A Quilt Scrap of Stars

Kingsville

Kingsville (Photo credit: Wilson Loo)

I live in town. About 8 blocks from uptown Kingsville on Lake Erie. About 7 blocks from downtown Kingsville. (Actually this is sort of a joke, because I do not know the difference between uptown and downtown ~ maybe I will Google it.) I am about two blocks away from the lake. One block away from our beautiful town park with rolling hills. The hills are very gentle, but in flat Essex County they are a rare commodity.
When I look up into the sky at night, I can see a sliver of the universe.  But I do not see the whole sky as there are trees and houses that block my view and streetlights that dim it.
I grew up in the country where the skyline went on forever, uninterrupted. I miss that. A blanket of stars and not just a quilt scrap. More than a glimpse at the moon but the moon in all its reigning glory.
I just read a post on the blog, lakesuperiorspirit by , and it reminded me of my childhood days in the country. Reminded is the key word as my experience was not the same as hers, but the endless sky hit a deep note of nostalgia for me. Check it out–It is called:
“How chickadees sleep at night in winter and other forest tales”.

What is your view of the night universe like? And do you know the difference between downtown and uptown?

Lake Erie Fairies

Illustration of fairies

Illustration of fairies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dazzling sunlight dances

on the water; crystals form ~

Fairies brought to light.

Published in: on April 22, 2013 at 5:12 pm  Comments (23)  
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My Little Town – Paul Simon Revisited

MV Jiimaan leaves port at Kingsville for Pelee...

MV Jiimaan leaves port at Kingsville for Pelee Island. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This was published in a newspaper called The Daytripper that is distributed in southwestern Ontario. Written in answer to the question: ‘What makes your town worth a daytrip”, it will give you a little glimpse into my hometown. When I was younger, I sang along with Paul Simon and agreed with his despair in living in a small town. I no longer have angst about small town living—having married a hometown boy and raised my sons here. I have lived in the town “proper” for the last 32 years. Without further ado:

~ An Appealing Town ~

“You may no longer hear the strains of “The Mettawas Waltz” from the former Mettawas Hotel that once made Kingsville famous, but the town is one of the most picturesque in the area.  Despite the fact that whiskey magnate and owner of the Mettawas, Hiram Walker, pulled up stakes from the town long ago, it has grown and flourished.  And it is no wonder:  located on the shores of Lake Erie, it is a quaint, yet modern mini metropolis that has not lost its small town feel.

Coat of arms of the town of Kingsville, Ontario.

Coat of arms  Town of Kingsville, Ontario. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A town is more than its location. While we vie for the title of southernmost town in Ontario with some of our neighbours, it is in our community spirit that we excel. I know this because I attend and cover the Town Council meetings for the local newspaper. The people of Kingsville love their town and want it to grow, while at the same time not risk losing its appealing charm. In fact, our logo a few years back dubbed us the Port of Appeal.

Council meetings in our happily amalgamated town can be quite lively, especially if it concerns something the residents are passionate about.  Preservation of our historic homes and buildings has taken a front seat since people started to become aware that some of our heritage buildings were being razed without proper notice. One very shining example of a community project is our Train Station, restored to its former glory, and currently open to the public in its reincarnation as a restaurant.  We have a state-of-the-art library in the town core (one of three within the municipal town limits), located in a refurbished building that was sitting empty. Its former home, a Carnegie building, is being considered for new life as a possible Arts and Visitors Centre, instead of being a target for the wrecking ball. (Since this was written, the Carnegie has been beautifully refurbished and is not only an Arts and Visitors Centre but also our Tourist Information Centre.)

We have it all—small shops, restaurants galore, specialty stores, as well as big markets and large retailers. They all fit neatly into the puzzle that is our town.  While the town proper is a hub of activity, our municipality of Kingsville boasts fertile farmland, a fishing industry, and manufacturing. Amalgamation gave Kingsville a big bonus–the villages of Cottam and Ruthven, which each have their own unique attractions.

