Saturday, February 02, 2008

Once upon a time....

Husband and I had a fairly large library, accumulated over sixty years of marriage.

When we moved from the farm into town the Handy Man had installed a wall of shelves at the bottom of the stairs, and these expanded into book cases in the weaving studio, and the spare bedroom, and our own bedroom, - under coffee tables and in little stacks in various corners!!

When we moved again, from the big house in town to this nice retirement home on the back pasture, we not only left the Lost Garden, but also found we would never again have room for such a large collection of books. We sorted through them, keeping those which we couldn't bear to part with. The rest we put on shelves which we opened to family and friends, As long as they went out of the house without us seeing them, we were content. What was left we donated to the Bargain Centre, and probably some of them are still on the shelves there, awaiting the discerning reader.

Once more this week I sorted again, looking for books which would be appropriate for a Church Library. What a fine morning I spent at this task, - dipping into books that have been sitting on the bedside shelves, some untouched since we moved into this house; putting aside those that demanded to be re-read and handling with care those that have been opened and read intermittently over the last sixty some years.

The books of Teilhard de Chardin have sat unopened for some years, and I wondered as I fingered them what light Teilhard de Chardin would shed on the present day battle between the Materialists and the Spiritualists.

Alas, I found de Chardin to be labelled a dreamer, whose visions are viewed as impossible by the majority of modern researchers, and by some even derided as foolish. Stephen Jay Gould, before his premature death, appears to have struck the mortal blow which has branded de Charin as naive and outdated.

His dream of a reunion between materialism and religion lie in tatters, with perhaps only his vision of the "noosphere" claiming any legitimacy in the vast network of communication that covers the globe. Radio for the masses had only been available for some thirty years, and TV was in its infancy when Teilhard de Chardin died in 1955. The world wide web was not to be developed for another thirty-five years. And yet de Chardin had this vision of a world wide communication system providing ideas and inspiration, and in the end the remarriage of the material world with the spiritual. Perhaps he was naive, but I will still re-read the coffee ringed book by Bernard Delfgaauw entitled "Evolution - The Theory of Teilhard de Chardin" that I first underlined in the years when I was deeply enthused about philosophy.

Amongst the other books that I set aside to revisit are the following:

Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, - a favourite which has guided me over the years.

Language and the pursuit of Truth by John Wilson - a wonderful book for anyone who loves words.

The River - by Rumer Godden, about whom the New York Times says "She uses the English language with the precise artistry of a miniature painter working on ivory, but always with such a sure touch, such firm restraint, that her prose never becomes artificial or precious". And I do fear at all times that I may fall into the error of being "precious".

Tickets for a Prayer Wheel, by Annie Dillard. "He kissed me when shadows were long on the path to the orchard; he promised to meet me again when the apples were in; now when the wind parts the curtains, now in the city when the cat won't come, I sleep with only one eye shut, keeping a weather eye out.".
And for fun and entertainment - "A window over the Sink" by Peg Bracken (full of memories) and "The English Gentleman's Wife" by Douglas Sutherland. A comment from the book "A Guernsey Charlady: A lady called when you was out-no, I didn't come to 'er name - but I know she was a lady as she was covered in joolery and smelt of sherry".

And for sentiment "Those who Love " - love poems by Sara Teasdale.

When will I get any knitting done?????

BTW - the Groundhog did not see his shadow here in the Similkameen today. Call me a gol darned optimist, but I do expect to see Spring lingering in the folds of the hills, spying out the land, - all about next week!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The flowers of January, and other matters.....

Groundhog Day grows closer, and although the flowers of January brighten our lives it is inevitable that they will soon fade and we will have to rely on that little furry varmint to predict when we will see the bulbs of spring herald the "yellow" season in the garden.

In the meantime we count our blessings here in the Similkameen that this particular part of Canada is not being visited by "wacky" wicked winter weather. The days are calm and still, - we have the occasional flurry of snow but the chill is invigorating and pleasant. Husband recalls his days on Guard Duty at the Manning Depot in Edmonton during the winter of 1942/43, when the temperature dropped to 60 below zero and the wide Edmonton streets resembled snow tunnels that made way for traffic and street cars (remember street cars?). It was winter, - just winter on the prairies - nothing "wacky" about it. And the spring that followed was as sweet as ever.....

