Posted in health, photography, rural life

A fall interlude

There was nary a breeze and the sun was toasty warm on my back as I walked. There remains a few crickets chirping and the occasional call of the meadowlark settles in my heart. Not far away I can see the dust and hear the steady hum of a tractor and cultivator at work as harvest is long done in our area. The colours of autumn are showing their awesomeness across the prairie and it fills me with joy. Even the dogs taking a dip and getting muddy could not dampen my mood. But… there’s always one isn’t there?

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Posted in Canada remembers, fitness, Travel

Throwback Thursday to “The End”

Even if just for my own purposes I wanted too tie up the trip to Prince Edward Island. Took me long enough that I can call it a throwback Thursday!

The numbers are finally in. The big ride days equalled 376 kms and we did 75 kms riding to suppers and sightseeing for a total of 450 km in 11 days. Longest day was 78.6 and that one did my hand no service but I am already recovering from my handlebar neuropathy.

Another important  set of “numbers”:

  • Zero
    • Falls off the bike
    • Rain while on the bike
    • Getting lost
    • Cookie cutter neighborhouds
  • One
    • Scuzzy cabin
    • Idiot driver
    • Sleeping in a lighthouse!
    • Unfriendly islander
  • Countless
    • Beautiful beaches
    • Charming houses
    • Pastoral scenes
    • Outstanding suppers

The end result was a stellar trip that we powered with our legs. We were 2 of the approximately 1.5 MILLION visitors to PEI. No wonder accommodation regularly has No Vacancy signs. It bears thinking about. The impact of that many people descending onto that small of a space. While we did power ourselves our luggage went by vehicle but it was never just ours as they move people, bikes, walkers and luggage daily.

How many of us think about our environmental impact from a holiday? We went to an interesting display in the Confederation Center that traces the tourism industry on PEI throughout the last century +.

The one cranky islander I met was a tour guide. Seems a bit odd to me that he was but I guess as I wasn’t a paying customer he didn’t feel obligated to be polite. He told me, in no uncertain terms, that he hates Anne, L.M.Montgomery and anything to do with either of them. But that’s what initially put PEI on the map.

The tourists, who pay him, come to see the Prince Edward Island that she wrote about. She lamented in her journals in the late 20’s that the cars and tourists were running amuk on the island (this is, of course, my own paraphrasing of it). Interestingly enough we felt it was quite unspoilt other than for the power lines.

“You never know what peace is until you walk on the shores or in the fields or along the winding red roads of Prince Edward Island in a summer twilight when the dew is falling and the old stars are peeping out and the sea keeps its mighty tryst with the little land it loves.” – Lucy Maud Montgomery

We practiced the “take only pictures and leave only footprints” motto. Easy to do there as almost every garbage can is a triple “decker” with recycling, compost and garbage sections. It’s a very clean province with no litter. The Confederation Trail was well maintained but the highways could use a consistent shoulder on them. Drivers were over the top courtesy except for one idiot who scared the heck out of me and the guy coming towards him.

Home now for just over a week and the travel high is subsiding but the memories will be cherished forever. Such a great part of Canada to explore via bike. Now where to next??

Bernie

Posted in family, reading, rural life, Travel

The Sands of Time

I don’t what lies around the bend in the road but I’m going to believe the best does.

Anne of Green Gables

L.M.Montgomery

Sitting on the deserted beach watching the waves caused a certain melancholy to wind it’s way through me. The landscape, basically unchanged, from 1894 till now. It matters not who was Queen then (Victoria) or who became King today (Charles) upon the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth.  The shores of the beach looked the same in 1830 when Richard Montgomery built Ingelside and will even if his descendant Paul sells it. The beach that Lucy Maud Montgomery played at as a child and returned to as an adult, living in exile in Ontario, remains the same.

The tide comes and goes. The horizon and tomorrow both seem distant. There is only the sands of time.

I felt totally immersed, as if I had slipped inside the family tree of another’s family. It was truly fascinating.

We went to “Silver Bush⁴”. It was home to the Campbell’s, double cousins to Lucy Maud Montgomery. The house features in a few books while the joy of cousin time (as an only child living with grandparents Maud was often lonely) came alive in The Story Book Girl and the Chronicles of Avonlea. I found out, from her great neice, how to say Frede. She laughed and said everyone called her Freddie and no one knows why Maud, in her journals, spelt it Frede except that she often misspelt things there. That’s not the kind of detail one would read in a book. The house, part private residence and part museum, has such a treasure trove of artifacts. Many of these actual physical items were transported into stories that she wrote. The bookcase children that Anne saw in her early life are the same ones Maud “saw” in real life in that very bookcase. There is the crazy quilt that she stitched. I knew she had done one but to see it lovingly displaced and to look at her workmanship. To find out why it survived in such amazing condition.  She and Ewen Macdonald were married in the parlor in front of the fireplace in 1911. The house seems unchanged in so many ways and here it wasn’t all about Anne with an E but rather about the woman who penned her; right down to her writing desk.

Silver Bush, the Campbell House

Looking out the incredibly huge upstairs window at the Lake of Shining Waters, which on the map shows as Campbell’s Pond, but she refers to it many times in her journals. “They” say write what you know and that is certainly what she did. It  is an enchanting area there is no doubt of that.

The Lake of Shining Waters

Then we crossed the road and went to Ingelside.  The family home of Senator Donald Montgomery was a favourite spot of Maud’s as she cherished her relationship that she had with this grandfather. Interestingly enough I don’t feel like I have heard much of the Montgomery grandmother. If I had a week in this house to just read I am sure I could find the answer. There are so many books in an interesting book case, brought over in 1770 by James Townsend, Maud’s great grandfather.

Books at Ingelside

But perhaps tomorrow I will just ask Paul Montgomery when he cooks our breakfast. He turned the family home into a bed and breakfast 6 years ago. They’ve done a fabulous job of these renovations and kept the character of the house front and center. Paul shared stories about this as well as family stories.

The landscape has changed of course. The big old barn outback is long gone. The trees have grown and the fields are bigger than the old photos show. The walk to the beach, under a glaring sun, remains unchanged.

The Montgomery beach path

The peace and quiet allow time to reflect whether it be about family, history or our place in this world. About the impacts of imagination, duty, service and how those values play out in life.

Given more time I will like to think I could be slightly more articulate about this. It flowed at the beach inside my head better than it is at this moment but reality is I am hitting publish. Perhaps someday I will come back and re write the ending just ad Maud re wrote her journals.

Bernie

Posted in celebrations, family, Random ramblings, rural life, writing

Heavens to Betsies

In the sweetest little boy voice he says “heavens to betsies“. I do not recall the context but it makes me smile each time he says it.  Interestingly enough he’s used this phrase several times but I have no idea where he picked it up. His big sister’s favourite right now is “that’s so weird” when something seems off or mystifying.

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Posted in fitness, grandchildren, Self Care

In small flashes

It’s arriving, in small flashes. At first I thought it was just spring. You know – more daily sunshine hours and the worst of the cold is gone although lots of snow remains. Perhaps it’s planting a few seeds that will grow up to be tomatoes & other nummy things in a few months. Might be the return to fairly decent sleeps with less back pain and therefore I am less testy/irritable/grumpy out of sorts. But here’s the thing. I think it’s actually hope. Showing up in small flashes. In tiny little ways that kindle more hope. Some very concrete ways and some more the glimmer in the distance. I’ll take it on this roller coaster journey called life.

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