grey sky and colour

I’ve been doing my best to learn from a disappointing experience. The art prints I was so excited about are here, and they’re alright, but they don’t look anything quite like the originals. Somewhere in the scanning the colours got blown out and greyed and the print shop declared watercolours too elusive to reproduce accurately. So I have these wonky prints (maybe I could sell them for cheap?) Has anyone else had a similar experience? What worked? 

We’ve had overcast sky for much of this past week- some days soft like grey flannel, others overbearingly bright but not sunny. The garden has been rocketing along with little assistance from us, and providing tender salads and pockets of colour where before there was dry dirt. 

My patient husband made me take a painting break today. I’m so glad he did. Taking time for myself, especially time for doing art, is something I really need to work on. It’s so easy to prioritize all the never ending house and garden tasks, imagining the beautiful peace I will have when it’s all done, but the hours  just keep slipping by. 

   
   

Advertisements

Monday

It is near impossible to continue having a rotten afternoon when watching six otters dipping and diving, frolicking and feasting. They are so graceful, sleek and lithe, and were eating noisily and playfully turning cartwheels in the ocean. 

Also, I am blessed with the most wonderful friends. The kind who send luminous postcards and beautiful shirts by snail mail, out of the blue. 

Sunday was just right: I gained several precious inches of soil back from the buttercups, and planted tomatoes, Jer made crΓͺpes,and the day slipped by in a peaceful, puttering way. We had a nice visit with Jer’s parents, and I made a friend who is as fond of peppermint tea as I am (A substantial garden bed full? The minimum. Let it take over the yard!)

Past bedtime, I remembered the garden, the garden looking thirsty in the midday sun. All the little plants we are tending and gentling along. There was no choice but to go water it. With the exception of the slugs, which had lurked their way out for an evening salad crawl, the nighttime garden is a magical place (and I’m sure the slugs would beg to differ). The first quarter moon was bright in the soft indigo sky, and everything was quiet and shadowy and new. 

   
   

Golden

I’m learning the tides on my walks to work, and also the short seasons of the flowering plants that inhabit the dry, rocky margins of the shore. Already the long grass has cured to deep gold and I haven’t seen the otters frolicking in it for over a week; they drift lazy in the kelp beds instead. The camas and California poppies are almost done, giving way to stonecrop and Nootka rose. 

We drove up island to Nanaimo for an evening road trip adventure this week, through shady maples, lush farmland and tall Douglas firs. Now, I know that Nanaimo has some ugly strip malls going on, but the winding streets of the old city centre are pretty charming, and a road trip (with some good pizza at Torta Luna along the way) was just what we needed. 

This has also been a good week for visits. My beautiful, talented friend LA came to the island for a brief visit from the mountains, and we walked and walked, and ate very well indeed. My dad came by my work this morning, and on Sunday we went over to Salt Spring Island to visit my family there. The day was hot and sunny, perfect for drinking coffee, walks down to the beach, and my stepdad M’s homemade cider. The salmonberries and honeysuckle were ripe, so I snacked as we walked, leaving a trail of orange trumpet flowers along the roadside. 

I brought some of my watercolour paintings into our local print shop this afternoon. It’s part of working towards my dream of having an etsy shop up and running, and selling art prints and mobiles and jewellery, and whatever else I’m drawn to create. Yay!

I hope everyone out there is having a rich and vibrant May. 

PS I’m changing the title of this post because whenever I look at it (just what we needed) I get that old song in my head, even though the words are a little different, and that is perhaps not what we needed.

   
   

evening song

There was a long-drawn sunset this evening, all golden rose with children throwing frisbees in the park, a few wisped curls of cloud in the sky. As if it had been a nice sunny day today. But I wasn’t fooled. This morning it was overcast and muggy, the kind of weather that makes you feel prickly. At lunchtime it was still hovering between clearing up and starting to rain. So I cleaned the house. I must confess that I am the type of person who would rather move furniture than mop the floor. Yesterday I shoved coaxed the fridge across the kitchen, and immediately vowed to never let it return. Now, instead of looming mismatched beside the stove and blocking two entryways, it fills the weird corner.

This afternoon I stepped into the garden. We have doors that autolock. Most of the time I remember this, and stuff a key in my pocket or prop the door. I shut the door behind me. Oh. I spent the next three hours weeding. I could have gone over to my landlord’s house for help, but stubborn pride joined forces with the fact that I’d been wanting to be out in the garden all day, but busy house tasks had kept me from it. And the weeds were really bad. Our salad greens, though gaining height, were dwarfed by volunteer thistles. I have to say it was a peaceful way to spend the afternoon/evening. At times, the only sounds besides my internal chatter were the wind strumming conifer needles and the robins’ morning and evening song that transports the sun. Once, a nuthatch scritching bark, crows laughing. The neighbors and their children and their dogs. At the time I had stepped into the garden, I was thinking of changing into shorts and a tank top. By the time Jeremy came home and found me I had swatted a mosquito and was shivering a little.

A year ago at this time, I was up in northern Alberta for work. There was still snow on the ground when I arrived, and then the boreal forest set about showing me how it does spring. Extravagantly, teemingly, gloriously. I wandered around, aspen-struck (swooning over the sea of trunks of my favorite tree to paint), with my plant and bird ID books in hand. Magpies lived in my backyard. Seven of them, and they were loud and playful and curious. Here are some photos from then and there…

IMG_4532 IMG_5252 IMG_3654

all things considered

Well, I’m without a computer for a little while. My laptop had a flash encounter with a mug of hot peppermint-nettle tea and a rambunctious silver rabbit, which, all things considered, is not a bad way to go. Hopefully it’s just the keyboard that’s been affected and it’ll be geeked back into working order over the next few days. I dug out my ancient MacBook G4 the night of the incident, but the internet seems to have left it in the dust.