Friday, October 08, 2010

A Taste of Fall

I have difficulty believing Winter is almost upon us. Living in the Cariboo, I have found Spring and Autumn to be of short duration. Already, most Leaves have fallen off their Tree, to cover the ground beneath with a patchwork blanket of gold.

Most mornings, there is also Frost...not much, yet, mind you...not enough to bother still blooming late Flowers, Kale or Carrots. But Tomatoes are finishing their life cycle in the little cold frame greenhouse,  in which it is usually ten degrees above whatever the temperatures are outside.

The Magic Apple has been picked, polished and eaten. It was the best Apple! We cut it in half...within one or two bites it was gone...a small taste of Autumn. We are awaiting the results the Magic Apple has promised to bring...

It seems as if there was hardly any Summer weather this year. By the time Lakes in the area warmed up enough to swim in comfortably, smoke obscured Sun's rays and breathing was difficult.

And, as soon as the smoke lifted and left, the weather turned cold and stormy. To be sure, it warmed up again, but many degrees cooler. A month before the calendar said it was supposed to, Autumn weather arrived.

Animals are travelling down from higher valleys...Deer and Moose are becoming quite common along the highways. They travel through our property, as well, along with the predators who follow in hopes of a meal.

Those predators surprised me the other day. When I came home from a Hospice vigil, I gave both Dogs a bone, as a reward for being good and staying home alone for quite a few hours. They each took their bone to opposite ends of the house, to lie on the Grass and enjoy their chew.

I made myself a cup of Tea and took it out onto the deck, to sit and think about the morning and let sadness dissipate...

The weather was warm and sunny...I could hear crisp, yellow Leaves swish as they fell, to join their compatriots already on the ground.

But, other than that, there was only the silence of Nature. I could barely hear the construction on the highway far below me, which is unusual.  After the bustle in the hospital, the calm soothed me.

It was the kind of afternoon where the hum of Bees and Wasps could easily induce a drowsy slumber, but after a morning away, I had things to do. I did not heed the call for a nap.

I stared mindlessly across the property to a huge, old Stump which still exists even following  attack after attack by Bear and Bug.

But there was something different this day about that Stump.

I've just purchased new glasses; I cannot believe the difference compared to my old ones. I can see!  Without blurring! And so, what I may have missed with my old glasses, I saw with sharp clarity the difference concerning the old Stump.

There was a dark Wolf sitting in front of it.

I thought it was a Dog at first. I tilted my head to see better...but it was Sun's rays which glinted off of golden eyes that made me sure.

He sat in the shade of Trees surrounding the Stump...he was almost undetectable. But once my eyes focused on his, the shape and colour of his body became more apparent.

He sat very still, his ears tilted forward, his nose in the Air. My first thought was where were the Dogs and why had they not sounded an alarm?

I can only surmise that they were busy with their bones, with the Breeze coming from the North, blowing Wolf's scent away from them.

His colouring was very dark. His long front legs were stiff, full of tension. His ears were long and perked...when his eyes met mine, I felt the now familiar jolt inside. That jolt always happens when an Animal visits and our eyes meet.

He did not stay long. When he stood, I watched in awe. He was big...I believe he was the biggest I've seen here. I prayed the Dogs would continue with their bones...there is no way either of them would survive an encounter with this Wolf.

His eyes never left mine. I was afraid to move. There were many thoughts racing through my mind...Would Wolf jump the fence and attack the Dogs for their bones? Would the Dogs finally realize Wolf was there and decide on a foolish confrontation? And...why did I not have my camera?

One of the thoughts I had was that this Wolf could never leave soundlessly, with all the dry Grasses and crispy Leaves strewn about. But he proved me wrong.

He wheeled about, his head turning back, his eyes still locked on mine. And then, oh so silently, he melted into the brush, as if he had never been.

That's when Magpie appeared.

I haven't seen a Magpie here, ever.

According to my Bird books, he ranges all the way to Alaska...there should be no reason for his absence here. In fact, when I moved here, I was looking forward to seeing this sassy Bird and interacting with him. He was very rare on the Island, if he was there at all.

He sat on a branch above where Wolf had settled.  I watched him for a bit...he was not there long...and I marvelled at this Bird, who, in the 1930's, evaded efforts to exterminate him.  He was thought to be a threat to crops and livestock.

The thing that drew my eye to his appearance was the flash of white I saw as he settled on another branch in the Tree above the Stump.

Such a whiter than white belly he had! I wondered how long he had been there...had he arrived along with the Wolf?

I couldn't find anything in my research with reference to the two of them commonly travelling as companions, but I am convinced anything is possible.

After someone I have sat with dies, it is not uncommon for small miracles or sightings of wild Animals to occur. Usually, there will be a message involved as telling me the deceased is well and moving forward on their new journey.

And then, there is the personal message which the Animal represents, as well...

Winter and extreme weather is indeed almost upon us. But before it arrives, I hope I have many more Animal encounters in a day just like this one...the day of the Wolf and Magpie.

