The yin and yang of autumn leaves

So beautiful!  The crown of the year…don’t you think if some sort of future climate change meant that we stopped having autumn colours it would be a great sadness.  The whole character of the country would change, I believe.  For me there’s a hypnotic mood in looking at the leaves and trying to name the varied beauty.  The words can’t convey the crazy glory of the situation.  There are a lot of trees around.  The conifers provide a dark anchor for gold, crimson, scarlet, oak brown, mustard yellow, rose, interspersed with pale green holdouts.  As the season continues, leaves flurry down like doomed butterflies, like coloured snowflakes ironically foreshadowing what is to come. But every royal robe has it’s seamy side, after all.

A few acres of nicely wooded property magically accumulates a lot of fallen leaves.  Leaving it all to nature would mean in Spring a slimy black and heavy mess all over the land.  It’s a bit like a fairy story in reverse.  You start out with mounds of brilliant treasure and after a long snowy winter you end up with ……well, better to put on your cute hat, grab the rake and get into it.

Manage that magnificence.  Rake up the royal robes of Nature.  Crush the crown of the year with the riding lawn mower and turn that glory into mulch.  Caught between splendour and practicality…..the Canadian fall dilemma.

Snow geese





It is a long way from Montreal to Cap Tourmente past Quebec City but I never begrudge  the drive.  Snow geese come here in the spring and particularly in the fall.  I don’t remember when or with whom I started coming but the sight of thousands of geese taking a stop on their way from the Arctic to  a warm winter home in the Carolinas is truly wonderful.  The Autumn colors blaze from the mountain with its cliffs that are home to falcons.  When my cousin and I arrived today I was just losing a race with rain clouds that had been pursuing us all the way from Montreal.  We just managed to walk to the look-out on the edge of the marsh when the rain started  in earnest.  At first I was a little disappointed as the young man whe greeted us told us there were ” only” 25,000 geese there today.  However he told us that the tide was turning and that soon we could expect to see the birds approach the shore.  Sure enough they did bob into view and to our great joy more and more birds began to appear in typical line formation and to join the birds already in the river.   He said that this flight formation was a sign that they were just arriving from the North.  Birds who are just flying around the shore do not bother to get into formation.

We heard the pop pop of the hunters’ guns but did not notice any birds falling.  The hunters are strictly controlled and only allowed to shoot birds in flight.  Since the spectacular increase in the numbers of Snow Geese over the past 20 years some birds can be taken without damage to the huge flocks that appear.

As more and more birds landed and came closer and closer to the shore I felt the old joy at seeing them.  No matter what chaos reigns anywhere in the world, no matter what dirty politics grab the headlines, no matter my own worries or heartache, these wonderful creatures just keep on doing their thing.  I love them, I pay homage to them, I hope to see them for many many more years.  I wish them safe journey generation after generation.





On a recent excursion to the Montreal Botanical Gardens, I spotted berries glistening in the sun.  All around us were interesting plants and, since it is harvest time, we had an opportunity to see corn, sunflowers, cabbage and other crops at the last stage of growth.  Winter is coming and soon these plants will be under a thick blanket of snow.  I thought these berries were like jewels, glowing as they hung in clusters among beautiful green leaves.  Is there any coral or ruby necklace that is more beautiful than this?  The fleeting nature of this lovliness makes it more precious still.

My other latest collector’s item is a little more permanent.  My young grandson enjoyed collecting stones on a recent trip to the river’s edge.  He is convinced that he will make his fortune selling these treasures and no grandmother would burst such a bubble. After a bit of haggling, the transaction was made and I was proud to wear my pendant on a string.  Just as I am not sure what berry I admired in the Gardens, I don’t know what sort of stone this is. Perhaps close examination by an expert will reveal the secret.  If I can pierce a little hole in it, I will be happy to wear it on a chain

Precious things we pass over without really noticing.  The most precious things .

New Challenges

“What do you mean, you’ve never been in a canoe?  You’re a Canadian aren’t you?  And so I stepped into a tippy canoe and sat very still and paddled out into the middle of the lake and heard with a chill up my spine the observation, “Hmm….we must look at the little tear in the bottom of the canoe.  More water is coming in than last year” .  It certainly was fun to glide down a little rapid spot between two lakes but later  terrifying to discover that I must paddle really really hard to get back into the first lake.  No question of stopping or the little craft would be swept against some nasty rocks and since we already had that worrisome tear, we wouldn’t want that!  My arms!

” I wonder if we could drive the car through this bit of water?  Bring a long branch and we will test how deep it is. ” This after several kilometers of torturous track during which I had to get out several times while the intrepid driver navigated what looked like a river wash out… ATV for us, of course.  A Toyota sedan will do.  “What do you mean there’s nowhere to turn around!”

” You don’t know how to ride a bicycle?  But it’s simple physics.  If we lower the seat and the centre of gravity is low enough, you won’t have any trouble!  What kind of childhood did you have?   OK?  Look here’s a tandem.  You can do that!” Oh, I can

A bookish childhood.  A studious childhood.  A dreamy childhood.  A thoughtful childhood.  A shy and rather timid childhood.

Time to make up for lost time under the kind guidance of one who understands physics…and other things.

Mushroom musings


Mysterious, magical, malevolent

Secretive, seductive, sensual

Dark, dangerous, deadly

Playful pixie pop-ups

Night-born, nefaste, nostalgic

After a long dry period mushrooms suddenly appear with the first rain.  Little holes in a spectacular red one show that birds take a peck now and then.  Some mole or mouse takes a little bite from the edges of the white ones.  Like Alice, do they grow or shrink depending on which side they munch on?   Tempting though they may be, I’ll stick to the store-bought ones!


Just the bare facts



A pleasant evening stroll in the  nearby town of Parry Sound last evening brought my host and I face to face with a large black bear.  It was about 20 meters away enjoying a flower garden in a residential area  of town.  In my shock and surprise I ducked behind a car that had stopped to take a look at the bear and begged the young couple to let  us in if the bear decided to investigate ….us.  They seemed quite blasé but when their dog started barking and the bear turned to see what was going on, I was panic stricken.   The bear simply lumbered off into the thick bushes along the path of our proposed stroll.  For once..for once ….I had left my iPad at home so  –  no shot.  At news time it was reported that there were more than 30 reports of bear sightings in Parry Sound last week.  The police basically issued a statement saying ” don’t bother us.”  Soooo. …. Here’s my take on it.


Take a selfie with that bear

Show your teeth and toss your hair.


Make a duck mouth – go quack quack

A black bear will sure like that!


The police say ” Don’t call us.

It’s bear country, make no fuss.”


Don’t like wild life,? Move away.

Bears must roam both night and day.


Park at Sobey’s.  There they are!

Making love to a small car.


Pose with Teddy, fur so black.

“Don’t chew on my arm like that”


Oh, he gobbled up my phone.

Now. mom can’t call me from home.


Seguin trail is good for hiking

My long distance bill is spiking!


In  a black bear’s round fat tummy

is my iPhone…that’s not funny!


Next stop Parry Sound’s Best Buy

The Geek Squad will ask me why.


My screen looks all brown and sticky

And my keyboard’s rather icky.


Here’s a lesson for us all

Don’t chase black bears in the fall.