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May 27, 2019

When The Wild Places Go

By Maryanna Gabriel



"The mind I love must have the wild places."
- Katherine Mansfield



Such a sweet spot it had been. An old tree shaded a rocky shelf that was perfect for swimming. My throat caught as I stared at the new Water Processing Plant all built up with concrete and gravel with bulwarks to prevent people accessing the lake. The beautiful old cedar with friendly curved branches was gone. I tried not to weep. If there are places left for us folk seeking the wilder places I don't know where they are without trespassing and my knee is too much of a liability for frolicking over logs and gates in the predawn hours. I am sure you understand. It is such a busy world and there are so many of us. I think of the changes I have witnessed since I came here to this island twenty five years ago (pre-internet imagine!) and I seriously have to shake my head. It is impossible not to feel sad.

May 11, 2019

Gates

By Maryanna Gabriel

Recently I hired a carpenter to help me with some gates. I have found that as a general rule, if I can find someone who will work it is an exercise fraught with peril. This gentleman at first gave me a quote that by my
estimation was about $100 an hour but I was desperate. I said that maybe he could show me why it would cost that much and I gave him the go ahead. During the process of enduring him on the job site he told me constantly what I needed to do that I was not doing in in the micro-universe of my life that he was observing. He ignored instructions and requests. I showed him something that needed attending and he proceeded to tell me how to do it and much to my amazement walked away. How does this happen? In the end, he said he was finished and came in at what I figured was $60 an hour. It was outrageous. However I did have two new gates. After paying him, I proceeded to finish the job he started. I got out my sander and buffed away. I hid a huge crack with a charming heart because he screwed without drilling first. I figured out how to extend what he had started because I had what he did as a map and managed to stabilize a rickety situation. I plucked up the courage mostly through indignation or is it anger to do the job he walked away from and it works just fine. You are probably thinking I am not very smart. Trust me. I am. I have the gates. They look fantastic and I got them within three days of my initial request. It turns out he needed groceries. I consider myself lucky. This is a record and I have been living here on this island for 25 years.

May 5, 2019

Lunch

By Maryanna Gabriel


These days when I finish the back lawn in the garden it is time to do the lawn out front. I know I walked 800 kilometers across Northern Spain but sometimes it seems an incredible act of escape to leave the property and just plain saunter. Today I was successful and walking by the ocean I came across a stand that sold asparagus.  My stomach growled. Racing home with my purchase I steamed the asparagus and added a crumbled white English cheese, some balsamic reduction, lemon butter and freshly grated pepper and parking myself outside in the sunshine, I set to this spring delicacy. My attention was drawn to a flock of noisy robins overhead. About twenty were gathered in the tree above and were squawking. I watched as a huge bird moved among them. It was an enormous raven. In it's mouth dangled feathers and flesh and so it seemed that a fledgling was for lunch. I grieved for the baby robin and the robins chasing it hoping to retrieve and revive the helpless morsel. Needless to say it wasn't going to happen. Hard to accept.