Tulips and other Small Things that bring Joy

Dear Vi,

Yesterday was the official first day of spring.  The sun has crossed the celestial equator, moving northward.

I celebrated the Vernal Equinox by going outside to inspect my flower beds. Were my tulips poking green tips up through the chilly dirt yet? Yes! Yes, they were.  Small, green tips about an inch high, full of promise.

I can’t begin to say how happy that made me. Even though we’ve had a pretty good winter (by my standards, anyway), I still felt a burst of joy at the first sign of the flowers the deer find such a delicacy each spring. I am crossing my fingers they forget to check the edges of my driveway this year.

Tulips confirmed, I came inside, made a cup of tea, and tidied my sewing room. As I ran a damp dusting cloth over newly cleared surfaces, I appreciated all the things I love about this space: the way the lace curtain hangs to the side of the glass door leading out to the deck, my shelves with their bins of colourful scraps, the sampler blocks I found while tidying and impulsively arranged on the design wall, Samson watching me from his pillow in the corner, the sight of Bastion Mountain rising up into the sky, stone grey and green against the blue sky right outside my window.

Here, I’ll hold my camera up to the glass and show you:

Sometimes it’s the simplest things that bring the most joy.

What small things bring you joy?

A walk on a sunny October day

Dear Vi,

It was so pretty this afternoon, I just had to take Sam out for a walk. Actually, it was Sam who took me.

I was happily basting a quilt, head down, paying no attention at all to leaves blowing over the lawn, sunshine streaming through the windows and bouncing rainbows around the room.

Sam waiting not so patiently by the door

But Sam grumbled and barked and grumbled and barked until I finally gave in.

We walked through the forest, down a country road, past a horse in the field and a wild apple tree whose branches were busting under the weight of hundreds of little red apples. The sides of the road were covered in blue wildflowers – the kind that will turn to stickers as soon as their blossoms drop. I’ll hate them later, but right now they’re stunning.

Sam is not cooperating

I wanted to take a picture of Sam sitting with the flowers. It seemed like the perfect photo opportunity. There I was, squatting on the side of the road, juggling the leash and the camera phone and trying to cajole Sam into smiling (or at least looking interested)…

Yeah, right.After I gave up, we walked back along the beach, where the water level has dropped but the sand hasn’t dried out enough to walk out very far without getting muddy.

Sam loves getting muddy.

And then we came home and had some lunch.

Have you taken a walk today?

Smoke & Fire

Dear Vi,

A few people have written to ask if Mr. C and I are in any danger from the wildfires wreaking havoc in British Columbia, so I thought perhaps a blog post on the subject was in order.

122 fires are burning, with several communities evacuated, including entire towns. Here’s a map of what’s burning as of 5am this morning:I’ve marked the area we live in with a green star. To give you an idea of distance, it takes us about an hour to drive to Kamloops.

As of this morning, 40,000 people have been evacuated in the province. Our town is one of the evacuation centers, and people are even being sent as far away as Vancouver. Because really, where do you put 40,000 people?

We had an incredibly wet spring, including flooding and mudslides. All that rain made the grasses grow. And then it got hot hot hot and all those lush grasses dried out and turned into fuel.  They say this is only the beginning of what is predicted to be a Very Bad Fire Season.

Our visibility is about one mile in smoke, which is an improvement, actually. Two days ago we couldn’t even see to the bottom of our street, let alone across the lake. And yesterday, it was snowing ash.

Here’s the view from my deck this afternoon: And here’s what it usually looks like:Cough cough hack.

As of right now, we’re not in any danger here in the Shuswap, but keep your fingers crossed nobody throws a burning cigarette out the window.

My deepest appreciation to the firefighters, some who are coming from as far away as Australia. 

And to all the emergency organizations who are managing the refugee centers.

And to all the volunteers who are lending their hands and their hearts to those fleeing their homes, including those who are taking in displaced livestock and pets.

And to small businesses like Katja’s Quilt Shoppe in Kamloops, who is organizing social activity days for evacuees and locals to get together and work on sewing projects as a way of helping the time pass. Quilters looking after quilters.  Awesome.