There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can defeat it. Tyrion Lannister, Season 8, Game of Thrones I am usually fascinated by other people’s stories. I feel pretty humbled about my own story, but also figure it might be as …
Light in August is a 1932 novel by William Faulkner, which took place in Mississippi and examined issues that arose in conflict between those alienated in society and the Puritanical white society. According to Hugh Ruppersburg’s Reading Faulkner: Light in August, Faulkner said of the …
This has been a wonderful but busy week so far, and spring solstice just makes me happy all by itself–but so much is going on that I wanted to pass it along. Here’s this week in a nutshell:
- The week started with my mother-in-law coming to visit on Sunday. She’s such a beautiful and happy person, and we have so much fun together. She feels more like a sister. Also, my husband’s sister’s family is here because of my brother-in-law having a conference this week. My in-laws are from the interior, and I love getting together with them. Maybe because we have known each other for over a decade, but they feel more like family than some in my own family. I also got to have a couple great chats with my sister in Chicago recently–I do miss my own people all the time.
- We all went to Science World on Sunday and saw the Omnimax film “Great Bear Rainforest”, a beautiful and stunning and moving documentary narrated by Ryan Reynolds. People, if this film is offered in your neck of the woods, I highly recommend it. You’ll see seals, grizzly and black bears (including the rare Spirit Bear, a black bear with a recessive gene causing a cream-colored coat of fur), salmon wolves, whales, salmon, 1,000-year-old trees, Indigenous communities protecting their place, and so much more. I realized I really do live in the most awesome place in the world. It just takes getting outside Vancouver to really notice.
- I mentioned a few posts ago that I was writing something on my memories of Appalachia. Here it is, up at ClimateCultures.net. I have to hand it to Mark Goldthorpe for gathering such a diverse group of writers and presenting material so well. I really enjoyed writing this piece in their newest series, “Gifts of Vision and Sound,” where I talked about my own roots in the Kentucky Hills, my memories there, the loss of people and landscape since my younger years, the harmful fossil fuel resource gathering in the area, and the band “Rising Appalachia,” who sort of brought all my roots back, in song and story and acts of resilience/resistance.
- I am writing on a break at work at the moment, but have three days off this week, including tomorrow and Friday, and it has been a warm, sunny week so far with a near full moon at night–perfect. I had Monday off as well and we went to Rocky Point Park in Port Moody (see the featured image) and hiked around. It’s amazing that flowers had started blooming before a 3-week cold snap, where we had lots of snowfall warnings, but this week is has become spring. Also, did I mention that my favorite brewery is in Port Moody? Yellow Dog is right across from the park, so of course I took a detour over there to get a pint of my favorite porter, Shake A Paw.
- Tomorrow we’ll commute down to Vancouver and take the seabus over to North Van. And Friday we’re heading to Stanley Park. This is the best week ever.
- On the professional front, I am looking forward to a reading with several authors I adore, over at the only used bookstore in the Tri-Cities area. This will happen during Earth Day weekend. And, I am writing an abstract submission for a big event later this year. I’m not sure if anything will come of it, but it’s kind of a relief to have applied for the funding and to be almost done with the proposal. More on that later.
- Now it is time to go on a hike and get some more of that sunshine, celebrating the spring solstice outside.
I can’t believe how beautiful it is this time of year. We have had perfect weather, though warmer than usual. Last night when we were getting ready for bed, we smelled wildfires from up north. It is so dry I have had some green beans outside drying for a few days so I can freeze them and make shucky beans later in the fall. I’m really excited for the golden light of fall, for visits with family, but let’s not put life into fast-forward. I’m loving the now.
We’ve been doing quite a bit of hiking lately, from down in Mundy Park to Seymour Mountain and in-between. Skin browns from sun, and legs get more muscular. After a rugged hike we sit at a lodge on top of a mountain, sipping a cold beer. Along with this of course is taking photos. I have discovered this awesome app called INaturalist, which lets you add photos and help identify species. I am hooked on it! I’ve seen a painted turtle and many lily pads and dragonflies. It is good to see a painted turtle, which is native to the area, in the same park we noticed a lot of invasive red-ear slider turtles just a few years ago.
