reno tour

Apr. 12th, 2008 08:56 pm
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Have returned from the contemporary North American equivalent of touring the Houses of the Great: the Reno Tour.

Saw a lovable (human-scale, cherished) house which we cannot have, but the people who do have it seem so excellent that we do not begrudge it. Much. It was the only one on the Reno Tour where they'd done the work themselves. The centrepiece was a chevron-shaped concrete island embedded with stones from the beach below. They distressed all their own cabinets. The trim wasn't quite finished, so one strip of wood had all their phone numbers still scratched into it.

When you stood in the back yard, as [ profile] inlandsea pointed out, the house disappeared. It was almost all glass, and it reflected the view, so you saw ocean and trees in all directions. At the back of the property, there was a rickety path down to a swathe of sandy beach.

We had a picnic up at a secret bit of park around Land's End -- dead-end road, rough black rocks below, little green point of land just big enough for one bench and about a foot of clearance on either side to get 'round it. Ancient and giant signs informing us that the phone cable went underwater Right There. We ate mightily of salmon candy and bison sausage, goat cheese, tapenade, avacado, pickled beans, and fresh basil that lit in my mouth like the green fuse of spring.

First real spring day. So bright. So blue. And apparently it's supposed to snow tomorrow? I love the poetry of that.

Sunstruck. Tired, not good for much. Idly thinking about cleaning the kitchen. Which we also have hand-distressed, though not so much on purpose, and I don't know what the landlord will say.

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There are fat green buds on the lilac bush. Each bony finger of the chestnut holds a fresh unironed lime-green handkerchief, suspended from the phalanx' tip, waiting to drop it so you can gallantly catch it before it reaches the pavement.

I saw my first bluebells this morning on the way to work, one pale bundle in the back corner of an apartment garden. And an amoebic outline of white stones with a little nest of tulip-tree petals, pink, containing a clutch of chocolate eggs in blue-violet foil. The tulip tree itself alongside, shaking out into blowsy bloom.

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Yesterday, a lawn overrun with snowdrops.

No cherry blossoms spotted yet.

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I asked [ profile] inlandsea for an atmospheric place to do some writing today, and she suggested the Abkhazi Gardens. What I actually ought to be working on is the last art project on my list, due May 31, but I needed the walk and the writing time.

In which our hero accomplishes his first real ramble of the season, witnesses many blossoms, and reflects on love affairs as works of art. )

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Yesterday was fall for the cherry blossoms. The streets and gutters are full of drifts. The crabapples (at last identified) are scattering the grass with tufts of white ruffles stained pink, like scraps left over from sewing.

Yesterday the chestnuts all lit their candles at once. The tree at Southgate, which we have walked past without much remarking every day until yesterday, was suddenly immense, a shaggy monster, a topiary O around the power lines, populated all over by upstart spindles of white blossoms.

Thursday I walked through the park by accident, east to west, in the evening just cooling. On the east side, our side, shadowed by trees and houses, the camas had just started. On the west side, slopes facing the setting sun, the camas was as thick as the grass and as high, up to my knees in places, staining the whole hillside purple.

This year is the year I noticed what I'm hypothesizing are yellow dogwoods. ([ profile] xcaro?)Trees with flat platters of flowers, sturdy-looking, with green knobs at the centre. Whatever they are, I like their murky gold colour, touched by green, as though they haven't been convinced to forget that they were once wild.

I'm so much happier to be going for rambles again, even with sunburns and sore feet afterwards. [ profile] stitchinmyside and I walked most of the way along the water into James Bay on an aborted journey to the Superior (we settled for beer and pizza with [ profile] inlandsea when she got home). She pointed out a field of camas streaked with buttercups, the last sun illuminating it.

I see each thing blooming, and note it, and that should probably be enough; but when I tell each one here, I see it again, and that makes me greedy to tell you everything.

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There is some season, neither spring nor summer, that we've just entered: Sweet Memories is open. I didn't go in and get ice cream; it just made me smile. It means that the Surf Motel is or soon will be open, and the fish & chips place in James Bay.

I'd call it tourist season, but that's depressing, and this feeling is exciting.

Sung? Sprimmer?

The lilacs are just starting, small round infant buds like eyes squinched shut, a few florets opening to drop that impossible smell on you. The chestnut candles are ready to light, green tapers hiding against the foliage until they flare white.

Yesterday was Z's birthday party, with hazelnut cake from Wild Fire. R, her two-year-old daughter, is fantastically articulate; she shows signs of the many talents of her parents. As I rather tipsily declared last night, "You just want to put her through college or something."

Today the bonfire for [ profile] chromemagpie, if the weather holds. And the studio tour with [ profile] stitchinmyside. It doesn't matter where I go really. It's that time of year when everything smells like potential.

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The plum trees came into bloom while I was away.*

Did the cherry trees seem to bloom in more distinct waves this year -- pink, then white, then puffball pink? It seemed like it to me -- maybe it's just that Cook Street Village blooms differently than James Bay, where I remember streets of pale and bright mixed, leading to various vague internal ramblings about aesthetic juxtapositions during various vague external ramblings through its streets.

The plum trees* are also pink (or white) but a much more satisfying pink, darker and more lipsticky without ever being in danger of becoming red.

There is a strange message on our voicemail from a hotel in New Brunswick. [ profile] inlandsea?


*I think they are plum trees. They look like cherry trees, only not. Actually, I have no idea what they are, but for the purposes of making me seem like an observant fan of the natural, let's assume plum trees. Thank you.


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