Monday, August 29, 2011

End of Summer

Boat Trip through "Hole in the Wall" - Pointe Au Baril, Georgian Bay

End of Summer really seems to have arrived.  The nights are cooling down, even days are calling for a sweater as I head off to the salt mines in the morning.

This end of summer is a bit different for me this year.  Lots of change in the air and I feel decidedly unsettled.  It is less than 6 months until I take my sabbatical and go off on my adventures.  I am moving into full planning mode now.  Lots of details to look after.  The primary item I have covered - my home and my dog.  Thanks to my son's friend Amanda I have someone to move in here and look after Bella.  Next important is what to do about my beloved Collingwood Shangri-La.

After much thought I decided to find long term tenants for the property to ensure that I didn't have a drain on my funds during the time away.  Also, maybe I am wanting to make sure that I don't have to rush back if I like where things are heading me when I am gone. 
Boat Trip through "Hole in the Wall" - Pointe Au Baril, Georgian Bay

I put an ad in Craig's list on Saturday to rent out the property.  If I can get long term tenants installed, I can put it on "autopilot" presuming that the tenant will pay their rent on time.  With the expenses covered I will be free to go wherever my heart sends me next February - that is until I run out of travel money.  LOL  So that means for the next month I will be busy getting rid of stuff.  I had previously thought that I might keep my wonderful resort condo as my home base and just rent it out for the 4 ski months next year but that seems kind of silly given for sure I will be away all next summer and back just in time to try and rent it out for ski season the year following.  Maybe I will want to continue my travels for much longer, and in fact regardless, I have decided that I will rent it out until I am able to retire and instead go on more trips in the coming years.  Lots of time to enjoy my Shangri-La once I retire.

So I need to get rid of a lot more stuff than usual - I may even have to clear out all the furniture if a tenant comes along who doesn't need it furnished.  I will be sad to leave my place of serenity but know that it is necessary to position me for maximum adventures as a gypsy in this next phase of my life.

If you know of anyone who is looking for a sweet spot in Collingwood send them over to my photo album of my Collingwood Shangri-La and have them get in touch if interested.

Canadian National Exhibition - View from my balcony - An End of Summer Ritual in Toronto

 I have been doing lots of stuff over the summer in "real life" and so not really blogging much.  I am planning on doing a few blogs to catch everyone up on the goings on - my trip to Iceland (wonderful), lots of stuff up Georgian Bay way (my weekend at Pointe Au Baril where I took the first two pictures) are just a few of the great things I have been up to this summer.

Lastly, I need to tell everyone that my baby is starting University this fall - frosh week is this week to be exact.  Tegan has been living with her father for quite a few years now and is moving out of his home to be closer to school (ok .5 km instead of 5 km LOL) ... anyway, I am so proud of Tegan and wish her well in this segment of her life. 

Vacation over, we go back to routine.
Students go back to school and

weekend  cottage trips are replaced by weekends raking leaves,
Days grow short and nights grow long.
Summer romance is over. 

We mourn end of summer.
What comes next?

End of Summer can be a sad time because the good times and fun come to an end, but more importantly it is a time of new beginnings - for some exciting beginnings.  So with mixed feelings, sadness that I won't have the solace of my Collingwood Shangri-La for a few years and excitement that goes with planning a new long term travel venture I have chosen a song by Dar Williams to send us off.

Dar Williams is described by Wiki as an American singer-songwriter who specializes in pop folk. She was born in 1967 in New York State. To learn more about Dar Williams go to her official site.

The summer ends and we wonder where we are
And there you go, my friends, with your boxes in your car
And you both look so young
And last night was hard, you said
You packed up every room
And then you cried and went to bed
But today you closed the door and said
"we have to get a move on.
It's just that time of year when we push ourselves ahead,
We push ourselves ahead."

