Sunday, April 23, 2006

Now, Where Was I?

These are a few sketches completed before I regretfully dropped out of Laura's tree study during the month of March. I did continue to draw when time permitted, but the regularity wasn't there, so not much progress took place. The big pines with the spreading branches make me want to do a bigger picture of them. More sketches needed there.

Meanwhile Laura, as always, produced some truly inspiring work as the month went on. And did you see her recent drawing of the female cardinal on its nest? Absolutely stunning. I can't wait to see what she brings back from France.

After a couple of weeks of very good weather, our trees are starting to pop - much more inspiring than they were a month ago. So I'm still studying trees, but hope to show other things as I get back into a more serious working mode. I also want to get more familiar with Blogger and learn how to make it work for me, arrange my photos the way I want them, have lists of books and my favourite sites, and all those other things I enjoy so much on other people's blogs.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I'm Back

Everybody's out of the hospital, still alive, and back to normal, or as normal as we get in my family, so I'm hoping to be a more faithful blogger from now on. Thanks to everyone who left kind notes, and I'm sorry I didn't answer them at the time. I didn't really see them until it was a bit too late to send a prompt reply, but I did appreciate them very much.

I thought I would kick off my comeback tour by participating in List Friday, hosted by Mrs. Pom over at Pomegranates and Paper. She asked for a list of ten things we love (or at least like) about where we live, and somewhat to my own surprise I came up with ten right away. So here they are.

1. The bicycle path, which winds for miles along the river's edge, past water lilies and weeping willows, tall reeds and old apple trees. The great blue heron fishes in the shallow water. Sometimes you might see a fox, a rabbit, or a deer. There are otters in the neighbourhood, but we only saw one once, crossing the highway right in town, against the light.

2. We are located on a major flyway for migratory birds, and our local bird sanctuary is a northern breeding ground for Canada geese. After a skimpy beginning back in March, enormous flocks began to arrive, and continue, night and day. When I open the door at night to let the cat out, I can hear them honking up there in the dark, passing overhead like clouds. Soon we'll see them swimming beside the bike path with all the little goslings in tow.

3. There's a beach I can walk to. It's a manmade beach, not very large but not very crowded, mostly patronized by the campers who have permanent sites in the local park. A lot of people around here refuse to swim in the river because of pollution, but I love to swim in natural water, and have never had any infections or illness because of it. I prefer it to an overcrowded pool on a hot day, for sure. There's nothing like a beach to cleanse you inside and out.

4. In June and July, the wildflowers are spectacular. Mostly pretty common varieties, nothing rare or wonderful in themselves, but so abundant, and the days so long, and the weather so perfect, that the effect is intoxicating.

5. It's a short walk to the post office, the grocery store, and the bank, and I'm known by name at all three. When I lived in Ottawa, I had the same bank account at the same branch for fifteen years and nobody ever recognized me.

6. My back yard is big enough for a really large vegetable garden. (And one of these years I'm going to plant one.)

7. There's hardly any traffic here. People routinely walk down the middle of the street even when there are sidewalks on both sides. It's also very quiet, which is nice if you want to have your coffee on the deck on a fine spring day.

8. There's a bridge between here and Cornwall called Hoople Creek Bridge, which strongly resembles the Lingan Bridge of my childhood, so I feel good whenever I cross it.

9. There's a dramatic story attached to this village. It was created in the 1950's to house the people whose homes were flooded when the St. Lawrence Seaway was built. Many of the older residents of Ingleside remember homes, farms, churches, and family graves they will never see again although they lie only a few hundred yards away, under the water. This was a planned flood, of course, not a sudden tragedy like Hurricane Katrina, but it left deep emotional wounds, and affects life even today. I don't mean to say that I'm happy this happened, but it gives a context to the rather bland, suburban appearance of the place. Ingleside is not what it appears to be, and I like that.

10. Should the pleasures of village life start to pale, we are just one hour from Ottawa, an hour and a half from Montreal, the same from Kingston, four hours from Toronto, and eight hours from New York. Really, folks. This is the centre of it all.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

It's Been a While

Just to let you know that I haven't given up blogging. I've got two family members in the hospital, and posting had to take a back seat for a while. I'm bringing my sketchbook on my travels, and I'll be back.