04/11/2014/12:16 pm, crew- Halifax; boat - Rio Dulce
Way back in the early summer, Jim and I decided to spend the autumn in Nova Scotia this year. It's been a few years since we did that, and it's always nice to shake things up a little. Plus - we spent last Christmas away from "home", and while we had a wonderful time in the Rio Dulce, we'd like to be in Nova Scotia this year, and it is just too expensive to fly down, back up and down again.
So how are we feeling about that now - on the first day that really feels like November, with a blustery wind shaking the leaves off the trees, wool socks on our feet, and a wish for hat and gloves when I walked to the waterfront today? Hmmmm ... it's mixed bag of emotions.
I see Estelle and Seabird's pictures and stories and think, "Oh! They are on the move!" The Yonder crew are back in Bocas, Kilissa is somewhere between Maryland and Florida, and the Strathspey crew is about to launch. And a tickle of wistful thinking rises somewhere in my brain.
But ... we have had a delightful fall here with warm temperatures and gorgeous colours and that wonderful golden light that slants across the garden this time of year. We kept the cottage open until mid October - and could have waited longer if we had only known how many lovely days were still ahead. The lawns are still green and the sage and begonias and echinacea are still blooming. Birds flock to the feeders to fatten themselves up for the winter. Jim rakes up a bag or two of leaves every week but the oaks and maples are still full.
By being here longer, Jim can go off to Dalhousie Medical School every Tuesday to be a volunteer "patient" for first year Med students who practice their history taking skills. I can sing with You Gotta Sing Chorus and my heart flies right up out of my throat every time I sit with those 60 or 70 lovely people and listen to our voices swirling around us and up to the heights of the Anglican Cathedral. After a summer of other activity, I can walk to yoga three times a week and stretch and breathe and be strong as I grow back into the poses. By staying here longer, we have been able to attend more concerts and movies and theatre. I can join the United Church ladies for their fall start up of coffee gatherings and work at the Christmas Tea; Jim could watch more of the World Series games with our neighbour. and take in some college basketball. We can spend more time with Nova Scotia family and friends - and we will be able to do our own work of putting the garden to bed. We will be here for the Christmas season with caroling and cooking and decorating and visiting.
I have been writing "The Book" - in an on again off again kind of a way - but with more intensity than before. It is turning out to be at a far slower pace than I thought and I am so glad I have this extra time to be here at my desk. I failed miserably at locking myself up here during the summer because there were just too many wonderful things to do. If I was on the boat I would be wanting to go swimming and visiting and watch dolphins and trim sails. And now I have this in-between season that seems just right for writing. (and yes, I know the long summer seemed just right too, but now Jim has graciously agreed to act as a strict timekeeper for me. We shall see how that little arrangement affects our happy relationship!)
Writing about our sailing experiences brings me back around again to the other side of being here instead of on the boat. We've been home since mid April, and that almost feels like long enough. Jim and I are both content - No. More than that - happy - to be here this fall. But at the same time we are restless. During Nocturne (our Halifax Art at Night event) we sat on the deck of the Silva - a local touring sailboat - and sipped hot chocolate and listened to a man with a guitar and a voice full of sea shanties. Our bodies leaned into the gentle rock of the boat and creak of the lines as it rested at dock, and my heart felt an actual pang as we gazed at the soft light shining through the ports of a neighbouring sailboat. I could instantly feel the pleasure of our own cosy cabin and I wanted to be in it. That wistful tickle made its way to my heart.
Our sailing life is not a vacation; it is our alternate life, and even when we love this land life with our comfy house and great friends and fabulous city, we long for our other life of learning and challenge, of southern pals and different cultures, of being on the water and so very close to nature; where the weather is our primary guiding force; where providing food for the table is a whole different experience, and where we (even with wonderfully helpful friends) need to be so much more self reliant. We long to be moving.
But we are here by choice, and we will embrace the time - being aware of the tug and pull of opposite desires, remembering how very fortunate we are to have both opportunities, and making the most of it while we have the health and means to do it.
