Friday, July 02, 2010

Twenty years

Yesterday was Canada Day and we celebrated by going to the annual pancake breakfast in Canyon Park and then James reminded me that it was, to the day, 20 years ago we came "home": I, after 20 years of living in the States, James as an immigrant, and our son Larry, who was 13 at the time, as a Canadian because I am his mother.
A lot has gone on and changed in 20 years. Sometimes it feels like a day and sometimes a very long time. Mostly I am amazed how quickly the years go galloping by.
We came home to Creston because my father died in the fall of 1989 and we wanted my mom to be able to stay on the farm and we wanted to be closer to her. I have never regretted it. 
I have always been so grateful we could move our son to Canada at the young age of 13. I was never comfortable with American right wing politics and I was so thankful Larry could be surrounded with Canadian values, imperfect though they may be.

When James and I first came to this land I was raised on there was only my mother's mobile home on the ridge here and I remember us walking out in the morning to decide where we situate our house.
We chose this present location as it was far enough from my mom's for her to have her privacy and close enough to be in hollering distance. We built closer to the top of the hill but have chosen to leave the very top, where my sister and I played as children, wild.

For many years my dad pastured cattle here. For the past 20 years they have not been on this part of the hill and we see the bushes coming back and the trees: poplars like weeds on the east facing slope and evergreens which were not here when we were children.
In about 1934 a very hot forest fire burned through here so the growth was young when we were children in the 50's. Nature had to even replenish the soil and here, on the top of the hill, there is very little top soil at all. If things like clay we can supply that!

It is in the trees I see the most change in the last twenty years, and in my heart I know the many more subjective changes also.
James and I and Larry are 20 years older. Last fall my mother passed away. By that time she was in town in Swan Valley Lodge, but she had 17 more years in her home on the hill.
The flowering shrubs you see in the distance in this picture are  Mock Orange, but it is past its prime, and most of the shrubs are Ocean Spray which is just coming into full bloom (and "pollination!") 

Where James spent most of his time farming when we first came we now lease out the fields and he paints or does other artistic endeavors. Farming always did afford a winter to spend more time in the studio if it wasn't too snowy and the battle just to keep the road plowed wasn't too great.
I have built birdhouse for 16 years. In recent years I've cut back in production because of hand problems but this year my hands are doing better. 
I used to have birdhouses for sale all over the Kootenays and as far away as Calgary, and Northern Idaho, but now my "speed" is to sell them from our own McDowell's Hilltop Gallery.
My birdhouses sell for $65.00.
I'm also still busy coordinating the Creston Valley & Eastshore ArtWalk.
James sells work from the Gallery and has his work in several venues in town and has a couple shows a year. 

Tomorrow James will give a "live" painting demonstration at Black Bear Books as part of this years ArtWalk. 
And a good time was had by all.

Today James is building an easel sturdy enough to support a large panel when he's painting outside.
Who knows, some of these garden photos by James may be the seed of a new work of art.


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