I went back home recently; my second home, my other home – the place where my dad and his second family lived. I don’t have the words to describe accurately what this place means to me. It’s not second, it’s not other, but it’s not quite my only home either. Can we have more than one home?
One of the places that speaks to me spiritually is the Bow River Falls and it’s been too long since I was able to sit on those shores. I miss the sight of them, the sound of them, the smell of them. Not knowing when I would return, I wanted to bring them back with me. So I recorded the sound of them and paced the parking lot looking for perfect angles (sans tourists) to capture the look and feel of them.
It took a while!
I liked the way the top two trees were growing and could see how they framed the Falls perfectly. I had to wait and wait for other photographers and tourists to get out of the frame. It took forever but I had the perfect angle from where I sat on the stone border wall. So I waited and snapped other photos.
Finally I got my shot!
It wasn’t until I got home that I noticed that the trees almost form a perfect heart.
I think I’ll print out this one and frame it. I’ll think of home every time I look at it.
Other Frame Photo Challenges here.
Plus, go here for 8 tips on enjoying your national parks.
This picture was taken one quiet Christmas Eve not too long ago. I was feeling nostalgic. This is my grandfather’s old barn. It is the only original structure left on the property my nephew now owns. My nephew never met his great-grandfather but he ended up buying his home quarter a few years ago. From generation to generation to generation the wheels turn.
These are my nephew’s son’s chickens. At five, he is responsible for seeing them feed and selling the eggs. He will probably be a farmer just like his dad and grandfather and great-grandfathers.
As things change (bigger farms, bigger machinery) so they stay the same (chickens to feed, crops to tend to).
“Pure” can convey wholesomeness, something undiluted, or simplicity.
If you could split your time evenly between two places, and two places only, which would these be?
If I could teleport or have someone drive me, here are the two places I would choose. There is an eight to ten hours distance between the city I feel most comfortable in and the resort city that use to be a small town (I miss the small townness of it) where I spent many childhood summers with my dad and his family. In the summer I would take a bus between the two but in the winter the teleport idea would work best.
But how to divide the time: daily, weekly, monthly. It wouldn’t do to spend six months here and six months there as the climate is no better or worse depending on the seasons. Summer in the city is just as pleasing as summer in the mountains. Winter in the city is just as brisk as winter in the mountains. Spring is just as enchanting as is Fall spinning with colour.
Here is my city bursting full with Summer…
Here are my mountains in all their April (my birthday month) glory…
I even enjoy the rainy, cloudy days!
Oh, but how to choose. Christmas in the city or solstice in the mountains?
And to choose to only live in these two places always. I couldn’t! I haven’t been to New York’s Broadway yet or San Francisco or the Yukon.
But if I had to choose, these are the two places that I would teleport between forever more.
“The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.”
― Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Do you know what this symbol represents? I do. It is my home, my third place, my heart. I fear I have known this symbol since birth if they had used that signage then. I am a reader. I have been a reader forever.
I am also a huge library user. Last year, I borrowed over 400 items (books, graphic novels, CDs, DVDs) from my local library. Even if I were rich, I could never afford to buy every thing that I want to read.
I love my library. They never look askew at the variety of items I borrow. Right now, I have out 2 picture books, 1 young adult novel, a non-fiction book about Rain, a ton of mysteries, a graphic novel, a fan-girl geek guide, and the Big Gay Ice Cream book.
I love all libraries. When I travel, like to Alaska last year, I like to visit at least one library. I still regret not popping into the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh when I walked past it. I didn’t go in because I was lost and stressed. If I had gone in I would have become less stressed and (probably) less lost!
My ideal trip would be a tour of the world’s libraries. I’ve been a patron of at least half of the libraries in my province and have used one library in 3/4 of all the provinces in Canada. So, this is where I would start – visiting every library (public, private, special, university) in Canada and then moving on to the rest of the world.
I would need a list of how to translate the word library world-wide in every language possible. I tried to find such a list. I know this list exists. I saw it in a library book when I was in library school. After an hour sucked into the endless depths of the universe via Google, I cannot find the list. I wish my library was open on Sunday then I could just go find it in a book!
How long do you think this would take me? Keep in mind that my average library visit is usually two hours long. I think I might need another lifetime or two for this task.
If I start now, how long do you think it would take me to visit every library in the World? When I’m done, can I travel with the Doctor (please) to visit every past and future library also.
Sorry, no actual photo for this photo challenge. I have no car and the signage is on the road about a mile out (and I am not walking that far on this too, too hot day).
Joy is a full day exploring an old cemetery with or without company.
This week’s photo challenge at the Daily Post is The Hue of You (cute wordplay, by the way – it made me smile).
“For this challenge, we want to keep it simple: share a photograph with a prominent color (or assortment of colors) that reveals more about you. It could be a symbolic, meaningful shade; a color that expresses how you currently feel; or a combination of colors that excites you and tells a visual story.”
I’ve always been drawn to the primary colours of yellow and blue.
From the brightness of local playground equipment….
To the pattern on the bathroom wall at Wanuskewin Heritage Park…
To the yellow and blue house that I use to pass on my daily walk.
