Fall-ing

Here we are at the first day of autumn already, in a year that can only be described as Anno Horribilis.

It’s been unseasonably cool this September after the hottest July on record. This is now my kind of weather – comfortable daytime temperatures, cool nights for sleeping, and hints of changing colour.

However, it seems that the season isn’t the only thing that’s changing. I feel I am changing too.

Being in lockdown all spring because of Covid fed my inner Hermit. I thrived with the inward contemplation. I painted, I took online courses, and I read books that fuelled my creative soul.

My life took on a quiet rhythm without the demands of the external world.

By mid-June as Ontario was opening up again, I stayed in isolation – this time self-imposed. I had surgery on my right foot and couldn’t drive for 6 weeks. I couldn’t swim, or cycle, or go for walks. I couldn’t do much of anything – except paint, and read, and continue with online courses.

My inner Hermit was now firmly entrenched, and the drive to explore and experience the outside world had disappeared. I was more than content to stay cocooned in my little bubble without the external distractions.

And yet here I am looking at a calendar that is now starting to fill again with activities. How did that happen when I was so sure it wouldn’t?

I blame it on a decision to go to Vancouver Island in mid-August to visit Deb from Widow Badass. I wrote about that visit here on my blog Following a Bold Plan.

That trip changed everything.

Hornby Island

It turned out my wanderlust was only dormant, not dead at all, and I began to hear the siren call of the trail again.

Neck Point, Vancouver Island

I’m having trouble focusing on my latest art project or any of the 5 online courses still in progress. I look outside at the sunny, blue skies and think of so many other things I could be doing.

I even managed to talk my main squeeze into taking a hike with me.

So on this first day of autumn I enjoyed the view from my kayak, rejoicing in the sights and smells of September, with the smallest feeling of guilt that I’ve shed my bubblewrap and ventured back outdoors.

In my opinion, this falls into the category of essential travel.

114 comments

  1. Oh, I believe you’re doing it right: doing just what feels best at the time. And also – if they disallow the outdoors, you will do all you can to enjoy the indoors. I call this common sense, and yet so few people seem to display it. I looove the first art piece. Amazing. Does it have a name? Is it tridimensional or does it just appear this way? Carry on, you’ll be alright in every case.

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  2. Coming from Ally’s been blog where I saw your comment – after a wild ride of selling our house, and moving from W coast to (almost) E coast, Austin Texas, am still catching up in blogland. After discovering that a plugin for the Classical Editor would be $300 a year, I decided that was way too much, so nothing is left for me than to learn this ridiculous editor. I have come as far as know how to do a paragraph and an image.The rest is still a secret to me.

    Wow, you had many great experiences since my absence! Also did not know you painted! Good for you:) In the summer I have gone back to watercolor to learn some more techniques. Watercolor has changed a lot since I learned it. It’s more colorful and more transparent.

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    • Wow – you’ve certainly had your hands full! Hope you’re all settled comfortably into your new home now.

      I don’t pretend (even in my wildest delusions πŸ˜‰) that I’m a ‘real’ painter. It’s more of an interest I picked up a couple of years ago and am slowly learning basics. I had no idea it could be so exciting, frustrating, peaceful, annoying, creative, who-am-I-kidding … πŸ™‚

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      • Only after twenty years I gathered the guts to tell that I was a painter. It just takes a loooong time, no matter which medium. Hey, I ust read your post from April. That was pretty honest:) Hope you are more confident America is going to make it? Oh, there are still plenty of issues to deal with, like the groups who are violent, all the election stuff, it might still take half a year till we can say we weathered the storm, but I hope you can see hope for the future? One night in Twin Hearte (hubby was building a new deck for a cabin) an angel came to me in the night and said, “You need to double down in prayer, for America is about to lose its favor.” I am not one who sees angels regularly, so I hope I have enough doubled down. Have to say though, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Really hope you are out of that depressive dip. If we stay close to God, there is nothing to fear!! Why am I so sure? Read Ps 91.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally understand what you mean by that, I was so comfortable being cooped up and the rest of the world not expecting me to come put anytime soon. As soon as Madrid started opening up, Ifelt more miserable than the quarantine because it brought to light the fact that I’m not choosing to be outside and maybe that was wrong. This thirst to go exploring is also true, introverted people can still crave to see new things at the same time. I hope you had a good kayak session, it’s always been a dream

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    • The one thing about blogging that continues to surprise me (even though it shouldn’t) is to discover that others feel and experience the same things .. and this pandemic has really put an exclamation mark on it.

