The sights and sounds I’ve seen so far this month:
Lots of clouds this past week, and periodic sprinkles, if not full-out rain. The ripe grain crops are still in the fields; since we have sunshine today the farmers will likely be tuning up their combines.
I was quite amazed to see a hummingbird visit our feeder a couple of times the day before yesterday. The nights haven’t been very cool, so I guess she felt she could linger at the sweet-shop a little longer. I haven’t seen any yesterday or today, though, so maybe she’s left us.
I heard the first cricket chirping yesterday afternoon. A nice note for fall, but still…
And in the Dept of Wretched Rushing, we’ve seen:
— Halloween costumes displayed in Cosco several weeks ago. Ridiculous, IMO!
— Yesterday we were in Walmart and I saw they’ve started putting their Christmas decorations out for sale already. Mo-o-o-an!
The smell of too much, too long?
I’ve had that “drowning in stuff” feeling again lately, so I pulled out my favorite how-to books: Clutter’s Last Stand, by Don Aslett.* If you haven’t seen this book, you should. Not only is the prose well done and inspiring, but the text is matched with the hilarious illustrations of Judith Holmes Clark. This book is worth looking through just for these! Even people who can’t read English will get the picture — pun intended.
*Writer’s Digest Books, *Copyright 1984 by Don A Aslett, author of Is There Life After Housework?
On the first page is Mr Aslett’s promise: “You’ll immediately lose 100 lbs without dieting.”Now that has serious appeal.
Yesterday I opened a cupboard door and pulled out my quilting magazines to lend to a neighbour, and took out Mom’s old recipe binder as well. Confession: I haven’t used one recipe from this book since we brought it along when we moved her in with us back in 1999. But it was MOM’S! How could I possibly toss it? Alas, its pages are very musty and I had a sore throat after looking through it.
Day One of my 100-pound weight loss plan:
This morning I pulled all the old knitting, crochet, craft, and folk-art magazines and books, and Writer’s Digest mags, out of that cupboard and now have a pile to shred, a pile to go to Value Village, and a stack of Grandma’s recipes for my daughter to look over. (She’ll probably toss them, too. You can find so many online these days, with quantities geared to our smaller families.)
At least five pounds lighter now, I can take a little break and blog. My folk-art painting books and a few chosen craft books I’ve set outside to air before storing them again — just in case I ever give up blogging and want to do some knitting, painting, or crochet project. (We’ll visit this issue again in a few years. 🙂 )
I’ll never get to the scene below, but there is a happy medium somewhere.
And that’s where I’m at on this lovely fall day: a slightly stuffy nose, a bit of a sore throat, a pile of paper by the shredder, golden leaves wafting down on our lawn, and Angus asleep in my computer chair — a year-round sight.
I hope you’re all having a great day.
Fandango’s word for today: TRAFFIC
Ragtag Community prompt: COMEBACK
Word of the Day challenge: SCINTILLATING
Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day: WELTSCHMERZ
The snow that fell on our land last week disappeared and fall made a little COMEBACK —until Sunday night when fluffy flakes drifted down on us. Monday our land was white with snow again and all but the very hardiest of our summer bedding plants are stiff.
TRAFFIC news from Calgary yesterday, after the city was beset by its own cloud system and got smacked with 40 cm (16 inches) of snow in twelve hours:
many flights cancelled; 251 collisions reported; 80 city buses stuck or having mobility issues. (The transit system hadn’t put snow tires on yet.)
The city of Edmonton sent thirty snow-plows and other nearby cities have also sent plows to help clear streets.
Traffic news from here is mostly avian:
On our trip to Saskatoon yesterday we passed a couple of fields along the road that were dappled with black and white. I had to look twice: it wasn’t snow after all. I’m guessing at least a thousand snow geese in the first flock and another thousand in a second field nearby, half of these settled and half milling around in one big tangle above them. I think this is the greatest number we’ve ever seen in one gathering. They appeared to be enjoying SCINTILLATING conversation with their fellows.
When the sun shines on milling snow geese they can appear like a sparkling, mostly white cloud. Rather than in clear vees like Canadas, snow geese fly in a number of vee shaped streams that seem to tangle and untangle as they go. The birds come in a mix of true white and “blue morph” varieties, often mingling with Ross’s and other geese. As I’ve said before, they make an amazing sight spread out over ten acres or so!
And on the way home we saw many vees of Canada geese southbound. It seems this latest snow has given the geese a very clear “Time to Go” signal. We’ll be looking forward to their COMEBACK next April.
Ragged leaves offer their last respects to summer,
altogether expired now. No wake will be held.
I bring the eulogy, north wind brings the mourning,
the rain brings tears enough for us all.
