One Hour, Peak Summer - theHumm August 2019
One Hour, Peak Summer - theHumm August 2019
By Susie Osler
Yesterday while sitting next to the lower garden down near the pond — a garden that I abandoned with some remorse this spring — I spent an hour writing down the names of the beings I recognized there.
Bee, phoebe, bergamot, bedstraw, brome, bladder campion, clovers, catbird, cleavers… Within minutes my heart was brimming, dazzled by the unexpected beauty of the entire scene — the countless colours and textures illumined by the sun; the infinitely complex web of relationships; the sheer abundance of life simply happening within the small territory in front of me.
July is surrendering to coming August. The pinnacle of summer is now. It’s Leo season. Dry and hot. Ruled by Fire and Sun. There is a quickening of intensity, a concentration and focus to this time of year. It is a time of consolidation, when the rampant growth of preceding months slows and a ripening and maturing of all that creative energy begins to take place. When the August long weekend rolls around, I remark (as though surprised by it each year) that the air and quality of light has changed almost overnight — becoming thinner, clearer, drier and settled.
Dragonfly, deer fly, fly catcher, wasp. Curled dock, yellow dock, ox-eye, goldenrod… Sumac, stinkweed, skipper, vetch, sweet clover, swallowtail, nettle…
With such abundance surrounding me, honing in on one plant for this month’s column has not seemed feasible. Motherwort, yarrow and mullein have tempted me to be sure, but what I have became most captivated by has been the whole, emergent ecology/story of my abandoned garden.
Abandon. It’s a slippery word — at times insinuating a liberating absence of concern, say, of what people think, or, how one should be… a letting go of inhibition, a turn towards the wild and instinctual, a surrender to the emotional. Yet, strangely, the word can also be laden with a tinge of negligence — that one has abandoned a responsibility, or given up on something or someone.
Fleabane, grosbeak, yarrow, oriole, jay… Abandon… The word keeps coming to mind as I sit in front of what used to be a productive garden. This spring, not having the energy or time to contain this garden’s untamable tendencies, I finally — reluctantly, or possibly even shamefully — left her to her own devices. And it appears that her own devices seem to have served her quite well in fact, though it all depends on what lens you choose to look through. Some folk would surely consider the evolving scene here a bit unkempt, unfortunate and heaven forbid, unproductive; but I’m beginning to suspect that I may be developing a soft spot for the unruly and unproductive! (Is this what happens after 50?) And, in any case, by what measure is something or someone deemed productive anyway? Could we imagine that, instead of pounds of produce per inch, productivity could be measured by, say, the number of relationships occurring within a given space, or the amount of beauty it generates, or the stories it inspires…? And what about considering the quality of habitat for birds and insects the space offers, and perhaps even the pleasure it affords them rather than us, or maybe even both? Alas, could we measure such things? In any case, here and now, my abandoned garden has already transformed herself into something more beautiful, lively, and biodiverse than ever she was when “under management”.
There is so much to delight in here — in her wilding, tangled tapestry! As I watch, two juvenile catbirds awkwardly explore the widening world beyond their woven circle of birth — flapping and fluffing — tentatively testing their newfound wings. A phoebe boomerangs out from willow’s canopy, deftly snatching a moth above mullein and returning back to her willow branch to swallow a mouthful of powdery wings. Bumblebees bumble and buzz into the abundance of small yellow stamen-laden mullein flowers, packing pollen into rich, golden pouches on their hind legs. An occasional blossom, now spent, releases itself (when/why does the flower make the call to fall exactly?), dropping delicately from the tall flower-encrusted stalk to the ground. Hundreds of impressions wash through me over the course of just an hour, each revealing a micro-moment in a tidal flow of relationships — and each becoming a reminder of the ceaseless continuum of life.
Hummingbird, timothy, oats, artemesia… I’m finding myself no longer able to separate one thread from the whole tapestry laid out before me. I am being enveloped in the entire story that is weaving itself around me like a blanket. Is this what it means to become part of the fabric of Nature?
And what is my part — the human part — in this story? Could it be that it is simply the act of reveling in the wild imagination of the world — of noticing, celebrating and attending to the stories that are unfolding everywhere around us each moment? Perhaps the world might benefit from a little less human design and a bit more abandon after all.
Rudbeckia, chickweed. Knotweed, moth, willow, St. John’s wort, dapples and… warblers.
By Sally Hansen
Art… and Soul
In June, 2005, the title of our featured artist article was “Adrian Baker — Putting the Extra in the Ordinary.” At that time her Artist’s Statement was “My intention is to enable the observer to see beyond the familiar and witness the extraordinary in the ordinary.” She has succeeded admirably.
Since then she has upped the ante. Today she paints because “Art is my protest sign.” Maturity suits her. Her current work is an exploration of humanity’s interdependent relatio......
“You can’t imagine how beautiful it was,” sings Tumnus to Lucy about Narnia before the White Witch turned it into a cold winter wasteland. The musical Narnia was written by Jules Tasca, with music composed by Thomas Tierney and lyrics by Ted Drachman. It is based on C.S. Lewis’s classic story of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Together they have all created a unique, enchanted show filled with magical creatures and spirits.
The story is set during World War II and begins with......
