Getting the upper hand (or maybe not)

No writing analogy today, just a springtime reflection from my photo journal.


Sunshine spills over the trees to lighten the gardens with a citron glow. Springtime colours smile in mossy lawns, tiny new alder leaves and an abundance of forget-me-nots, violets and periwinkle blooms.

Every spring I rave about the multitude of greens in nature…  and every spring my hubby mutters about the quantity of moss in the lawn!

The surrounding trees keep much of our property in heavy shade. The moss flourishes and in the spring my hubby dutifully power-rakes the lawns to pull out the winter’s accumulation, then collects it with the lawn tractor. Even with the machines’ help, it’s labour-intensive and takes a few days, doing one section at a time. He fertilizes to encourage the remaining grass, and adds lime to deter the return of the moss, but it’s a battle nature usually wins.

One of the neighbours questions our annual dedication to this effort, and wonders why we don’t just let the moss take over. “After all,” she says, “it’s soft under foot, green, and requires no watering or cutting.”

She’s right, of course, but as much as I love living rurally, after years of being a city gal I still need a little ‘citification’ around me… a bit of what my hubby calls “decency and order,” to offset the wildness that constantly encroaches from the surrounding woods.

Besides, there’s still more than enough moss around to keep us aware that it always has the upper hand.


Do you keep a tidy lawn, or are you content to share your green space with moss and other weedy intruders? It’s okay, you can be honest. For all our efforts we’ve never come close to achieving the ‘golf course’ look! Since we’re on a well, we don’t bother to water during the summer either, so the grass is never a thing of beauty.

~  ~  ~

Springtime Shades of Green


Have you any idea how many shades of green exist? It took me months to settle on exactly the right one to paint our family room… a variation of sage. Armed with a handful of paint chips that we declared were almost too similar to distinguish nuances with the naked eye, we examined our favourites. We taped them up in various locations checking them in artificial light and natural, and at different times of the day, before deciding one labeled ‘Quaking Aspen’ was the perfect choice.

Fortunately, I still love it, much to the relief of my husband who teetered on a ladder to edge around the vaulted ceiling and isn’t anxious to tackle that death-defying stunt again anytime soon.

Driving home from town yesterday I marveled (as I do every spring) at the palette of fresh new greens in nature, as abundant as any collection of paint chips.  Winter-darkened evergreens sprouting lacy lime tips, buds bursting to fill the underbrush with a haze of apple green, lush, satiny perennial leaves emerging from the soil to dangle blossoms like ivory earrings.

Every year I struggle unsuccessfully to adequately describe the sensation of being enveloped in spring greens. Help me out. Pick your favourite shade of green and describe it in a couple sentences. Consider it an exercise in observation and writing.


“To everything there is a season.”
[Ecclesiastes 3:1a]


Springtime Waiting and Wanting

Lush spring greens falter against the backdrop of a slate-grey sky. Tiny liquid crystals shimmy on shiny breeze-blown rhododendron leaves. Two weeks from summer’s arrival and still the lawns are squishy beds of moss, gardens a muddy setting for the emerging perennials.

This is my season of impatience. I yearn for warmer temperatures and summer sunshine, for bold geraniums, mounds of sweet alyssum, trailing pastel petunias and friendly daisy faces.

Is it human nature to hunger for what we don’t have? All things in due time. Soon enough I will be yanking out persistent weeds, watering parched plants and complaining about the heat.

I remember this and am thankful for quenching rain and the fresh rosy pleasure of evergreen rhododendrons beginning to bloom.

Today’s writing analogy: Our early seasons offer a time of learning and preparation. I should appreciate the opportunities as they are available, remembering that there will come a time when the heat of schedules, deadlines, and marketing will have me longing for this time of waiting.

When it comes to the writing life do you live in the past, the present or the future? What do those seasons mean to you?


  • “I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees of the field their fruit.” [Leviticus 26:4]
  • “Then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil.” [Deuteronomy 11:14]


Signs of Springtime

Ask people what comes to mind when they think “spring” and you’re likely to hear about longer days and daffodils, cherry blossoms and new green growth on trees and shrubs. That’s before they start thinking about pruning those trees and shrubs, cleaning gutters and dethatching winter-weary lawns.

I still remember the poem I memorized in high school English Lit class:I wander’d lonely as a cloud that floats on high o’er vales and hills, when all at once I saw a crowd, a host, of golden daffodils….”* It stuck with me because I, too, love the idea of wandering hills and vales in a flurry of springtime discovery. Realistically, I’m more likely to wander the woodland path behind our home and find the first sprigs of the Woodland Anemone unfurling from beneath their covering of decomposing leaves.

There are no daffodils “fluttering and dancing in the breeze”* yet. The only bursts of yellow to be seen are the first dandelions (and staying true to another of our family’s odd traditions, they’ve been picked and mailed anonymously to the other members of the family).

I love the newness of spring, silky pussywillows, the hint of warmth in the wind, God’s promise of all that is to come.