      Our covid numbers in Toronto have been steadily rising and stricter controls seem to be introduced every day. Except for our sons, I’m back into lockdown. I don’t know if it’s going to be harder this time or not … but I certainly don’t have any shortage of things to keep me entertained πŸ™‚

      Stay well!

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  4. Joanne, you have so many wonderful phrases – “shedding my bubble wrap” and Anno Horribilis are my faves. Your art is stunning – definitely something good came from the Pandemic. And your kayaking makes me long for the water. I only recently discovered your other blog and really enjoyed your trip to Vancouver Island. We’ll all keep our fingers crossed that things continue to improve. ~Terri

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    • Thank you so much, Terri. This is a late-in-life foray into the creative world for me and there is just so much I don’t know. I’m thrilled when something turns out ‘presentable’ πŸ™‚ But I’ve also turned out a LOT of yuck.

      So many people have – and continue to – suffer through this pandemic, so I feel guilty when I feel that it’s been good for me. It provided me with oodles of time to just hunker down and get absorbed in learning and doing. There are many days now when I feel the ‘real world’ is intruding in my happy space 😏

      Be well, stay well. There are still many long months ahead of us in this strange new world of pandemic.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I get it, Joanne, on thriving with the inward contemplation. I think many of us appreciate a break from the demands of the external world. Even when it is forced upon us. A huge wow on your paintings. The two people one especially draw me in. Your photo of Hornby Island gives me goosebumps. Beautiful! Oh, yeah, I (almost) forgot. I was there. Lucky me! Shedding bubble wrap….a perfect description! And, your last sentence says it all. A great post, Joanne!❀️

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    • Thank you, Erica πŸ’•

      Sometimes my visit to Vancouver Island feels like it was a million years ago … and then there are days like yesterday. As I was driving to a farmer’s market, looking at the flat uninspiring terrain around me, I imagined the mountains of the island instead and it was glorious. It appears that the island spell is still with me πŸ™‚

      Cooler temperatures have set in here, and with our covid numbers climbing to new heights, it seems that I will be putting the bubblewrap on again. All those painting supplies I put away only a week ago will likely get pulled back out before this week is over πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • I love that thought – “Wanderlust may seem to leave us at times, but it’s just recuperating”. Recuperating is an excellent way to look at it!
      Unfortunately, with our covid numbers increasing in Ontario and the government finally acknowledging we are in a 2nd wave, I guess any wanderlust I may feel will have to be parked for a while

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is beautiful 🀩
    I enjoyed every minute of the read and your writing style is just amazing…
    I also have a blog… Don’t forget to check it out… Make sure you like and follow too
    Thanks and more power to you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great to see you back here Joanne. I had no idea about your surgery. I’m assuming all went well with the recovery? Your art is beautiful! I hope this winter you will find some time to continue. Please pass on my thanks to your muse for returning. I look forward to chatting.

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    • Thanks Sue. I admit that it feels nice to have been missed πŸ₯°

      My recovery has been very good. As you know, bones heal in a predictable fashion, but soft tissue can remain grouchy and temperamental for an indefinite period of time. Thankfully I seem to be coming out the other side on that score!

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  8. Love the paintings! I can relate, Joanne. I’ve been quite happy all by myself, cocooned in this guest room for months, focusing on what I want to achieve. I know it’s temporary as well, which helps but also obstructs the situation as a deadline makes me stress about everything that needs to be done before we hit the road again. Yes. I am getting itchy feet, but I need to be in the right spot mentally and writerly as well. Either way – for you, for me, for everyone probably, the perfect balance between hermit life and outside fun is what we need! πŸ™‚

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  9. Beautiful paintings that suggest your hermit-ing is a good thing. Just not too much of it. I admire your spunk in traveling this summer and enjoyed your photos. As a person who’s gone nowhere lately I love seeing what other people are doing.