I have lived in this area all of my life, except for a sojourn in the big city of Windsor for post-secondary education (for seven short years). For the first twenty years of my life I was a “country girl” and grew up in a close knit community (with amalgamation, my old community is now part of the municipality of Kingsville) where school and church were the centres of social activities, and a trip to town was always something to look forward to. For the last —-ahem, number of years I have lived in an older area of the town proper. Having resided in both the rural and urban areas of Kingsville, I have come to the conclusion that it is the people of the municipality that makes this area special. I think it must be something in the water. And it is not just the fish.

Kingsville has beautiful Lakeside Park with rolling hills just right for winter tobogganing, stately trees to picnic under, and a Pavilion that hosts all kinds of activities year round. It is most notably home to the Jack Miner Bird Sanctuary, and just a few minutes away are the historical John R. Park Homestead, and a gem that is truly a well-kept secret that must be revealed: the Canadian Transportation Museum and Village. With wineries galore, (at least 13 and growing within 20 miles) Kingsville is a destination truly worthy of any daytrip!”

So, if you are ever in my area, drop by my “little town”—it is only about 30 miles from the Windsor/Detroit border. We do not care what anyone else says—we are the southernmost point in Canada. As Christmas approaches, the town is lit up with snowflakes on our main streets, and we have the Fantasy of Lights in Lakeside Park.

Are you a big city dweller, small town girl or boy, or do you enjoy country life? What does your town do for Christmas?

 

~ Be Still ~

“Poetry is pulling images out of the sky, the air, the universe, and bringing them down to earth.”  ~ Marisa De Franceschi

"The Listening Place", South Lochboi...

“The Listening Place”: Be Still (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The chairs were fairly comfortable. The room was not crowded, but neither was it bare. It was filled with people who love the written word. I must admit that my appreciation for poetry has been acquired—like the taste of beer or olives or octopus. And now that I have acquired it, I like to feed it.

Recently an opportunity to feed the poetry beast was offered at my local library. Three local poets were featured. They provided the audience with three very different flavours of the genre. To say that one poet was better than another would be a misnomer, but of the three, one appealed to my sense of the familiar more than the other two. One poet drew on the raw realities of life beautifully—but her poetry was to my mind uncomfortable.  Another was a true poet, in that if poetry is not his first calling, it most definitely is his primary form of expression. His was an educated palate and his poetry brilliantly executed. I was jealous of his implementation of the English language.

I tend to understand and like the simple written word—if its imagery is too opaque or its metaphors too tangled, I lose patience.

The poet who “spoke to me” at the poetry reading was Marisa De Franceschi.  She believes in “pulling images out of the sky, the air, the universe and bringing them down to earth”. When a poet does not do that, does not bring their poetry down to earth, I am lost in their wordiness.

Her book of poetry, Random Thoughts, is rift with images brought down to earth. One of her poems, called “Be Still” spoke to my depths. She said that it was derived from her personal observations of the ships on Lake Erie that she could see from the windows of  her summer cottage in Wheatley, Ontario. Here are a few of my favourite lines:

“Out on the Lake,

When the gale turns ferocious

There is only one thing for the mammoth ships to do.

Stop and stay put.

Be still….

They sit still and wait…

They wait for the winds to calm,

Wait for them to have their say.

The ships will continue their journey

When the tempest dies down….”

I think this poem provides us with great wisdom. As we venture out into the fray of everyday life–sometimes we just have to sit still and wait and let the tempest die down in order to head out again. This is good advice for the holiday season as we rush around–we need to be still sometimes to appreciate all that it has to offer.

What steps are you going to take this holiday season to “be still”?

