nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘family history

where we read

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I am a reader. There are stacks of read and unread books wherever you go in my house. There is a Kindle by my living-room chair and a Kobo by my bedside. Since I read multiple books at once, most are marked ‘last-page-read’.  I read the books a bit at a time, choosing whatever I think will suit me on a particular day.

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So where do I read? Anywhere!

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When I was young, I read in my bedroom. I’d take a flashlight to bed and hide under the covers to read. Mom was not fooled! When we went to Nova Scotia for summer vacation, I read in my grandfather’s orchard. There was a tree-limb perfect for sitting!

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During my university days, I read like a mad-woman, as much mystery/romance as I could absorb. I think I wanted solace from my steady diet of science texts and journal articles! My preferred reading place was my car – also a rest from the lab where I did most of my university studies.

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I still favour mysteries, especially detective series. Science fiction too. And poetry, always poetry!

A few series I’d recommend:

Chuck Bowie -“Donovan: Thief for Hire

Ann Cleeves – “Sheltland Island Mysteries

Ann Granger –  I like her older “Fran Varady Crime Novels

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Through the years, I have been constant in my reading spaces:

  • the car … for years I drove to a park on my lunch hour and cheerfully read the time away. When my son was in his early university days, I never minded waiting for him because I could read while I waited.
  • in bed … as the years go by, reading puts me to sleep faster and faster. It sometimes takes me months to read a particular book!
  • in my accustomed chair in the living room … experience with decades of public service work means I can read with any distraction.
  • in our camp at our table. No distractions, just good company.
  • but never in my planned reading space … when I retired I bought a comfy chair and designed a perfect reading corner. It is a great space to store stuff – books for my next signing, the shower head we haven’t yet installed, two throw pillows no-one wants to sit with and recent purchases not put away. When the chair is empty of stuff, it is filled with Zoë. I never read there …. never, ever.

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Where do you read? If you had a special reading spot, do you think you would use it?

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Copyright 2018 Jane Tims

 

 

Written by jane tims

February 8, 2018 at 7:00 am

ghost stories

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Although I hesitate to write this post, I am trying to go through my older poems and think about them a little. The next one on the list (I am working backwards through the alphabet) is called ‘visitations’. The subject matter is a bit ghostly.

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I do not generally believe in ghosts although I do believe in phenomena if that makes sense. A phenomenon is defined as a fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen, especially one whose cause or explanation is in question.

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I have experienced many phenomena in my life. Odd things that seem to have some particular significance at the time. My mother, who also had such experiences, called them “comforts from heaven.”

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Here are a couple of examples from my own life:

  • After my mom died, a little yellow bird came almost every day to peck at our windows (not a goldfinch, in spite of the drawing below). After that year, I never saw it again.
  • Once I bought a handmade quilt at an auction and laid it over our upper loft railing. One night I came out to the hall in the dark, touched the quilt and heard the following words, quite distinctly: “Henry, come in to supper!” I don’t know anyone named Henry.
  • When she was alive, my aunt and I had a contest to see who could lose the most weight. My aunt told me to pick an item from her home as the ‘prize’. I know she was disappointed when I chose a little framed picture of a waterfall she had won as a prize in Sunday School in 1937. Neither of us lost any weight so the prize was never claimed. After her death, we retrieved some boxes from her estate. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I opened the box in the trunk of my car and the little picture of the waterfall was the top item.
  • Once when I was staying away from home, I heard the front door open and footsteps, crossing the tile floor. I expected to see someone else and instead a little girl with ringlets came into my view, reached up for the doorknob of the adjacent bedroom and went inside. There were no children in the house at the time and I was terrified.
  • My husband had his own weird experience on our local covered bridge. He was crossing the narrow bridge one day in our truck and was alarmed to see another car enter the bridge. He was certain there would be a crash but the other car, an older V-8 model, squeezed right by. My husband, knowing there was no way two vehicles could pass in the bridge, had to stop the truck at the other side of the bridge, he was shaking so hard.

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Now every one of these experiences could be explained. Probably a vivid imagination is part of that explanation. But I do believe in the phenomenon. Have you had any experiences of your own?

