It's definitely autumn on the coast of British Columbia! With summer's departure have come winds and rain to wash away last week's smoke. Our Covid-19 numbers are increasing, school staffing in our district is already undergoing some changes, and my 89-year old mother is becoming more frail. In these times, it is especially important for me to create a nurturing environment in our household.
My blog friend, Rosemarie, sent me some lovely autumn haiku recently. They are mounted on very pretty papers. I use them for bookmarks. This spider haiku resonated with me because our balcony spider lost its web the other night. I'm still trying to create a balance of decorative plants, food plants and critters on our little balcony. Our hummingbirds have visited all summer and we have some autumn spiders. It will soon be time for seed and suet. Rosemarie also send me a packet of container mix seeds that I shall sow next spring.
I'm working to gradually transform my balcony to an outdoor space that we can enjoy throughout the year. I'm still not happy with the flooring but I plan to add interlocking wooden floor covering next year, It is easy to install and can be removed if necessary. My outdoor rug is quite waterlogged right now. I hope that we get a few warm days next week.
I've been cleaning/organizing/decluttering my linen closet. I've got many runners and table cloths from around the world. In real life, my coated Provençal cloth is a permanent feature on our dining table. We use the table for many different functions. Since we have no basement, workshop or utility room, Monsieur restrings guitars on it. I grew up with a living room and dining room that were only used on Sundays so I still have some difficulty with apartment living where every square metre needs to be used.
A few years ago, I was in Guatemala in the autumn. Local women were selling woven textiles. Feeling unable to disappoint a trio of vendors, I bought a few runners. This fall, I decided to use one on my desktop to add a cheery corner to my very calm bedroom. I think that we need to create bright spots to chase away the grey of dull pandemic days.
I am still ordering books from local bookshops. This month, I have read a few exceptional novels. I was unsure about Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo who shared the 2019 Booker Award with Margaret Atwood. The capitalization and punctuation are unconventional but once I started to read, I could not leave the stories of these 12 women. The lives of the women are interwoven with almost imperceptible threads. I wanted to reread the book as soon as I finished it. I also learned something about my own racial view. If I am not told the background of the character, my default is white. Interesting...
The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel is a comment on aspiration and greed. Chance encounters lead many of the characters to be "victims" of a Ponzi scheme. In Covid-19 days, I wonder if it is time to say good-bye to our voracious appetite for new adventures, new purchases and new people. Perhaps pandemic, climate change and an uncertain economy are meant to lead us to a new world order. It seems that our society needs to become more inclusive and supportive. With an upcoming election in British Columbia, a minority federal government in Canada and the U.S. election just weeks away, I hope that we can all remember the importance of kindness and generosity in difficult times.
The long-awaited Elena Ferrante novel, The Lying Life of Adults, makes me relive all the uncertainty of the adolescent years. As the Neapolitan Giovanna moves away from the cocoon of her nuclear family, she is drawn towards an extended family whose values and whose Naples are dramatically different from the world of her parents. Growth involves rupture and reassessment. I'm not finished the novel, but I sense a lot of discomfort before the last page.
I'm not sure what coming weeks will bring. It's time to pack summer away without thought of an upcoming trip. Perhaps Victoria...