Speaking of dragonfly, it is my summer muse and the name of a couple of my projects: Dragonfly.eco and a new one, Dragonfly Publishing. I like the look of dragonflies, with their translucent wings refracting light here and there. They have two sets of wings and can fly in all different ways: hovering, up and down, even mating in the air, catching prey in their feet while flying, and they have 360-degree vision. Their aquatic larval stage can last up to a couple years, much longer than their weeks-long adult stage. They migrate south in the fall (with an 11,000 mile migration) and form swarms, and they are hard to catch. They don’t sting or bite people, and they have been around for 300 million years–one of the first winged insects to evolve. They live all over the world, and there are around 5,000 species. I mostly like them for their delicate beauty and interesting look, but they are amazing in other ways too.
There’s plenty of mythology on dragonflies as well.
To the Japanese, the dragonfly symbolizes summer and autumn and is admired and respected all over, so much so that the Samurai use it as a symbol of power, agility and best of all, victory. In China, people associate the dragonfly with prosperity, harmony and as a good luck charm. Amongst Native Americans, it is a sign of happiness, speed and purity. Purity because the dragonfly eats from the wind itself.”
“In European folklore, calling the dragonfly the witches’ animal and that Satan sent it on earth to cause chaos and confusion, to calling it, Ear Cutter, Devil’s Needle, Adderbolt and worst of all Horse Stinger, which soon spread Down Under when the British colonized Australia. The name Horse Stinger comes from the misinformed observation that horses that were kicking and stamping around usually had a few dragonflies hovering around them. Fact remains though, that the dragonflies could well have been helping the horse by eating some of the parasitic insects that were doing the actual ‘horse stinging’. People seeing it made the inference that it was the dragonfly, being big and obvious, stinging, rather than an unseen fly biting.
In Sweden, folklore suggests that we dragonflies come around to check for bad souls, to weigh souls to be more ‘accurate’, believed to sneak up to children who tell lies and also adults who curse and scold, to stitch up their eyes, mouth, and ears respectively. For a species of insects that have inhabited our planet for almost 300 million years, it is only natural perhaps that they have such a wide and varied perception amongst various civilizations.
What can one say, for a harmless insect that does not bite, does not sew snakes’ wounds, and definitely does not measure human souls for good and evil, there have been a wide variety of myths and mythology associated with the life and the existence of the dragonfly. One very striking aspect comes to mind. Change.
In many regions and as a norm of this day, the dragonfly is considered to be an agent of change and presumably symbolic of a sense of self realization. Self realization from how the dragonfly uses its power to control its movements and so elegantly. And change and evolution is all about the dragonfly’s ability to fly and the way it can be comfortable on water, land as well as the air.”
[Source:“The Meaning of a Dragonfly: What Does a Dragonfly Symbolize?” Dragonfly Site]
Dragonfly Publishing is a new business I created recently. I have closed submissions to Moon Willow Press due to my own writing. I am revising Back to the Garden to be the first part in the Wild Mountain series and have two other novels slated for the trilogy. I have other projects I’m working on too, and needed a separate business entity in order to work with Ingram Spark. I don’t want to inundate my press for other authors with my own works, and, just as well, am happy to have a space just for my writings.
The featured image: Noniridescent structural blue occurs in the green darner, Anax junius; the female (below) lacks blue. Taken by Henry Hartley; Creative Commons.
I think there are times when most runners have a break from running due to injury or other reasons. This is one of my times. It has only been a month or so, but the reality is that I have to continue staying off my leg. My doctor has ruled out several things, including a mere sprain, which she says would have cleared up by now, a blood clot, and problematic blood vessels. I was very relieved to know I don’t have any of these issues.
