Saturday, August 25, 2012

Nice things happening in the Similkameen

August 25th, 2012

Good heavens, where has the month of August disappeared to.  It has been terribly hot here in the West, and it seems that we have been spending a great deal of time during the afternoons in the cool of the house, while all around us the tourists visit wineries, gambol in the lakes and on the beaches, and bike along the highways and byways in preparation for the Big Ironman Race that takes place this Sunday.

The race starts with a swim, continues with a bicycle course that circles the South Okanagan and Similkameen highways, and a foot race around Skaha Lake.  The locals try especially to stay off the highways where enthusiastic bikers familiarize themselves with every little bump and advantage on the course.

It is a Big Event for Penticton and its merchants and wineries and everyone else who caters to the Tourist trade, but it only cause a very microscopic stir of excitement around this household.

What has been especially appreciated around here is the wonderful music we have been able to listen to over the last two days.

Yesterday morning I took advantage of a digital ticket provided by the Deutsche Bank for a marvelous Berlin Philharmonic Concert - Sir Simon Rattle conducted.  The guest pianist was Yefim Bronfman and Brahms #2 in B Flat Major was the piece de resistance.  The allegro appassionato was gorgeous, but the Andante, I thought, was especially wonderful.

Then we had a little Witold Lutoslawski and I cannot say that I was very impressed with the strange discords in his third Symphony  - such a contrast to the Brahms.  The concert ended with Tchaikovsky's Marche Miniature and a Slavonic Dance in C major.  A gentleman who lives in Australia and listened to the concert at 3:00 a.m.gave it a wonderful critique, and I felt very lucky to have been able to listen at 9.30 a.m., and did appreciate Charles putting off our planned visit to our house and garden up on the hill, so I could do so.

Well, that wasn't the only nice musical thing that happened to me yesterday.  While browsing online I found the website of UpChucky, who has the most wonderfully complete Jukebox or Radio records of each year, starting with 1940  I listened to  "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire", and  "Blueberry Hill' and "Elmer's Tune" and "Stardust" and lots of Mills' Brothers music, and songs that overwhelmed me with nostalgia and made me wish that Charles and I could dance the way we did in those lovely by-gone years.

And then again today we visited the Legion late in the afternoon, had dinner there and listened to a great jazz band that played "Sweet Georgia Brown" and all sorts of other pieces from that same era that touch our memories and our hearts.

Music, when soft  voices die
Vibrates in the memory

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Early Morning Musings

Thursday,  August 23rd, 2012

Note to Self

If I have the luxury of an hour of solitude in the early morning I sit at the kitchen table on one of the elevated chairs that are so kind to my limbs, and put my feet on the circular bar made for just that purpose.

And I read, and I wonder, and I reflect on these years of my life. 

And sometimes I grieve for the Time that passed unnoticed, uncelebrated, unappreciated - the energy, the lithesomeness, the thirst - the great thirst for creativity and wisdom living within, but unacknowledged by the *commonstance of each day.

A full life.  So much coming and going and to-ing and fro-ing, and where was the time for just 'Being"?

Is this it?  Here, now?  If not now,  then when????

                                                                                       Nicolaes Maes

slipped a little treble
out of the triangle
of his mouth

and it hung in the air
until it reached my ear
like a froth or a frill
that Schumann

might have written in a dream.
Dear morning
you come
with so many angels of mercy

so wondrously disguised
in feathers, in leaves,
in the tongues of stones,
in the restless waters,

in the creep and the click
and the rustle
that greet me wherever I go
with their joyful cry:  I'm still here, alive!

Mary Oliver

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Little Respite from the Heat

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

While I was at the library yesterday afternoon the clouds began to gather and the air began to cool - deliciously!

Shortly after I arrived home the welcome rain began......gently at first - a drop here, a drop there.  Soon, however, the storm arrived and the heaven's opened!

Late in the afternoon there was the most tremendous clap of thunder, - probably about a dozen feet above the house, I think, - the noise and the vibrations were so all encompassing!

Callie scurried along the hall, as fast as her little plump self would allow.  A sharp left turn at the bedroom door and she was safe in her narrow place of refuge between the foot of the bed and my mother's trunk that sits there full of blankets and winter sweaters.

Even her supper didn't entice her out, and all evening as the storm came and went, the thunder roared and the lightning flashed, she stayed put, probably with her paws over her ears

Things quietened down a little, and Charles went to comfort her and invited her to come and sit on his knee.  She came as far as the door, when suddenly there was another great clap, - the house quivered and quaked, and a poor cat's heart turned over!! Callie dived for her most safe place of all, - on the bed, under the duvet, where it is dark and there is a familiar fragrance of Him and Her.

When we moved she spent most of the first few days we were in town in that little nest.

Eventually the clouds moved off, grumbling and mumbling.  Out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of a small rainbow, but when I investigated it was just a small arc rising above the hills, and it soon disappeared.

I was outside, with camera in hand, and all that fresh rain soaked greenery around me, - the air smelling cool and clean.  There were a few interesting clouds above, but they were floating off towards the Okanagan to find other heat weary towns to play their spectacle to, and patches of blue sky were growing larger and brighter.

Checking things out.....

Today the sun is shining again, but the temperature is more moderate and friendly.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Visiting Ginty's Pond

August 19th, 2012

Sunday morning, and before the sun gets too high in the sky and the temperature rises into the thirties, Charles and I load up the camera and head down the road towards Cawston where we plan to twirl around the orchards and the vineyards on the Upper Bench, and visit the cool waters of Ginty's Pond.

The pond stretches from just behind main street to the left and to the right making an undulating U through the farm lands and down to the Similkameen River.

We take the back road off the highway and drive parallel to it until we come to the right turn that leads us down to Kobau Park where we are delighted with the many improvements that continue to be added by vibrant young people in the community.  The area along the river was cleared of brush and established as a Park by Lower Similkameen Valley residents and the Centennial Committee to honour the 100th anniversary of British Columbia becoming a province.

Charles was Chair of this Committee which accounts for his continued interest and satisfaction that it is such a vital part of the community of Cawston.

I digress.  On to Ginty's Pond.

And I will resist the temptation to write about Ginty (Arthur Hamilton Cawston)
or we will never get to see the ducks in his Pond!

or the beautiful reflections in the upper waters

The waters wend their way south westerly, following a culvert under the road. flowing 
through bullrushes and purple loose strife

We take the road that turns across the bottom of the pond, where the waters
are clogged with bull rushes and algae and never a turtle, a redwinged blackbird, a duck, a goose,
or even a raccoon do we see.  They could be there, - just not visible through
the tremendous growth.

The fields of August grasses looked summery and hot, hot, hot!

We saw some lovely sunflowers

and some Goldenrod down by the creek

We stopped at the house on the hill for some things that needed to come
and live with us in town for a while....

It was getting towards lunchtime, and by the time we got home I was beside myself with heat,
being one of the genre that someone in the factory forgot to equip with sweat glands.....

I'm not sure what "being beside oneself " means, but I know how it feels.  I
must go and look it up!!

Nevertheless, it was a lovely morning and my spirit rejoiced in God's handiwork....