Resistance is Futile

Futile though it may be, I put up a good fight, but Autumn has well and truly arrived.

My denial has cost me dearly too because now with heavy rainfall warnings and a storm advisory, I’ve missed the window for putting the outdoor furniture away while it was still dry.  This will mean transporting it into the garage, spreading it all over the place until it dries, hopefully sometime prior to Christmas, before putting it away.

Sick of shivering inside my house and short of putting on a jacket and snowpants, (my indoor dogs already been wearing a sweater overnight) I broke down and switched on the furnace and lit the pilot light in the gas fireplace.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Fall, but I’m a Summer girl through & through and here we’ve just had a near-perfect one.  I have accepted the inevitable though and am feeling much happier about it now.  For instance, yesterday was my first run in the rain in a very very long time and I’d forgotten how refreshing that can be.  Plus if you’re like me, you run faster so that you can get home sooner.  The earthy scent of decaying leaves was mingling nicely with the smell of wood smoke wafting through the air.  The weather puts me in the perfect mood for enjoying a cozy weekend at home perhaps cooking some comfort foods, reading while curled up in my favourite chair, writing, napping, watching a movie, or perhaps all of the above.

I’ll look forward to Thanksgiving, just two short weeks from now.

The Spaniard

The Spaniard PubAs the cool nights draw in, the days grow shorter and darkness falls earlier, I begin to miss The Spaniard more and more.  No it is not some dark & mysterious stranger hailing from Spain, but rather the most lovely pub I have ever had the fortune to frequent.

For two weeks beginning on Halloween 2009, my husband and I returned to our beloved County Cork, Ireland.  We’d stayed in Kinsale two years earlier for just two quick nights and had felt an instant connection to the area and the people.

We took a cottage in Scilly, just a two-minute drive up the road on a hill beside the sea and crawling distance from the pub.  It was supper time and we were famished after our day-long journey from Italy.  We decided to wander across the street to The Spaniard to see what was on the menu.

Leaving the cold behind we stepped back in time as we entered the cozy 350+ year old, low-beamed little pub finding a table around the corner next to the glowing embers of a wood/coal fire.  We sipped our pints of Murphy’s stout while we perused the little menu.  My eyes zeroed into it almost immediately, “The Spaniard Fish Pie”.

While we waited, we observed two older gentlemen at the bar, one at the end the other two stools down from him.  As they chatted intermittently with the barman and each other, it was evident that they knew and were known by, the pub well.  In the coming weeks we would come to know these two a little, listening to their stories of one life spent at sea, the other on land working for the neighboring town of Kinsale.  Good craic and a few laughs shared in “our corner” of the pub.100_2285

Our meals came and I knew before even tasting it that I’d made the right choice.  My fish pie came in a little oval dish and when I delved beneath the mashed potato topping my fork found many seafood delights.  Large chunks of salmon, plump mussels, juicy scallops, and sweet prawns all delighted my taste buds and comforted me on this cold night.

The next night we became regulars, The Spaniard now our “local” and we would henceforth be known as “The Canadians”.  Sitting at the bar between the same two men all of us happily supped our chosen beverages before moving to the same table as we’d had the previous night.  Following dinner, I went home, but my husband stayed not returning until a little after 1 a.m., more than a little inebriated.  It seemed that after I’d left more locals came in, each one ordering him a pint.

I turned up to dine alone the next night, my husband still nearly comatose in the bed where he’d lain all day.  “Where’s your young man tonight?” the man at the end of the bar inquired with a glint in his eye.  I told them they’d done a number on him the night before, was sick in bed and that he usually doesn’t drink much beer but mostly wine as he’s Italian.  The man’s face clouded, his brow furrowing, suddenly serious and very concerned as though they may all be guilty of attempted murdMichelle cozy by fire in the Spaniarder or something.  “Oh no! Italian you say? Oh no.  His blood won’t be used to the beer, not at all, only to wine.  Oh no!” the man fretted.  I told them not to worry, that he’d be fine in the morning, but I could tell our new friend wouldn’t be convinced until he set eyes on my husband the following evening.

Things went along merrily after that with my hubby on soft drinks for the next few days despite numerous offers of drinks by way of an apology.  The following week he was invited to and went to a wake,  the first to be held in the village in 20 some odd years.  We enjoyed music nearly every night from our place by the fire and on our final night we went fancy and ate in the attached restaurant before retiring to the pub for a final pint.

