A zen sort of morning at the Manse

The view from  my reading spot in the shade of the ash tree: day lilies, old fenceposts, and fields in the distance. The signpost shows it’s the intersection of King Street and Bosley Road, which is close to the heart of Queensborough. A pretty quiet “downtown,” wouldn’t you say?

It was a searingly hot Saturday morning, and Raymond was off in Belleville getting some work done on his truck. I had a choice: do one of the hundreds of things that need doing around the Manse; or sit in the shade and read. I sensibly chose the latter.

Actually I had impetus beyond the all-important laziness and shade factors: the next day we were headed to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ont., where we were to see three Shakespeare plays, and I’d not yet finished reading the third one. (I like to bone up ahead of time. You get a lot more out of the performance that way.)

So there I was in my orange Solair chair, enjoying the shade of the ash tree and the fact that said shade made for the only patch of green grass on our drought-stricken lawn. And I was trying to focus on Much Ado About Nothing, I really was.

But I kept getting distracted by the sheer quiet and beauty around me, and I kept setting aside Beatrice and Benedick‘s flirty squabblings and pausing to look round and listen to the breeze.

Looking up, I could see the sun peeking through the ash tree’s branches, and I decided to try out a newly acquired iPhone app that Raymond’s daughter Dominique (a brilliant photographer and videographer) had introduced me to. It’s called 8mm Vintage Camera, and the idea is to make your video look truly old-school. So here’s my old-school video of the sun and the breeze (that’s the sound you hear) and the dancing leaves.

Kind of makes you want to meditate or something. And what’s wrong with that?

The ash tree

The ash tree. We thought it was dead, but it is very much alive. Lovely.

There are trees all around our property of about half an acre in Queensborough. Beautiful trees. Unfortunately, most of the nicest ones are not on our property; they are immediately adjacent. We get the benefit of the proximity of these trees, but we can’t claim them as our own. Such is the case with the Tree of Life across the street (my post about it, complete with awesome photo by Raymond, is here) and two huge and beautiful evergreen trees in the southwest corner of the place – just over the fence line. Early in the spring I was feeling rather blue about the fact that the trees on the adjacent properties were nicer than the ones we have on our own. I was particularly glum about one of our own trees, due south of the Manse, visible from the pantry window. It looked utterly dead through the winter, utterly dead in the early spring, utterly dead even in the late-mid-spring. We were sure we’d have to bring in the tree removers to cut it down and take it away.

But it is alive! When we were at the Manse a week and a half ago, its branches were covered in small green shoots. Yes, there are some dead branches that will have to be cut away, but this tree is very much with us.

Our wise-to-Nature neighbour, friend and Manse-watcher Ed Couperus dropped by on our last visit and helped us identify all manner of plants in the small perennial garden at the front of the house – and also the trees. When we expressed our wonderment at the tree we had been convinced was a goner, Ed explained (in his laconic way): “It’s an ash. They’re the last to bloom in the spring.”

We have much to learn. Amazon.ca can expect an order soon for the Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees – Eastern Region.

Meanwhile, I’m just happy about how beautiful our ash tree is. Our ash tree that is alive.