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    • It was a bold decision made with a lot of am-I-the-stupidest-person-ever considerations, but in the end I think it helped preserve my sanity. Of course if I had become sick – or worse, made other people sick – I wouldn’t feel quite the same way about the travelling I did.

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  10. First up: your paintings are great, especially the first one 😍.
    It’s good to hear that you’re getting out and enjoying nature again, and it’s heartening to know you’ve shaken the hermit off. I feel like a total hermit these days; perhaps a trip away is what I need too.

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  11. We had a record-breaking hot July as well. And now seem to be in a cold snap. But I do love fall. The air changes and makes things feel magical again. I start to believe that anything is possible, which helps draw me out of my cocoon. Although I fully love my hermit self. πŸ˜‰ Your paintings are amazing. I’ve been thinking about picking up a paintbrush. The other day I felt inspired to try a gradient painting. So I’ve gathered the supplies. Your day in the kayak definitely looks like essential travel. πŸ™‚

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    • Our infection numbers have been rising for a few weeks now and I think the evidence is there that the 2nd wave has started.

      I believe it will be worse this time around because so many people are weary of the precautions. At the rate things are going, I will be crawling back under my rock again sooner rather than later.

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  12. A – I had no idea you had a second blog (me 2 – well actually 3 in total)
    B – your art is amazing and obviously what you needed
    C – with the second wave and winter on its way we all need to take advantage of the early autumn weather
    D – I also have an inner hermit and didn’t realize how comfortable I was in my own skin and place
    E – glad your muse is back

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    • A – You have more blogs?!
      B – Thanks πŸ™‚ I’m discovering a new part of me and I like it!
      C – I fear the 2nd wave is here and all the naysayers make me very nervous. Stupid / ill-informed people in large numbers are very dangerous.
      D – Hermits are under-rated
      E – I missed my muse and I’m happy to have her back again.

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      • Yes I have our original house one — 1918EatonsEager, my main one that you’ve connected to, a daily one called
        3six5snap — photos and haikus. Then a private one that has not notes for a book that rattles around inside my head. Great that you have discovered your artistic side as this fall and winter you will need it like you needed today’s lovely kayak. We are all going to be hermit like again I suspect.

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  13. Definitely essential travel! Says someone who hasn’t gone more than 50 miles away this year! Thank goodness for my garden, but I worry about winter which I loathe anyway. Love your paintings! You are very talented. Maybe I need to find an indoor hobby.

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    • Thanks Jude for the kind words, but this is only the stuff I’m willing to share. Most of my work is a LOT of πŸ’©!

      There is a lot to be said for an indoor hobby. I never look forward to winter, but now I don’t face it with the same dread.

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  14. I find it hard to focus on indoor activities when the weather is nice – our problem has been the smoke. It’s made breathing outside almost impossible. I really like your paintings! Good job!

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    • I’ve heard from a number of people about the poor air quality out west. We even had a couple of days way out here where our skies were ‘milky’ with smoke, but it was high in the atmosphere and just made the sunlight look weird. Such a terrible situation.

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  15. Joanne, I wasn’t sure if it was the weather changing or getting a road trip (safely) under our belts, but I too have been feeling a bit jiggy these past few weeks. Maybe there is life after Covid. I knew that visit to Deb’s would do you a world of good. Time to shed the mask! (on the Gravatar)

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    • Ahhh – you’re the second person to tell me to shed the mask. Maybe it’s just time for a new one 😷 πŸ˜‰

      I think you’re on to something about feeling a ‘bit jiggy’ after getting a taste of ‘normal’.
      If it is at all possible, I think I miss Deb even more after visiting her. I keep suggesting she move back, but for some reason, she’s resisting πŸ˜‰

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  16. Glad to see you were able to keep busy (or dare I say distracted) through all of this and especially after a surgery; good for you!
    I don’t think I’ve been further than 30-40 kms from the house in 7 months and now that gardening season is wrapping up I’m wondering what’s next to keep me from going stir-crazy.

