October 15, 2014 § 16 Comments
October 10, 2014 § 8 Comments
Driving from point A to point B… I pass a body of water that sparkles a cliché in this autumnal way that can’t be ignored. I turn the car around, park, walk directly to it.
I’ve been here before but never noticed the ‘canoes only’ sign. I wonder if that means kayaks too. I would argue a kayak is a canoe made for people who would rather not tip over…
I’m immediately not sorry I allowed this diversion from point A to point B.
I meet a smiling man and woman with cameras and tripods, they ask if I saw him. Him who, I say and they tell me about an eagle, a baby bald eagle, swooping majestically… just there. They point. I point in the opposite direction and explain I was watching ducks and geese dunk their heads. They continue to smile, but I think a little less sincerely.
On the woodsy trail, a few children with parents. The kids squeal with pleasure at the squirrels, as if they’ve never seen one. A boy’s voice over the others: “These squirrels are mesmerizing…” and even though I agree (I’m a veteran squirrel watcher), I can’t help feel he’s just elevated their watchability cred even more.
I take the road less travelled that leads past open fields on one side and the forest on the other. About twenty or so metres ahead, a white-tailed deer leaps across, from field to woods.
There is no picture to document this, only milkweed and asters.
After that a gang of turkeys shows up.
Fortunately they shuffle off into the woods without incident.
This is tempting. I would only need to install bookshelves and a fridge.
Before I leave I run into a few more people: an older couple on a tricycle built for two. And a very young couple, she, chatty with long fire-hydrant-red hair and he, merely besotted, unassuming in his oh-so-thin-Goth look, walking beside her. They could be spending the day anywhere, but they chose here, and it pleases me when she cries out Oh, look, a chipmunk!
Another young couple, the dad in jeans and a top hat, the toddler being followed by a herd of ducks fresh out of the pond, the mum getting it all on film.
A swimming hole.
And then onward, to point B.
October 8, 2014 § 18 Comments
October 6, 2014 § 6 Comments
I began reading this book with the idea that it was a collection of short stories. And so, on finishing the first one, the title of which happens to be ‘Are You Ready to Be Lucky?’ I was sad. It was such a merry romp and I liked the characters so much and now they were gone. This was wrong, I thought. Just wrong. And terribly, terribly sad.
Then I began reading the next story. And I recognized the people. Stella and Roslyn and stupid Duncan the English twit, a personal favourite. Good lord, I thought. Good lord…. Could it be?? I flipped forward a few titles…. and, yes, Roslyn, still there! Linked stories!
Oh wot a pleasant surprise.
Trauma behind me, I read. And read and read and read.
I drank peppermint tea with fresh leaves from the garden and put my feet up on the patio table. And hours passed and then the weekend, and clouds scudded by and the tea turned to wine. And I read til I finished this absolute delight of a book.
I will tell you nothing about it because sometimes I’m like that.
I will, however, tell you this: the chances are good you’ll enjoy this merry romp.
“The girl’s husband, thirty-five years her senior, cracks his sixth beer. He too is reading the Sunday Times. But only the pages that say what he wants to hear. The girl tries to remember how this man came to be her husband. How she became the third wife of a man only months after he divorced his second. She makes a disorganized list. It had to do with expensive dinners, a second-hand clothing store in Salmon Arm, with rutting elk, Canadian immigration, telephone calls across crackling wires, tears (his), frightening dreams of attacking ostriches (hers), a domineering ex-wife in England (his first), a suet recipe (bird pudding) using Crisco instead of lard. She adds the man’s talk of foreign places… How when he stood naked he reminded her of the pet turtle she had as a child, of whom she was very fond.”
Are you Ready to be Lucky? (Freehand Books, 2013)
October 1, 2014 § 18 Comments
September 28, 2014 § 6 Comments
The beach of course.
I read somewhere that as little as 20 minutes of morning sunshine (somehow different than afternoon) boosts metabolism into magnificence. I’m not here for metabolism boosting but these little bonuses never hurt.
There is a lad in an orange worker’s vest with its fluorescent X, he’s picking up litter. On a Sunday morning. This, I think, is noble work and I want to tell him so. I start with Good Morning as I pass and he, without looking up, without making eye contact, mumbles most miserably: morning. He keeps walking and I do too and the whole idea of nobility has gone right out the window. I’m not sure he’d understand my meaning anyhow, might even think it was a negative.
The lake today is a cliché.
Cool and perfect and I want to swim out to a pair of resting gulls.
But I collect glass instead. Only the tiniest bits of green. And then I sit on a picnic table and the picture I snap makes it look as if I have a fox’s tail. I take this as an excellent sign. As well as a compliment.
An old hippie with toned down Roger Daltry hair, a tan and tie-dyed tee-shirt walking a baby bulldog. The dog stops, rolls onto his back among the lake lap and pebbles, stands and shakes himself off. The old hippie doesn’t rush him.
And then a dad and a very young child, maybe three or four. The child in navy pants and a grey and blue striped top, possibly meant to advertise that it’s a boy. His dad on the phone, seemingly unsure of how to have childish fun; he eyes a pretty woman in leggings walking past. Now he skips stones with a vengeance and looks to see who’s watching and when the child picks up a stone and throws it, the dad doesn’t watch. Soon the child no longer watches the dad, but walks away instead. I’d like to think this is a lesson in independence, in not caring if anyone’s watching, but I strongly suspect this isn’t what the boy is learning. Eventually the dad realizes the boy is gone and goes after him, shouting, checking his phone, then he spits as if to assert himself in the absence of stones to throw. They walk away from the lake, metres apart. The child is sullen and the dad asks loudly what he wants, accusing, angry—does he want to go home??
The child doesn’t answer, keeps walking.
Remember, he is three, maybe four.
And I want to answer for him: