Saturday, September 08, 2007

Lord, it is time. The summer was very big. Lay thy shadow on the sundials,
and on the meadows let the winds go loose. Command the last fruits that
they shall be full; give them anot
her two more southerly days, press them
on to fulfillment and drive the last sweetness into the heavenly wine.

- Rainer Maria Rilke

September, - such a beautiful and ambivalent month......

The garden catches its breath, and lo, the delphinium, the roses and the shasta daisies send forth blooms that rival summer's show.

As September comes into its own the Aster puts forth tentative shaggy flowers, while all over the dark green bush, buds promise a glorious tribute to fall, later in the month. Same with the Chrysanthemums, but they are both content to graciously bide their time while summer flowers give us one last tender retrospect - a sweet goodbye to hot and hazy, lazy days.

Husband's sunflowers make a trip down the road a cheerful, sunny adventure. One of them bows in obeisance, but another bends even further, to see if perhaps her shoelaces are undone. Cool mornings, sunny afternoons and early evenings refresh the spirit that laboured under August's heat. It is a renewal and a new beginning, - and yet the second flush of summer flowers have a frailty to them that speaks of coming shadows. That the shadows are preceded by the glorious shades of fall cannot deter us completely from thoughts of melancholy November days. If we are wise we enjoy the ambiance of autumn. We revel in the golds, the scarlets, the subtle shades of green and umber yellows, and we put away from us the greying skies of November, - the mists that cover the mountains and the cold winds that drive us indoors.

In the meantime we have the "Lyric night of the lingering Indian Summer"

Shadowy fields that are scentless but full of singing,
Never a bird, but the passionless chant of insects,
Ceaseless, insistent.
The grasshopper's horn, and far-off, high in the maples,
The wheel of a locust leisurely grinding the silence
Under a moon waning and worn, broken,
Tired with summer.
- Sarah Teasdale, September Midnights

So here we are, stretching it somewhat to say we are still in the autumn of our lives, but still reveling in the glories of September and October. And trying not to be overshadowed by the thoughts of November, yet to come...........

I have come to a still, but not a deep center,
A point outside the glittering current;
My eyes stare at the bottom of a river,
At the irregular stones, iridescent sandgrains,
My mind moves in more than one place,
In a country half-land, half-water.
I am renewed by death, thought of my death,
The dry scent of a dying garden in September,
The wind fanning the ash of a low fire.
What I love is near at hand,
Always, in earth and air.
- Theodore Roethke,

Early in the morning faint Venus keeps watch over the most slender silvery crescent moon - worth rising before the dawn......

Thursday, September 06, 2007

A melancholy day, with the loss of Luciano Pavarotti and the voice that can move me to tears.

I distract myself by looking through old pictures, and of course some of them provoke a sad nostalgia as well.

But here is a picture I love. Our First Dinner Party, held in the dappled shade of a huge cherry tree growing at Husband's parents' orchard home. It was probably late June or early July of 1945, just a few months after we were married.

I don't recall the menu, but the guests have lived in our hearts a long, long time. They were also newly married.

I blow up the picture as large as I can, and study faces and expressions, and the memories come flooding back. There is my darling new husband, and I am smiling at him with delight.

George, with the curly hair, was a childhood friend of Husband's. He and Kay had just graduated from Vancouver Art School, and we ran into them by chance on the street in the City, whilst on our honeymoon.

They soon returned to Penticton, and began constructing a wonderful home/studio from the old barn on George's father's orchard. For a while Charles helped him. They were neighbours and lived in a small house on the top of a hill above the barn-cum-home-studio while it was being renovated. We shared many meals after this first one, but apart from the friendship I learned to value the things they both taught me. To see and absorb the gorgeously subtle colours that are so prevalent in the Okanagan rocks and hills and grasses, and repeated here in the Similkameen - a wonderful introduction to music and art, - and conversation that opened up my rather limited and naive world.

A fond recollection that lightens the melancholy and makes me grateful for the things that come one's way.

Here are the street pictures as we were in those dear old days of long ago.