Tranquility

Tranquility (Photo credit: EclecticBlogs)

~ Ghoulies and Ghosties ~ And Don’t Forget the Long-Legged Beasties ~

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (Photo credit: Wikipedia) “There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.” ~ Linus

This is me trying to lighten up a bit. I am reposting this from last October. As I have explained before, when I posted this the first time I had about five people following me so it did not get much exposure. It is timely as it is about Halloween. This is an edited version of October 2011’s post — if you want to read the whole thing–you can go back in the archives.

“A house is never still in darkness to those who listen intently; there is a whispering in distant chambers, an unearthly hand presses the *snib of the window, the latch rises. Ghosts were created when the first man awoke in the night.” ~ J. M. Barrie

Author of Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie is the originator of the words above, which serve as an eerie prelude to this season of Halloween. Many find the dark quiet and comforting, a respite from the busyness of the daylight hours. But at this time of year, we tend to pause and wonder, maybe for just a moment, whether  ghoulies and ghosties and things that go bump in the night are getting restless.

Are there ghosts? I am not prepared to deny their existence. If they are like Casper then all is well, but as for some of his green tinged ghastly cohorts and diaphanous friends the colour of fog, I am not so sure.

Kingsville (my home town in Ontario) famously has a ghost by the name of George, who resides at Kings Landing, a restaurant which overlooks Lake Erie. By all accounts, he is mischievous but never hurtful or threatening. From my cursory research, his existence is known only through phantom footsteps and flickering lights. Apparently he is shy and has never shown his gossamer self, though his habit of  turning taps on and lights off is his least appealing trait.

I have adopted the “warm and fuzzy school of Halloween”; my stance on the scarier side of the celebration is to ignore it. I love the little princesses and frogs that come to my door, and the boys and girls dressed as their favourite heroines and heroes—be they caped, crowned, or sparkly.

As for me and Halloween at my house, I may don my pretty witch’s hat decorated oh-so-delicately with veils, feathers, and black roses,  give out some candy, then turn my lights off at 8:00 sharp (even witches need to get their beauty sleep).

*If you are wondering, a snib is the catch that holds the bolt on a lock.

So are you a fan of scary Halloween or part of the warm and fuzzy Halloween brigade?

An Acquired Taste

Lake Erie, looking southward from a high rural...

Lake Erie, looking southward from a high rural bluff, near Leamington, Ontario (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is poetry?

Poetry is pulling images out of the sky, the air, the universe, and bringing them down to earth. ~Marisa De Franceschi

The chairs were fairly comfortable. The room was not crowded, but neither was it bare. It was filled with people who love the written word, and attended to hear it read aloud. A treat. I must admit that my appreciation for poetry has been acquired—like the taste of beer or olives or octopus. And now that I have acquired it, I like to feed it.

Recently an opportunity to feed the poetry beast was offered at my local library. Three poets from Windsor, Ontario were featured, and provided the audience with three very different flavours of the genre. To say that one poet was better than another would be a misnomer, but of the three, one appealed to my sense of the familiar more than the other two. A second poet drew on the raw realities of life beautifully—but her poetry was to my mind uncomfortable.  The third was a true poet, in that if poetry was not his first calling, it is most definitely his primary form of expression. His was an educated palate and his poetry brilliantly executed. I was jealous of his implementation of the English language.

I tend to understand and like the simple written word—if its imagery is too opaque or its metaphors too tangled, I lose patience, and am reminded of all those times at university when I was expected to explicate a poem rather than enjoy it. I love Marisa De Franceschi’s definition of poetry quoted above—“pulling images out of the sky, the air, the universe and bringing them down to earth”. When a poet does not do that, does not bring their poetry down to earth, I am lost in their wordiness.

De Franceschi’s book of poetry, “Random Thoughts”, is rift with images brought down to earth. One of her poems, called “Be Still” spoke to my depths. She said that it was derived from her personal observations of the ships on Lake Erie that she could see from the windows of  her summer cottage:

“Out on the Lake,

When the gale turns ferocious

There is only one thing for the mammoth ships to do.

Stop and stay put.

Be still.

They do not attempt to force themselves along the seaway,

They sit still and wait.