Nova Scotia - We are well and truly here for the best and the worst you have to offer! On January 1, 2015, we will start off the New Year by boarding a plane for Guatemala City - and a season for which we have no real idea about how it might evolve. Certainty and ambiguity, land and sea, security and risk, we need 'em all to thrive.
Have a wonderful November!
03/07/2014/3:24 pm, Halifax NS (crew), Cayo Quemado, Guatemala (Madcap)
Oooh - this is the most negligent I have ever been in keeping you informed of our whereabouts! Sorry to have dropped out of sight entirely for almost 3 months.
We had a wonderful whirlwind visit to la Antigua during the first days of Semana Santa. Jim got his dental implant ... ummm ... planted. We visited with friends, saw some theatre, heard some music, watched parades, took Elizabeth Bell's tour on Palm Sunday (a recommended way to see what is where and hear some history of the processions), and were totally awestruck by the carpets and processions.
Once back in Halifax, we launched quickly into "Spring Cleaning" mode. And we had quite decent spring weather for - well - a week or so! We freshened up the back deck, washed windows, pulled warm clothes from the closets and spread ourselves out all over the house. In a way, it was a reverse procedure to what we had just done in putting Madcap to bed for the summer: cleaning and polishing, sorting clothes, checking cupboards, getting things ready for the change of season. And I got my fix of "hands in the dirt" gardening! The weather turned cold again and stayed that way until about the end of June, but we have launched fully into summer now.
Family-wise, it has been a remarkable spring. Mary Beth returned home from her final year of medical clerkship rotations and was ready to dive into graduation festivities. Liam and his girlfriend, Christine returned to Canada from New Zealand and spent 3 weeks here with us in Nova Scotia. Alex came from Ottawa for Mary Beth's graduation, and MB's boyfriend, Graham arrived from Calgary. Graduation week was so much fun - even for parents! Our home was party central on several nights as Mary Beth's classmates - several of whom have lived in our house over the last 4 years - gathered to celebrate. At the end of a week of festivities, we watched as over 100 brand new doctors graduated from Dalhousie Medical School. What an exciting day. We were so lucky to have our family all gathered together for it. And then the next week, we had one more thing to celebrate. Mary Beth and Graham got engaged!
It wasn't long before they all headed off again, Alex back to Ottawa, Liam to New Zealand, Christine to Sweden, and Mary Beth and Graham to Newfoundland where she will spend the next 5 years as a Radiology Resident. And so we are on our own again - embracing the land based part of our lives.
We enjoyed visits from Steve and Sandra (Yonder), Jeannie and Jim (Estelle) and Jessica and Matthew (Heart's Desire), and we look forward to welcoming Mary and Blair (Strathspey) later in the summer. Queen Mary II is in port today; the Jazz Festival starts on Friday. My peonies are in blossom, and the strawberries, blueberries and raspberries all look like they will bear fruit this year.
I am delighted to let you know that I've had an article published in a local magazine - the Atlantic Boating Guide. Check it out at www.boatinginatlanticcanada.com. Scroll down to find the 2014 issue. My article, "Nova Scotia's Eastern Shore: a Paradise for Gunkholing" is page 70. Although I've been enjoying writing this blog for 7 years, I have to tell you it is thrilling to see a story of mine in print!
We're keeping our fingers crossed that Arthur doesn't cause too much damage as he whirls up the coast. Jim and I both send our best to all of you - northerners and southerners - on land and on sea. Enjoy the summer!
13/04/2014/12:04 am, Antigua, Guatemala
There are so many pictures - I will try to get some in the gallery soon. But here's one of the most beautiful of the gorgeous carpets we saw today, Palm Sunday. It was outside La Merced Church. The hermandad members there must be some of the best in the city.
Another posting coming soon on the Palm Sunday procession, but now I have to go to bed. It is 10 pm in Guatemala city and we have to be up at 3:30 to catch our 6 am flight.