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March 31, 2020

A Riot Of Daffodils

By Maryanna Gabriel

Well we can still go for walks. That hasn't been taken away. I walked to an older historic part of Salt Spring Island where there is a point of land and daffodils are riotously crowding. There is no structure on the point as it is now a park. I don't know the story of the old garden, but above  the point are apple trees. The setting is in a grove of Gary Oak which is very precious.

On the way I passed a building that is still standing that used to be a dairy. One day the roof will fall in and the park will take it down but at the moment it has a haunted feeling of yore. I stopped and took photos on such a beautiful spring day.

March 30, 2020

Silent Singing

Our Choirmaster
By Maryanna Gabriel

Hard times, hard times, come again no more. Many days you have lingered around my cabin door." - Stephen Foster

Last night I had the bizarre experience of being in a silent choir. Over a hundred of us joined one another on zoom as the choir master led us. We had our mic's muted. I watched a hundred faces mouth the words. In a way it was liberating. If I turned the video so that I could see them and they couldn't see me. I did the dishes, made tea, and then took the laptop into the bathroom where I had a bath with them all singing merrily away and me along with them. It was an unusual choir practice but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

We sang a John Prine song as he is listed in critical condition from the virus and John Prine stories were shared. I hope he comes through. 

March 28, 2020

Trying To Be Normal

By Maryanna Gabriel

     There are times when one can almost forget. I love those moments. Then it starts to come back like a bad dream, much like grief. The unbelievable numbers that come pouring in are momentarily forgotten.

     Yesterday I decided that after twenty minutes of news, that was enough. I made a really beautiful pudding cake and I love it so much I am sharing it here. It has a
soft comforting texture and is good with yogurt or ice cream. The lemon is delicious. I decided to raid the garden and added a mixture of rhubarb and mango. Wow. Was that ever a good idea. 

Lemon Pudding Cake 

1 c flour
3/4 sugar
1/4 tsp salt
Rhubarb showing encouragingly in my garden.
1/4 tsp soda
2 eggs
1/4 c yogurt
3 tbsp light olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla
1 c fruit (optional) finely chopped

Two bowls, one for dry ingredients, one for wet. Add the wet ingredients to the dry much like you are making muffins. Bake in a casserole dish, 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden. 

© All Rights Reserved. Unless otherwise indicated, all blog content copyright Maryanna Gabriel.

March 18, 2020

Big Island Covid Update

By Maryanna Gabriel 

With thanks to my friend Martha for this.
     Riding on the ferry from a serious grocery shop in the Cowichan Valley, and I am coming home without toilet paper. I checked three large grocery stores. None. Nada. Nix. I considered it a major score I found tissues.

      On the big island the entire poultry and beef sections were completely empty. The produce section had huge gaps. When someone sneezed near the flour I felt like running. It was then I realized how vulnerable I was.

     "Sneeze into your arm," I said. "You are scaring people." The man avoided my eye and walked away. Even if he had been covering his mouth, it wouldn't have made a difference if he was infected. It was one of those kind of sneezes.

     I made it to a landscaping center. The man on the cash was barking orders over the phone.

      "What are you closing?" I asked. I couldn't help but overhear.

      "I own a gas station up island. One of our employees has symptoms."

      "Oh," I said. Oh dear. I wanted to come home at that point. I decided to skip my favourite bakery. I had just purchased a huge bag of flour anyway. So what if their blackberry cinnamon buns are pillowy soft and to die for.

       Riding the ferry back to the island I am so glad to be returning to the property. I tune into Canadian radio. More border restrictions - am so proud of Canada. The cusp of grace that is this period in time is fast narrowing.

© All Rights Reserved. Unless otherwise indicated, all blog content copyright Maryanna Gabriel.

March 17, 2020

For The Love Of Touch

By Maryanna Gabriel

     They have cancelled the Saturday Market which is huge blow to the Salt Spring Island economy. As I watch the local grocer's being pillaged and a box of tissue does not seem to be available, I have been noticing what a loss it is, to not touch, or be touched.

     Sometimes there is a weighing of risk with an affectionate shoulder bump but as our lives may be depending on it, we are in a boot camp of new social norms. It has all happened so quickly.

     We are social creatures so it is a strange way to be living. 
It will make hugs more appreciated when the new day dawns and we get through this.

      Oh no. Did I just touch my face?

© All Rights Reserved. Unless otherwise indicated, all blog content copyright Maryanna Gabriel.

March 4, 2020

Where Black Birds Sing

By Maryanna Gabriel

There is a place I like to go. It is near the ocean. The red-winged blackbirds sing there, only in the early spring, in a cacophony of sound that fills the soul. I don't know why they
Red-winged Blackbird In Spring

like this particular spot but they do. I like to go there, and stand and listen. It makes me feel happy when I hear them.

Yesterday I tried to find hand sanitizer on the island. I went to every store, four that I could think of. We sold out earlier this week. Just gone.

It was a wake up call as to how close to home the worries about the virus actually are. Some of you know I am studying creative writing at Simon Fraser University. One of the students I share with lives in China. She has been writing about what it is like to be under quarantine, her sadness over what has happened in Wuhan, her worries about her son, and trying to keep her spirits up, as she has been unable to leave her apartment.

I think it is important to remember to keep things simple, to appreciate the little things that make life worth living, and to keep finding the gifts in every day. For me today, it is hearing the red-winged black birds sing.

© All Rights Reserved. Unless otherwise indicated, all blog content copyright Maryanna Gabriel.