back in the pink   18 comments

Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium) along trail overlooking Pré Rond

It’s been a few weeks since I put up a post. Summer seems to have been slipping by almost unnoticed. Much of eastern Canada has been in the grip of a drought. Somewhat surprisingly, even this region of Nova Scotia, surrounded as it is by the Atlantic Ocean and with the Bay of Fundy tides at its doorstep, has been very dry too. Fortunately, we have been spared the extreme heat that has blanketed so much of the continent this summer.

It’s a little difficult to explain why I have not felt like putting up a blog post. Part of the blame goes to spending time out there living – going for long walks with Sage. As well, I have devoted at least an hour a day to working on my fiddle playing. I’ve learned about two dozen new tunes this summer. I have found that playing music is a good way to relax and rest my mind.

Primrose moth (Schinia florida)

I’ve done some mothing over the summer, but for the most part, it hasn’t been such a great season. Between the cool nights and the drought, it seemed to put a lid on things. However, I have been finding the odd moth such as the Primrose moth (Schinia florida) in the above and below photos, resting on vegetation (click on all photos for larger views).

Primrose moth (Schinia florida)

Gardening has been a bit hit and miss. Everything was growing like mad earlier on. I had managed to get the potatoes planted, and seeds in the ground quite early, so thought there would be a bumper crop of everything. However, how soon the tables were to turn! Even the formerly prolific rose bushes finally hit the brakes as the rainless weeks dragged on.

Orchid Elegance daylily in the garden

But as I have discovered through experience, there are always some bright spots here and there and you learn to watch for and enjoy them as you find them. The new daylilies purchased last summer from Canning Daylily Farm near Wolfville, have put on quite a show.

freshly dug Norland potatoes

Although much of the vegetable garden has failed, there have been a few pleasant successes, including the tasty Norland potatoes which always give me the feeling that I’m digging up edible gemstones. The potatoes aren’t very large as the tops died off in the drought, but I love new potatoes and had already started digging them to eat and share with the neighbours where I planted the vegetable garden this year.

All in all, things have been going along okay. True, there has not been much work done on the house this year. I’ve tried to figure out why that should be and have come to the conclusion that my mind and body wanted a rest after the five years since Don first became ill, and the now almost four years living alone since he died. A few weeks ago, while talking to one of my brothers on the phone, I commented that this old house was painted as much with anger and sadness as with any paint. There is more truth to that than I normally like to admit. For almost four years, I have often functioned a bit like an automaton – rising at dawn and driving myself onward relentlessly until darkness called a halt for that day. However, there comes a time when the constant drain on your mind and body wears you thin as a line and then you must stop or – well, I don’t really know that there has to be an “or” but eventually you just can’t go on. This summer, I reached that point. It was time to stop and do things in a different way. Progress has been made, but without obsession, or perhaps more that the negative energy was inverted into something positive, like long walks and fiddle playing. Whatever, it feels good to regain some of the self that I used to be.

Sage and Francesca rhododendron

Written by bev wigney on July 24th, 2012

18 Responses to 'back in the pink'

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  1. that second moth photo! Holy cow. I wouldn’t have guessed at that green in there.

    Funny – I have also reached a “I just can’t keep doing these things” point. Or, keep doing things that bring me so little in return.


    24 Jul 12 at 1:53 pm

  2. What gorgeous photos of Schinia florida!


    24 Jul 12 at 1:56 pm

  3. Bev, what gorgeous photos – that moth is incredible, but I also really love your portrait of Sage. And, of course, the potatoes! I’m glad if you’ve reached a point where you feel like you’re regaining some of your former self. That eventually happened to my father, some years after mom died – they were pretty much joined at the hip – and now he has a new life, never forgetting or replacing her, but moving on and living fully. I’d hope that might happen for me if I ever lose my partner, but it’s pretty hard to imagine. Anyway, the weather has been difficult here in Montreal too, but I guess I’ll take too much sun over too much rain. Thanks for showing us what’s going on in your life.


    24 Jul 12 at 2:33 pm

  4. megan – Yes, aren’t the green eyes cool! And yup, there is just some point when your soul gets sick of going around in circles. There comes a time to break loose and try something else.

