Spring comes in like a lion, goes out like a lamb. This is so very true on the coast of Nova Scotia. We flit from snow storms to bright days of sunshine where no jacket is needed to thunderstorms and remnants of high winds and …
In two days we celebrate the autumnal equinox. Almanac.com lists lists some traditions:
- At Machu Picchu in Peru, an ancient stone monument called Intihuatana—which means “Hitching Post of the Sun”—serves as a solar clock to mark the dates of the equinoxes and solstices.
- In Mexico, the Mayans built a giant pyramid called Chichen Itza. On the equinoxes, it looks as if a snake made of light slithers down the pyramid’s steps.
- In England, Stonehedge was also built with the equinoxes and solstices in mind.
I’m not sure what I’ll do Saturday, but it won’t be something big like building a pyramid. I do small: creating mulled wine or searching for pumpkins or finding good apple cider. This year I have three of my own sugar pumpkins, finally harvested from the balcony pots, which I’ll use for pie on Canadian Thanksgiving in a couple weeks. The dog-gone plant started dying while the pumpkins were still green, so I plucked them off the vines and they’ve ripened nicely in the sun. October will be the big Canadian friends/family get-together at our house. I’m glad that the wooden dining table my husband created will be ready by then. American Thanksgiving will be my family coming up from the states. It seems also to be a big season for birthdays.
After a summer of work I relax a tiny bit with a cold that is keeping me wrapped in flannels and coughing and feverish, though I am starting to feel a tiny better today. Over the summer, I had some exciting stuff happen with my work in eco-literature. I announced my partnership with Stormbird Press, which has acquired three of my previous books in their next couple catalogs. I’ve also written a chapter in their Tales from the River, just out recently. Another thing I didn’t announce earlier was partnering with Artists and Climate Change, who are re-running my series on Authors Tackling Climate Change in Fiction–and Chantal and I decided “Wild Authors” would be a good series name on their site. Check here for more. They are starting from the beginning of the series, from two years ago, so the earlier spotlights might be a little old–but I am leaving them as is in order to retain journalistic integrity. I will say, though, that this spotlight was my first, and after it I began to really write a little more elaborately as I researched other authors. I also chatted with Cindy Grigg over the summer. She runs Storypunks Podcast and just put part one of our talks up. The second will come later. I’ve seen both parts, and am okay with it, but it feels strange to see myself talking. I caught a lot of my mother and my cousin Patricia in my facial expressions. I talked about environmental fiction ideas, particularly when it comes to ecopunk and solarpunk. I also wrap up my summer work with the new site, Dragonfly Publishing. This is my place for self-publishing the Wild Mountain series, and whatever else I come up with in the future. I am beginning to add some short stories (just drafts) of things I’ve written in the past. And, as I revealed just this past week, I got the revision of Back to the Garden to the printer this past week. It’s available for pre-order and comes out October 16. Such a relief to get all my goals done this summer.
And today there is a fall storm, buckets of rain falling from a green-gray sky; up to 100 millimetres are expected to fall by Saturday, and let me tell you, it has begun in earnest. I have my window open as I write, and an audible waterfall flows from the gutters of the house, with puddles widening in the still green summer grass. The deck is full of wet leaves, even though I just swept it thoroughly for a party. Later this afternoon will come the high winds. It’s nothing at all like the big recent storms in the southeastern US or the Philippines, but it does mark the more extreme weather we have been seeing in the past few years. The summer heat and drought and wildfires give way to stormy weather, almost like there is no transition between.
Well, as much as I would like to post more about the fall and my love for it, sickness seems to take away focus and energy, and I’m thinking maybe it’s time to go curl up in the bed with our Canadian quilt and watch some episodes of Outlander (a pretty good Netflix series, if you haven’t seen it).
The featured image is of a run a couple years ago in the fall. I have decided to start running again if my doctor approves it. I recently had a foot xray and am awaiting the results!
I keep telling myself that not running due to injury is part of the running cycle, though now with two months of no running whatsoever–except around my mom’s house when I was bored of inactivity one morning, with only some hiking and biking thrown in–I still hold true to this blog title as I play the waiting game and hope that things improve. At my last doctor’s appointment, my doctor was still perplexed, since all my tests had come back normal, and is now referring me to a sports medicine doctor. Part of not running is dreaming of when I will be able to run, and I’m hoping now by autumn that everything will be working properly again.
