Once around the circle…

Hello again. Welcome back. I know. It’s been a while.

I’m sitting on my balcony as darkness falls. A chill glass of white from a neighbourhood winery sits to hand. The distant clouds are frosted in pink, the nearer hills shading to bronze; following a week under the shroud of a smokey haze, it’s lovely to breathe clear air and see down the valley again. The crickets have begun their nightly chorus – the rhythmic song of late summer that lulled me to sleep my first nights here.

It was a year ago this weekend that I left behind my home in Ontario. I’ve come round the calendar, marking the changes and learning the rhythms of this new home. I’ve seen the summer orchards shade to bronze and copper, watched as winter crept down from the peaks and watched it retreat again, drank in the scent of orchards in blossom, marvelled as clusters of fruit appeared among the rows.  It was peach season when I arrived and it’s peach season again; each day’s offering bigger and juicier than the day before. Berries, apricots and cherries have had their day, now root vegetables and field tomatoes are crowding the stalls. Cabbages and pumpkins ripen in the fields, the trees are burdened with still-green apples.

Summer is far from over here in the Okanagan – but I’ll be heading off in the morning to spend the remaining weeks of the season in Turkey.  After a year of exploring and learning a new place, it’s time to return to a familiar one. The dig at Zincirli opened at the beginning of August and I’ve had word that lovely objects have emerged from the soil and are waiting to be drawn. I’m eager to reconnect with friends – it’s been nearly two years! – and I’m wondering how the sleepy little village of Fevzipaşa has fared meanwhile. I’m awash in thoughts of steaming tea in tulip glasses, tiny cups of morning espresso, late night conversations in a windy courtyard and early mornings awakening to a somewhat-less-than-melodious call to prayer. Adventure – of a sort – awaits.

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If you’ve been following this blog previously, you have an idea of what’s to come. If you’re new here – you may want to take a look at this early post to catch up on what I’m up to. Old friend or new – I hope you’ll come along!

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Hitting the button…

Previously on this blog:

I’ve been back nearly three months and creating this record is taking far longer than I imagined. Meanwhile I’m trying to get a house ready for selling and down-sizing for a move, so my time has been occupied elsewhere. Heartiest of apologies for making you wait for the instalments! I’ll keep plugging away…

Well, I didn’t. I didn’t keep plugging away. Instead I vanished beneath the tide of downsizing and packing up and moving out and moving in and unpacking. Sorry. Here I am, nearly a year away from the events of that last post, dressing again for a morning hike. Framed in my bedroom window, the crest of the hills across the valley is dusted with last nights’ snow.

No, I’m not in the Himalayas.

I’m at home – my new home in the Okanagan valley in British Columbia, thousands of miles west of where I wrote that last post. Although the slopes that frame this valley are not mountains in any Himalayan sense, they are an inspiring new context for the simplest aspect of my existence. Walking to the post box, driving into town for groceries, dropping off a book at the library – I look up to a horizon crowded by beauty.

Previously, I’d only seen the Okanagan in sunshine – endless brilliant days of light glinting off water and orchard and vineyard. Since my arrival in August, there’s been an unusually high incidence of wet and misty days. Now that daylight savings time has ended, darkness descends far too early. Nonetheless, I am finding myself endlessly spellbound by the myriad colours of the mountains – emerald and gold and bronze shading in the fading light to navy and indigo. The rising angle of the sun splinters a silhouetted range into a succession of peaks and then blends them again into a single inky mass. Some days the clouds mosey down the valley like a rag tag herd of sheep; other days the mist flows over the peaks in ribbons, pooling in the hollows. I might wake with the world shrouded in a cotton mist; by noon the fog has sunk and I am marooned on an island of cloud. Rain or sun or cloud, it’s all new and novel and endlessly delightful. The friends who convinced me to move here gaze from their window and tell me that after seventeen years, it never gets tired. I’m warned by others that the winter will be grey and tiresome. I look at the hills this morning, made newly strange by their dusting of snow and can’t imagine that.

What brought me here? What wind uprooted and blew me across the country? I’m hard pressed to pinpoint exactly what or why, although there are tales to tell now that I’m settled in. When asked a similar question, a woman in my walking group shrugged and said it was just time to hit the ‘reset’ button.

“Yes,” I thought. “Exactly.”

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