Location: Newcastle, Ontario, Canada

Born in Toronto, a degree in Psychology at Carleton in Ottawa, ran a photography business for 10 years from a studio in Parkdale, Toronto, apprenticed with a stained glass artist, and, and, and...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

As the leaves turn...

September, 2005:

Trees in the forest with their true colors showing.

The demise of summer, the onset of autumn. This had previously been my least favorite season as I had felt summer only brush once or twice upon my arm. Perhaps because of choices I had not taken advantage of summer before, or was too busy with work to dive into the loveliness of the warmest season but in any case, fall always caught me by surprise, taking down the leaves and dropping the mercury before I had been consulted. So I resented fall not for what it brought but what it took away.

I have a friend that dives intensely into any season, through sports, and because she has ekked its worth out only looks forward to the next season and what changes in equipment it brings. I seemed to be always waiting for summer to start and didn't see that it was there before me.

But here, in Newcastle, where the outdoors are so much closer to us, we did not miss a bit of what summer brought us this year. That being so, when fall did slowly arrive, I was ready for it, a bit eager for the change, and only mourning the end of greeness and growth in a minor ache of a way. That was tempered though with the trepidition we had for the upcoming winter. The previous winter had knocked us flat with the enormity of change and upheaveal. We were tense and onguard for another tough cold season. But I also was aware of what the gentle spring and summer had given us. Kind of a layer of healing to protect us emotionally and affirm our decision to have moved here.

We had been given a true summer. Hot, dry and long so we could not mistake its appearance. Tracking the growth of plants had made me aware of its cycle and kept me daily connected to the minute changes that occured in the trajectory to fall. And autumn was docile, if not in denial. It did not feel like fall for the longest time and summer held on tenaciously in a seeming oblivion to its inevitable impermanence.

Toad on walk along Wilmot Creek.

Spider closeup.

To be quite honest, the spring is the wonderous season, where everyday was a gift of change, where something was that wasn't the day before, where the bright green was not properly in the color spectrum but a hue all its own, luminescent.
I am absolutely a person that needs constant reinforcement and rewards for my efforts. Sadly, I know this immaturity has a tight grip on me. I do hold out a hope that the gardening might teach me a patience and reward in merely doing rather that needing my efforts cause some visual change or occurence to be satisfied. Zen and the art of dirt and plants.
But summer does not reward in the same way as spring. There is the final fruits of labour in the form of grown, edible vegetables and bright flowers and there is the maturity of the gardens that look full and replete and more mature than their one summer of being. But I guess I like the magic of spring. Probably more grateful as it follows winter and the change from that season to spring is more dramatic than spring to summer. I also like to start projects and am not always good at the follow through so again, spring is the idea and start of a project and summer is the manifestation.

The flower garden at its maturity.

The vegetable garden ignoring the fact that summer was ending.

This fall was also the beginning of the real world for me. I went back to work part-time in mid-september. Hadn't been at work for a year and a half, from the birth of Finnie. Was desperately keen to be making some money as we were in short supply but very nervous about my abilities after that big a break. Owen was to begin Montessori and Finnie would be at a friend's house on days I worked. Those last two changes went beautifully with no major transition issues for the kids and I was so so so glad that this was positive for them.

Our Monarch on Owen's finger.

On Owen's first day of school I suggested he bring in a monarch chrysalis we had found in the field. We had watched it do nothing for what seemed to be weeks but as Owen's first day approached the chrysalis went from bright green to clear, showing the black of the butterfly inside. Lo and behold, the butterfly made its appearance early in the day and all the children got to see this amazing transformation. Owen suitably proud to have been the perveyor of this nature lesson was secured in his first day that this school could be fun and he belonged there. When I picked Owen up from the school the butterfly was drying its wings. We let it go in the school yard then regretting not bringing it back to our field, put it back in its container and brought it home with us. I hoped it would use our field in its migration path, although I know not how this process works. Unfortunately, after leaving it on a bush close to the house, the next day I found its half eaten beautiful body in the grass. Ah, cruel she is. Not even a single flight and when I think how far some of them fly, it seemed unfair.

I had had sleepless nights trying to resolve a good homecare situation for the kids when I returned to work. Most people I had talked to could take care of Finnie but weren't able to pick up Owen at the Montessori and therefore they were not going to be together in the later afternoon. One sleepless night I landed on the idea of someone I had recently gotten to know a bit and felt she had to be the answer. Turns out she was receptive to my idea that she take care of my kids and it could not have been a better arrangement. Now Owen and Finnie would be together in the afternoon and they also had her children to play with. My friend was completely and totally into taking care of all our two families children and was more gentle and patient a mom than I could ever be. I was given another gift in her decision to help me with my kids when I was at work.

So alot of changes but thankfully summer did not rush away. We could still put the kids in our chariot and bike ride down to the marina or, our favorite local spot, the Bondhead cemetery, where we would spend weekend days lolling on the grass or walking amongst the stones reading of people's lives.

Closeups of a face and a stone kiss.

Closeup of Tim's shoe while lolling.
Approaching the year mark, we were more ingrained in the community, more at ease with the change and enjoying some of the changes this move had brought.

Finnie finding humour in something.

Tim and I ripped down plaster and lathe and wood boards to insulate the kids' rooms before snowfall.

Our own butterfly in our field, with his caterpillar sister in the distance..


Blogger fenris64 said...

All well put. You write evocatively; I feel like I was there (heh). But true, you do write wonderfully.

9:33 p.m., April 06, 2006  
Anonymous hilary said...

Hi Carrie - you mention your need for reinforcement and tie it up with immaturity. But acknowledging that aspect of yourself is wonderful - and in the end, is the step before letting it go - so that writing of your need for reinforcement is surely not immaturity!

I enjoyed your rumminations of the seasons. It led me to thinking of how I feel about them - I love the awakening of spring - the joy it brings after the cold and forever final days of winter. I love the glorious colours of autumn - the goodbye to summer. I love the first part of winter and hate the end. But summer? When I was a child, it was the endless days of heat and warmth and adventure - halcion times of fields and fruit and thinking of life. Now it is practical - a time of measuring growth, caring for the plants, urging them on to wonderous gifts for us to eat! It passes too quickly.

Thank you for your thoughts and the visit with you and my grandchildren!

9:23 a.m., April 07, 2006  

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