My goal is by early September to redo the 5K training and then by October or November, or whenever the Great Climate Race 10K is held, to participate in that. It’s a lofty goal, and it depends on when I can start training again. Not sure this will happen, but that particular race was my first completely run 10K in 2015, although I had walked-ran the Vancouver Sun Run lots. (I couldn’t go last year due to a fractured toe.)
Over the weekend I was working, in my office at home, on my press’s upcoming book, a fantasy set in the Infinite Games world by Annis Pratt, and a cool breeze began blowing through the window. We’d had a tease of small rain late at night as well, though the days have been very hot and dry, the grass browning again and wildfires in the interior having evacuated over 40,000 people, some of my husband’s cousins included. Autumn must be my favorite season of all, yet I enjoy summer most thoroughly. But when I think of the cooler seasons’ first mulled wines and our big get-together in November, I always get excited. In Metro-Vancouver, autumn is generally also warm and dry, until later in the season when the rain starts–and then there’s no looking back.
In the meantime, however, I decided to see how other runners are tackling climate change.
- In May of this year, EU runners took part of the Brussels 20K, with the motto, “Burn Carbs, Not Carbon.”
- Just yesterday, a runner took part in the San Francisco Marathon, raising funds for Conservation International.
- The above mentioned Great Climate Race is in its third year now and raises funds for various solar-powered organizations in the Vancouver area, and they now have virtual races that anyone in world can join.
- Climate Run is open to all athletes wanting to build climate resistance in a changing world and sharing their experiences.
- This summer, the Sierra Club offered a chance to run and raise funds to stop climate change–at the Scotia Bank Marathon, and I hope to see Sierra Club participate again.
I’m sure that there are many more similar types of runners and fundraisers, but they seem to becoming more common.
So, as I sit at my desk and rue not running, I also know that this break is temporary, like everything in life. And that I probably need to just keep it cool when I run; I have never had big goals outside of running a few miles three times a week, so it seems these goals are still within reach as long as my leg someday gets a proper diagnosis and fix.
The featured image is me holding our team sign for the 2015 Great Climate Race. Photo taken in Wells Grey Provincial Park.
Anger is making the news every day. It comes in different forms: shootings and other violence, social media vitriol, and more. After yesterday’s shooting at the GOP baseball game, the Washington Post remarks today that the shooter, James T. Hodgkinson, was “always angry”. I think …
Our camping two weekends ago near Saltery Bay was full of sun and rain, waves and wind, endless coasting birds, hiking into wilderness, rushing waterfalls, isolation, running, and admiring the country north of Gibsons, mostly First Nations territories peppered with local foods and artisan goods. After two ferry rides, we arrived at a campsite just north of Saltery Bay Provincial Park on a Friday. We had previously planned to tent-camp but ended up in a cabin, which was good because the tenting area was sort of cramped around a view of an old barn and some kind of equipment. Our cabin, however, had a front door to the sea and a wide window to view it all, so if we weren’t out somewhere we were watching the sea.
On the way up, we missed one ferry and had to wait around three hours for another, so didn’t get to the cabin until after dinner time on Friday night. I had made some enchiladas for Cinco de Mayo, which we were able to have for three meals. Every night it rained, but during the day we enjoyed a lot of sunshine, and if the wind wasn’t blowing, the warmth poured over us.
Saturday morning, I went on a solo-run just to explore the park we camped at. I am nearing the end of the redo of the 5K training–although I’m finding that I run more than it asks for. So, after a loop around the cabin area and still needing to run further, I went north on the beach. I had to cross a tiny creek running across the beach and into the sea, and also navigated around several rocks and along a short, very narrow sea wall. I had noticed on recent runs, probably every since we did that 11K walk-run a few weeks ago at Crystal Falls, that my left ankle felt quite sore, but I kept at the run.
One area of the morning run was lined with the typical tall cedars and other trees that indicate the rainforest. As I ran along–perfect timing–came Great Big Sea’s “When I’m Up,” one of my favorite bands and songs. Then the following view:
Times like these I feel most alive, most appreciative of life in the sense that I am not cooped up with cultural wrappings. Running among trees makes you feel tall and part of things around you, unjudged and free. When I got back from my run, my husband was whittling–his first try at it. He is a woodworker, making things like tables, dressers, desks, and smaller gift-like things like wall-mounted bottle openers, picture frames, and wooden spoons. It didn’t take him too long to whittle a knife. This took me back to days of watching my pappaw whittle on his front porch.
