Sunday, November 16, 2014

Cold Comfort, Chilly Beauty


Paul got delayed in Vancouver over the weekend (emergency childcare for a granddaughter; taking a daughter to visit his mother as she moves toward palliative care). I stayed on the island with my marking and a determination to get rested as much as I could. I'd originally planned to fit in a yoga class ("in town," across the harbour on "the big island") and to enjoy my usual long weekend run, but my body hinted strongly that it would rather dial the whole activity thing down.

There are no shops on our little island, so no groceries to be had. When someone desperately needs a cup of milk or an onion or some children's Tylenol, we can send out a request on our email listserv and it's very rare that the request isn't answered. But I'd have to be pretty desperate, myself, to resort to that, although I'd call my friend up the road if I were mid-recipe without an egg in the fridge. Friday, having had too busy a day on Thursday to re-up my pantry supplies, I assessed the situation and realized I could probably get by with bacon, eggs, milk, bread, a few tomatoes, and a frozen container of chili that I dug out of the deep-freeze.

All of which meant that I could follow my whims and natural rhythms (except the tedious necessity of those research paper proposals and annotated bibliographies to be marked) and slow right down. My only outings were a walk around the island on Friday and a walk to our little polling station to register my vote on Saturday. Paul's home today, and I expect I'll probably get out for a run later, but even if I don't manage that, I believe the low-activity weekend has been good for body and soul.

Oh, and I did have one more outing, just to the beach outside our front door, with my camera yesterday morning. I love the combination of low tide and sparkling white frost, the sandstone's tawny tones accented sharply green by seaweed -- it's a combination that's seldom offered, low tides generally falling during the night throughout the winter. When it happens on a sunny day, I think it's marvelous, really, a crisp, sparkling, slightly acid beauty.

I did get weary of my simple fare, began craving something sweet, and remembering the huge bag of sliced pears I froze earlier, I made up this simple, luscious upside-down pear cake, pleased to realize we had enough fresh buttermilk. (Don't worry, so far I've only eaten one piece, and Paul will be home soon to take care of the rest.)

Still haven't finished all the marking, but I will manage that today. Instead, I've done some knitting (alternating between two projects: socks on tiny needles, a throw on huge ones). I've hunkered down with a non-work-related novel, Orhan Paniuk'sPamuk's Snow.

And I've been listening to the glorious Les Soeurs Bourlay, their Par le chignon du cou (Which would translate roughly as By the Nape of the Neck, and Yes, the YouTube video is French, but just skip the ad, and you'll soon find that the music jumps any language barriers) especially, but I love the whole album Le Poids des confettis (The Weight of confetti).

Oh my gosh, you'll be saying, no wonder she's relaxed and happy. What a lovely weekend!

It's true! How was yours? And I'm curious: would you be as happy as I can be with two whole days completely on your own? Or does the idea make you feel the cabin fever screaming its way out of you? I sometimes wonder when I'd hit my limit of too much solitude, honestly. . . .






27 comments:

  1. Looks and sounds like you had a lovely weekend - I need to go all 'low-activity' as soon as possible.

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    1. It's pretty great when it can be squeezed into the schedule! Hope you find some downtime soon.

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  2. Two days alone sounds idyllic, and your island photos reinforce that. Me? I'm still struggling to get that elusive work/life balance with writing projects, art and college assignments (the writing of them side, rather than marking them). Hunkering down for the next "storm", contemplating move number 2 from our borrowed to our own home closer to Christmas. 2015 just has to have a slower pace - I'll be looking to your blog for the how-to ;)

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    1. Never rains but it pours?
      Not sure I'll ever manage to model a slower pace, but I do at least give it a try every once in a while. Good luck with that move -- crazytimes at Christmas!

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  3. I love that you are having this restorative time... and go ahead and have another piece of cake!

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    1. might have followed your advice. . . ;-)

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  4. I think that having brought up a family , we sometimes appreciate the freedom and peace of a free weekend .
    For me it's the luxury of a quiet breakfast and the chance to read ALL of the paper ...