And it was cloudy in the morning
And it rained as you drove away
And the same things looked different
It's the end of the summer
It's the end of the summer,
When you move to another place

And I feel like the neighbor's girl who will never be the same
She walked alone all spring,
She had a boyfriend when the summer came
And he gave her flowers in a lightning storm
They disappeared at night in green fields of silver corn
And sometime in july she just forgot that he was leaving
So when the fields were dying, she held on to his sleeves
She held on to his sleeves

And she doesn't want to let go
'cause she won't know what she's up against
The classrooms and the smart girls
It's the end of the summer
It's the end of the summer
When you hang your flowers up to dry

And I had a dream it blows the autumn through my head

It felt like the first day of school
But I was going to the moon instead
And I walked down the hall
With the notebooks they got for me
My dad led me through the house
My mom drank instant coffee
And I knew that I would crash
But I didn't want to tell them
There are just some moments when your family makes sense
They just make sense

So I raised up my arms and my mother put the sweater on
We walked out on the dark and frozen grass
The end of the summer
It's the end of the summer
When you send your children to the moon

The summer ends and we wonder who we are
And there you go, my friends, with your boxes in your car
And today I passed the high school, the river, the maple tree
I passed the farms that made it
Through the last days of the century
And I knew that I was going to learn again
Again, in this less hazy light
I saw the fields beyond the fields
The fields beyond the fields

And the colors are much brighter now
It's like they really want to tell the truth
We give our testimony to the end of the summer
It's the end of the summer,
You can spin the light to gold.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

It is Marvelous to Wake Up Together - Elizabeth Bishop

A couple of weeks ago I was doing my usual CBC Radio Sunday thing and listened to a documentary exploring the work of American poet Elizabeth Bishop. It is the centenary of her birth and there are many projects commemorating the event this year.  I rushed over to Amazon right a way and sent off for two of the newly published volumes, "Prose" and "Poetry".  They arrived on Wed and I have been dipping into her delightful poems each night since.

It is Marvellous to Wake Up Together
by Elizabeth Bishop

It is marvellous to wake up together
At the same minute; marvellous to hear
The rain begin suddenly all over the roof,
To feel the air suddenly clear
As if electricity had passed through it
From a black mesh of wires in the sky.
All over the roof the rain hisses,
And below, the light falling of kisses.

An electrical storm is coming or moving away;
It is the prickling air that wakes us up.
If lighting struck the house now, it would run
From the four blue china balls on top
Down the roof and down the rods all around us,
And we imagine dreamily
How the whole house caught in a bird-cage of lightning
Would be quite delightful rather than frightening;

And from the same simplified point of view
Of night and lying flat on one's back
All things might change equally easily,
Since always to warn us there must be these black
Electrical wires dangling. Without surprise
The world might change to something quite different,
As the air changes or the lightning comes without our blinking,
Change as our kisses are changing without our thinking

This was not the first time I connected with this poet.  A Brazilian singer I like a lot - Luciana Souza -  has an album titled "Poems of Elizabeth Bishop".   I have blogged about this singer who does great Bossa Nova jazz before - she has set the lyric to Neruda's Love Poem 65 on her album titled "Tide".  Listening to the iTunes samples from her Bishop album, in which she has set 4 of Bishop's poems to music, I am tempted ... but no more purchases for me!  I am saving my shekels for travel!

According toWiki:
Elizabeth Bishop (8 February 1911 – 6 October 1979) was an American poet and short-story writer. She was the Poet Laureate of the United States from 1949 to 1950, a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1956 and a National Book Award Winner for Poetry in 1970. Elizabeth Bishop House is an artists' retreat in Great Village, Nova Scotia dedicated to her memory. She is considered one of the most important and distinguished American poets of the 20th century
Elizabeth was orphaned at a very young age and was adopted by her paternal side family after a bit of to and fro with her British relatives grew up with family in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her father was quite wealthy and her inheritance kept her for her whole life and so was able to focus on her writing rather than having to marry or support herself.  She lived in Key West for a period of years - she was friends with Pauline Pfeiffer Hemingway who had divorced Ernst by that time.   She also has claims as a Brazilian poet, as she lived  in Rio with her latin lover (Lota de Macedo Soares) for 15 years - I think she really  should be billed as an International Poet.   As has been the case for many great literary figures, there is the thread of emotional anguish and tragedy about her life circumstances which I expect fueled her work.

The Wiki article explains her sexuality as follows:
Bishop did not see herself as a "lesbian poet" or as a "female poet." Although she still considered herself to be "a strong feminist," she only wanted to be judged based on the quality of her writing and not on her gender or sexual orientation.
From my research, there is no doubt that she is one of the most important poets of her generation.  I love her poetry and look forward to finding some time to read her prose.   Her style described, in an  eZine article from Vogue:
Bishop’s work was highly personal, growing directly out of life experience rather than aesthetic exercise. She wrote about what she observed in a tangential way, so that the effect isn’t self-focused, but opens outward into a larger, more universal inquiry.