We are intending on taking advantage of the cool, crisp mornings and the warm afternoons by taking a trip to the Kootenay district of BC. During that time, I will have no computer access.  I will be back in a few days..


  1. Marion, What a beautiful post. I love how the animals appear when we need them. I have only seen one wolf here, they are not supposed to be in New Mexico, but they are. I saw him on a morning hike and he was huge and beautiful. I never fear wolfs or coyotes, I always feel very safe around them. As for magpies we have them everywhere here they are very funny birds and they like to tempt the cats :-).
    Have a wonderful trip.

  2. Those are two of nature's most striking looking animals but also two which people have declared war on. It seems possible they are traveling companions.

  3. well now, you have encountered two of my favorites in one sitting! I'm not surprised though. You have a magic way ;)

    I will reply to your lovely email soon. I'm trying so hard to catch up and now of all things, my first real nasty cold in over ten years! I think it's my body's way of saying, slow down Lo.

    I hope you have a wonderful retreat.

    hugs and blessings,

  4. Wolves have always fascinated me. It would be wonderful to see one someday. My friend Margaret in Powell River has a restaurant called Magpie's. That's as close as I've come to seeing one. Enjoy your trip. - Margy

  5. Marion, your vivid description of your day and all of your encounters could be a short told it so well - with just a trace of underlying tension from the Wolf and of flighty abandon from the Magpie! I felt I WAS there....saw what you saw, felt what you felt. I was so moved.... I will not forget your day of magical meetings......

    Thank you for sharing.


    ♥ Robin ♥

  6. Oh Marion ... you draw me in with your observations, your poetic view of life, and with your wisdom. Many people see things and attach no meaning to them .. .you see the meaning in everything, and I so appreciate being a part of that by reading your blog!

    Have a safe and happy journey to the Kootenays!

  7. We still have a hunting season on crows for some reason. I guess a magpie is related to the crow family?
    Mom died last week just short of placing her in home hospice. Dad died last March and she just gave up on life. Would not eat much and had no desire to do other than sleep and be in bed. I am happy she is elsewhere although I do miss her as she was in better days.
    I dread the winter coming. Perhaps an encounter with a wolf would prepare me for the cold-downtime. Or perhaps some animal a bit less intimidating -- we have some cats (cougars mainly) but they are only presented when someone hits one on the hiway.

    Enjoy the fall and best to you as always.

  8. What a photo at the top of this entry!!! I'll use that sucker for my desktop photo if you don't mind. I also enjoyed you description of the wolf in your yard. Have the read "The Philosopher and the Wolf" by any chance?

  9. The magpie is, I believe, a member of the crow family. Crows and wolves often travel together...

    Love that you got to see both. To look into a wolf's eyes is to greet the wild.

    Wonderfully descriptive post as always. Have a good time away!

  10. Annie Coe,

    Annie, I'm so glad you've seen a wolf down there. I love wolves...they seem to be sensible animals to me. I never get the impression from them that they will indulge in foolish behaviour...rather the opposite. They don't like to draw attention to themselves, but magpies don't mind doing that at all! Interesting, that.xo


    Thank you, Jan, if anyone would know about magpies and wolves, you would!! xo

    Studio lolo,

    I'm so sorry you've caught that nasty bug that is making the rounds. It takes a lot of energy to fight it...I hope you're feeling better now.

    I want to thank you for the lovely surprise that awaited me when I returned home. Those moccasins in your painting are simply stunning...there are no words to express how much I love them. I plan on having it framed and that beautiful print will have pride of place on my fireplace mantel. Thank you so email coming your way soon.

    And I'll be visiting your Etsy shop. With the mail being sooooo slow, I'd better order Christmas gifts now!

  11. Powell River Books,

    Margy, I've seen them on the Island. When I lived there, there was a small pack of them that were sighted now and again. With you and Wayne going into the back country so often, it is not unimaginable that you would see one or two. Look for a magpie...perhaps it will be the same wolf!

    I believe you wrote about your friend's restaurant. With a name like that, you can be sure when I visit Powell River again, that I will drop in for some of her delicious offerings!


    How lovely to see you and welcome! I feel I know you, I have read your comments so often elsewhere and have wanted to visit your site...but you know how time just seems to slip by.

    I have so often wished, during my time here, that a camera was close at hand. I feel I cannot move when I see a wild animal lest he leave at the movement. And too, I was fearful the dogs would notice if I ran for the camera and would then become aware of the wolf. I did not want that scenario!!! xo


    Thanks so much for your very kind words, Nicole! Funny, when I saw the wolf, I thought of you and wondered if you had ever seen any, as close as you are to where I live.Seeing any wild animal is always magical to me, but this wolf had something more added!!!

    I hope your bakery is doing certainly looks yummy!!! xo

  12. Goatman,

    I couldn't believe it when I received your comment. You have surely had more than enough trials just lately. My condolences, my dear friend, on the passing of your mother, just months after your father died. An email coming your way today.

    I had no idea there was a hunting season on crows. And I believe crows and magpies belong to the same family.

