Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Magic Apple

A couple of years ago, Graham and I planted an Apple Tree. It was not the first Apple Tree I've planted...on every property I have lived upon, there was either a fully grown one, or a small sapling I'd just transplanted after the move.

But the small Tree we planted in the Cariboo is finding life difficult.

It was planted at the top of a bank. We dug a deep, wide hole, trying to pry all the Rocks out of the Soil in the immediate area, but not completely succeeding. And so, I knew I would have to Water it a little more often...Rocks don't hold the Water and there is a lot of run off down the bank.

It tried to bloom. Each time a blossom opened, however, it would Snow. Snow did not bother the Crabapple Tree, planted at the same time, but the little Apple Tree's blossoms would wither, turn brown and drop off.

It was cold for a long time, this past Spring. Snow happened fairly rarely, but with the cold, Bees and such were still hunkered down, still in hibernation.

Our little Tree tried over and over again to fact, at one point I actually counted over six little Applets clinging to the branches. These would all eventually drop off.

Except for one.

This one is strongly attached to the Tree. This Apple is perfectly round, with a small dimple which collects Rain Water, making it look as if it has a small window.

Sometimes, one can even imagine that one could look inside through the window and see magic at work.

I dreamt about it the other day, although not expressly about only the Apple Tree. I was in an airport; there were long runways in front of me. My feeling was I would have to choose one. But how was I to know where each led?

I was becoming frustrated and anxious in my dream. Even as I understood that in this dream my choice of runway would have an impact on my life...I couldn't choose. It felt as if I was paralysed, physically and mentally.

The ends of the runways were obscured by smoke. Now, my dreaming of smoky runways was not so difficult to understand, since we have been in smoky conditions for a long time. It is only over the last couple of days that North Wind brought Storms, which put the smoke on the run.

I peered and I pondered. Which runway to choose...? And I knew without a doubt I would have to choose one, in this dream. But I really, really didn't want to do so.

In the misty, murky distance, a Tree appeared, half obscured by the grey tendrils of smoke. I watched it for a long while...was it my Apple Tree? And was it a sign given to me by the Apple Diva? Surely, in a dream where anything is possible, she would appear to give me advice.

Suddenly, I felt a hard, round object in my hand. It was the Applet...the only Apple on the Tree in my backyard. It was easily recognizable...I have stared at that small Apple on the Tree for months and know it well.

Don't you wish, during dreams, that you could take an interpretor along with you? Someone who could point out what is important and what is not in a dream? Most times, I can figure out what it is I am supposed to know, but mind seems too clouded to grasp the concept.

The Apple I held in my hand was ripe. It's scent was strong as a box of just picked, perfectly ripened Apples. I wondered if I should eat it, or place it back on the Tree in the distance on the runway. But I knew if I walked on that runway, it would be the pathway I chose...for good and all. And I felt real apprehension at the thought.

Could I commit to one pathway? Could I even make a decision about whether or not to follow the runway to the Apple Tree?

Quite possibly,even in a dream, I would still be standing there at the beginning of all the runways if I hadn't heard a voice coming from the innocuous little Apple in my hand.

Take me home...she said. 

I wondered where home was...was it the Tree in the distance?

Yes...said the small's the home of Truth and Magic, and you know that.

I didn't know anything. I did not want to follow any of the runways...that much I did know.

But, with the Apple in hand, I find myself walking down the runway that led to the Tree. On my way, I discover the runway is no longer smooth. It becomes hilly, and there are many streams and obstacles to cross before I can reach the Tree, which never seems closer.

There is a change inside myself, as I traverse that long, long treacherous runway. I suddenly know, without a doubt, that I can do whatever it is I am to do. Inner confidence comes back, just as the dream scene begins to fade, with the Tree still in the far distance.

I wake up feeling the imprint of the little Apple in my hand.

Upon arising, I check my small Apple Tree. The Applet still hangs strongly on the branch, ripening day by day. It is a sturdy little Apple, surviving Hail and drought and heat and Wind and smoky Air.

I look upon it a little differently, now.

A magical Apple. One who knows the truth. And one which has a strong sense of...home.

Who knew?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Home Again...

During our holiday to the Coast, we all suffered through a heat wave the likes and lengths of which I've not, as far back as I can remember, ever felt before.  With searing temperatures up to 40C, each and every day, the normal activities of life were abandoned for a deck chair in the shade of the big old Maple Tree in the back garden.

We all stood in Graydon's little plastic pool. At one point, there were four adults and little Graydon all squished standing together, attempting to gain a little Cool from the rapidly warming Water in the pool.

We had a relatively quiet trip to the Coast; it was not until we arrived at Chilliwack that the traffic backed up to a crawl. The joys of travelling in the Summer are not all they are cracked up to accidents and road construction had us joining the ferry lineup with one minute to spare. But we made it; that's all that counts, in my book!

