Sunday, July 26, 2020

cycling in the spring / Tomifobia 2020

An exchange with a friend about sliding her kayak into the reeds to READ reminded me that I never posted these pics of a bicycle trip we did on our anniversary in mid-May. Our one trip out of the city since the start of the pandemic.

Restrictions about travel between the regions (of Quebec) had just been lifted, and R surprised me with a car rental and a map of the bicycle trail from Ayer's Cliff to Tomifobia. The drive would take a little over an hour, we could bring our food and return home in the evening.

Except for grasses, little had started growing. Trees were only in bud. But after a few months of nothing growing, a little feels so promising.

I saw the first butterflies of the year. They were white, nothing extraordinary, but the first.

Birds were nesting. Lots of exuberant birdsong.

A man was pushing a baby stroller along the path, but he had no child. The stroller was for a camera with a long telescope lens.

There were brilliant yellow marsh marigolds. You had to look for the red trilliums where the sunlight picked them out.

I wasn't surprised to find this boulder since we were in Louise Penny territory. Obviously a mystery.

By noon the sun was high and bright. Much of the path followed the Tomifobia River but there were swampy areas where frogs hummed. I thought the sun must have lulled them. I used to sleep in a bedroom with a window on a swamp, and the nighttime noise of bullfrogs doing their throat balloon bellowing and droning was loud and competitive. This was more of a companionable purring. I described the sound to my mother who used to photograph frogs (long story which I might tell one day), and she said that was the sound of contented females.

R had reserved a bench for lunch under the hemlock trees, view on the river. Fresh baguette, cheese, nuts, carrots, fruit.

I didn't think it at the time--I was too hungry--but the picture reminds me that one of the first things R did for me when we met was offer to cut and core an apple. Almost forty years later, he still carries a Swiss knife. It's not the same knife. He's lost a few going through airport security and forgetting the knife in his pocket. He's cutting me cheese here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

urban garden jungle / montreal

My garden looks like a thriving paradise of plants.

It's actually a battle armed with hairy creepers, stinging tentacles, sneaky rhizomes.

Every year I think I’ve given the plants enough space and every year they fight for more.

What do I see here? There will be tomatoes. Or... there might be. Because there are also racoons, squirrels and groundhogs--who also like tomatoes.

There are no crash-car movie scenes. It’s not intergalactic warfare.

But believe me, there’s fierce conniving, choking and strangulation snaking in the shadows.

Here especially.

The beans grasping for territory, the tomato determined to hold its own.

And I'm not even mentioning the squirrels, groundhogs, racoons, skunks, earwigs with their pincers, gooseberry maggots inside the black currants, the slugs and other bibittes. 

In short, I'm loving another summer of gardening in my plot at the Jardin Communautaire la Pointe-Verte.

Friday, July 3, 2020

look closer / montreal june 2020

You're walking and your eye yanks at your brain and says, Hey look, look again, look closer.

          I added my own photo-edited graffiti to this one created by Dodo (upper right corner):


This used to be a Bank of Montreal, built in 1901 in Pointe St. Charles by Andrew Taylor, closed as a bank I don't know when, bought by an individual rumoured to be a McGill professor who lives there now. He kindly makes the large hall, where people used to see tellers to do their banking, available to the PSC Community Theatre for performance space.
The scallop pediment over the main door is being restored. Cf the image below, taken by Alexis Hamel in 2010.

However, the building wasn't what caught my attention as I walked past.

Still working their way through pizza.

Here, I could narrow my focus to pretend I'm seeing a Great Blue Heron in the wilds. Not fishing, probably resting after a long morning of standing on one leg, neck outstretched to mimic a tree and fool the fish. Do herons shift from leg to leg when they get tired? I wonder.

But I haven't even left Montreal. Along the shore, mere metres away, is the bike path, which these days is busy with cyclists, rollerbladers, pedestrians with or without baby strollers and/or dogs, flocks of Canada Geese, skateboarders, even the odd illegal motorcycle.

So this is what I really saw.

For better or worse, birds have learned to coexist with humans, their various activities, structures, habits, even their garbage and pollution.

Or have had coexistence forced upon them.

Question is: will humans learn to coexist--with each other, with other creatures, with the world we live in? Or wait until everything crashes around us.


ps I cheated. One of the above pics was taken in July.