This morning I have enjoyed watching the quail, as they come from their perches in the big burn pile, up the fence and into the orchard. I noted particularly the guard who perches on a fence post and watches carefully for danger to the flock, -sounding the alarm when hawks or cats or other creatures who would make prey of those lovely fat quail make an appearance. The quail are on the qui vie and respond immediately to the call for action, scattering into elusive feathery targets, moving every which way.

Would that our somnolent society had not lost the awareness of danger and the need for watchfulness......... There are still people who remind us of the need to be vigilant, but we are so comfortable in our fat-cat existence that we could be gone in a "pouf" , never knowing what hit us. When we share our greatest fear with Chicken Little" that the sky is falling, how vulnerable that leaves us to the real danger of fanatical terrorism.

We are so complacent, so self-satisfied, and as Lorne Gunter says in his article in the National Post(Jan. 28th, 2008) tolerant to the point of suicide.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Honey...sung to the tune of 'Annie Doesn't live here any more' (with feeling)

Honey doesn't live here anymore
she's always been the loom that I adored -

We spent a zillion hours together
Made a thousand things.
Tea towels, rugs and table cloths

Blankets fit for kings..
Age has caused our love affair
To fly on plaintive wings

And Honey doesn't live here anymore.

It's true. Honey (the loom) has moved to the big house at the bottom of the hill.

Still accessible for visits =)......

And if the truth be known (truth has a way of hiding under a cloak of sentimentality) I have no regrets.

Yesterday afternoon, as Husband and I patiently and lovingly disassembled the loom in
preparation for her journey we were moved to remember the excitement of putting her together. And the wonderful ingenuity with which Husband created a sectional beam and all its parts and accessories.

We were much younger then, and tying up treadles in Honey's nether parts was chal
lenging, but not impossible. Now it is challenging, and all but impossible.....

I am happy that she is going to a home where she will cause the same excitement all over again.

I am relieved that each time I pass the loom room I will not be seized by guilt and remorse that the warp remains pristine and unwoven.

I look forward to new uses for the room that Honey commandeered when we mo
ved here.

And most of all I look forward to introducing someone else to the joys of weaving, and a wonderful future for Honey, that gorgeous Swedish loom, - as the treadles and shafts go up and down and the weft goes back and forth, and she produces lovely cloth for years to come.

I will revert to my old and much loved four harness LeClerc that I started to weave on fifty years ago, and we will enjoy ourselves with music and the windows open to the breezes of spring and summer, - out in the travel trailer that has become the new loom room...All is not lost.

The last warp - the last scarf - farewell and Amen.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

This and That

Early morning, and Caspar and I have donned coat and sweater. We open the door, - the cat scoots by us, but Caspar hesitates on the top step, not just sure where the next little leap is going to take him. He is blind, but a brave little dog, and eventually he skitters down, playing leap frog over the last step.

There is no wind, but a pleasant chill in the air. A fleeting sunrise bathes the Cawston Hills.

Southward the clouds end at the border, over Chapaka.

As Caspar and I start our walk, and Callie the Cat disappears into the remnants of the garden, I hear a horse cough in the distance, - a plaintive complaint about dry hay which yet contains a dream of the lush pastures of spring.

Later in the day I drive home from town, up the lane and past the orchard, (listening to some toe tapping Cafe Jazz on the new Sirius Radio which arrived under our Christmas tree).

I note that the notorious Orchard Bar has re-opened it's doors to a raucous band of starlings, imbibing on frozen fermented apples and indulging in other decadent pleasures. They were looking very sleek and spiffy, even without their yellow summer bill. I stopped the car to watch the shenanigans, and they were having such a gay time not one even took notice and flew away. No startled starlings amongst the chattering assembly, but lots of table hoppers, going from tree to tree.

This morning a great flock of these bar dandies flew up from the orchard and over the pasture. It was remarked at the breakfast table that 'from where we sat they appeared to be somewhat hung over'.