What words suggest springtime to you? Will the invigoration that accompanies this new season have any spinoff effect for your writing?

* Daffodils (1804) – William Wordsworth

I take it all back. I AM complaining!

I know I said I wasn’t complaining. But today our 34o temperature made us the hot spot in Canada, breaking an all time record for the date. Last year June came in as the coldest in fifty years. This year it has come in hotter than has ever been recorded in the seventy years of record keeping. So, yes, I’m complaining about the heat and I think I’m justified, don’t you?

Did Someone Say It’s Summer?

I’m not complaining. Truly I’m not! After all, complaints were plentiful enough when Spring was late arriving and Winter’s chill lingered into May. So now that June has arrived with day after day of more than 30oC temperatures, we’re grateful, right? All those new forest fires mere miles from our summer cabin don’t worry us a bit, do they? I wouldn’t dare admit that I miss April’s showers!


Excuse me, but I need to go water the flowers. They’re wilting.

Promises, Promises

RhodoMy camera and I took an early morning wander around Wildwood. Sunshine glistened on last night’s leftover raindrops and the air was crisp. There’s little that can outdo a walk on a freshly laundered spring day. Among my discoveries were promises emerging in the garden – spiky swirls of hosta, new buds displaying hints of coming colours, lacy tips of citron growth on evergreen branches.


In the beauty of the moment came his word:

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)

Now there’s a real promise!


 Lilac Forgetmenots Hydrangea

Weird Wildlife and Fluttering Feathers

There must be something strange in the air here. A few days ago I mentioned that we’ve been entertaining an aggressive squirrel who defends the birdfeeder from all would-be diners. Today he was challenged by a robin.


Now, we all know robins neither eat birdseed nor frequent birdfeeders. You’ll normally find them hunting down worms and larvae in the lawn or berries in the garden. It turns out birdseed wasn’t this robin’s goal. He was clearing the deck of potential opponents! At least that’s my take on it.


Once the squirrel was gone, the robin turned his attention to his own reflection in our windows. For more than three hours he flew at the glass, never touching it but belligerently fluttering bare inches away. When I closed the blinds he perched on the railing nearby and continued to dart periodically at the windows to guarantee his mirrored image didn’t return.


I love watching the wildlife around here, but these guys are weird!


Seasonal Transitions

The morning sky is hazed to Wedgewood blue and throughout the neighbourhood rooftops glisten with frost. I’ve been visiting family in the east Kootenay city of Cranbrook. Last week each day began with a snow flurry and ended with sunshine. This week began with sunshine and despite the freezing temperature this morning I saw my first robin.


Cranbrook is rimmed with the start of the Rocky Mountain range and snow laden peaks flaunt their daily reminder that here the transition from winter to spring isn’t complete yet.


Snow won’t have melted from the woods surrounding our Cariboo cabin either, and the lake there will still be frozen, but here in the Kootenays spring is hovering in the wings. It’s interesting how one season melds into the next across the province. There’s a slow progression with disappointing setbacks that become less frequent until suddenly you realize the changeover occurred when you weren’t paying attention.


Since robins have returned here it has to mean spring greening is near. I’ll be anxiously watching for those first buds.


Today’s Musings



Rain slashes across the sky obliterating everything but a vague view of the nearby trees. Am I complaining? Definitely not! Every time I peer out the window I can tell there is less snow on the ground. I’ll be happy if the rain continues until the last vestige of snow disappears. I’m hoping that will happen tonight. Tomorrow morning at 4:44 a.m. Spring arrives and I can’t fathom saying “spring” and “snow” in the same breath.



After two months of replacing fried electronics compliments of our helpful insurance company, then initiating computers, installing software and finding lost data, I thought we had finally reached the point of being able to get back to work. Not so. Murphy apparently has a relative that lives in our attic and takes delight in piling one catastrophe on top of another.


While working on a chapter edit last weekend my ancient iBook laptop suddenly flickered into oblivion. You have to understand that it has been the indispensible extension of my hands when I’m in writer mode so its demise is truly devastating. We booked an appointment with a computer guru hoping for resuscitation but he pronounced it DOA.


After covering his ears against my moans for a couple hours DH decided life without a laptop was going to be unbearable and suggested we might juggle finances enough to buy a replacement.  So another new computer has entered our lives… an aluminum-clad MacBook… and my office desk sports mother/baby lookalikes while I record the serial number of what I realize is our thirteenth Apple computer in the span of about twenty-three years. How did that happen? I seem to recall that thirteen is considered an unlucky number. Maybe our present computers will outlive us.




Chocolate chip cookies, when made with dark chocolate chips, are a healthy snack. I’m not kidding. Chocoholics everywhere have always known what the medical profession has finally confirmed. Dark chocolate contains nearly eight times the number of antioxidants than strawberries. So go ahead… dip those strawberries in yummy dark chocolate and lower your blood pressure at the same time.


Enough with the musing. Time to meander away from these computers and see if I can find a chocolate chip cookie.