The changing sky

As seen from my office window one November afternoon:

And a little later on:


In between

EveningIt is the end of summer. Or it’s early fall. Everyone knows the feeling. The sun is lower in the sky and, in the early morning, the air is chilly. It warms up by the afternoon, but not to the same intensity as only a week ago.

There are fewer people on the water and fewer people strolling in parks and along the beach walks in the evenings.

We have no name for the in-between seasons, but we know them and they each have a mood. The mood for this one is wistful. However sensible we are about looking forward to the delights of fall and winter, it is the end of the life cycle of the most luscious and abundant flowers, the end of the carefree time of year: a waning time.

So we learn to love the compensations. Blackberries and apples, peaches and corn. The air is fresher. We can stop wearing sunscreen.  Soon, we will be able to stop mowing the grass. We can shop for new clothes with less guilt. Cooking and cosy nights at home are appealing again.

yellow_treesWhat colours symbolize early September? In summer, we have dazzling displays of flowers in all hues; in fall, we have red, gold, and bronze leaves. The colours of this half-season are yellow and blue: see these trees whose leaves are yellow against a startlingly vivid sky.

Orchid Renewal



Eighteen months ago, I received two Phalaenopsis orchids. They are dramatic, if rather alien, plants, and I have never bought one for myself.  I wasn’t familiar with their care, so I just put them in filtered light and watered occasionally, as per the attached instructions. I was amazed that the blooms lasted for six months.

Then the flowers fell and I cut a few inches off the stem, as directed, and waited to see if they would bloom again. Nothing happened, so I left them on a windowsill and watered them only when the soil was quite dry. They were rather unattractive at that point: dead-looking stems, still attached to the metal support that held the flowers in the familiar arc. Still, I persevered.

A year later, they bloomed again! I was amazed at this small miracle and now look at them every day with gratitude.

Snow and silence


Those of us who live in an urban setting find it strange to be in a place where there is no background noise at all. You sleep in and wake feeling unusually relaxed. You go out for a walk and the world is utterly quiet. When the peace is broken by the noise of a bird’s wings flapping overhead, it’s startlingly loud, as is the echoing crack when the bird breaks a branch off a tree. Then the bird flies noisily off to build its nest and peace descends once more.

Tinseltown North

tinseltownWent to see a movie at Tinseltown recently. I’d never been to that theatre before, though I rather like the area. At night, there is a magical, alien quality to that no-man’s-land where Chinatown meets downtown on the edge of the downtown east side — especially at twilight when the streets are dark and lit up with neon but the sky is still light. There’s a futuristic feeling to the mix of old buildings, garish new structures like the one housing Tinseltown, and a hard-to-categorize mix of people milling around. It reminds me of the feeling you get from the crowded, Asian-looking streets in Blade Runner.