They do not go up against it, try to fight it.

They wait for the winds to calm,

Wait for them to have their say.

The ships will continue their journey

When the tempest dies down

And gives permission

To head out again

To deliver the goods.”

I think this poem is especially useful as we venture out into the fray of everyday life–sometimes we just have to sit still and wait and let the tempest die down in order to head out again.

.

Published in: on April 26, 2012 at 7:00 pm  Comments (3)  
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Time for Ghoulies and Ghosties and Long Legged Beasties

Cover of "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie...

Cover of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

 Kingsville is my hometown on Lake Erie near Windsor

“A house is never still in darkness to those who listen intently; there is a whispering in distant chambers, an unearthly hand presses the *snib of the window, the latch rises. Ghosts were created when the first man awoke in the night.”  J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan, is the originator of these words which are an eerie prelude to this season of Halloween. Many find the dark quiet and comforting, a respite from the busyness of the “lighted” hours. But at this time of year, we do pause, even for just a moment on Halloween and wonder if the ghoulies and ghosties and unexplained things that go bump in the night are getting restless.

Are there ghosts? I am not prepared to deny their existence. If they are like Casper then all is well, but as for some of his green tinged ghastly cohorts and diaphanous friends the colour of fog, I am not so sure. Kingsville famously has the ghost, George, who resides at Kings Landing. By all accounts, he is mischievous but never hurtful or threatening. From my cursory research, his existence is known only through phantom footsteps and flickering lights as he is shy and has never shown his gossamer self. In other words, George is my kind of ghost.

An online blog called Red Room that I belong to asked us to write our favourite ghost story. I do not have a favourite ghost story—although if I had to choose one, it would be about George—being a hometown boy and all. But I must admit, his penchant for turning taps on and lights off is not an appealing trait.

I have adopted the “cute and fuzzy school of Halloween”; my stance on the scarier side of the celebration is to ignore it. I love the little princesses and frogs that come to my door, the boys and girls dressed as their favourite heroines and heroes—be they caped, crowned, or sparkly. I admire imaginative costumes, even if they are creepy, for after all, even I have to accept and respect that Halloween’s more gory aspects has its admirers, though I am not one, nor will I ever join their fold.

In light of  my penchant for an non-scary Halloween, I typed in “cheery Halloween quotes” and Googled it. This is what I came up with—a few funny quotes and moan worthy jokes. So if you are like me, and not fond of the dark side—read on. If you do like the dark side, well just consider the following an expansion of your horizons into another kinder, gentler universe:

“I’ll bet living in a nudist colony takes all the fun out of Halloween.” – Unknown Author

“There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin.” – Linus from ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’

“Charlie Brown is the one person I identify with. C.B. is such a loser. He wasn’t even the star of his own Halloween special.” – Chris Rock

“Nothing on Earth is so beautiful as the final haul on Halloween night.” – Steve Almond

“On Halloween, the parents sent their kids out looking like me.” – Rodney Dangerfield

A few jokes the website terms as funny follow—you be the judge:

Q. What do the skeletons say before eating? A. Bone appetit!

Q. What happens when two vampires meet? A. It was love at first bite!

Q. What’s a Vampire’s least favourite song? A. Another one bites the dust!

Q. Why was the mummy so tense? A. Because he was all wound up.

Q. Why didn’t the skeleton go to see a scary movie? A. He didn’t have the guts.

If nothing else, you can pass these jokes onto any eight year old you know—they will appreciate them. As for me and Halloween at my house, I may don my witch’s hat (with veils and pretty silky black flowers),  give out some candy, then turn my lights off at 8:00. After all even witches need to get their beauty sleep. (I have purchased my candy a little ahead of time—but bought stuff that does not tempt me—there is nothing worse than candy bars that call to you in the night, except maybe for ghoulies and ghosties and things that go bump in the night!)

*If you are wondering, a snib is the catch that holds the bolt on a lock.

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