My daughter and I visited the Vegetable stands at Naesgaards in town, after dropping my granddaughter and her friend off at Sproat Lake. Brianna is so very fortunate, indeed, to have a set of grandparents who live right on the Lake, with the extreme weather the way it was.

Naesgaard's is a place I loved, as I grew up. They sell the best Corn on the cob I have ever tasted, bar none. Every year, I would visit it, always coming away with some stunningly beautiful Vegetable that would grace the family's dinner.

I could not resist buying bags of Tomatoes, Peas, Beans, Carrots and Corn and Potatoes. Is there anything quite as beautiful as crates of freshly picked produce, at their very most luscious? It's the very taste of late Summer, to me.

In the evenings, we could see the smoke from the fires, just over the Mountains to the East...just a bit, just enough to know there would be plenty of smoke to greet us when we returned home.

And if the anticipation of breathing difficulties to come were not enough for us to worry about, we were given plenty of time to work out any concerns. We were caught in traffic jams from Departure Bay all the way to Abbotsford...a distance of some 80k. 

It took three hours of driving very, very slowly in 36C temperatures. I was grateful for Air conditioning in our vehicle and felt deep sympathy for the travellers in convertibles and older trucks and cars. It must have been hellish, if the red, perspiring faces of the passengers were anything to go by...

After solving the World's problems during the long time spent crawling along, Graham and I stopped (finally!) at our usual motel and continued our trip home the next morning.

It was hot. Dry and smoky and yes...almost itchy. The very Air, filled with smoke particles, bothers my skin. And I re-learned how to breathe in the smoky Air...short, almost panting breaths.

Once again, I am becoming accustomed to gray/brown days. The green of the Coast is becoming a distant memory, one to be brought out when I am in despair over the misty, smoky flavour of the Cariboo.

There are tales of heroics amongst the fire fighters, each of whom deserves my gratitude. Fences and barns may burn, yet not one house has succumbed to the flames. Stories of wayward cattle and predators abound.

The smoke from these Fires has reached Alberta...I was told Williams Lake and its Fire Storm was on the front pages of Calgary's newspapers.

I don't know how long these Fire Storms will continue...there doesn't appear to be any let up as yet. We need Rain. Wind only fans the Flames and dry Lightning Storms don't help at all, only beginning new Fires.

It is as if the Fires have their own minds.

A lady told me how, on returning from her own holiday, she could not see the City of Williams Lake from the outlook on the highway. She thought to herself...Where is my town? It looks as if Fire and smoke have swallowed the town...

And so, with this tale in mind, I began a new story yesterday, where Fire takes on human characteristics. In my story, Fire takes over an entire country, leaving behind a black, evil space with twisted, burned creatures...a little dark, perhaps, but oh! so much fun!

It is always interesting to me to see where the stories I write will is not as if I have any real idea at the beginnings of the writing of it.

I find it strange that something so drastic as a Fire Storm and the reports surrounding such a disaster would titillate the creative muse. 

But perhaps the mini holiday and the relaxation I have just enjoyed had something to do with it...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


After what seems like an eon, Rain has arrived. Not enough, though, to put out the Fires which have Williams Lake surrounded, but it will help, without a doubt. It has dispersed the smoke and that fact alone means so much.

I can breathe...deeply and often. When Air is filled with smoke, one tends to take short, shallow breaths. As a consequence, oxygen going to the brain is less and tiredness, anxiety, confusion and a whole host of other maladies result.

It is such a relief, as well, to have the Forest dampened down. It will not be much Rain; the forecast is for warm weather to arrive once again. But oh! it felt heavenly this morning to walk through the garden.
The Dogs, too, are having an easier time of it. During the smoke-filled days, they wouldn't go outside and laze in the shade, as is their wont. They would pant if they were outside for any length of time. During my research on what smoke does to the physical system, I learn that is how Animals breathe in smoky panting.

I hear on the news about Animals milling around on the highway, confused and disoriented. Sightings of big game and Cattle are everywhere a Fire is burning near.

So, with the Rain, my greatest wish is, as their breathing patterns change for the better, that all the Animals who were displaced find another home outside of the Fire area, even if they have to travel great distances to do so.

It will be easier for me to leave on a trip to the Coast, now that some Rain has arrived, as well. When conditions were as terrible as they had been, leaving the Dogs behind felt a little disloyal, even though they love our dog sitter, and rarely even miss us.

And I was greatly worried about Fire breaking out near where I live. Even though that fear may arise again, since Fire season will be on-going, conditions are such, on this day, that the fear has gone on the back burner.

I am thrilled to see my family again so soon after they were here. It only joins us stronger together, each time we see each other. It will seem as if we are a part of their ongoing lives, when visits are closer together, rather than the distance we must traverse each time a visit occurs. A visit, in that case, must take a lot of time playing catch-up. This time, we have already caught up.

Today, even the thought of the long car trip and the subsequent tiredness on my return can't shake my feelings of joy. It is like coming out of a long, dark and very stuffy tunnel. When I was in it, it was all I could see or feel and it felt like it would go on forever.

But today there is Rain.