Mad in Pursuit Notebook

Lake Ontario in October

Autumn on Lake Ontario

Oct 24, 2016. The wind has blustered and howled all weekend. We hauled piles of framed art from the condo yesterday and couldn't prop the stormdoor open for fear it would blow off its hinges. Some of the labels and tape on the back of the frames ripped off and flew into the breeze.

This morning I bundled up to cut down a few coneflower stalks that blocked the light to our ground floor level. In the process, I began picking up twigs and branches blown from the silver maples. It was invigorating and I felt like I was "hardening up" -- aclimatizing my old body to harsh winter days ahead. I felt very much at one with the earth and sky and roiling seas, channeling ancient edge dwellers.

I hauled my bucket of sticks and stalks down to the lake and stuffed them through the steps to my slow-cold compost heap -- my token effort to shore up the slope against the onslaught of lake tempests.

Down there, I spied some patches of moss growing on one of the big rocks lining our cove. And me, with an empty bucket!

Moss has been my little autumn gardening delight. The summer's drought toasted my perennial beds. But the October rains have revitalized the splotches of moss I transplanted last spring. In fact, I cleared a weed patch on the side of the house because I saw a glowing layer of moss beneath the creeping Charlie and the mugwort sprouts. I'm not sure I have the patience to be a real moss gardener, tweezing away blades of Bermuda grass. But winter is coming and moss is evergreen, unperturbed by freezing temperatures. Like I want to be.

So I stretched out over the sodden driftwood and picked off what I could of the bright moss. Back by my lower porch, I pulled out patches of straggly grass, scratched the surface with my hand cultivator, then presses the moss into its new home. Like the book recommends, then I stomped on it and gave it a good watering. Tough stuff.

Now I'm back inside, sipping my coffee, energized for the day's chores (and/or procrastinating). A large flock of birds -- mergansers returning? -- are flying low on the horizon. Our cold weather friends.


Books by Susan Barrett Price:

THE SUDDEN SILENCE: A Tale of Suspense and Found Treasure (2015) Thailand: lovers of ancient treasure tangle with international black markets. Delia Rivera pulls Martin Moon back into the game and their quest turns deadly. In paperback and Kindle editions.

TRIBE OF THE BREAKAWAY BEADS: Book of Exits and Fresh Starts (2011) Time after time, Mary asks herself: Do I go or do I stay? She finds her power in her ancestors: Smart women turn discontent into action. An illustrated memoir in paperback and Kindle editions.

PASSION AND PERIL ON THE SILK ROAD: A Thriller in Pakistan and China (2008) The twin forces of revenge and redemption drive Nellie MacKenzie and Taylor Jackson on a crazed adventure into the heart of Central Asia. They grapple with issues of ethics, trust, rage, and bitter heartbreak -- as well as the intrigue of the international antiquities trade. In paperback and Kindle editions.



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