Monday, 28 September 2015

Monday Moanings - September 28, 2015

Last Things
(No, not an apocalyptic treatise, but just some observations on this the last Monday in September)


It's the end of September. Though autumnal splendour has yet to fully evolve, the leaves, coloured or not are dropping. The beginnings of a Fall carpet lies across the forest paths

...soon little ones and big kids like me, will be able to scuff through thick layers of brown, yellow and red. Rustling, crackling, crunching - the leaves last words of the season...

... a testament to the blessings of summer.

The last winged wonder swooped in six days ago. Now the hummingbird feeder hangs unvisited, except for the flies, its sweet nectar un-sipped by slender beaks.

I did not plant any tomatoes this year, yet the plants appeared in the garden - my wild bunch! Now the last tomatoes cling to the struggling vine. It's been so warm in September, the wild bunch continued to set fruit despite withered stems and leaves. Some will make it to ripeness, others will leave seeds for next year's wild crop.

The last geranium blooms, scraggly and desperate, valiantly proclaim living colour.

No longer a full lush broadloom, the lawn is an uninspiring patchwork of green clumps and emergent brown tracts. As much as I love lawn mowing, by this time of year, it has lost its connection to my Zen zone of reflection and tranquility. The last run of the lawn mower is imminent, and may even have happened yesterday! Now there's a happy thought!

And last night, much of the world was treated to a rare sight in the night sky as earth slipped between the sun and a supermoon. A total lunar eclipse spilled a red shadow across the biggest, closest and brightest supermoon of the year - a blood moon. It was the last time to see such a coincidence until 2033.

Here's what it what it looked like if you were in Dallas, Texas:

image taken by Mike Mezeul II 

My photos are not nearly as impressive. First of all it was cloudy here...

...and then when the moon did break through I struggled with camera settings and a tripod with a wonky leg.

Finally just before a thick cloud bank moved in, I clicked off this last shot:

Life is rearranging, changing wardrobes, ever moving on, and last yields it place to first.

©2015 April Hoeller

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Thursday, or Thereabouts - September 24, 2015

Autumn Overture - Hitting all the High Notes

This is my favourite season - a symphony, a classic tone poem of colour and form, tempo and texture, light and shadow; always changing, always moving toward its inevitable conclusion. The opening movement of this annual performance has been full of promise of the presto of colour now only just hinted at.

The high notes of bright sunshine and warm days have been modulated by cool nights, with not single ice crystal yet etched in the time signature. The frost will surely come but for now only early morning mist blurs the fledgling grace notes of colour before lifting to reveal ever-brightening yellows and reds.

And it's just way to lovely for me to sit inside writing. The opening to this season of gratitude will not remain so gloriously melodic, and I don't want to miss a single note.
See you out there!

©2015 April Hoeller

Monday, 21 September 2015

Monday Moanings - September 21, 2015

Good Morning Starshine!

Bright sunshine rising in the trees had me singing the oldie from the musical "Hair". Belting it out on the deck felt marvellous. It's one of those few songs whose lyrics include substantial phrases of absolute gibberish:
Good morning starshine
 The earth says, "Hello"
 You twinkle above us
 We twinkle below 
Good morning starshine
 You lead us along
 My love and me as we sing
 Our early morning singing song 
Gliddy glup gloopy
 Nibby nabby noopy la la la lo lo
 Sabba sibby sabba 
Nooby abba nabba le le lo lo
 Tooby ooby walla nooby abba nabba
 Early morning singing song 
Good morning starshine
 You lead us along
 My love and me as we sing
 Our early morning singing song 
Gliddy glup gloopy
 Nibby nabby noopy la la la lo lo
 Sabba sibby sabba 
Nooby abba nabba le le lo lo
 Tooby ooby walla nooby abba nabba
 Early morning singing song 
Singing a song, humming a song
 Singing a song, loving a song
 Laughing a song 
Sing the song, sing the song
 Song the sing
 Song, song, song, sing
 Sing, sing, sing, song.
James Rado, Gerome Ragni, Galt MacDermot; 1969 

On the world stage the month of September has brought a grotesque display of humanity at her best and worst. In response to the refugee crisis there have been heart rending and horrific scenes presented at one and the same time - open arms and coils of razor wire, hospitality and hostility, compassion and tear gas grenades, cheers and jeers. It's not a pretty picture.

And there's not much I can do about it beyond supporting the aid agencies that I trust will care for the immediate needs of the men, women and children who have had to leave their homeland in search of safety and a future.

Sometimes the only remedy for the angst the media images trigger in me, the only antidote to the stories of cruelty and intolerance is to stand on my deck as the great day star rises through the treetops, and sing gibberish.
Gliddy glup gloopy
 Nibby nabby noopy la la la lo lo
 Sabba sibby sabba 
Nooby abba nabba le le lo lo
 Tooby ooby walla nooby abba nabba
 Early morning singing song...
Sometimes, I just have to ignore the news of the world and let myself go...

 ...just like Sophie does - have a listen Here.

Do something silly this week - sing like nobody's listening!

©2015 April Hoeller

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Thursday, or Thereabouts - September 17, 2015

She stoops to ...