After lunch, we went down to the ferry landing at Earl’s Cove, where we had seen an entrance to the Sunshine Coast Trail. So we parked there and hiked in. As we did, the sunshine went behind clouds, and we began to feel a soft rain falling over us. We did not go too far on this trail, only about 3km. We crossed a bridge, saw a waterfall, and climbed “escalator hill,” which had a hard trail to follow and just switchbacked up the mountain. You really would not know the trail except for the orange markers on trees. It is here where my ankle began to give out a little. And since we were climbing over slippery rocks at this point, we decided our anniversary gifts (11th coming up next weekend) would be real hiking books. I was wearing my trail runners, but they do not support my ankles.
We found good hiking boots in Powell River and had a quick lunch. On the way back to Saltery Bay, we saw another trail entrance and hiked for another few miles up an old canoe route. This path bordered Powell Lake on the south, but we did not find an entrance to it, rather marveled at the bald eagles and ravens above us, berries at the trail side, and the isolation (not one other soul) in this ancient forest area. The only downside was that being an old logging road, we did see some clearcut areas. It felt alone, peaceful, always a great background for our conversations. What is the difference between crows and ravens? Are these the blackberry bushes native to British Columbia? Look at that bald eagle! Listen to the ravens and bald eagles squawk at each other.
After some time, and a further aching ankle, we decided to go back to the cabin after one more dinner in Powell River.
Sunday we went to Lund, which is the end of the road (0 mile marker and start of highway 101 if you head South; you can take it all the way to Chile) and entrance to Desolation Sound. Across the harbor we could see islands and the deep water sound that trails north to the Great Bear Rainforest, an area that I studied and wrote about a few years ago. Pocked by snow-capped mountains, rainforest, clear blue waters, and fjords, this peaceful area of the world is also sought by those wanting to continue making British Columbia a resourced-based economy rather than a resourceful one, but we also have plenty of environmental groups, most significantly First Nations, stopping pipelines, logging, and fracking in the area.
The morning was silent and meaningful up there. I had found a copy of Jeff VanderMeer’s novel Borne, which came out in late April, and read it between sightseeing and a small 1K hike around Lund.
I’m almost done with Borne now. It was a busy week between camping and this past weekend when we had mother’s day things to do in Kamloops. I’ve long been a fan of Jeff VanderMeer. His work really got me into weird fiction, or modern day weird fiction, as I can appreciate the horror genre–not just horror but literary horror, if that makes sense. There’s some ecological weird fiction, such as VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, which I read quickly, falling in love with the story. Yet, I think Borne tops that as my new favorite. I wasn’t sure what to expect in a story about a biotech bear named Mord, on which is found a small but growing creature then named Borne by its founder Rachel. I want to just say, “Holy shit, get this novel, it will blow your mind in ways you could never imagine…it’s profound and beautiful. I feel like the childlike Borne character in trying to figure out how to describe it. It’s beautiful. It’s beautiful. It’s expanding.” I think why it works is that it really busts out of genres and busts out of the seams of literary expectations and predictions and formats. It is just so damn good. You will fall in love with Borne.
That night as I drank some red wine, reading Borne some more on the beach, it seemed like a slow evening. The way we were situated was that the sea bay was really facing south, and so sunset was beyond trees to our right, and it is getting dark up here much later than it was–so the sunset took a long time and wasn’t direct, loons chattered in the background, while I would read and read, and then stare at the horizon, hoping to see a whale or more birds spreading their long wings out to the momentous sky.
Well, after our trip, I was able to run last week some more before realizing, hey, my left ankle is completely swollen. So now I have to take care before heading back to my running and hiking routine. Meanwhile, back on the lower mainland, we have only seen a few wholly summer-like days. Most days are a combo of rain and sunshine, with coolness and heat playing a match with each other. We’ve seen hailstorms and downpours come out of nowhere. So much rain! I did plant some kale, arugula lettuce, beans, and peas, but that’s it. I will plant strawberries soon and maybe some herbs. The beans are already unfurling from the soil! The backyard has not yet been mowed and looks like a jungle.