However, my left ankle and calf are still as swollen as they were. I went back to my doctor this morning, and she is perplexed. She wants to now rule out some kind of unilateral edema (though she said that would be rare) and an issue with a cyst that they noticed on the ultrasound. If that would have ruptured, it could have caused swelling. I wasn’t able to get more tests until June 28th (the ultrasound is abdominal and has to be done after fasting, so has to be in the morning). So, just more waiting. While it is aggravating, it is by no means the end of the world. It’s just a another hiccup in the so-far lame year of running, which has been intermittent and not-regular compared to the two years before.
Doc said I could cycle and swim. We have bikes, so I will go out the next time it’s not pouring rain. Swimming is a bit harder, as the community pools are excessively crowded and the nearby lakes as well–if you can’t get there super early, there really is no parking either. If I do get outside, as with running, I prefer not being around big crowds of people anyway.
I told my doctor that I was bummed, because in three weeks we’re visiting Indiana and I really wanted to hike on trail three at Turkey Run. I was kind of babbling on and said, “Maybe I should anyway!” And she winked and said, “I would.” (She’s also a hiker.) So while I am supposed to stay off this foot and leg for the most part, I am going to hike at Turkey Run, so I am excited about that.
I think of bicycling as the most practical substitute for now. The reason I was so turned on to running as a sport is that you don’t have to really drive anywhere to do it. It’s a hassle-free sport unless you need a lot of gadgets, which I do not. I carry my phone (for music) in an old waterproof fanny type pack, which I have had for a long time–and any water–and just go. Bikers don’t need to drive anywhere to go biking either, though plenty do. But I can just hop on and go, and really it is not that far to hit some trails.
My favorite running place nearby is Mundy Park, and oh do I miss that place. I miss the sweat, the calls of bullfrogs, the tall rainforest cedars and the ground ferns. Mundy Park, I think, has some bike tails, which would be great!
Mostly I am just missing out on the outdoor wonder of this time of year. The workplace is slowing down, so I am coming out of that busy haze. I’m back to writing and editing and having time to work with authors for more interviews this summer.
For the first time this past week I’ve had time to actually go outside at length–watching my peas, kale, beans, strawberries, and arugula in the evening or just being outside on the deck or back yard on the weekends. On Friday nights I have propped myself out on the back deck, admiring the growing vegetables and the Ojochin cherry tree, which is doing wonderfully. Though it finally stopped raining and we were able to mow down the jungle in the yard (we got a new electric mower), there are parts of the yard that are teeming with wildflowers, wild blackberries, buttercups, and an assortment of foliage–the part behind the yard is a jungle still, and I’m not even sure what is back there. I’m sure at one point it may have been landscaped, but when we moved in it was all wild and overgrown, and we’ve kept it that way. It’s just about a five-foot deep area that parallels the entire width of the yard and, on the other side, a high wooden fence. I like wild, so it stays that way.
On Friday nights I like to sit out on the deck talking with my mom. She is fun to talk with, and is like a best friend in many ways. It is getting dark here later and later; on weeknights when we go to bed (since we have to get up so early), it is still light. So I sit on the deck until sometimes ten or later, and it is still light, and I hope Miss Skunk under the deck doesn’t come and pay me a visit as I chat with my mother. I wonder, with all the bears sighted around here already, if one will check out our yard soon–though the blackberries won’t ripen for several weeks.
I love those nights or weekend days, where the backyard is my ecosystem, and I am connected to the only living person who has known me my entire life. After talking with Mom, I hang up and linger, admiring the sky and the foliage and any fauna I might see. Sometimes Morgan hangs out with me, and I’m looking forward to a summer party with friends in August. I love the flowery scents and sounds of the wind and sometimes rain.
So not running on trails is hard, but it hasn’t cut out my being outdoors. And not being able to run and hike isn’t going to cut out all my summer activity. I was really relieved to know that I can bike now.