  We are grateful to have experienced some of what is written in resident poet Desmond O’Grady’s “The Spaniard Inn” from his collection “The Road Taken Poems: 1956-1996.  You can read it on The Spaniard’s website http://www.thespaniard.ie .  Though the years have passed, and we are thousands of kilometers away, in our heart The Spaniard is and shall always remain our local.

Durga Breath

The scent of rubber assaults my nostrils and fights with my will to relax using my special yoga breathing.  I never considered this when buying my environmentally friendly natural rubber yoga mat.  It stinks, but I think of it as  a challenge to focus on my wave-like breath when I have to inhale this smell deep into my lungs yet at the same time remain focused on nothing at all.  

Don’t get me wrong, I love my special stinky, orange, extra thick yoga mat and it has never done me wrong.  I even find myself defending it and it’s ever present odour if others venture too close.  

When the time comes to replace it I’ll be sad, and will make sure to get the same stinky mat again.  Yoga just wouldn’t be the same without it. 

Autumn Glory…..

…….also known as the time of questionable wardrobe decision-making for runners.

I was literally shaking with cold when I chose my clothing for my run this afternoon.  It wasn’t really cold at 16 degrees Celsius, but just 10 short days ago we were pushing 30.  The sun was shining gloriously, but it’s fall, I’m a wimp and am beginning to think perhaps I was supposed to have been born in a tropical clime.

As a result I chose knickers, a long sleeve shirt and a vest.  I know what your thinking “She’s going to be too hot in all of those clothes” and you would be right.  It didn’t happen right away, rather when I was 2 Km away from my house.  Unlike a jacket that you can remove and tie around your waist when you get hot, I was trapped inside the boxy sauna that was my vest.  I couldn’t undo it more than about a third of the way either because when I did all of the odds & ends in the pockets would begin jostling violently with every step threatening to bounce out.  It was as though the vest was conspiring against my mental health and nearly winning.

Just when I thought that I couldn’t take it anymore, on the verge of going crazy, I made it home.  That vest was off so fast that if it’d had a head it would still be spinning an hour later.

Needless to say it will be a while before that vest makes it out of my closet and onto my body again.

Chasing Summer

We were in the last few days before the official start of Autumn and I was doing my best to chase the last few dregs of a near-perfect summer.   Don’t get me wrong, I love all of the sights, sounds and smells associated with fall, but summer is my season and I never want it to end.  The winds were high, chilly gusts buffeting me as I ran but the sun still had its summer warmth.  It was like the two seasons were competing with one another, Summer determined to eek out the last days it was entitled to.

The winds made me run fast even though they were constantly changing direction every time I did forcing me to run headlong into them for nearly the entire time.  They also blew my curly ponytail into a frizzball and the sun made me so happy that I ran with a permagrin.  I really must have been a sight to behold.

If you have spent any time around horses, or even driven past them on a windy day you’ll know that they become spirited, their energy  palpable as it surges forth from them.  They run and may buck or rear.  Their heads are up, ears moving constantly, listening.  As I ran I imagined that this is how they must feel and it was amazing.

Invigoration

February 22, 2013

The winter wind breathed new life into nature today.

I felt it in my being as well as on my face as it lashed my curls against it with a soft sting.  As I ran it pushed its invisible force against me, one moment a help, the next a hinderance.

I heard it as it rushed past my ears with a sound that brought to mind fast-moving water.

I saw it in the lake as it ripples fanned out in every possible direction.  The birds were playing on the vents, soaring up and then diving down.  It made wispy tails which curled off of the  gray and white clouds as they rapidly raced across the sky.

In the distance snow is falling on the mountains once again.

The Shore

January 5, 2013

At first glance I am taken to a rocky, pebbly seashore, not at all unlike the one that Mummy spent time at in her mind during her last few days on Earth.  For this where I’ve seen them before.  Tiny crabs scouring the pebbles for morsels of food, but I know this cannot be true for I am not at the seashore, but rather the lakeshore.  It is then that I realise that these are not crabs at all, they are in fact tiny brown fluffy birds.  Their task is the same though, food is their goal.

As I stand as still as is possible they send out a single bird on a reconnaissance mission.  His job? To check me out, determine whether I am friend or foe.  Once he determines that I am no threat, he returns  to the group.  Yet they are ever vigilant and rise up in a group to form a single wall against an adolescent bald eagle who quickly realises that these birds are too small even for a snack.

As the eagle wings away, the birds land again and seem somehow proud for having warded it off.