Friday, 1 March 2013


Indeed, March 15 is one of those dates we all carry around in our heads because somewhere along the line most of us studied JULIUS CEASAR (usually in Grade 10, right?) and we've never forgotten the dire warning to "beware the Ides of March"... It's also a good roadmarker on the way to the first day of spring and whether or not there's still snow on the ground, you can believe in the turning of the seasons... it WILL happen, honest it will.

Here, where I live in France, we're missing the snow cover but it's snappy- cold, nevertheless ... not a day goes by that I don't have a fire in the fireplace, and even if not blazing it takes away the chill. So I am in and out and in and out and  in again with big blue IKEA bags of wood and kindling.

How lovely it must be to not feel the cold... and as I watch the life of birds and animals in the stream below this house, it does amaze me. Does not that little beaver feel chilled to the bone? (Yes, we have beavers here, who do grave damage to trees but never seem to get round to building lodges and dams... they're smaller than their Canadian cousins, but  "busy as a little castor" would be an appropriate phrase...
and I suppose I should thank them for bringing down trees I can use for my fire.)

You can see here the result of  their labour beside our stream
Besides critters such as castors, who tend not to be often visible, they just leave their trace in fallen trees, there are fish and birds to delight the eye, and in the past few years I've been writing poetry about the life  I observe in this little stream (the Ourne). Two poems (Small Fish... and Heron Departing)  found their way into  Issue #103 of THE NEW QUARTERLY, one of my favorite Canadian literary journals, alongside BRICK.  If you don't know TNQ, now is the time to have a look, they have a website you can access in a minute!

You'll be doing yourself a great favour, for this magazine is a repository of some of the best poetry, fiction and non-fiction memoir and reviews that you'll ever come across. I've been a fan for 20 years!

Speaking of the fish-eating heron, we also are often visited by egrets, so white you'd swear they bleach themselves daily... brilliant, graceful, and crazy for fish. This one may be building a nest nearby, I certainly hope so. The photos were taken from my study window yesterday morning.

Coming in to land, checking the water at the same time
And there's breakfast, getting snapped up

And it's down the hatch, and a stroll in freezing water in search of more!