I love finding horse chestnuts in the Fall.  It’s a real thrill to pry open the thick spiny green shell -- a bit like opening a gift wrapped present. There is such an anticipation of delight.  My recent finds are no exception.  The outer shell gives way to reveal a gorgeous nugget of deep red brown roundness with a creamy top.  It reminds me of a perfect espresso with a crema top.  The delicate swirls of pattern invite my thumb to trace the contours over smooth shiny curves.   Fifty-five years melt away...

I look up from my English notebook to make sure nobody is watching me.  The teacher is writing in her daybook, and the other kids all have heads down, pencils scratching out a story.  My story isn’t going very well.  It’s stupid.  I can never come up with anything good.  But recess is just minutes away, so I reach into my desk, past the packet of Dad’s oatmeal cookies to find the tangle of shoelaces. I tease through the tangle to grasp the two round chestnuts, ready for action.

Just yesterday I found these under the big tree in the neighbour’s yard.  I raced home and headed right downstairs to my Dad’s workbench to get the hammer and a big nail.  It was a little tricky -- the chestnuts were a bit slippery and didn’t want to stay still on the floor -- but I got a good hole through two of them.  A third one split.  Oh well, good thing I picked up three!

Then I had to go find shoelaces. The big thick ones are the best, like the ones I found in my sister’s skates. Perfect! I put a good knot in the end of the laces and strung a chestnut on each one.  Two beauties ready for action.

Ring!  The recess bell made me jump, but in no time I was in line and ready to head out the door. Danny, the boy with the ‘five year bully’ (meaning he had beaten five others with this conker) had a bunch of boys already gathered around him, ready to try their luck.  I joined the group.  They tease me as usual, being the only girl and all, but I don’t like skipping or hopscotch.  I like conkers!

One by one chestnuts smash against each other and one by one the boys ahead of me leave behind their broken bits.  Now it’s my turn to get demolished – well that’s what the boys say!  I crouch down on my knees and take out the really big conker and lay it in the pit.  I close my eyes and Danny takes his best shot with his now eight year bully.  SMACK!  “It’s your turn now.” somebody says.

“What?” I stammer, “My conker is still in one piece?”  I dry my hands on my pants, then grab the end of the shoelace and hold it tightly with my right hand.  I wrap my left thumb and forefinger around my conker and draw the shoelace up tight.  SNAP!  I see bits of chestnut flying in the air.  But they’re not mine.  WOW!   I just smashed an eight year bully to smithereens!  “I did it!  I did it!”

Ring!  Recess is over.  I quickly stuff my best ever conker into my pocket and skip back into school. Now I have something good to write about and a one year bully in my pocket.   Cool!

©2015 April Hoeller

Monday, 14 September 2015

Monday Moanings - September 14, 2015

The day began badly...

A steaming cappuccino to my left, I began my day with a leisurely scroll through my Facebook® news feed. The second drag of the mouse wheel brought me to this little pearl of wisdom:

One day, you'll just be a memory to some people.
Do your best to be a good one.

How lovely - NOT! I got blindsided by the first statement. It dropped me into a bucket of dreck where I spun and sputtered and sprawled for much too long. You know, that "one day" is not as far away as it used to be!

A life review movie flashed across my mind in an uniquely unimpressive trailer that lasted all of 2 seconds. Panic wicked up the hairs on my neck - omg I'd better get out there and do something spectacular, sensational, significant; something memorable and above all good because time is running short and I haven't done anything meaningful ... not a single indelible accomplishment to my credit in all my 60+ years of life...

My gut curdled. My morning soured. I shrank from the day. I shrank from life. Oh woe is me!

Bur remember that steaming cappuccino? It was still there. Still hot. Still fragrant. Still fresh from my Love's hand. I took the warm cup in my hands, turned from my desk and headed out into the dappled sunshine of the deck. The cool morning raised a few goosebumps on my arms, but the air was fresh and clean and so wonderfully restorative. Perspective flowed back into my soul. Gratitude overcame self-doubt. Sunshine blasted away the darkness. And caffeine evicted the doldrums.

And outside my door, the day really looks like this:

And of course, my life is not a wasteland.
I cannot orchestrate what others will remember of my life on some distant day.
I can and will, do my best with each day I'm given.

©2015 April Hoeller

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Thursday, or Thereabouts - September 10, 2015

What day is today?

Why is it that a week away puts one a month behind? When we left for our annual pilgrimage to the land of wine and the Shaw Festival, it was August. And that's how I first entered the date for this post: "Thursday, or Thereabout - August..."

August what? Some head scratching ensued before I discovered how far behind I had fallen. Egads! how does that happen?

We returned home Sunday afternoon having enjoyed 5 idyllic days in Niagara-on-the-Lake...

and then two equally idyllic days with our son and daughter-in-law in Wainfleet, taking in the Marshville Heritage Festival,

 Port Colborne,


and just hanging out.

But of course after all that bliss comes the laundry, the yardwork, the phone mail, and the email. Oh and then someone has to make supper! No printed menus to peruse, no ice water shimmering in fine glassware, no gleaming cutlery, no executive chef, no one to chop and clean, no servers, eager to please, and no artistry on a plate.

Not even for the dog...

Back home, the car had to be relieved of its burden - 103 bottles of wine. Yup, we brought home a bumper crop from wine country.

Cutting back this year? Apparently not.

I have spent the last two days cataloguing our purchases and I  wish to report that all have been laid to rest in a cool, dark place. One by one they will rise to the table during the coming year, only to be consumed.

And it's place shall know it no more - well until next year.

©2015 April Hoeller