For me there is very little as exhilirating as turning a wooded corner to find a body of water; a perfect eye reflecting the blue sky after a long walk. There is just something about lakes. They are to me not only the epitome of beauty and tranquility but also keepers of secrets and deep mysteries. Gaze into their clear depths on a hot Summer day and you will see layers of story and history.
When we were children, my sister and I used to spend every Summer weekend at a lake. It was a large body of gray green water just outside the city, skirted by bulrushes and weeping willows. It was no where near as pristine or as picture perfect as the Canadian lakes I now fall into nor as remote or hard to get to. Yet it was our lake. Our idyllic getaway in what my sister and I liked to think of as ‘the country’.
We grew up swimming and windsurfing and one of our favourite activities was diving for treasure. The bottom of that lake was strewn with rocks and submersed weeds so we had to ‘hide’ the treasure we hoped to find. We used to throw marbles in and pretend they were nuggets of gold! As the years went by and my taste in reading material changed from fairy tales to real life mysteries, our expeditions became forensic dives; a fruitless quest for underwater clues.
This is probably why I find it impossible to sit by a lake without wondering if there is a car at the bottom of it or the skeletal remains of fur trapper or a woman spurned by her lover…macabre, I know.
What truly surprises me is how, despite having grown up in a haunted house, we did not believe in lake monsters. We never hesitated, like our youngest son does, on the water’s edge. (He is convinced he had an encounter with a snake-like monster in a lake not far from Radium Hot Springs). Some people look at bodies of water and see danger. Real, imagined and otherwise.
Photo: Y McAdam
I watched a program recently on Bigfoot ‘hunters’ and what stayed with me was not their unwavering belief in an elusive, ape-like creature but how in this day and age of spy satellites and infrared cameras there are still pockets of unexplored wilderness.
I like living with a few mysteries, don’t you?
It’s been the best of times, it’s been the …well, interesting.
So if you read my last post you will remember we had plans. Real plans. We were going camping. Somewhere in the interior of beautiful British Columbia. We were going to barbecue, bake on a rock, read books on a boat, drink lake-chilled beer, play with water guns….
Then my husband got promoted. Very unexpectedly. Twice. In the space of two weeks in the middle of the best Summer in recent memory.
Getting promoted is really good news. But.
No Summer road trip. No getaway for the four of us.
So I’ve been working (and sulking just a little because I’m a child) and reading (I am determined to get through my Summer reading list no matter what).
Maybe, the Mr. tells me, later this year. In the Fall. When the bears are their hungriest. The wolverines their feistiest. We will lie on a carpet of molten gold and copper and shiver in our blankets as we watch the Harvest Moon rise.
I think not. I tell the Mr (with a stomping of feet). No camping in the Fall. I demand a hotel room, room service, warm towels, chocolates on pillows. But I’m bluffing and he knows it.
We both want the bush. Wild, untamed, gnat-infested bush.
For now I am home with my boys who in a desperate attempt to salvage what is left of Summer have the tent up in our backyard and the barbecue going.
What are you up to?
Here’s a pic of a local rascal in our plum tree yesterday morning.
When the call went out that our borders were open (and there would be no passport or security checks), I woke up to a tide of unwelcome guests in our family room. Ants.
Now I’m no stranger to these seasonal invasions and have an arsenal of natural deterrents and homemade concoctions on hand, so without further ado I proceeded to shower them with finely ground cinnamon and while they were spiced up and confused I swept them up and resettled them in The Great Outdoors, which as I pointed out to them is where they belong.
But what to do with another variety of house guest?
I woke up as I sometimes do around 3am to check the clock (and reaffirm to myself that yes indeed it is 3am and I am awake for no good reason) and as I reached for said clock so I could turn it towards me I became instantly aware of a presence beside me – on the pillow. I quickly flicked the bedside light on and there I was, eyeball to eyeball with a large house spider.
I am an animal lover and will even go as far as saying I like creepy crawlies but spiders are eight legged walking nightmares. I mean I know why they exist but I can’t see one without levitating or having an out-of-body experience. Once I realized I was the bigger creature I floated back down from the ceiling and watched him dash for cover on the underside of the mattress (they prefer hunting their prey under the cover of darkness). I then spent the next hour or so trying to capture him with a glass and newspaper as he raced across the bedroom. I am now of the opinion that Canadian house spiders are the Usain Bolts of the Arachnid Kingdom. He is still at large. I am thinking of reorganizing the furniture in our bedroom. I’m hoping that will flush him out.
My favourite flower is probably the peony and I say “probably” because part of me thinks it’s ridiculous to favour one perfect creation over the other – like who doesn’t like a rose or a perfectly skirted tulip?
See, I tried to capture the peony’s loveliness but my camera failed me (once again). This particular peony was being courted by a striped knight when I took this picture. He was lost inside her; deep within the golden centre of her loveliness.
For some truly exceptional pics of peonies and other flowers visit this blog. Beautiful, right?
Anyway I love peonies. I read about them in Africa – long before I crossed the equator on my way north.
I came across them in a book and I am sure the book was Memoirs Of A Geisha.
I read about their exquisite lushness before I actually saw one and before I could pronounce “peonies”. I would read them as “pee-oh-nees” and then one day in conversation with an American friend of mine, Tracey, I said ‘I love those fluffy-looking, pom-pom flowers. Y’know pee-oh-nees” and my friend frowned so hard her face cracked into a grimace.
‘No,’ she said,’not “pee-oh-nees” but “pee-a-nees” with a soft ‘ah” sound.’
But then I came to Canada. And everyone I know here pronounces it as “pee-nees”.
I don’t know if it matters really. I just know I love peonies. I ❤ peonies so much I’ve been working on a poem. In it I hope to describe something of their exotic appeal and satin-like loveliness and how when I’m near them, I fall in love all over again with life.
Do you have a favourite flower? Is such a thing possible?