Sunday, 2 September 2012

Happy Anniversary!

This week has been an easy ribbon of transition. I folded well into a new home rather quickly and by Tuesday I had my inspiration wall pinned up in front of my desk. I measure how well I have moved into a new homestead when my pictures of ink spots, colour swatches, shoes, sunsets, and snails is tacked to the wall above where all of the creating will occur. 

I now live in one of the suburbs of beautiful Charlottetown. Although I am lamenting the loss of the down town hustle and bustle, the lights, smells, and sites, there are things in the suburbs that I have come to enjoy and treasure. For one the air is more open out here, rich gusts of wind proudly flow through the streets as if it owned every space of air it moved. The streets are quiet and void of practically all traffic. Spacious yards fill the spaces between the houses making up patches of green get aways.  

I live a ten minute jaunty bike ride to work now and although my little subdivision haven is quiet of the daily bustle commute to work, the high way that my place of work resides on is not. Every morning I fearlessly but nervously ride along side the heavy traffic some mornings are more frightening than others, for example when big transport trucks come rushing past me, nearly blowing me off the road and into rhubarb. But for the most part traffic is kind and they share the road quite generously. The only down fall to biking to work is the massive hill I have to conquer, to and from work. On the way to work it is the hardest, my legs have barely had time to wake up and I am pushing them to carry me and my lunch up a steep mean hill. Zipping down the other side is bitter, the morning air so fresh it raises the hair on your arms and rich gusts of sea air smack you in the face to make sure you are really awake. But at the end of the ride I am steaming, exhilarated, and sweaty. It starts my blood pumping and gives my lungs a deep gulp of air. 

On September 1, 2012 I celebrated my one year anniversary of living on the Island. I can’t believe I have lived here for one year already. Where did the time go? How did I spend that time? What did I learn? Time doesn’t ever really go anywhere, it continues to circle around us, cradling us through our seasons of love, hate, hurt, and healing. As I reflect on the time I have spent here I can confidently say I have spent it wisely. I have devoted 8 months to learning about the art of pastries. Diving into the maze of colours, aromas, tastes, and textures of food that make the body grow, energize, and satisfy. I have taken countless walks along stretches of sand, paths of pavement, winding board walks, and I even charted my own trails. I have biked through weather bombs, trudged through snow, and skipped through dappled kisses of sunlight. I have gone on sleigh rides, watched parades, poked jelly fish, and pierced my ears! I have climbed cliffs, stretched out on soft patches of graces, built an upside down snowman, picked apples and made apple sauce. I sang the national anthem, made an epic amount of pancakes, and laughed until my bladder threatened to burst. 

On a deeper note I have learned a lot about myself and God has shown up quite tangibly in my life this past year. The one thing about moving away from the support of everyone you know and love you quickly leanr that when you need a shoulder to cry on, God is first and foremost at your side, eager and able to hear your tremendous amount of tears. God has shown me that I am fashioned not formed. I am a woman, I have surprisingly accepted that truth and embraced it with all its shape, smell, and site. Anyone that knew me before this year would say that I was more rock n’ roll than elegance, more comfortable in a pair of scruffy jeans and a concert t-shirt than a dress and earrings. I have come to realize my strengths and how valuable they are to me and to the world around me. God has taught me that my hands are so valuable in furthering His kingdom. Whether I use them to bake, clean, build, paint, sing, knit or crochet, God has blessed my hands and I am so humbled that He would choose them to glorify Him. I have learned that I am old fashioned, a lover of aged beauty, I am a romantic at heart and will always favour long timeless walks. I have heard God speak to me through people, whispers on my heart, visions, and in tongues. I have learned that I love the smell of the ocean, and I love rich soiled land. I have a passion for providing for people, for serving them and for loving them. I have come to love prayer time and enjoy blessing others with words of affirmation from God. I have learned that I have a restless spirit for the adventure whether that be climbing a cliff in my bare feet, swimming in the ocean alone, trying a new recipe, or just pushing myself to spend a day in silence with no distractions from my computer, phone, or music, just me and a cup of coffee. There is so much more I have learned that I can’t begin to put into words and so much more I know that Island has yet to teach me. 

