Monday, May 25, 2015

Preparing for Summer 2015

A hazy, lazy day in Annis Bay.
As I watch the rain fall on the lake-side of the porch, I think to myself. "Nice! A pre-soak for the annual power washing of the deck I have yet to finish". 

This thought makes me realize I have "really and truly" moved from seeing myself as a visitor to recognizing my right and responsibility to take care of the space around me. 

LaRue continues to blossom.
As I do chores, I remember those who have done them before me and wonder who will do them when it is my turn to go.

I spray wash the deck section by section. I know the Woods have a power washer that will do the job at least twice as fast, but I want to put the one I bought to good use. 

Can you spot the clump birch stumps
for a party of  three?
I put on my headphones. I think of my friend Tammy, a custodian. I asked her once how manages remembering what parts of a gym floor she has cleaned and which parts she hasn't.

By chunking it, of course, was her answer. I divide it up in my mind, she said.

I need something more concrete but she has given me the nudge I need to try something new. I end my spray washing session by drawing a boundary around a manageable section where I could start next time. The outline left visible by the power of the jet stream of water leaving my power tool. A manageable portion of black dirt and mildew contained and ready for removal.

This act of sectioning also helps me stop, a way to curb the desire to go right through the night spraying and dreaming I can "finish the job" in one go. 

My eyes search for the section I had planned to do next. I spot it. I hazy outline of a triangle. I can do this. All I have to do today is that one small section.

I don't remember seeing these before
at the base of the rail road tie spiral staircase.
It doesn't matter that I know this is a strategy, a trick I play on myself. I always do more than I plan to. But getting started is chronically a problem for me.

This slight of hand distracts me from thoughts of it being more than I can manage.

Off I go to turn on the water, and I pass by the white rose bush fondly named LaRue. It's now in bloom. I race inside to grab my camera and take a quick picture to capture that sign of summer's approach.

I try from every angle to capture its beauty without also capturing weeds I have missed, dirt on the railing, a brach from another rose bush behind it that I forgot to prune. A sense of overwhelm begins to grow.

I chase away that thought by quickly snapping a shot, accepting momentarily that it is impossible for anyone to tame nature for as far as their eye can see.

So green. So  lush.

Once I have photographed the blossom, my eyes are drawn to the place the climb birch use to reside. I photograph the clear view down to the Meadow Reach of Campbell Creek. 

The name makes me smile. I think of hiking Mt. Revelstoke with my family as a child. The ride up the mountain was filled with bumps and turns and concentrating on not getting motion sick.

But once on top, it was a short walk to find the most beautiful Mountain Meadows. My eyes fall to debris below the tree and I make a mental note to pick up those branches so the mower does not have to stop when its blades approach the branches. 

[Just one more photo, I think, before I return to work (branches beneath the boughs of the Cedar tree already forgotten). I search with my lens as if looking through binoculars.

Now where is the Yew Tree? Ah there it is. It is a beauty. Arta was right to keep it. I remember I have not yet taken David down to play with me on the tiny stone wall hidden close to the bole of the tree, ledges just perfect for Lego figures.

I recall my self-appointed chore of deck cleaning, but a sound looms large into my thoughts. A familiar low rumble. A train! I race around to the other side of the deck hoping to capture a photograph of it.

Can you see the blue box car in the lower left quadrant of the photo Alice?
I will send it to two-year old Alice who talked to me on the phone earlier when she was bringing pancakes over to her grandmother.

I can see the engine so clearly in my mind, headlights a-glow in the mist, but it doesn't appear in my camera lens. Of course, that mental image was to archived from this spot where I get to enjoy shade from the trees. I step back to the very NW corner of the porch hoping I can capture at least the blur of a box car for Alice.

A triangle marks the spot. And where did
those leaves come from? I swear
I swept them off the deck late last night.
I look down and find myself in the triangular section on my task list for the day. I grab the large heavy broom and commit myself to expending 5 minutes of elbow-grease. The rain has picked up and the spray wash will have to wait for later.

I scrub the deck with thoughts of gratitude for the mountain rain pre-soak. The dirt lifts beneath the bristles.

I haul the furniture around the side of the porch. The side of the porch that generates annual discussions about whether it is the anabatic (valley breeze) or katabatic winds (mountain breeze) that we are enjoying in the evenings. I never can remember.

My eyes then are drawn up to the roof, the moss that I must get down, or will I end up needing to replace it before I get to that chore. Lucky me. I have a roof over my head. A roof replacement to start saving for.

I have been studying the License of Occupation for Lot 3. I cherish the signature of Matiram Pun, the witness for the contract. Beneath his signature he has written out his name, his occupation (graduate student), and his field (Mountain Medicine & High Altitude Physiology, University of Calgary) and where he lived on the 10th day of October in 2009 (Calgary, Canada).

I think of the photo he tweeted recently of a collapsed roof of a medical building at the base of Mt. Everest, brought down by a recent Earthquake.

Yes, a roof over my head. Gratitude.

Mati also tweeted about the torrential rain that is pounding down on the tent city of those whose homes and belongings are now buried beneath the earth [@hypoxiamedicine].

My eyes lower in reverence but my mind is racing at its usual pace and I spot through the window that the front door has been left open. 

I head back around the porch, through the kitchen, and reconstruct that I must have left it ajar when all thoughts were pushed aside by the need to photograph those white rose blossoms.

I listen.
I am alone.
When I see this house in photos, I see through Mat's eyes. 
"I thought only movie stars lived in homes like this."

David is out with his father.
No summer visitors have arrived.
No wild critters have noticed the open door and taken it as an invitation to enter.

Summer's Preparations can wait til tomorrow.

I step back out under the porch and enjoy the sound of the rain.


  1. Those quiet months when no one is around are amazing, aren't they? And then the summer flurry, amazing in its own way too. Your writing is so beautiful Bonnie. Thanks for sharing. It makes me feel as though I am right there with you. Hugs.