By — Jane Stott
It’d be some sin if you missed the Studio Theatre’s production of Salt-Water Moon. There’s gonna be a jolly time when people start talking ’bout this play — like they got a record in them as big as a 45-gallon drum, no mistake! So, if you don’t want to feel like a Friday fish at a Saturday market you’d best come in out of the wet and get on down to the Studio T’eatre, where you’ll be greeted with “Best kind, b’y, and hows’ yerself?”
David French’s touching love story, set in......
Mayors’ Monarch Pledge - theHumm August 2019
Lanark County is taking strides to support and promote restoration of pollinator habitat through several initiatives, including its recent proclamation of the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge Day on June 26.
“Lanark County’s goal is to create diverse roadsides with an abundance of pollinator habitat through practices of planting flowers, seeding disturbed soil, improving maintenance practices and by participating in new projects aimed at improving pollinator habita......
By — Bob Sneyd
At 7pm on Friday, August 16, the internationally-renowned organist Lance Luce will play the inaugural concert of Eastern Ontario’s newest theatre organ. This 40 rank, 3 manual digital instrument is located in Perth’s Creative Community Hub at St. Paul’s United Church (25 Gore St. W.), which is now air-conditioned and fully accessible.
The repertoire will include music to “tap the toes” of all generations, with sounds and effects along musical roads less travelled, including ......
Calling All Wild Children! Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust’s Annual Festival of the Wild Child - theHumm August 2019
The third annual Festival of the Wild Child, a two-day event at High Lonesome Nature Reserve in the Pakenham Hills, takes place on August 24 and 25. Open to the public from 10am to 4pm, this festival is offered by the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT) and provides a variety of stations along wooded trails and by ponds to learn, explore and engage with the natural world.
Knowledgeable volunteers will be at each station to help open windows into the many wonders of nature. A......
This Labour Day Weekend, get ready for forty artists to converge in Maberly and create the annual Sundance Artisan Show!
Celebrating their 13th year on the Fall River Restaurant festival grounds (21980 Hwy 7 in Maberly), Sundance artists are preparing to show off their latest creations. The outdoor setting is a picturesque backdrop of open field lined by a forest and a lush riverbank with the stone ruins of an old mill. Under a string of white-canopied tents, artists display their wares f......
Taking the Show on the Road Or, What Starts with “f”, Ends with “uck”, and Makes Delicious Food? - theHumm August 2019
By Sebastian Weetabix
There are many unanswered questions, and even more that are unasked, but there are seldom unanswerable questions. A diligent quest by Weetabix was triggered by the question: “What starts with the letter ‘f’ and ends with ‘uck’?” Herewith some words on a local seasonal phenomenon, the out-door restaurant or Food Truck.
In the beginning was the Chip Wagon — and it was good. Evolution drives the basic phenotype (a deep-fryer on wheels) towards more specialized and sophisti......
On Saturday, August 10, Paddle for Almonte General Hospital will again bring the community together for a fun, family-friendly affair featuring raft races at the Almonte Beach in support of quali......
Singers of all stripes and abilities are invited to SING! For SchoolBOX on Wednesday, August 14 from 7–9pm at Equator Coffee (451 Ottawa St. in Almonte). No experience is necessary. Singers will ......
The Regimental Band of the Governor General’s Foot Guards will be returning for their fifth concert at St. Paul’s United Church (aka the “Creative Community Hub”) in Perth, on Labour Day Sunday, ......
Once upon a time a young reader entered the book industry. She learned to sell, serve, market, write, design and do data entry until the cows came home. She loved it all. She moved to Almonte and......
For those who remember the 1960s and 1970s, there were certain spine-tingling bedside table titles that were always kept away from the kids. Among the most popular of them was Ira Levin’s Rose......
By — Maureen Korp is a writer, historian and lecturer who reads theHumm faithfully.
More than a hundred years ago, German artist Käthe Kollwitz’s lithographs, etchings and sculpture had people talking on both sides of the Atlantic. Her subject? Working people, their life-long cr......
By — Angie Arendt is the Director of Big Stone House: a Center for Courageous Living in Almonte <bigstonehouse.ca>
The middle drawer of my office desk is only a couple of inches deep and a bit over a foot wide. In it belong some simple necessities: a couple of pens and some scratch paper, extra staples, a pai......
By — Lucie Perrier is a Councillor in Greater Madawaska
The Calabogie Summer Market has become a great Saturday draw this year! It attracts vendors from Renfrew, Dunrobin, Almonte and Carleton Place (to name a few), and is free to vendors who wish to ......
A new two-day festival brimming with live music, dance, cirque, drumming, art, nature, inspiration, conversation and storytelling will help us focus on enjoying life. JoyFest will be bringing a h......
May 12 - Jun 18 Exhibition: Close to Home
May 26 - Jul 2 Exhibition: Gayle Kells' Rooted in Time
Jun 18 - 27 Art in the Garden
Jun 19 - Jul 4 Abstract & Landscape art show
Jul 3 - 4 Almonte Celtfest - Virtual Edition
- Frank Sammut —Fine Wood Working
- Warden Proclaims June as PRIDE Month
- Seeds(or, Tiny Bodies with a Determined Will to Flourish)
- Rural Root’s Comedic Double-Feature
- Pop Up Summer Theatre
- Gayle Kells:Rooted in Time
- Art in the Garden 2021 Event Allows for Social Distancing
- Destination: Downtown Smiths Falls
- Abstract + Landscape An Interview with Sarah Moffat
- Invasive Perennials — Buyer Beware!