I have heard enough in these documentaries to know that there is much more to find out about this literary figure and I want to spend some more time with her.

If you wish to listen to the Radio Documentary go here:  Should we have stayed at home, wherever that may be: 100 years of Elizabeth Bishop  She is well loved and celebrated still by her Nova Scotia family.

One Art 
by Elizabeth Bishop 
The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

As I researched facts for this blog I stumbled across a biography of Elizabeth Bishop on Google books "Elizabeth Bishop: life and the Memory of It " which I started to read. I think I shall go back there now and continue reading it for a while before I slip out the the Blue Mountain Peak to Shore Music Concert.  Looking forward to sipping some drinks on a patio tonight and listening to the Sarah Harmer concert.  I hope the rain holds off!

Have a great Saturday!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A triple play - Poetry, Music and Science

Sometimes wandering aimlessly through the great halls within the Internet results in some great finds.  Symphony of Science is one of them.  The Poetry of Reality is the 5th in the Symphony of Science Music Video series and is among my favourite of the now 10 videos. They are all well worth viewing, if you have an hour to spare.

According to the Symphony of Science Website:
The Symphony of Science is a musical project headed by John Boswell, designed to deliver scientific knowledge and philosophy in musical form. At this site you can watch music videos, download songs, read lyrics and find links relating to the messages conveyed by the music. The project owes its existence in large measure to the classic PBS Series Cosmos, by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, and Steve Soter, as well as all the other featured figures and visuals.
I might add, it also owes its existence to the generosity of its patrons as they fund the work through donations. Downloads are available for free.
From a visit to the site and the "About the Symphony of Science" tab, John Boswell provides us with some background and his inspiration for his unique sampling technique he uses to produce these videos. The site  tells us "Inspiration from The Gregory Brothers and DJ Steve Porter, coupled with experience with remixing, composition, and auto-tune, led to experiments with remixing scientists, culminating in Carl Sagan's "A Glorious Dawn" in Fall of 2009."

Amazing to see that they have raised funds for ten of these free Videos to date. If you like this little taste, you can visit the site and enjoy a great feast for all 3 senses at the Symphony of Science website.

I intend on hooking up my iPad to my HD TV when I get home from Shangri-La this weekend and watching them in all their glory! 

Following is the first Video which was produced in the series- "A Glorious Dawn" featuring not only Carl Sagan but also Seven Hawking.  I have included the lyrics - all are available on the website.

[Carl Sagan]
If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch
You must first invent the universe

Space is filled with a network of wormholes
You might emerge somewhere else in space
Some when-else in time

The sky calls to us
If we do not destroy ourselves
We will one day venture to the stars

A still more glorious dawn awaits
Not a sunrise, but a galaxy rise
A morning filled with 400 billion suns
The rising of the milky way

The Cosmos is full beyond measure of elegant truths
Of exquisite interrelationships
Of the awesome machinery of nature

I believe our future depends powerfully
On how well we understand this cosmos
In which we float like a mote of dust
In the morning sky

But the brain does much more than just recollect
It inter-compares, it synthesizes, it analyzes
it generates abstractions

The simplest thought like the concept of the number one
Has an elaborate logical underpinning
The brain has its own language
For testing the structure and consistency of the world

For thousands of years
People have wondered about the universe
Did it stretch out forever
Or was there a limit

From the big bang to black holes
From dark matter to a possible big crunch
Our image of the universe today
Is full of strange sounding ideas

How lucky we are to live in this time
The first moment in human history
When we are in fact visiting other worlds

The surface of the earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean
Recently we've waded a little way out
And the water seems inviting

I see from their website that in July they released the newest -#10 - in the series. It is titled "Children of Africa". It is a musical celebration of humanity, its origins, and achievements, contrasted with a somber look at our environmentally destructive tendencies and deep similarities with other primates. Featuring Jacob Bronowski, Alice Roberts, Carolyn Porco, Jane Goodall, Robert Sapolsky, Neil deGrasse Tyson and David Attenborough.

Not sure why comments seem not clickable - republishing to see if I can fix that.
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