Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Backyard Travel

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.

Dr. Seuss (a.k.a., Theodor Seuss Geisel), American children's author, illustrator, poet, animator, screenwriter, and filmmaker (1921–1990)

Multiple recipe books are stacked up beside my bed ensuring sweet (and savory) dreams. Looking to expand my horizons, I found "Dirt" on the website of a local bookseller. I got a wonderful surprise in their willingness to deliver the book to my door -- the same day. Amazon Prime can't beat that! 

So, while I may not be in Lyon physically this year, I am being transported there in my imagination courtesy of the humorous word pictures of Bill Buford.

Only a few pages into the book, this is already shaping up to be a fun journey!

Monday, August 17, 2020

Bending and Rebounding

The little reed, bending to the force of the wind, soon stood upright again when the storm had passed over.

Aesop, Greek fabulist and storyteller (c. 620–564 B.C.)

Deep rumbles of thunder, skies so dark the house lights had to be turned on, and rain so heavy it seemed like a snowstorm: a thunderstorm rattled us out of summer indolence. I watched fascinated by nature's power. In the aftermath, a few of the garden plants look trampled but I have hope they will stand upright again, just like Aesop's little reed.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Quiet Morning

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, and poet (1803–1882)

The loudest sound was that of bird wings flapping in the water of the bird bath and later of leaves rustling in the breeze. The cooler temperatures of mid-August require turning up my housecoat's collar as I take my morning coffee al fresco

It is a fresh start to a new day.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Rock On

Were it not for music, we might in these days say, the beautiful is dead.

Benjamin Disraeli, British politician and Prime Minister (1804–1881) in Lord George Bentinck. A Political Biography (1852)

Music and the garden – music in the garden – have carried me through these upturned times. As I wrote to a friend, "1 Negroni, 1 Beethoven, 2 Schuberts, a robin and a couple of sparrows and I am completely calm" after a stressful day at the Home Office. Throughout the summer I have relished a virtual feast of melodious sustenance. This evening I caught an on-line flamenco concert while contemplating the flourishing baskets of flaming geraniums and catching the sight and trills of a female cardinal high in a distant pine tree. Beauty lives on. Rock on. Olé!

Monday, August 10, 2020

Staycation | The Final Days

The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly and lie about your age.

Lucille Ball, American actress, comedienne, model, studio executive and producer (1911–1989)

The final days of my staycation have been memorable with great food, great wine and great love.

With memories of connections with friends, a picnic lunch and a barbecued steak dinner, I can now return to work refreshed, content, . . . and a few pounds heavier. 

I couldn't be happier. :-)

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Staycation | Day 10

To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.
Jane Austen, English novelist (1775–1817) in Mansfield Park (1814)
The afternoon brought perfect refreshment as a friend visited bringing an al fresco lunch. Happily gabbing through the hours, we shifted our chairs as the sun's path crossed the lawn. The birch tree's arbour bespeckled the lush carpet beneath our feet with lovely shadows and light. Pure relaxation!

Friday, August 7, 2020

Staycation | Day 9

Ah! There is nothing like staying at home, for real comfort.
Jane Austen, English novelist (1775–1817) in Emma (1815)
Cat and I enjoyed a quiet day, relaxing and letting out big, long, pleasurable yawns of contentment.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Staycation | Day 8

Bloom where you are planted.
What a surprise to glance over at the trellis today and find a stunning fuschia blossom peaking out from behind the foliage. For months we have been coaxing along an aged clematis vine. At times, it seemed half dead. Then it seemed that we would have foliage only. Then the appearance of a few white buds seemed hopeful. Now it seems that our care and attention have been rewarded: our clematis is blooming where she is planted and she's brilliant!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Staycation | Day 7

A lake carries you into recesses of feeling otherwise impenetrable.
William Wordsworth, English poet (1770–1850)

Following the past few days of stormy weather, Lake Ontario blossomed blue and clear today. Water has the ability to flow through my soul carrying away concerns as I gaze across it. How fortunate I am to have such a beautiful resource so near and so accessible.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Staycation | Day 6

Nature births raindrops so the soul can grow.

Today's rain gave the garden a Japanese look, perhaps on account of the mistiness. The air freshened. The plants thrive. It looks to me like they are sticking out their tongues to catch the raindrops. :-)

I'm remembering wet cobblestone streets in Italy and the oscillating thrum on a cabin's tin roof, and I grasp that rain on vacation is to be counted among its pleasures.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Staycation | Day 5

We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.
Anaïs Nin, French-Cuban American diarist, essayist, and writer (1903–1977)

The child in me clapped with joy this morning at the sight of new shoots of grass. I didn't have much hope but was thinking about the Parable of the Sower as I worked in new soil, seeded the earth, and watered the uninspiring blank patch.

For me these little shoots shout SUCCESS and HOPE that this little barren patch will be verdant some day.

Like many others, the COVID quarantine motivated me to get down into the dirt (and the weeds) to plant flowers and a little grass. Mother Earth has responded kindly: even without a 'green thumb', her polymorphous raiment shines. And my heart sings.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Staycation | Day 4

The best travel is that which one can take by one's own fireside. In memory or imagination. 
George Eliot (aka Mary Ann Evans), English novelist, poet, journalist, and translator (1819-1880) in Letters from George Eliot to Elma Stuart, 1872-1880 (ed. 1909)

I am channeling Italian porticoes and sunshine as I tele-transport myself to Italy during my 2020 staycation.

Context Travel, which (speaking from experience) offers great tours in Europe, has pivoted during these staycation times to offer internet lectures. Its recent posting for "The American Renaissance" evoked a visceral response in my being. How I long to step into that 19th-century "Italian dream"! To take breakfast in the loggia as John Singer Sargent has captured here.

For myself, I conjure up a 4pm aperitivo, trying different recipes each day and I relish my apricot torta with my morning coffee in the garden. And I will find the shelved CD of "Enchanted April". That will certainly sing to my soul.

What would we do if we didn't have our imaginations?!

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Staycation | Day 3

I love the feeling of the fresh air on my face and the wind blowing through my air.
Evel Knievel, American stunt performer (1938–2007) 

Perhaps you need to be of 'a certain age' to remember the daredevil Evel Knievel. And I suppose there may have been a bit of guarded daring in the Three Winos taking a jaunt to a favourite winery in the Niagara penisula. This marked our first outing after months-long quarantine and I can tell you the mix of fresh air and wine felt gooooood. All precautions were followed with our socially-distanced wine tasting outdoors. We relished our food pairings sitting under a lovely umbrella table with the vineyard on the hill above us.

The bubbles of the Effervescence Sparkling could make a person positively giddy. :-)