Wednesday, March 14, 2018

March 14

Opening the curtain of my study window this morning. Usually see the brick house fronts across the street. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

snowy day / museum visit / river walk / montreal in march

Something I read made me wonder what story a person might see if I didn't point in a direction. No words. Though... I have to admit that no words is a hard interdiction for me. But I'm telling you so you understand that I'm not posting pictures without words because they are so fine. Except for the two R took with his camera, I used my phone.

But I wonder what kind of story one finds here. Random pics taken over three days.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Lachine Canal / Ontario creek

I grew up in southern Ontario where there was always a creek nearby. That being southern Ontario, you wouldn't sound it like "creak" but more like "crik". If you were from the country.

In the summer we would swim in the crik, though it meant jumping in and not touching bottom because there were bloodsuckers. We would jump and thrash about and climb out again as quickly as possible.

There were long hours of hanging off the bridge over the crik and looking down into the shallow water at the ink-slash schools of minnows and the crayfish that scuttled from shadow to shadow. You had to be very still for the crayfish to move--for them to believe that the shadow you cast was a tree, not a bird with a long, stabbing beak.

Today--in Montreal--I was crossing the footbridge over the Lachine Canal. Here and there the ice was melting. Looking down into the water I was reminded of those long-ago crayfish. Those skittering, skeletal shapes that lived in the rich muck of the crik's bottom, their movements apprehended more than seen through the light ripple on the surface of the water if there was a breeze.   

Then the late afternoon sun  shone into the water picking out the shapes of abandoned grocery carts.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

winter / Laurentians Feb 2018

Snowshoed into the woods this past weekend. A mostly deciduous forest that undulated and opened around us. More trees, less sky. Less trees, more sky.

The slender boles of birch trees.

Part of the way we followed a river that gushed freezing and black under the snow. The Rivière Doncaster in Parc Doncaster near Mont-Rolland. 

We trudged up a hill, we trudged down. We'd brought our lunch. It was mild enough to eat outside but not so mild that the snow had released the picnic tables.

The mountains in the Laurentians are old, rounded, low hills--among the oldest in the world, 540 million years.

That's me--not moving as quickly as it looks because I'm so far behind R that he was able to get this far-away picture.

Among the meditative generality of trees and snow and hills and sky, there were particulars.
The orange needles of a larch, fungi, a maple leaf weathered thin as ancient parchment.

I particularly loved these ice formations that made me think of Enokitake mushrooms hung upside down. Bouquets of ear swabs. Fancy cocktail swizzle sticks. Or what they are: icicles. Though... I suppose there's a proper word for when they're formed by a rushing current.

When the cleats on our snowshoes weren't crunching on the snow, when we stopped and listened, or found a log to sit on, we could hear the twittering and shivering of the leaves still on the trees--in a way that you'd never hear it when all the trees are in leaf and green. It's a winter sound.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

hot tub thoughts

I'm not an overly sociable person. I appreciate my friends, but I also need a lot of time alone. I'm not gregarious. I avoid crowds.

Too many people all doing the same thing can even make me panic a little. R and I almost broke up in 1985, a few months along when we were backpacking, and we were walking in Florence in the evening and he wanted to join a procession of white-robed monks holding candles. He'd either seen a sign or guessed that they were marching for peace.

It was a slow and stately march. The monks weren't moving aggressively. But they were grouped and hooded on dark, narrow streets. I couldn't make out their faces and I felt there was something menacing in the flames of their long candles.

I can't explain my reaction except to call it crowd-panic which I'd felt at other innocuous events like folk festivals--people playing guitars and dancing barefoot--that I'd even paid to get into. I know my response wasn't rational.

But I was in the grip of it and I refused to join the march. When R asked why, I stammered that I thought they were KKK.

I'm not proud of that moment. But why did the monks have their pointy white hoods up, shielding their faces?

In my defense, a few weeks previously I'd been mugged in Barcelona. My travellers' cheques and passport--robado! Dealing with the various authorities in Barcelona and then Madrid was identity-numbing. So maybe I was still in shock.

R couldn't believe what I'd said. He was ready to pack his bag and catch the first train south, even though we had a cute room in a palazzo with a view on the Duomo, a bottle of local Spumanti chilling on the window sill, fresh fennel, prosciutto, and crusty bread waiting. I knew I could head to Austria where I had family. We would become another couple who couldn't survive travelling together.

Except we did, and R only rarely mentions the time I thought monks on a peace march were KKK. Though I know he remembers.

I was surprised today to realize how companionable it felt to be sitting in a hot tub with two strangers. The hot tub itself wasn't beautiful. It was in a YMCA that I doubt has had a makeover since it was built in the 1980s. Colours were army grey, pale green, beige, the lights a stark, ugly-making white.

We were three women whose gene pools hailed from different parts of the world. Two of us were middle-aged, one a generation younger. Once upon a time two of us had straight hair. Mine now has white and grey that makes corkscrews. My hair used to be the reddish blond that one of the women who was born with black hair now dyes hers. I wondered if the women's backs were sore because of strain or work they did--like myself, spending too much time at the computer. Or maybe they were just relaxing. We didn't speak. I don't know that all three of us had a single common language. We were all of us subtly trying to manoeuvre to a position to get our shoulders massaged, though the jets were too low. We were and weren't together.

It's taken all these years but I could probably join those monks now. Maybe.   

Sunday, February 18, 2018

February walk on the river

Walking on the frozen edge of the river

three Musketeers brandishing cattails

one dog


(Adult human male included for scale)

Friday, February 16, 2018

blue cornice

Taking a break from work to look out my study window at the snow coming down. The 100-year-old brick row houses across the street. The painted cornices. The trees. White sky.