According to M-W, the word WELTSCHMERZ means:
1) mental depression or apathy caused by comparison of the
actual state of the world with an ideal state
2) a mood of sentimental sadness
This describes to a T how I feel when I look outside. The “ideal state” is a long, lovely fall. Not snow. Not yet! I remember all those promises of “global warming” we heard a decade ago, and see winter settling in at the beginning of October. But this too will pass— for awhile.
It’s not that I want to knock the ideal of conservation, being responsible caretakers of the planet and not polluting nature until it can’t recover. But climate predictions come and go with the wind, I’ve observed. Speaking of wind, there’s a stiff, cold one blowing today. Our cats aren’t very brave to venture out.
At any rate, the general “sad to see summer go” adds its tones, along with an “I’ve accomplished so little this year” sigh, making for a tangle of feelings. A mild case of weltschmerz? I wouldn’t dare toss that word around amongst the unlearned, though, lest folks think I should be quarantined or put out to grass at the Funny Farm.
I try to decide priorities, but there are so many tasks that need doing. Some days I think I should just carry on as I have been and live with the frustration. Surely it will pass? Other times I think of major changes, like giving up my goal of writing books and be content to communicate with the world via my daily blog post. I wonder if I should abandon writing altogether in favour of keeping on top of housework and sewing. Indecision can be an obnoxious little tyrant!
Lately I feel like I’m sitting on the brink of some big decision and dare not jump for fear of breaking something. Like Robert Frost, I see several forks in the road immediately ahead and I must soon choose one — but I can’t decide which. A To-do List wafting down from Heaven would be nice. 🙂
People say, “Which is the most important task?” and I say, “ALL of them.” Plus, I’m so inclined to pick activities that bring the most emotional payback — or back pats — but this activity may not be so important. Dear friends, say a prayer for me. I feel in need of courage and wisdom.
This morning from my kitchen window I noticed three birds clinging to a leafless branch on a treetop, the sight of which inspired this haiku:
how brave those three
birds still clinging —
facing autumn’s gale
Much as we might wish to cling to summer, autumn has definitely made its appearance in our land. The crops are coming off and the golden brown straw left to hold the soil in place; the maple trees are golden already. Nights are cool, and during the last few days we’ve gotten the rains we wanted.
Hopefully now the Fire Ban will be lifted in our township. For a few months now we haven’t been allowed to light any fires outdoors, including in BBQ pits and such. This month local volunteer firefighters have been called out to several grass fires started by balers as farmers were harvesting hay. Sunday Sept 2nd some of our firemen left straight from church, responding to a fire east of here. About 150 acres — half of it in standing wheat crop — burned, along with four round hay bales.
The hummers left us a couple of weeks ago. Last week the second batch of barn swallows came out of their nest to enjoy the clear blue skies. For the first few days the three newcomers played in the air above our yard, then ventured farther, touring the woods and coming back to roost at night. I was out just after supper together with the cats, and the swallows came buzzing around us. Obviously they weren’t happy seeing cats so close to their residence.
It’s been awhile since I posted anything significant but I decided that if I didn’t get something written I might develop chronic blog-atrophy.
It’s not that I haven’t been writing. In fact, I’ve spent hours at the computer this week commenting on other writers’ work. Last weekend I was investigating the possibilities for having my own short stories critiqued and came across a site called Critique Circle. It It looked interesting, so I signed up and started writing comments on the stories posted.
Basically, anyone may join, and post a story they’ve written once every two weeks — but first they must critique others’ stories. In fact the system works somewhat like that old song about working in the coal mines: you do one days’ work and the company store charges two days’ pay for your groceries. 🙂 I’ve gotten .5, 1, 1.5, and 2 credits for doing various critiques, but it cost me 3 credits to post my story. So participants need to keep writing critiques (of 300 words or more) if they want to post anything.
Which is quite fair, really. I’m not griping. This approach keeps people from “taking” without putting anything in. (And it suits me because I enjoy doing editing. 😉 I do try to be gentle, though.) The “rules state that “critters” shall be encouraging and helpful to new writers as well as more experienced ones. No “Your story is blah!” comments.
I’ve posted one flash fiction story already. The first critique I received dealt mostly with grammar and punctuation — some of which I would contest. The second was an overall “Liked the story.” The third one was worth its weight in gold! It was written by a fellow who’s had a number of short stories published in literary magazines and such. He really knows his stuff and pointed out half a dozen things I SHOULD HAVE seen myself.
The stories I’m working on now are for my upcoming book of flash fiction. And now that I’ve registered it and gotten the ISBN, I can post the cover I’ve chosen (from unsplash.com.) What do you think?
The next design issues: choosing a font style and “outside border or no?”