    Doug – Thanks! Schinia florida is one of my all-time favorite moths. I can barely pass by an Evening Primrose without taking a look inside!

    Beth – Don and I were so close that it has been very difficult going on alone. I still look at photos of him and feel like it can’t be real that he is gone and I am still here. However, as the years roll by, I have gradually arrived at some point where my equilibrium seems to be returning. Yes, it’s true that you don’t either forget or replace. For me, the nearest way to explain how I now feel is that I’m living some parallel life – a sort of alternate reality to my old life. I know that probably sounds a little strange, but I think that is one way to try to get on with living while not sweeping away what you once had.

    bev wigney

    24 Jul 12 at 4:44 pm

  5. beautiful images here, bev. a refreshing rain can boost us in many ways, and having recently returned from the heat-baked southeastern US coast, i saw first hand how an afternoon thunderstorm, slinging huge panes of rain in uncertain direction, left us all feeling a sense of gratefulness for the gift. glad to read about your relaxed summer days without that thrust of “beating a clock.” hope to see more photos soon; they are always such a treat.


    24 Jul 12 at 7:09 pm

  6. Bev, wonderful pictures, as always. Love the one of Sage. The colors of the moth and the flower, just beautiful… I would think that you deserve a more relaxed summer enjoying it after all of the time and effort you put into the house last summer. Too bad about your vegetables, but ours havent done great because of all the rain we have had too. But you have some great looking potatoes there! Glad to see that you are feeling a little better there this year. Thanks for sharing.

    Kathy Demarest

    24 Jul 12 at 8:07 pm

  7. Hello Bev,
    I don’t comment often but have your blog listed at the side of mine. Your ability to bring the directional shifts of your life journey into my consciousness is something I really appreciate. I was saddened to hear of Sabrina’s passing, but joyful for the life that she had with you and Don. I am interested to learn about the language of fiddle playing (as a retired music teacher). Maybe at some point, you will post a little video of a sample lesson. The moth was extraordinary, as is every photograph you post.

    Carol Carson

    25 Jul 12 at 11:00 am

  8. Hello Bev

    Lovely pictures! In England we call the Fireweed, Rosebay Willow Herb. It was introduced to English gardens during the Victorian era but soon became an invasive weed so became banished to wayside places. It is now seen growing in huge swathes alongside railway lines and country lanes. The yellow Evening Primrose has met a similar fate here, but does have therapeutic uses especially for ladies of a certain age.

    Good luck with the fiddle playing. I began learning the violin when I was 36 but the results of that are something I will put in a more private email to you!!!!!

    Will write soon.

    Best wishes,

    Marion Jackson

    25 Jul 12 at 2:23 pm

  9. Wonderful photos, as usual. I have never seen a moth that colorful. Ours are very muted. (well, I say that because the one I actually see are not very colorful. To see them properly, I would have to have night vision, perhaps. (grin)

    Sorry to hear that you also are having a drought. Somehow I never thought our horrible Midwest weather would be repeated in cooler Canada. However, the fact that you still have beautiful flowers is encouraging. And it’s time to stop and smell the roses, also. That’s great that you can get fiddle lessons right near where you live. Yay!


    25 Jul 12 at 5:25 pm

  10. Sky – Much as I love sunshine and clear days, it is good to have some healthy appreciation for rainy days!

    Kathy – Thanks! Sage is such a photogenic dog, but then so is Sarah! (-:

    Carol – Sometime soon, I will write a post about fiddling and some explanation of the regional styles. Might not be for awhile, but I’ll try to get round to it before autumn.

    bev wigney

    26 Jul 12 at 10:05 am

  11. Marion – It’s so interesting to see which plants become invasive when they enter a new region. Fireweed grows extensively here in the eastern provinces, but I’ve found that it seems to stop when you get about as far west as Quebec City. Right about where Purple Loosestrife seems to take the lead!