To celebrate such a joyous life transformation occasion I spent Friday afternoon at Avonlea village and Gardens of Hope with my dear friend Karen. We spent the better part of 3 hours wondering the tiny village meandering into the shops, chatting with the actors who make up the fictional Avonlea characters, and we even watched a pig race. Our first stop in the village was the Avonlea Artisan shop. It was full of hand made jewelry, pens, pot holders, quilts, paintings, and wonderful things of that nature. The lady managing the store was president of the “Temperate Society” and although she played pleasant and jovial she whispered audibly that she didn’t approve of my shorts and t-shirt. When I began to jabber on about how much I loved the sea glass necklaces she said, “Well you have good taste, even though your clothes are more than a little revealing.” I laughed and then mentioned I had a tattoo which brought her to a state of shock, I thought she was going to excommunicate me from the village. She replied, “I hear only sailors and women of relaxed morals have tattoos.” To ease her judgments the thought crossed my mind to purchase a trinket but with the promise of moving again I need to lighten my packing load rather than increase it. 

My favourite part about the village was the Avonlea dress up shop. You are free to wonder in and try on anything that suits your fancy. There are plenty of Anne hats to go around and I couldn’t not get my picture taken with me wearing one. I found a fabulous over the top black hat, a ruffled blouse, high waist green skirt and to top it all off a pair of white lace gloves. I was in my glory dressing up like a character straight out of Road to Avonlea and posing in front of the small sets they provided. 

After walking through the barn yard and catching a glimpse of a pig race Karen and I made our way to the Gardens of Hope. It is a beautiful 8 acre stretch of green hills, gardens, and a small woodland with dozens of little paths and places of visual respite. The gardens over look the charming little town of New Glasgow and all the pastures, quaint houses, and eagles nests that you can see. Gardens of Hope is also home to the only butterfly sanctuary on the Island. It’s about the size of an above average green house but there are hundreds of tropical butterflies flitting and swooping about. Some will land on a flower right next to you and if you are lucky they will land on you. I was determined to have one land on me so Karen and I tried everything to make that dream happen. We took a piece of fruit and put it on my shoulder, we tried herding butterflies towards me, I encouraged them to sit on my finger, and I even tried just sitting still for a moment but nothing worked. It seems that they always land on the people that are afraid them and they don’t land on the people that aren’t. Sigh. The butterfly house on the whole was a fabulous experience. I love butterflies. I LOVE butterflies! 

On Saturday, the actual anniversary day, I biked my way into town and spent a delicious hour and a bit at my favourite café, Leonards Café. I had an exceptionally delicious cup of coffee, a sinfully cinnamon tasting slice of carrot cake, and the tastiest company in my dear friend Lindsay. It was her one year anniversary of living on the Island as well. We talked about the highs and lows of the past year, what we had learned, what our plans for the future were, what our favourite part of the Island was, and other such topics. We strolled through the beautiful afternoon sunshine and ended our visit in Richmond Park under a shady maple. It was there that I said my first good-bye in a long line of good-byes. It is that time, the time to embrace the last month on Island and to begin saying farewells to the people I have come to love here. I know that I should look at this month as one more month for adventure, one final charge through the unknown, one final stretch along the shore, but at the end of those thoughts there is an edge of sadness. I know I will always return to the Island, I have made a packed within my heart to always return once a year. But it’s the prolonging of the good-byes that makes me pause in bitterness. 

But enough of all that sadness, as I mentioned I still have one more month before I have to cry buckets. Right now I want to simmer in the truth that I have lived on this magical pocket sized province for an entire year! I will fall asleep tonight with a smile on my face as I reflect on all the joys and challenges I have had here. It has been a fantastic year! 

Lucy M. Montgomery's sewing machine

Avonlea Church

Another statue, I really loves statues. 

Lots and lots of fun hats!

Now that's a writing desk. 

The writer at work. 

I look like Rachel Lynnd! 

I loved this dressup, so much fun!!!

Anne and Gilbert reconciling. 

Marilla and a morally relaxed sailor. 

Dianna and Anne. 

All ready for the pig race!


Feeding the butterflies. 

One of the trails at Gardens of Hope. 

Happy Anniversary Lindsay!

Happy Anniversary!

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