Here it is before it sold…
And here it is after (repainted in the same colours). Hooray, I was worried the new owners would replace the colour scheme with something different!
So, what does this say about me. That I’m still childlike (primary colours), that I’m attracted to what makes me smile (aren’t we all) and that right now, I need smiles (it’s been a bad year).
Some weeks I really don’t want to blog; you may have noticed I have participated in a lot of photography challenges this year.
So, what hue are you?
Today’s blog post’s musical soundtrack is Prairie Blues by Wilf Carter (very old timey music and my mother’s favourite performer); famous for his yodeling. Nobody seems to yodel anymore, do they?
I grew up in small-town Saskatchewan when the trains use to still run through them (the tracks use to run behind the grain elevators, across the highway and across from the high school). Afternoon classes would be interrupted by the train whistle and we all would turn to gaze out the window. It was best to snag a window seat before class started so that you could see the train coming before the whistle sounded. I wonder how many others in my class were dreaming of being elsewhere or vowing that one day they would take a train or the highway out of there.
I literally took the train out of Saskatchewan when I went back to school in Montreal. Three days on the train, carrying way too much stuff, half-excited and half-scared to finally being gone. I wasn’t the only Saskatchewanion on that train – I met a young woman heading east as well who had come from one town over. We bonded on the train but never ran into each other again in the big city.
The tracks are no longer there. They keep tearing them out and replacing them with a walking trail (coast to coast). I remember walking those tracks with my friends when I was in elementary school, stepping from rail to rail, never touching dirt. We didn’t have to worry about trains running over us as the track was only inches above the prairies and there were no train bridges to play dare-devil off of.
There were other places to be the dare devil off of. I had a friend who climbed the ladder on the grain elevator all the way to the top. I was too scared of heights to even reach up to the first rung. I still have no idea how she never got caught – she did it on a sleepy Sunday (of course) but it seemed, back then, that were a thousand pairs of eyes watching us and telling us what we couldn’t do.
We liked to play at the lumber yard as well; there were long, quiet, shelves to hide in and they were cool on a hot day and smelled like sawdust but we were always quickly chased off and told horror stories of rusty nails and tetanus shots.
On really hot days we walked out of town to go and explore the dump, or pick cat-tails at the slough or if we felt really ambitious we’d walk the seven miles to the lake (usually getting a ride before we were half way there). I didn’t walk to the lake often. I don’t handle heat well; even at seven I would faint from the heat and have to go in. Maybe that’s why I turned into such a bookworm – there were always cool caves to hide in inside where I could spend hours reading.
I also liked to go just across the tracks to pet the horses – I knew I’d never have my own horse as there were too expensive to keep and we were poor.
I miss horses. I use to love just leaning against them, feeling their breath and smelling horse and sweat and grass. I love the smell of grass after the rain or just after it’s been mowed. I miss just being quiet and staring into a horse’s endless, wise eyes. What do they see?
My prairie home is endless. There are trees there older then me, older then my parents – trees my grandparents planted to block the prairie wind. I’ve always wanted to put a hammock under that weeping willow (above) and bask in the quiet, with a calm breeze blowing, to spy on the neighbours and catch up on old-time gossip, both old and new.
Who married who? Why? Whose baby is that? Who loved whom? Who married who? I want to know all the secrets.
The Prairies are endless. I always felt like I could stand at any outside corner with the town to my back and see forever – see the past, the present and the future all in one breath.
I could stand there and watch the storm come in, the clouds turning dark, lightening flashing and still make it safe back home (it I wanted to) before the rain pelted down!
I could stand there and dream under the clear night sky wishing on every falling star – wishing to be gone; wishing for the clear, crisp mountain air and the sound of the stream filling up after it had been dry all winter.
Home – so tempting, so elusive.
Where is home? When will I be home?
Happy Canada Day…
“Home is where one starts from.” (T. S. Eliot)
I was born overseas; my dad was stationed in Germany with the Canadian Air Force. I do not remember this first home. I was not even one year old when we came back. My mother says it was an apartment and the landlady lived next door. There were a lot of steps – she mentions how hard it was too herd three small girls (all under five) outside every day. The Pram (how very European) was kept by the front door. I vaguely remember seeing a pram somewhere in my childhood travels between my parent’s houses. It sounds very different from anywhere else I’ve ever lived except perhaps Montreal – which is also, in some parts, very European.
“When you finally go back to your old hometown, you find it wasn’t the old home you missed but the childhood.” (Sam Ewing)
I spent the next thirteen years running wild throughout my small town. My friends and I had the run of main street, went to the playground unsupervised, and occasionally, hitched-hiked the ten miles or so to the lake. The lake my grandparents lived on was closer to their house (it was only about a city block out of town) so I spent more of my childhood there unsupervised. Well, not really unsupervised just not directly supervised. It was a village – everybody kept on eye on each others’ children and everybody was always free to scold us, repair a boo-boo or send us home. It was a wonderful, free childhood and I mourn its passing not just for me but because I know that my great nieces/nephews will probably never know that kind of freedom. Yes, I’m all for a free-range childhood!