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    • My problem is that there aren’t enough hours in the day – or the energy – to do all the things I want to do. Is it possible to have too many interests?

      I understand your concerns about going stir-crazy. I think many people are going to find this winter particularly difficult, especially as we find our covid numbers starting to rise again πŸ˜•

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  17. You have amazing talent Joanne – in so many fields – even out IN the field! I understand, completely, the cocooning, but also get the drive to be outdoors. Keep exploring, and please, do keep sharing. Love the painting of the two figures!

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  18. Hi Joanne – I can imagine you had a glorious time over on the west coast … so much to see and do there – and with that essential trails, waters galore to explore along. I’m glad the foot is better. Love your paintings – the trees (spruce?) remind me of Emily Carr’s paintings … but I agree your art is just lovely – a great talent. Enjoy the autumnal feel of life – Hilary

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    • Thank you, Hilary. I doubt the ‘great talent’ part – I have enough less-than-mediocre stuff to validate that – but I do love doing it πŸ™‚

      Autumn weather is my kind of weather and I seem to come alive at this time of year. I hope to enjoy every glorious minute that I can!

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  19. Hi, Joanne – First of all, your paintings are amazing — truly!
    Secondly, I agree that enjoying the outdoors is essential travel
    Thirdly, I’d blame Deb too. She has very broad shoulders. πŸ˜€
    I look forward to chatting again soon.

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  20. Enjoyed your thoughts and photos. Good to see you are finding the groove again.
    Looking forward to seeing your new gravatar. The mask just doesn’t seem like the you who is living life to the fullest!

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  21. Your paintings are wonderful! Something in your soul needed to be visualized and there you go, you did it. Now your soul needs to be outside. Its sounds to me like you’re very attentive to what your body and mind needs. Winter is coming. Your hermit will be back, I’m sure of it.

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    • thanks Susanne – I have a lot of (really) bad art work I could have posted instead πŸ˜‰ and all of it made me happy, but you’re right. My soul needs to be outside right now. This time of year is glorious – but short.

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  22. Wow! Joanne, there’s no moss growing under your feet! You are one active lady. As a new follower, I wasn’t aware of your artistic talent. I am soooo impressed!

    Vancouver is beautiful. Enjoy Fall and all it has to offer. Don’t feel guilty getting in touch with Mother Nature again. Soon Fall will fade into freezing cold, icy, snowy Winter. You will have plenty of indoor time to resume your painting and online courses and meet your inner hermit again!

    I agree with you, kayaking looks like the preferred essential means of travel. Certainly some work involved, but looks so relaxing at the same time.
    Ginger

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    • I’m one of those people who always believed I didn’t have a creative bone in my body (thank you, primary school education 😏) but started dabbling in art a couple of years ago. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned in a short period of time and thanks to covid, I’ve been given a LOT of time to practice πŸ™‚

      I am no stranger to winter hiking and in many ways prefer it to summer hiking. While it’s true that we tend to spend more time indoors in the winter, I hope this coming winter I won’t be quite the hermit I was in the spring.

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    • Helen will be thrilled to know she has been missed πŸ™‚ She is doing well, and like most of us has limited her exposure to the outside world. While her health is good, her partner’s health is considerably more fragile. We have managed to get together a few times over the summer and with fall now upon us, we’re expecting to do more hiking together again. Although she can still kick my butt in cardio endurance, she is no longer comfortable with rock scrambling on challenging trails which I like, so our excursions over the past of couple of years have been on gentler trails with good footing.

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  23. It is essential travel. It’s essential to get out and about and do things and enjoy the world. Those who call this non-essential are a bunch of stodgy fuddy-duddies.

    I love that silvery-looking painting. It’s quite unusual. Makes me think of two people in a good mood, going for a walk.

    I hope you enjoy your autumn, and all the changing leaves.

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    • I was late in life to ‘discover’ the glorious outdoors, so it was relative easy for me to slip into hermit mode back in the spring.
      Now that I’ve had a taste of forest air again and the exhilaration of paddling, I want more. I’m greedy like that πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

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