    Joan – You would have colorful moths in your area, but a lot of them are day-flying or hang out around flowers and don’t come to lights so much. The lives of many insects are often such a secret.

    bev wigney

    26 Jul 12 at 10:09 am

  12. So nice to see all that pink, Bev – Fiireweed, potatoes, and that awesome Primrose Moth – what a surprise to see the second photo of it!
    Do you think that perhaps your fiddle playing has been especially healing this summer? It’s hard (and perhaps dangerous) to do “nothing” when you need to get off the rails and rest mind and body – but I think that making music exercises parts of one’s creative mind as well as being an active type of meditation…. a joyful challenge that perhaps is able to balance the mind, gently and gradually helping to connect the “whole person”, past and present.

    See you soon, Bev!

    aleta Karstad

    26 Jul 12 at 10:38 am

  13. Aleta – Yes, I do think that e fiddle playing has done a lot of good – healing in some way. I find it good to play whenever I am feeling stressed, which is actually still too often. There’s also an aspect of playing the fiddle that I think is helpful as far as memory is concerned. For much of my life, I’ve worked at jobs where I had to use a lot of memory – thousands of numbers. Then, when I became interested in insects, I was always adding new species names to my brain. When Don became ill, I was using my memory to remember a lot of things oertaining to medications, chemo, drug trials and such. As you may remember me saying, when he died, my mind felt very messed up. I could not remember any soecies names and often forgot the names of even my closest friends and would have these weird lapses of not being able to recall the names or certain words for hours. That surprisingly painful side effect of grief has stuck with me for almost four years. However, learning the fiddle has seemed to restore some part of my memory – the part that thinks in patterns – as when I am playing, I imagine the music in visual patterns alongside the sound of the notes. When I say that, I am not describing the visual notes as in sheet music, but the patterns on the fingerboard, which are often rectangles and triangles that move in different directions. I enjoy visualizing them and the sensation on my hand playing the notes in the pattern. At first it was difficult, but now I am enjoying the increasing complexity of the patterns. Unfortunately, as you know, with a bowed instrument, only half of the music has to do with what your left hand is doing and at least half has to do with bowing. However, that is coming along too. I try not to be to impatient with myself as I have only been playing the fiddle for a few months. The nice thing is, I play the same tunes on the mandolin and that reward is quite immediate as I am used to picking from playing guitar for most of my life. Anyhow, I don’t really think I have explained myself very well, but I guess what I am trying to say is that it is nice to be working on something that challenges my memory in a good way that only has to please me as my memory is still incredibly poor in so many ways – almost like having amnesia about some things, and yet cruel in the detail with which it remembers other things – like horrible events that haooened at the hospital, and so on. Nice to be using my memory for pleasant things and not letting it run amok digging up bad things from the past!

    bev wigney

    26 Jul 12 at 2:51 pm

  14. Wow, Bev, these photos are gorgeous. All of them. That moth! I’ve never seen such a color. I’m glad to read that you are finding the kind of inner energy that makes you want to play the fiddle and take long walks. Growing potatoes that look like gems is good too! A wonderful nod to life.

    robin andrea

    27 Jul 12 at 9:46 am

  15. Thank you for writing about the years of anger and sadness as well as the shift this summer involving the fiddle and long walks with Sage. Of course, I loved seeing the Primrose Moth, Sage and the lion in your garden, the fireweed scene that reminds me of Narnia, the exotic day lilies, and the bright red potatoes. I’ve been pretty quiet lately. Searching for something. What can it be? Maybe the parallel reality you spoke of. Maybe the love of patterns and how that relates to memory directed toward creativity. I’m lifted by the good energy in this post.


    27 Jul 12 at 12:36 pm

  16. Hi Bev

    I just love the shots of the moth.



    27 Jul 12 at 1:35 pm

  17. robin – Thanks! It was fun putting these photos together.

    am – It has been such a struggle living with so much anger and sadness and trying to find a road to new territory. Interesting that you shoud mention the Narnia landscape. The loops of and in the meanders of the Annapolis river always feel a little other wordly. I think it is their roundness and scale. I am glad that this post spoke to you in some way. I think we are both due for some change and a return to greater creativity.

    Guy – I love Primrose moths. So beautiful.

    bev wigney

    28 Jul 12 at 4:13 pm

  18. Fiddle-playing sounds like a fine diversion from home remodeling!


    21 Aug 12 at 4:07 pm

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