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visitations

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moonlight on birch

stark shadows

words precise on the page

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her tread heavy

she reaches for the door

opens, ringlets close as a spring

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lengthen, what else is possible?

hand touches a quilt, a voice asks

a practical question, distilled in velvet

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a small yellow bird

at the window

every morning for a year

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Copyright Jane Tims 2018

 

 

Written by jane tims

January 26, 2018 at 7:00 am

pick faster

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October 21, 2016 ‘blueberries’, Jane Tims

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pick faster

for Dad

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blue ripens as morning, deft fingers

noisy pails, hail on metal gutters

this bush spent, unsatisfactory

berries over there fatter

bluer

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I am certain I see, beside mine

my father’s hands, callused

and quick

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berries roll between

thumb and fingers

I try to meet

his expectation

pick faster

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Published in: ‘within easy reach’, Chapel Street Editions, 2016

Copyright Jane Tims 2016

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October 21, 2016 ‘sweet hurts’ Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

November 9, 2016 at 8:35 am

so many kinds of apples

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October 24, 2016 ‘yellow transparent’ Jane Tims

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orchard outing

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wooden bushel baskets

of laughter, delirious tumble down

the avenue of trees, shadows ripple

among the dapples, Cortlands tied

with scarlet ribbons

burdened

boughs

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my son grown tall

on his father’s shoulders

stretches to pick the McIntosh

with the reddest shine

small hand

barely able

to grip the apple

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Published: ‘within easy reach’, Chapel Street Editions, 2016

Copyright Jane Tims 2016

Written by jane tims

November 7, 2016 at 7:49 am

getting ready for fall – blueberries

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Another painting in my series! I could call the collection paintings to illustrate ‘within easy reach’ since each one was inspired by a poem in my book.

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Blueberries are probably my favorite berry to pick. This could be because every summer, when my family visited Nova Scotia, we spent a week at my Grandfather’s blueberry farm. I picked blueberries with cousins, siblings and parents. I was never very good at the task but my idea of picking is one for the bucket, two for the mouth, so I guess you now know why I love picking blueberries!

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This little painting was fun to do. I was inspired because I had just finished putting together freezer bags of blueberries from a big box we bought at McKay’s Wild Blueberry Farm Stand in Pennfield, New Brunswick (https://janetims.com/2012/08/04/blueberries/).

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The painting is 10″ X 10″, gallery edges, acrylics, painted with Ultramarine blue, Cadmium yellow, Cadmium red, Burnt sienna and Titanium white.

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August 20, 2016 ‘pick faster’ Jane Tims

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And, to accompany the painting, another sampling from the poems in my book ‘within easy reach’. My book of poems and drawings is available from my publisher http://www.chapelstreeteditions.com

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pick faster

for Dad

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blue ripens as morning, deft fingers

noisy pails, hail on metal gutters

this bush spent, unsatisfactory

berries over there fatter

bluer

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I am certain I see, beside mine

my father’s hands, callused

and quick

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berries roll between

thumb and fingers

I try to meet

his expectation

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pick faster

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within easy reach, Chapel Street Editions, 2016

Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

morning bird chorus – ephemera

with 7 comments

When I was a child, one of the things I prized was my collection of ‘bird cards’. These were an advertising give-away from ‘Cow Brand Baking Soda’ (Church and Dwight Limited, Montreal, Canada).

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I would spend hours looking at these, putting them in order of the ones I liked best, thinking about the birds depicted. The Meadowlark was a local bird I had seen many times and his call was as familiar to me as breathing – he always made it to the top of the pile! Today the winner would be the Cedar Waxwing who sits in the tops of the pines at our cabin, or the Goldfinch who spends all winter at our feeders!

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Today I still have two packs of these cards. They are in sets of 16 in a paper envelope. The card sets are called ‘Useful Birds of America’ and the front of each card shows an image of a bird by artist Louis Agassiz Fuertes (1874-1927), an American ornithologist and artist. On the back, there is a tip on how to use ‘Cow Brand Baking Soda’, the bird’s common name, its scientific name and a charming paragraph about its appearance and habits. The card concludes with a short message still relevant today:

For the good of all, do not destroy the birds 

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

August 3, 2016 at 8:22 am

early schools – the exotic and the common

with 4 comments

In my Aunt’s book about early schooling in Nova Scotia, she tells an amusing story about field days at school:

… I recall another field day when Dr. DeWolfe, Miss Harris, and Miss Baker came with shrubs to our school. The shrubs were ten cents each. My mother had always longed for a weigela and a snowball and we were delighted that at last she could have her wish, for both these varieties were among Dr. DeWolf’s  collection. They were duly planted at my home on the bank of the French River. One turned out to be a high bush cranberry and the other a spiraea, but today we still refer to them as the “snowball” and “weigela” and, I may mention, they have many an offspring throughout our province.

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I must have seen the high bush cranberry and spiraea many times at my mother’s old home, but I don’t remember them in particular. I do remember the gardens, lush with rose bushes, tiger lilies, and grape vines.

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June 17 2016 'an exotic shrub' Jane Tims

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

June 24, 2016 at 6:45 am

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