level of flair to my quilts. all of these fabrics are produced in south africa, printed and dyed there as well.  it's a good purchase on so many levels!   

after the rush of the acquisition, the decisions, the movement and flow, had all settled and he was back at his house, he sent me a photo of the entire stash.  and he said...."they smell heavenly.  i hope the smell stays". i wondered if they smelled of incense. "no, soft smelling.  it's hard to explain".  and then he found a way to explain...."it smells like old jamaican mamas from toronto when i was a kid".  an evocative scent and a beautiful story image to help me live it just a little.  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

i first heard the crickets on july 22nd this year.  in the late afternoon.  while i was in the quilting room.  it is the truest summer sound.  the time when summer reaches it's fullest moments.  crickets with queen anne's lace bursting in the fields.  my favorite flowers.  the dreamy way they wave in the slightest breeze.  the air smells green.  and we take little day trips to the cottage.  we stop at vegetable stands.  and there's usually a visit to a chip truck along the way.      
i went into a grocery store to buy drinks to take to the cottage.  i remember being in there years ago.  i knew it was old.  but when i walked in, my heart lurched.  a vintage grocery store.  it would have seemed old even in the 80s.  the thin strip wood floors, uneven and creaky.  
the musty smell was comforting, not at all repulsive.  now i'm finding a reason to stop there every time we pass by it.  
summer is thick and strong now.  the sounds.  the scents.  august is almost a week old. and there are summer chores we planned to finish last year, that are still unfinished this year.  i wonder if they'll ever be done.  
so the porch is full of cricket song now.  and the air smells of peaches and queen anne's lace.  a trio of my favorites.   

Saturday, August 3, 2013

 we live where the city wraps around us, a little village (or what was once one) sitting on the edge of the lake.  we have a harbor full of boats and a 180 year old stone barricaded penitentiary.  we can walk to any city amenity and yet, at times i feel as if we're nestled comfortably in our little village where time has stopped.  a collection of contradictions. and when ezra and i walk through the night streets before bed, the windows and even the doors of our neighbors homes are often wide open to the street.  many of the older houses have their front doors sitting directly on the sidewalk, back just a foot or two.  so as we wander down the streets, we hear television shows and radio.  we hear the tinkling of dishes and kitchen conversation.  there are dogs barking and frustrated yells.  children whining or giggling.  guitars strumming.  bathwater running. the whir of a fan or even at times a vacuum. 
so maybe i shouldn't be surprised at what happened last night......

we went to the cottage early yesterday afternoon.  i worked in the studio all morning and came home around noon to get our things ready to go to the cottage for the rest of the day.  it was a lovely afternoon and evening with tom's family......and we were back home in bed by 10ish.  but this morning as i walked across the yard, and up to the back door of the studio house, i found the door wide open.  i walked in (a little gingerly, i admit) and found the front door thrown wide open onto the street, as well.  and the studio house is one of those old houses with it's front door just a couple of feet off the sidewalk.  i was shocked and confused.  and a little nervous.  but only a little nervous.  nothing had been touched.  all my quilts in place and my sewing machines accounted for.  although i was sure i had closed up, i must have left thinking i was going to come back for something else and would lock up then.  but our little village in the city kept the studio safe and sound, although the doors sat open onto the street with no one home for almost 24 hours. 
it is a magical little village!!!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

tonight was an evening that the light walked along with us.  through the trees.  in the grass.  illuminating the old buildings, lighting them up from within.  hitting them at just the right angle so the windows thrust the empty rooms at me as i approached the stone buildings.
there was a boy who kept appearing.  alone.  a young boy.  10 or 11.  tasting freedom.  he walked with the floppy careless walk of a ten year old.  he had his dog with him....a small yellow dog that kept getting under his feet.  i saw him on the foot bridge.  i saw him at the pebble beach.  i saw him in the middle of the grassy, unused baseball diamond.  the leash got in his way.  and the light seemed to confuse him a bit as it glared off the water.  he lumbered along with no purpose other than enjoying that he could.  that he was off on his own sort of adventure with his dog. 
and then another boy.  a boy on the path with his parents.  maybe a bit younger than the first boy.  dribbling a basketball as he walked.  his mother staying a little too tightly to his side.  like she was realizing for the first time that he could walk along without her protective hand at the ready.  you could see she wasn't ready for him not to need her. and the father walked ahead, keeping a distance between them, wishing he was somewhere else, or with someone else.  
tonight was the type of night all sorts of secrets revealed themselves.  a summer night that brings all the truth to the surface.  maybe this is partly why coming of age always seems to be helped along by summer.