a few things

Allyson Latta was right when she suggested I might love what Rebecca Rosenblum is doing over at Rose Coloured (where anyone can join in)—i.e. making a list of Things We Like—because, it just so happens, one of the things I like most of all is making lists.

So here’s mine:

Things I Like—

—  making lists (and repeating myself)

—  ginger snaps with blackberry tea on the patio at the end of the day

—  BBQ’d shrimp and chilled sauvignon blanc on the patio at the end of the day

—  the family in my neighbourhood that are always making dinner together when I stroll past their house

—  seeing into people’s windows, especially in winter with all that coziness inside, especially at dinner time

—  seedless watermelon

—  shadows

—  the letter zed

—  my almond cherry torte recipe that I live in fear of losing so have made several copies but still worry constantly that I’ll lose them

—  Lake Ontario in the dark when the waves are crazy

—  Lake Ontario in the day… any day

—  the summer and winter solstice

—  driving long distances over empty roads, thinking out loud

—  swimming (first choice: lakes; second choice: pool with VERY little chlorine; third choice: oceans without jellyfish or sharks)

—  making soup or spaghetti sauce or anything that requires chopping, stirring, simmering

—  cooking smells in a house

—  sheets and towels and tee shirts from the line

—  a cat snuggled up beside me like a teddy bear

—  sandals

—  the movie Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

—  the [operatic] song from Big Night, first heard while having lunch al fresco at Quail’s Gate Winery

—  the sound of cutlery against plates in that final scene in Big Night

—  goat cheese omelettes with purslane

—  Cat’s Eye, the book

—  Drinking the Rain, by Alix Kates Shulman, which I read almost every year

—  the way insects and animals and birds and trees know exactly what to do

—  choosing well from a menu

—  painting with bold colours

—  discovering a new place in my own ‘hood

—  the word ‘hood

—  beeswax candles

—  walking, hiking, climbing, none of it too strenuously

—  the sight of the Andes from a small plane

—  the colour green, indoors and out

—  people who get excited about possibilities, art and words

—  the smell of dirt in Spring

—  the smell of snow and the way it looks in the sunshine

—  sharpened pencils and fast writing pens

define treasure

A few weeks ago I got an email from Allyson Latta, asking if I’d be interested in participating in her Seven Treasures series, which, she explained would amount to simply listing a few items that, for whatever reason, I couldn’t part with.

I was delighted with the idea of course, honoured to be asked.

At first what came to mind were the obvious things when one hears the word treasures—i.e. pirate loot and pots of gold.

But given that I live in a world of stones collected from the beach, feathers that appear magically at my feet, and a few pieces of art… there’s not a lot of lootish takings to list. And anyway, things that can be bought are never the real treasures, the value attached being purely arbitrary, an abstract created by some vague entity. Not to say that a treasure can’t have monetary value, but I think that quality is incidental, secondary at best.

So next my thoughts went to treasures so valuable they don’t need mentioning—the people and animal ones.

But they don’t need mentioning. (Have I mentioned that?)

Which brought me to the most interesting list of all: treasures I didn’t know were important to me until someone asked.

I was surprised by what surfaced. (The bowl I ate popcorn from as a kid? Are you kidding me? This is what I’m attached to??) But no, of course not the bowl, but what the bowl represents, what I think about every time I see it in my own cupboard and remember its position on the second shelf above the flour and sugar tins, in my mother’s. I remember where I ate that badly burned popcorn, made in a beat-up aluminium pot (used only by me for, um, badly burned popcorn)… what I watched on TV, the pages I turned with buttery fingers; I remember the coolness of the basement, the sound of my dad’s lawnmower through the window, my mother sewing in another room. I can’t remember the bowl being used for much else. Maybe it was, but it felt like mine. How privileged I feel now to have been given this ‘space’ of my own—space the size of a bowl—yet large enough to hold the sound of my mother’s sewing machine.  No one, including me, could have guessed what a gift it was.

It’s always this stuff that matter most, things that connect us to ourselves in ways we hardly know, and that might otherwise be lost.

So this is what the lovely Allyson has so beautifully and thoughtfully presented on her blog.

My seven were first up.

And I see that Rebecca Rosenblum’s seven have just been posted. (Oh that spider plant! Of course. How could she ever get rid of it? It’s like a tiny striped pet!)

Lovely idea, this. And such fun. Both the writing and the reading. And a great question to ask yourself or family and friends. I sent an email to a few friends recently and was amazed with what they wrote back.

Happy excavating!