“If I were asked to name the chief benefit of the house, I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.” (Gaston Bachelard)
I spent a lot of my childhood day-dreaming. I was a reader. I lived next door to the library. I got to take out six books at a time. I felt rich. My first books were fairy tales populated by princesses, dragons, unicorns, ogres and witches. We weren’t allowed to sit inside in front of the television (why bother – there were only two channels and very little children’s programming). We had a front porch and along the back shelves were the high heels that my mother no longer wore. We wore them out pretending to be ladies and all grown-up. Inside the house (small as it was), I had two favourite places (under my mom’s bed and at the back of my sister’s closet) to hide, read and day-dream in. I felt sheltered, protected, and peaceful there at home.
“I live in my own little world. But its ok, they know me here.” (Lauren Myracle)
I was different from my sisters and my cousins. My family tolerated my bookish ways. I was not athletic. I never could never do the shoot the duck move in figure skating. I was not musical. I had one lesson – the teacher said it was hopeless and a waste of money for me to continue on with piano lessons. I can kinda swim. It took me until I was eleven to pass beginner swimming (that’s a story in itself). I was different. I created my own world. They knew (and tolerated) me and my eccentricities.
“Home is not where you live, but where they understand you.” (Christian Morgenstern)
I was understood. I was home. I was blessed. (Which was very good – because the outside world could be cold and dark and scary). They didn’t always like me but they always understood!
“Home was not the place where you were born but the place you created yourself, where you did not need to explain, where you finally became what you were.” (Dermot Bolger – The Journey Home )
There was freedom there. The freedom to explore and read and dream. It was there I became resilient. It was there I learned who I was. It was there that I saw myself as myself and saw myself as they saw me. I was a reader. I was a dreamer. I was a quiet child. I was perfect just the way I was.
“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” (Edith Sitwell)
I am a cold weather child. I do not tolerate heat well. There are tales of me fainting from the heat at age seven. Give me a book, a blankie, a warm beverage and a sturdy chair then I am comfortable. I am home. Summer never feels like home. Spring is the dreaded precursor to Summer. Fall is the best – cool nights, brilliant sunsets, heavenly full moons and the occasional welcome blast of heat.
“Everybody has a home team: It’s the people you call when you get a flat tire or when something terrible happens. It’s the people who, near or far, know everything that’s wrong with you and love you anyways. These are the ones who tell you their secrets, who get themselves a glass of water without asking when they’re at your house. These are the people who cry when you cry. These are your people, your middle-of-the-night, no-matter-what people.” (Shauna Niequist – Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
I have many homes. I have my sisters’ homes. I have my stepmother’s home. I can fall asleep there as my two younger half-sisters knit and I dream. I can read in the house while my eldest sister gardens. I know where my step-mother keeps the everyday glasses. Their pets know me. My family is my home team and I hope that I am theirs.
“It was good to walk into a library again; it smelled like home.” (Elizabeth Kostova – The Historian)
I can walk into any library in the world and instantly feel at home. Decades ago, on our honeymoon trip, my ex and I explored libraries together. There is something about a library that says to me, “come in, you are welcome here. You are home!” I regret that when I was in Scotland I ignored the chance to pop into their National Library (I was physically thisclose to it but I was lost and sun-sick and tired and longing for a cool bath and a quiet room. I forgot where home was!). Home is an immense bibliotheque.
“How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.” (William Faulkner)
Not often enough. I am a home-body. Travel scares me. The unknown scares me. I like to meander into a place and stay until it feels like home. Rain feels like home. I love a good thunderstorm. No, I love being inside, safe and warm, during a thunderstorm. It feels likes home.
“ And then I laugh, because it’s so ridiculous and so gorgeous and it’s all I an do to not melt into a fit of giggles. So what if I’m ninety-three? So what if I’m ancient and cranky and my body’s a wreck? If they’re willing to accept me and my guilty conscience, why the hell shouldn’t I run away with the circus? It’s like Charlie told the cop. For this old man, this IS home.” (Sara Gruen – Water For Elephants)
I am learning how to be home in my body. I’ve spent decades in my mind and only paying attention to my body when it yells at me. The older I get the more I realize that it is important to love your body and to treat it like the blessed home it is. I hope to be spry enough to run away with the circus or to a mountain cave when I am ninety-five.
“I have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved and where all your yesteryears are buried deep, leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can. Never turn back and never believe that an hour you remember is a better hour because it is dead. Passed years seem safe ones, vanquished ones, while the future lives in a cloud, formidable from a distance.”
(Beryl Markham – West with the Night)
Leaving home is like peeling of a band-aid – it is best to do it quick and clean. I leave quickly but I plan my leave-taking for months, years, decades. I knew at thirteen that I wasn’t staying in that small town forever. I knew at twenty-five that it was time to stop living in basement apartments. I knew at thirty that I had to try a big city at least once and so I planned and I left and somehow (ironically) I also keep coming back. I go from yearning for large to yearning for small.
“No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home.” (L. Frank Baum – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)
As Dorothy so famously said – there’s no place like home. The hardest part is defining where home is and getting there!
“Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” (Robert Frost)