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Nature, connection and homecoming

Our first year of living in rural Ontario has been truly special. I have had a sense of homecoming, of re-connecting more fully with nature. And, for me, that connection is the source of much wonder and joy.

Cranberry Lake in Fall

So I put together a book, A year in the life of The House at Turtle Pond. A kind of journal, it seeks to capture our response to the newness of living through the turning of this first year, looking out over Cranberry Lake on the Rideau system in Southern Ontario, Canada.

It speaks to a deep connection with nature, the rhythm of the seasons and the interconnectedness of internal and external realities.

I wrote it first and foremost so as not to lose sight of the newness as the years pass and familiarity potentially dulls our awareness. But it has been lovely to find that at least a few people find in it something to feed the soul. It makes it even more worthwhile!

The book

Below is a link to A year in the life of The House at Turtle Pond as it appears on the Blurb website. Here you can glance through a preview. If you happen to be interested in having a copy and live locally, please feel free to contact me direct. Blurb often offers discounts to the creator of a book, which makes it significantly more affordable.

By the way, it was our predecessors who named our wetland between the house and road Turtle Pond. And our neighbour noted that this was therefore The House at Turtle Pond,  like The House at Pooh CornerThis seemed apt, especially when I came across this:

And by and by Christopher Robin came to the end of things, and he was silent, and he sat there, looking out over the world, just wishing it wouldn’t stop.

A.A. Milne

(Originally posted on my other blog, Passage to Joy, but so much a part of our Canadian journey that I wanted to include it here!)

Painting with plants . . .

All winter I have been waiting, gathering thoughts, learning about native species, thinking about colour, height, flowering time, scent and more. I have never savoured the process of creating a garden this way before.

At last the sun has made a claim on summer for the Victoria Day weekend; my muscles may be complaining, but my soul feels sated with the pleasure of transformation. A day and a half of planting and a garden has emerged from our back yard.

There is, too, a sense of the garden that exists for now only in my vision of it, of an ongoing process of transformation to be wrought by nature in the months and years to come.

Back garden William Hancox Avenue - back yard, with door into garage (as it was when we bought the house) Back garden, before planting Ready and waiting after our landscaping efforts last Fall (2010)
Back garden Newly planted, May 2011 Back garden Newly planted, May 2011 Back garden Newly planted, May 2011

(Click into any photo for a mini-gallery and to see a larger view)

I still have the planting at the front to do that we were unable to complete in the Fall, hence the remaining plant pots. And Paul wants to give the deck an additional coat of protection, but we are nearly there in time for summer!

Last year’s efforts on our front garden are already repaying the hard work with the pleasure of breakfast on the terrace,  surrounded by tulips and narcissi, punctuated by fritillary.

Front garden in Spring First year bulbs Front garden in Spring A great, sunny spot for breakfast
Front garden in Spring First year bulbs Front garden in Spring First year bulbs