Friday, October 26, 2007

The Similkameen today, as viewed by a couple of wanderers who got distracted and detoured down back roads whilst out for a quick run to pick up the paper.....

Came home brimming with beauty and overcome with glorious colours.

Just a small on the pictures for a full view.....

Looking down the Similkameen River towards the Cawston Hills from the Bailey Bridge

And here, gazing upstream towards the west.The sun bids farewell to Daly Bluffs. Husband remembers with nostalgia and some regret walking off this hill in younger, more vigorous days, when the legs were strong and sturdy and the heart beat strong and true.The Lombardy Poplars that I see from the front porch, away across the valley, have lost the golden glow the sun lends them.

But just a little way down the road another line of Lombardi's reaches up to catch the last rays.

Brilliant leaves who lead a tenuous life, safe in the stillness but vulnerable to autumn winds.

In the far distance, as we look south down the Similkameen , the Chapaka Peak straddles the border between British Columbia and Washington State. The meadows are still mostly verdant, but along their edges the grasses turn various shades of russet and Naples Yellow.

Here are the Hills of Home that our children cherish, - the gullies they explored, the hillsides they climbed, the caves they crawled into and the waterfall that splashed down intermittently. Such treasures hidden in a little patch of hillside. We farmed the fertile Similkameen Chip Loam for almost forty years, just at the bottom of the hill where the silver water tower hugs the sage.As we wend our way homeward the shadows creep up the Cawston hills. Dinner was a quick stir-fry, but then of course we had fed our souls, as well.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

At odd moments during the last week I have been knitting a pretty blue hat and listening to an Audio Book (which recreation I still think is the latest in Bee's Knees ). The book I have been absorbing, muttering over and sometimes agreeing with is Gordon Livingston's "And never stop Dancing".
At times I frowned at some of the Liberalism he expressed, as being careless of morality, and lacking in responsibility.

However, I found myself listening intently to the Chapters dealing with aging and was particularly struck by his quote from Kahlil Gibran when introducing the purpose of these "waiting years" that have been tacked on to the end of life with the reduced mortality that science and good living have brought us.

"We exist only to discover beauty. All else is a form of waiting"

Which leaves us with the question - where do we find the beauty in aging? In "the Golden years"(probably from 65 to 70) which are over in the twinkling of an eye? In the long, lonely wait of powerlessness, and increasing awareness that the old go largely unnoticed?

In my own life I have found that as my senses of hearing and seeing diminish, and I become less supple and mobile, I am more often overcome with the sheer loveliness that surrounds us.

As I let go of busyness, the need for importance, and that old devil "Ego" the room that is left is filled with a rush of exquisite awareness of small beauties that surround us. And large beauties too, of course.

I wait for the moon to rise tonight, knowing that it is closer to the earth than at any other time of the year and as a consequence will be brighter and more beautiful. This morning it was just setting as the small dog and I went for our pre-breakfast walk and it lit up the morning clouds, but yesterday morning darkness prevailed and the stars were amazingly brilliant. Thousands and thousands of them with various degrees of brightness. Venus, that lovely goddess who shone in the West the spring I met Husband, shines now in the East like a spotlight with a halo around it.

This afternoon, while putting the garden to bed, I noted the smallest and daintiest of flowers,- the delicacy of the grasses, the richness of the Scarlet Maples, and the small birds, feasting at the sunflower bar lining the fence.

I wonder if I even noticed these details in the busy years, when life was a constant rush. and the days and the hours and the minutes were crowded with duties and responsibilities (being a First Born I seemed destined to be an Ant, while the Grasshoppers of the World sang and played tunes on their legs...)

Gordon Livingston presented one other occupation for the ultra-mature years, - one that I feel would do much to banish the despair that overtakes so many of the aged.

Besides being conscious and appreciating the wonders around us, he suggested that communication is of utmost importance. He is of the opinion that time would be well spent reflecting on the past, putting it into perspective, recognizing the concepts that have guided our lives, and in the end communicating this life history so that the wisdom that has been garnered shines through.

In order to do this the dear man recognizes that the person who is reflecting on life must do so with satisfaction, and not regret. The wistful nostalgia that lies in wait for those who sift through old photos make the most resolute communicator turn aside in sorrow. One must be strong, - one must be brave, and one must be mindful of (and thankful for) those times that brought us such joy and satisfaction during our lifetime. Letting go is so important.

Well, I thought that was very good advice and there are others who have such wonderful stories to tell whom I wish I could impress with this suggestion.........

"Most people die with their music still inside them" Gordon Linvingston

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday evenings, when I am able, I tune into Radio 3, BBC and listen to Evensong. I am comforted to hear the old traditional prayers that I grew up with, (and which are no longer available to us as we worship in an Ecumenical Church).

Husband and I found great pleasure in going to Evensong, - to me it was like a "date" with God along...... This was before Sunday Night TV squeezed in and took priority, so that an evening service in church has been long abandoned. I note that 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon is starting time in the Cathedrals where these services are broadcast. When I am not playing the organ I still enjoy standing beside Husband in church, feeling his good solid presence and hearing his fine voice.

While I listen to the BBC Evensong I sing in my mind the prayers and responses, and somehow all seems right with the world, at least for a short time. The music is exquisite, - the organ soars majestically, and when the hour is over I am filled with the beauty of the old familiar words.

In between Sunday evenings there is much to remind me of God's bounty. Yesterday, a rainy day in the Similkameen, started off with a painted sunrise in the East, reflected as a delicate pink watercolour in the West

The day wore on, the clouds gathered and the rain came intermittently. At last, in the late afternoon, the sun broke through in little patches, illuminating the scarlets and the golds of the remaining leaves.In the pile of brush to the right of centre (which provides a pyre for the Old Year and a welcome for the New Year, come December 31st) a troop of quail find shelter and security. Callie watches them from the window as they make a daily foray through the pasture, across the road and into the neighbours, where the walnuts are thick on the ground. Four or five nutcrackers join them and it is a time of plenty.

The snow creeps down the K of the mountain on the opposite side of the Valley, and up the cut which marks the Ashnola River there are signs of swirling snow clouds.

The fall flowers vibrate with radiance as an errant ray of sun reaches them.

Towards evening the snow skirts the southern mountains and the Cawston hills disappear behind a turbulent slate curtain.

This morning, at seven, the daily show began again. Heaven's got to be pretty good to beat this.