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    1. Yes, I love to be able to read through my breakfast and getting all the way through the paper is a luxury! Having raised a family, I have an appreciation for solitude, but many distractions to take me away from it, as my family's so close by . . . not that I'm complaining about that!

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  5. That scenery is just stunning. I'm so glad you had some time to 'hunker down' after all of the demands you've been fielding lately. Even though it's a beautiful day out and we have child care, I decided to forgo most of my planned errands (will try to catch up during the week on my lunch hours) just to have time to catch up on blogs and maybe sneak in a little book time.

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    1. There are always errands to be efficient over, but there are only so many chances to catch our breath. I try to recognize the latter and stock up on the oxygen ;-)

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  6. Paying attention to what your body tells you is paying off in these lovely scenes of quiet, both in word and photo.
    I like being alone. Tim was gone for three days earlier this month and I went out only for groceries. Rather novel, but nice.

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    1. Oh, I wish I had your camera skills.
      Glad to know I'm not the only one who can stay in for 3 days -- I probably would weary of it eventually, but when it's novel, as you say, it's nice!

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  7. Your island home offers such lovely scenes to enjoy during your seclusion. I have been enjoying reading so many books this Caribbean trip and I find that I enjoy solitude reading in my stateroom. For those of us who enjoy alone time, it can always be found.The brightness that goes along with our cold weather is a special beauty.

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    1. That would be the main appeal of a cruise for me, the chance to sit with a great choice of books with nothing else that I need to do. . . .all that sun would be a bonus!

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  8. Have been sick for few days:( Alone is not good in that situation.

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    1. I'm not keen on solitude when I'm sick, either, although it's Paul's preference. . .

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  9. It sounds brilliant! So good to step off the metaphorical treadmill. I shall soon be finding out what it will be like as my husband will be working away from home for a few days and I shall be by myself during a working week. I suspect I will do very little cooking and a great deal of pottering about. We shall see. Hope the rest paid off.

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    1. I had about eight years with Paul working in a different city -- four of those he was a few thousand kilometres away so we visited only every 2 or 3 weeks, and then the last 4, we got together on the weekends. I love his company, but losing that time to myself took some serious adjustment. . . .

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  10. Happy, I'd be ecstatic, particularly if I only had one or two of the dogs here and the rest were away with my husband.

    Lovely photos ... such a beautiful place.

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    1. How many dogs do you have? Yes, it's best if you get a chance to be selfish, to sink back into your very own rhythms. I override mine regularly in deference to others' (perceived) needs, and while I don't mind doing so, I do mind forgetting what they are. . . .

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  11. There is so much beauty in nature and you are very lucky to live in such a wonderful place! I love time alone and couldn't manage without it. I spend it pottering, going with the flow, walking the dog, cooking or not cooking, eating at odd times, reading, catching up with the films I love, seeing old friends. Sometimes, when Roger is away sailing for up to three weeks without me, it starts to pall though.

    Glad you had fun and feel refreshed.

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    1. Yes, three weeks is a long stint, especially if it's not something you're used to so haven't the resources in place to deal with that long an absence.It's surprising, though, how many people are sure they couldn't manage even for a few days. So many acquaintance expressed sympathy, even dismay, for me when Paul and I worked in different cities. I wouldn't have wanted to do it in our early years, but with a solid relationship and a budget that allowed regularly visiting, there was much that I appreciated about getting comfortable with myself.

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  12. Your weekend sounds perfect!! Glad you're getting to decompress.

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  13. These photos are stunning! You are so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the country.
    I live alone and like it that way. One of my worries about retirement is that I would disappear into my home and never come out again!

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    1. This is a worry of mine as well, Northmoon! At least, I do occasionally kid about it and partially believe it. Between family and friends and my yoga classes, I guess I would get out, but I can be pretty happy hunkered down at home with my books and my knitting . . . .

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