    It feels as if Spring had just arrived and here we are slowly sliding into Winter. I dread it as well...those long months of snow and ice and cold. But we can get some really enthusiastic storms and blizzards and it is quite exciting for a bit then...until one has to shovel out...

    Hang in, dear Lyle. Things must get better soon. I will surely be thinking of you and your family and will be sending good energy your way. xo


    You are more than welcome to use the photo, dear Snowbrush. And I want to thank you a million times over for giving me the heads up about The Philosopher and the Wolf! I have ordered it and can't wait for it to get here, which might be awhile, haha, the mail being what it is.

    I was once a prodigious reader; why that changed I'm not entirely sure. Life gets in the way of settling in with a good book, these days. Still, I shall look forward to reading this one! xo

  13. Pauline,

    That is indeed what it felt like when I looked into the wolf's I was greeting the wild. What a magical way to put it...but then, those words came from you and there is nobody who can write about Nature as well as you. You make me feel every inch, every colour, every breeze that occurs in your posts. Thank you for the info about the wolf and magpie...I couldn't find anything on it anywhere...xo

  14. ah my friend marion, you just take me along sometimes: i stand beside you and see what you see.

    you are such a fine writer. really truly honestly totally.

    i would love to see a wolf. here in my little area i see a black bear every once in a while, sometimes cubs, and definitely duck families. i have birds i cannot identify (trying to improve that), but i KNOW i could not describe or have the connection you do with the animals who visit you. i LOVE reading about it, marion.

    i was thinking a couple of days ago that it might be time for a chat at the fence when things settle down for you. just let me know, no rush.

    i love you,

  15. You know, Marion, you are rapidly becoming my Annie Bimbimbie

    ( )

    of the north. Annie is in Australia and her blogging accounts of nature and the birds in her backyard (in the Outback) have enchanted me for years. Your stories of your encounters with the life of the Caraboo is filling me with the same enchantment.

  16. wow - sounds like a visitation to me. Wolf and Magpie - how powerful. I have never seen a wolf in the wild - and I would be frightened and awed at the same time...and would reach for my camera asap!!
    hope you are having a good getaway

  17. kj,

    Doesn't time just fly by? Do you know it's been a year since we've had a chat over the garden fence? It would be great if we had some other bloggers to visit as well. What great fun!

    Bears seems to be plentiful near towns these days. We have a lot that forage in the more southern towns here. But I think, for Bear, there is more than enough food in the wild here in the Cariboo, since I haven't heard of any of the difficulties my daughter has with them.

    I love doesn't even matter if I can always identify them. They all have their own special energy around them...I love it when they become accustomed to me. But you know what...I haven't seen a duck in a long while...we've got to live near a body of water, I think.

    I love you, too, kj!


    I shall have to visit the site you gave me. I believe I have once before...thank you for jogging my memory.

    It is awe inspiring to see animals like the Wolf in the wild...their behaviour is completely different from the ones in zoos or animal parks. Here, it feels as if I am the one in the zoo (behind the fence) and the animal that visits is the one who is checking me out!


    I certainly wish I could have reached for my camera. It wasn't far...just inside the door on the counter...but I was afraid if I moved the Wolf would have, as well, and I would have lost the shot and the watching! The Magpie wasn't here long enough to try and capture it in photo.

    We travelled South, into Magpie country, and I didn't see one anywhere. Strange, that.

    I am writing about our trip right now. However, these days I can no longer write in long stretches as Hospice is interfering a bit. It takes a bit longer to post...but a new post about the trip is on its way!

  18. Wonderful wolf story! When I lived in Bella Coola, we often saw wolves, but always at a considerable distance. If they showed up on the edge of the woods beyond my neighbour's place, about a kilometre away, my dogs would always go into hysterics.

    I'm amazed that your dogs were so calm!

  19. Hello Marion our friend Kj suggested I should pay you a visit and I'm very pleased I did.

    What a beautiful, if tense moment for you. I think my heart would have been in my mouth, so glad those bones kept your dogs safe. The wolf and the magpie were there for a reason which might be a mystery but one we can wonder at and have our spirits raised by such an encounter.

    One of my songs I have playing on my current fav playlist is Magpie by Patrick Wolf :) Marianne Faithful adds her vocals to it.

    I noticed Annie's comment - smiling, she's moved me into the outback ;) although recent years have been dry and dusty around here I'm actually on the south east coast of Australia.

  20. Susannah,

    I still can't understand why the dogs did not notice the wolf. Very grateful, mind you, but that was really strange. I am wondering if their elderly age has something to do with it. Perhaps aged noses lose their sense of smell...

    As I think about it, there are mule deer and coyotes in the draw in front of our house all the time...and the dogs don't bark. Perhaps they are accustomed to all the animals.


    I actually have visited your blog some time ago and loved it. I really don't remember why I haven't visited for a long time, Annie, but I will be sure to come by soon for the Magpie song and for some more of your amazing stories.

    We have friends that live in your has such strong beauty and fantastic light and those Norfolk Pines everywhere. I've seen photos but Graham lived there for a few months...way, way back in the early seventies. He still remembers the wind in the pines.