Masefield had it right. We took a walk on Middle Cove Beach yesterday evening and found a bit of sea and spring fever..
Since taking over this office (that sounds a little hostile, doesn’t it?) we’ve done a number of things to make the place more ours and more functional. One of my favourite projects, setting up the fishtank, serves both purposes.
Firstly, it gives of us a built-in de-stressing zone. Law can be stressful even on relaxed days and having the ability to momentarily lose yourself in an aquatic ecosystem is a marvellous antidote. It seems to appeal to clients as well, but mostly it’s for the staff.
The tank is 55 gallons and about four feet long. While I would have loved to have done a saltwater setup, the energy and attention needed were beyond my scope and I wasn’t keen on shelling out the extra initial funds at that time, either. So we settled on a soft-water tank and my intention was to go with South American fish, for the most part. We ran the tank for a week or so, fishless, and then added five White Cloud Mountain minnows. After that, we added one or two fish every five days or so.
The large logs are real wood and they gradually leach tannic acid into the water, which helps keep our already naturally soft local tapwater at an even acidity. Plus they look nice and some of the fish really appreciate the caves and crannies in which to hide.
The tank still isn’t up to capacity, even allowing for fish to grow. Adding small numbers of fish to a planted tank with intervals in which the biological filtration could adapt seems to have done the trick and we’ve only lost one guppy (but she had just given birth, so other factors may have been at play).
We’ve had a couple of power outages and the large size of the tank has meant that the water conditions were relatively stable throughout.
The practical consideration that this tank satisfies is the stabilization of the humidity levels in the office. With a combination of electrical radiators and forced air heat, the place gets plenty dry in winter and anyone with skin ailments suffers. The fish tank has added a constant source of humidity and the positive effects are noticeable.
But mostly, it’s pretty and makes us all happy.
This has been a rather busy fall. So busy, in fact, that autumn has almost passed by without my noticing it. Since it’s my favourite season, this was a bit of an eye-opener for me. We took some time and went for a family ramble through the MUN Botanical Gardens on Sunday.
September is gone and October is suddenly here. The days have gotten manifestly shorter and slightly cooler and I’ve been eyeing my winter running gear with a little suspicion and loathing, not looking forward to the day when donning and shucking the gear needed to run 5k takes longer than the run itself. Waking up in the dark has started to take its toll on my cheerfulness and resilience, too, reminding me of the imminence of seasonal attitude and energy downs-wings.
I am not a creature of the dark. and it takes a tremendous amount of energy to not only survive the winter, but to venture out into it.
But that’s what makes the difference, you see, venturing out. It can’t be the effect of sunlight on skin, since I’m normally swathed in layers of wool, silk, spandex and Gortex. I can only guess that it must be the effect of sun in the eyes, coupled with endorphins and the same sense of purpose that the Jesuit missionaries got when heading into hostile territories. Running in winter in the snowy parts of Canada (and Vancouver, I’m NOT talking about YOU) requires zeal and determination, along with the right gear and some good friends. If you do manage it, though, it counteracts the effects of darkness. Even running in the dark (and we do a lot of that) makes the world brighter.
When you run outside in winter, you become attuned to exactly how long a day is. Running certain familiar routes demonstrates concretely that the days not only get shorter, as you hit those mile markers in progressive darkness, but also shorter, as the days lengthen in the depths of winter. When the first tiny glimpses of spring show up, you see them and feel them. Runners are among the first to divest themselves of layers of clothing when the thermometer girds its loins for the great leap over zero (Celsius). You notice the sudden appearance of random patches of grass long before everyone else and dash off-trail to succumb to the hydraulic pressures induced by spring stream songs before anyone else notices the snowbanks diminishing.
And suddenly, just as suddenly as it was winter, it’s spring. And time for hillwork……
Yesterday, we brought this home:
He doesn’t quite have a name yet. We’ve tossed around everything from Tolkien to Pangur-ban and have almost settled on Dewey (after the decimal system). It seems the underlying theme of all of our name possibilities were books or characters therein. And he rather is a bookish cat (in that he likes to sleep on them).
He’s about nine or ten weeks old, is extremely sociable, quite clever and very self-confident.
He walked straight up to our existing cat, Tasha, without a fear in the world and said, “Hi! I’m not a cat. I’m a very small and strangely furry dog.” At which Tasha blinked, hissed once, shook himself out and then decided that dogs of this size were beneath his notice anyway and that he’d rather go drink out of the bathtub tap. So they’ve been peacefully coexisting, without any real friction at all. I even caught them playing this morning.
I’ve been plotting out a series of pieces and am started in on the skies and basic layouts for them. Sifting through photographs to jog my imagination has been a great help, since the skies on Exploits are a little different from the ones I find on the Avalon Peninsula. The clear nights are deeper and have more texture and the sunny days are bluer and richer somehow. Painting them requires a different touch of paint on fabric and different drying conditions, as well as a preemptive plan as to how the resulting fabric will be layer, stitched or otherwise manipulated to capture this depth.