We are in the dog days of summer. Hot, still, lethargic.
The grasses are golden and brown, swaying in a whisper of breeze. The afternoons are long and languorous, and we move lawn furniture looking for shade or a cool breath off the ocean. The air shimmers. The muffled sounds of people wading into the water down at Craddock Beach. The shriek of an osprey sitting in the Garry Oak at the edge of our cliff.
The heat certainly isn’t oppressive here on South Pender, but I am getting that delicious baked feeling after a few weeks of sun, warmth, and endless blue sky.
Even Mildrith, the wood-fired oven, has been enjoying a few days of summer furlough.
Into the water
I’m taking my daily swims at dusk these days. The beach-goers have cleared off Craddock Beach, gone home to hang up their towels, fire up the barbecues. It’s quieter in our little bay when it’s empty. The water is usually flat with a pale blue and pink sky reflecting off the surface. The sun has virtually disappeared behind Tilley Point, the air is cooling.
Barn swallows dive and swoop off the cliffs and make endless tracks over the water. They’re feasting on insects, almost invisible, catching them in their open mouths at top speed. It’s unfathomable to imagine how they do this!
They’re undeterred, the swallows, as I wade into the water. It’s their feeding grounds I intrude upon. But they’re in such a frenzy to catch as many tiny insects as they can before it’s too dark to see them. Some fly daringly close to my head but swerve away at the last minute. Sometimes they slow themselves slightly, dip their beaks into the water and pluck something off the surface. Magic!
Slow swim in startling water
As I make my slow swim out to the rocks, it’s easy to see what the swallows are after. The surface of the water is littered with the bodies of insects the size of fruit flies. They’ve dropped out of the air and become stuck in the surface tension of the water. Some of them still flutter their wings, unable to lift themselves up. Multitudes have given up, dead, or waiting to die or to be plucked up in the mouth of a soaring swallow.
It’s the dog days of summer, but the water temperature in Boundary Pass is still startling.
The cold is like a salve to the soul. My breathing slows when I immerse myself, the world slows. I notice the textures of the rugged cliffs rising out the water. The gnarled oak trees that cling to the rock. A lone seagull flies overhead to the Living Rock Island. A heron tries to find a stable place to stand on a floating mass of bull kelp. A sailboat heads silently around the point towards Bedwell Harbour.
Swimming over rocks
I stand on the rocks a few moments, facing east. My body is still gripped by the cold. My breath still slow and deep. Such a feeling of stillness, peace.
The water is so high in the evenings I can swim over the flat boulder that I sometimes walk on when the tide is low. As I swim, my legs brush over the bladderwrack that covers the rock. It undulates with the waves and currents. Sometimes the toes of my water shoes hit rock or scrape against the white barnacles.
I’m back into the deep water, forty feet from the shore. The sky is a little darker. The swallows have thinned out, but now it’s bats I see. There’s something quieter in their flight, a bit more fluttery, tentative. They’re after the same insects the swallows were chasing.
When my feet touch solid ground, I linger a few moments. I don’t want to leave the water, don’t want this deliciousness to end. One last look at the western sky, the fading light. I turn and scramble over the rocks and up the stairs.
I am in a state of calm, ready for bed, and ready to greet the remaining dog days of summer.
Cinnamon-Raisin bread, an enduring Happy Monk favourite. And here’s proof of Mildrith’s (the wood-fired oven) recent health check, as she just baked 41 loaves of this (and another 40 of Seed Feast) with lots of heat left to spare. Long live Mildrith and long live Cinnamon-Raisin bread!
Happy Monk Tidings - November 2, 2022 🍞 - BAKER'S CHOICE: Cinnamon-Raisin Bread; BLOG: A Vancouver Neighbourhood; BOOK OF THE WEEK: The Philosophy of Modern Song by Bob Dylan [ See LinkTree in Profile ]...
Happy Monk Tidings - September 28, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: The Approachable Loaf; Blog: This Island of Apples; South Pender Growers and Makers Market [ See LinkTree in Profile ]
#apples #applebread #applelove #approachable #approachableloaf #breadlabcollective #breadlab...
Introducing this bread, Raven Ring Bread (a take on Hapanleipä, a Finnish bread) a recipe borrowed from @ravenbreads. The stand is made by my neighbour, Ken, a gifted woodworker. See you at the South Pender Growers and Makers Market, if it don’t rain too hard!...
Happy Monk Tidings - September 2, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice : Volkornbrot (German Rye); Blog: The Golden Loaf of Gorsefield Rye; NOTE: We're closing two weeks for Mildrith Maintenance [ See LinkTree in Profile ]...
It was a dirty day, Wednesday. The sky hadn't been washed, the ocean was soiled, and the air was muggy and smelled oily. Then, moments before the rain started, the sun shone through and a glorious slash of colour opened up. And a rainbow! No unicorns, sadly....
Dog days. The beginning of summer mellowness. Baked in languor. But sometimes it's hard to let go. Shouldn't I be baking something? [See LinkTree in Profile ]
#penderisland #southpenderisland #happymonkbaking #happymonkbakery
#happymonkbakingcompany #dogdays #dogdaysofsummer #southerngulfislands
#southerngulfislandsbakers #southerngulfislandsbakeries #southerngulfislandsbc...
This is James Morton, my father, who would have been 100 years old today if we hadn't lost him 36 years ago. I've surpassed him in living age and spent more years without him than with him, yet he still whispers in my ear and is a great listener when I talk to him. Taken at 14th Ave. and Burgess St., Burnaby, 'round about 1955. Handsome devil, ain't he?...