Archive for the ‘Living’ Category

Spring melt

The winter has been quite mild, but regardless, I am very excited for Spring. The birds have been coming back, and the air is alive with their sound. There are tons of red-winged blackbirds down near the shore, trilling their song.
The seasonal changes are particularly obvious on the river. Just last week it was still frozen, except for the rapids. The quality of the light has been amazing at sunset, very glowy and diffuse, sort of magical.
shorelineThe melt is allowing the earth to emerge again, spring bulbs are pushing up, the smell of composting leaves is on the air. Mud and subtle rot, spring smells. It always reminds me of Seamus Heaney’s poetry, earthy and honest, and cyclical. In “Gifts of Rain,” a river is described as

“bedding the locale / in the utterance, / reed music, an old chanter / breathing its mists / through vowels and history.”

Water is symbolic of life and blood and the flow of time and history.


sunset_meltOnly a few days later, a lot of the ice has melted and the water has risen by about 6 inches. The birds are going crazy – crows, blackbirds, jays, cardinals, and numerous little twittering brown birds, and there is a small animal corpse rotting near the shore. It must have been frozen all winter, but now the water is alive and decomposing what winter preserved.


This morning the fog was absolutely surreal. It was floating like a big blanket, so thick that you could see it up close, swirling around like dry ice fog, probably caused by a slurry of broken-up ice rushing down the rapids and melting in the morning sun.fog






fog_2This isn’t snow, it’s fog sitting just above the water.






In the lock, the mists were gathering around the gate. It was otherworldly.









I can’t wait until the magnolias and crab apple trees start to bloom. There is a garden in the Morgan Arboretum which has numerous magnolia trees and I know it will be glorious in a few weeks. Leaf buds are already starting to come out. And I need to find some pussy willows.


I installed this blog over two years ago with the intention of finally being able to keep people up-to-date on current patterns and projects. However, you know what they say about best laid plans….

Since then, there have been many changes in my life, which at first seemed to be for the worse, but ultimately turned out for the best (and are continuing to seem better and better). One big change was that I moved from Toronto, Ontario to a little town just outside Montreal, Quebec: the town of Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue. It sounds quaint, I know. In fact it is quaint! The population is only about 5000, yet its proximity to a big city (Montreal is about 30 km away) and an age-diverse population (McGill’s MacDonald Campus and John Abbott CEGEP are located here, so there are a lot of young people) make it a very nice place to live.

The town is right on the Ottawa River, which joins later into the Fleuve St-Laurent. There is a historic lock for boats to pass by the rapids, and the area is popular with tourists and boaters in the summertime. I admit to bringing my knitting down to the river and watching the lock traffic, sitting under a tree and having a little picnic.
I have been here for just over a year, last winter was very beautiful. The cold didn’t stop me from taking a walk every day, although I had to give in to the puffy coat phenomenon which is prevalent here in the winter. When it is cold and snowy, wearing a down-filled coat is really the way to go, even if you look like you are wearing a sleeping bag. But it doesn’t matter because everyone else is wearing the same thing!


The winter sun seen from the shoreline

The town makes several outdoor rinks in the parks, including one about 2 minutes from my place, so I was able to go skating every day last winter. I saw them putting up the boards for the hockey rink the other day, so it won’t be long until skating time again.

The summer was lovely as well, there is absolutely no shortage of picnic spots around here. It gets a bit crazy on the canal on weekend nights, with boats shoulder-moored two-deep up and down the canal, and all the restaurant terraces filled to capacity. There’s a beautiful spot to walk out far, across the lock, where the sunsets are quite stunning. There are all sorts of birds that make their home there. I’ve seen grey herons, barn swallows, cliff swallows, pipers, blackbirds, crows…. The seagulls are quite comical. If one catches a fish, he struts around in front of the others, shaking his little fish in his beak to show off.


So here I am, working very hard as a freelance knitwear designer and technical editor, enjoying the scenery and the multitude of outdoor-things to do around here, and seeing quite a bit of Montreal as well.