The point of this post isn’t necessarily about pumpkin ale but about my usual theme: life revolving around the seasons. However, I did find pumpkin ale on sale already at the local liquor store, which was a surprise. Last year I didn’t find any until …
These days are filled with wonder. We either have torrential downpours felling the leaves of the mighty oaks, maples, birch, elms, and other deciduous trees–or days of sun and warmth, along with the reds, golds, browns, and yellows swirling around us like costumed fairies. It is my favorite time of year. I’m like a kid in that I still get so freakishly happy just by weather, seasonal changes, and what those changes bring each year.
The season felt like it started one week ago today, when my husband and I joined Vancouver’s Climate Strike (led by youth, a movement begun by Greta Thunberg, who began to take Fridays off from school to strike for climate–she gained a huge following). I feel old saying this, but I got big lumps in my throat watching our youngest generations’ frustrations, anger, and fear turn into acts of love and hope as they led the march. We walked just over 5K that day, and part of the walk was the same area I’ve marched before or ran in the Sun Run. The day was fortunately sunny and windy, with the crisp chill of fall and the promise of change. Some photos are below.
This march reminded me of others I’ve taken part in. I realized in over the 10 years I’ve lived in Vancouver I have participated in several protests. I joined lots of colleagues, when I worked at a non-profit, to support the health of wild salmon and protest Atlantic net fish farms in wild salmon ocean habitats. We marched a few times a year and paddled the Fraser raising awareness. We also protested dilbit pipeline expansions and Trump, including the big woman’s march in January 2017. Doesn’t seem like it’s been all that long ago. I continue to join in solidarity with others to call for action on things I believe are right.
The autumn days and nights are full of not just wonder but action to keep this old Earth always the best it can be, which includes keeping the seasons we know and love. We celebrate this weekend with some friends by hosting an Octoberfest party. Yes I just might even include some mulled wine along with the pumpkin ale, German brewski, brats, kraut, potatoes, pretzels, and strudels. Then Monday I have off work to finish preparing for my presentations at Ecocity 2019. (There’s a typo in the title of the presentation, which never got changed, despite me pointing it out to the organizers!) I’m really excited. I got to do a trial run of the short presentation earlier this week and was surprised at the support I got among colleagues. Then the weekend after the upcoming one we’ll be heading to Nevada to visit my daughter and to do some hiking at Red Rock, up in the mountains. She said it’s still quite warm there, around 90 degrees, but up in the mountains it should be cooler.
And then it seems the season will change into the bone trees and all the leaves forming on the ground, and it will be the rainy season that may also turn into a snowy season–it’s so hard to predict in Vancouver. We’re moving closer and closer to the Halifax plan, which keeps our time occupied for so much needs to be done. I will post more later if that dream turns into reality.
While northern California has had unprecedented wildfires, not too far north on the coast we are experiencing severe rain events. Last night I fell asleep to a heavy downpour. It continued on until this morning, and on the way to work I saw downed branches and wet leaves plastered everywhere. At the moment we have a small break until the rain storms continue this evening. Up to 500 mm in the mountains. That means snow.
One of our cats awoke me at 2:30 this morning as the winds and rain chimed outside. Poor kitty is sick and has been throwing up a lot in the past few days. We got him when we got married in 2006, and then he was a few weeks old already. So he’ll be 12 years old in early 2018. I didn’t get much sleep. I felt so bad for him. He’s kind of always nervous. If we have contractors in working on something, he’ll hide under our bed covers. With us and people he knows, however, he’s such a sweet guy though usually satisfied to be at arm’s length. However, this morning he jumped up on the bed and curled up next to me and purred and shivered. I threw a blanket over him, but he got up later to vomit again. I finally went back to sleep around 4:00…not a great thing when having to get up a couple hours later for work. On the way in, we dropped Kitten off at the vet and are awaiting to hear what the problem is.
In my sleepy state, I carry a feeling of calm happiness. Part of it is a change of lifestyle. I realized sometime earlier this year that I’m taking too much on for the time being. I have closed submissions temporarily at my press. I’ve begun to write again. Yet, I am as active as ever online and with the dragonfly.eco site and don’t plan to slow my work there. But sometimes I take on more than I can chew. One of those is social media. I already blog, maintain a website and its twitter account, run a Google newsgroup, and a Facebook community. I also do some gaming with friends. This week, I just felt like, uhhh…why do I feel the need to really increase that with individual author pages and twitter accounts? I don’t want more time face to screen. I want less time. I want more time doing things with my husband–and together we’ve been planning a line-up now of fall parties and dinners with our friends (I absolutely love to host stuff at our house). I want more time in the mud, in the mountains, out in the fresh air or the rainstorm air. Being online all the time is not life; it distracts from creativity and the organized thought processes needed that help figure out how and what to write. The freedom of getting outside and offline is refreshing.
It is during this more introspective and thoughtful time that I admire the storms around us in a the sense that even though I know they are most likely related to a change in long-term climate, we need to adapt to what’s coming. In part, that means embracing the wildness, accepting the beauty of the wildness, and coming to terms with the devastation that is already happening and will be worse in the future. It also means not taking it lightly but working with others to ensure everyone’s safe and understands what it’s all about. I don’t think I’ll live to see the absolute worst times to which we’re headed. I feel like a scout sometimes, envisioning it, writing fiction about it, and hoping for the best for all the future people and animals and plants on the planet. Yet, I come in from the wild rain and cuddle with my cat, linger on the new day bed with a thousand books to read, or prepare food in the kitchen while overlooking the gray-green clouds racing with the wind and tossing orange, brown, and red leaves to the pavement below.
The featured image is of a hike around Buntzen Lake in the autumn rain.
Yesterday after work, my husband agreed to come with me on a 5K trail run at Mundy Park. I realized how nervous I was about falling again, which prompted a slower run than usual. It was so nice of him to come with me! It was great to get back to the woods. Mundy Park trails are not as dangerous as some of the trails I’ve been running on–just a few rocks jutting out here and there, so I was more focused on watching where I was going and picking my knees up.
Now that the days are getting shorter, by the time we got to the park, the sun was low in the sky, and by the time we got home it was purely dusk, with night coming quickly. Even though last night it was still warm, and we needed a shower later, we are also getting to the end of our hottest weather. The upcoming days are going to be very pleasant and cool, not even hitting 20C, starting tomorrow. And we’re forecast to get some sweet rain. Also, because of the stressed trees, so many leaves are on the ground in certain forests. It is really starting to feel like fall.
It just felt so good to be back with my old friend, Mundy Park, the dark, green and cool sanctuary. I haven’t gone as often as I would have liked to lately. Weekends have been filled with recuperation from falls, camping, hiking, or editing. I’ve also been planning a big ecofiction stage at Word on the Street, for next month, which I’ll talk about soon. And I have some interviews with best-selling authors, one of which should be up soon.
So it feels very good to get out in the forest. I do have more trepidation when running. I read up on trail runners who fall, and it seems all do at some point or another. But I clearly need continued strengthening and balance. My goal for the upcoming months is to beat my record for the 10K in October and to stop falling!