Village Life: Seasons of Creativity
Based on the engagement, my previous post about the village captured your interest so I thought I’d share some more about life here in Nova Scotia, starting with why I love the rhythm of the seasons here by the Bay of Fundy.
Officially, we live in the Annapolis Valley but not really
To appreciate the seasons here in the village, you need to understand how our location creates a unique micro-climate.
The Annapolis Valley itself lies between the North and South mountains, which are the tail end of the Appalachian chain. Our home is just over the North Mountain, right on the Bay of Fundy itself.
According to the weather people, our mountain ranges deflect many of the bitter winter storms that come up the Atlantic and hit the southern coast, down around Halifax. In addition, the Bay of Fundy warms up over the summer and has a moderating influence until it releases that stored warmth.
That’s not to say we don’t get winter weather. This is still Canada after all.
Summers are lively here
We haven’t experienced a full summer yet but apparently, the Bay acts like a giant air conditioner. The cold it gathers in the winter tempers the heat and we stay comfortable even when the Valley is hot and muggy. That’s one of the reasons our village is a popular summer destination.
When we moved in last September, the village bustled with life. People occupied the summer cottages, fishermen tried their luck every day at the end of the wharf and in the evenings there was always someone on the beach tending a campfire. During the day, visitors came and went at the Art Shack below us or wandered along the beach, looking for treasures. Neighbours out for an evening walk often stopped by our gate to welcome us to the area.
Then winter gradually took over
One by one, the cottages closed for the season and by the end of December, the last of the snowbirds headed south. Life slowed down and we were gifted with quiet time.
Our morning walks with the dog lead us down a laneway past empty summer cottages. We are free to wander between them towards a trail that winds through stunted spruce trees until it breaks out into open and we’re standing on the cliff top.
From here we can look down over the Bay and usually stop to watch the waves rolling in while the dog patrols to see who came by in the night. For some reason, the sound of the surf is amplified up here, which is one reason we love this spot.
Some days we can even hear the cobblestones rolling against each other on the beach below. We’ve spotted seals watching us watching them and if we’re really lucky the eagle who makes our shoreline part of his daily rounds swings by. On our way home, we pay a visit to the lighthouse and then I head back home and to my studio.
Often on our walks, I discover details to inspire me like this ‘still life’. The colours made me catch my breath for a moment. I’m sure they will find their way into a quilt or painting.
Creativity also has its cycles and seasons
In my personal creative cycle, this is the season of quiet reflection while staying awake to ideas and inspiration. It feels to me like a form of hibernation, of burrowing deep as the creative seeds incubate.
When bears enter hibernation, they appear to be dormant but in the dark quiet of the dens, cubs are born and nurtured. During this special time, they grow from tiny, blind creatures into the sweet-faced, awkward babies of spring.
Because we have no place we have to be, I spend a lot of time in my studio, exploring and hatching new ideas. Winter here may look quiet on the outside, but if you look inside my den, you’d find lots of creative incubation going on. Who knows what will appear in the spring?
Honour the cycle
Back in Ontario, in my old life, I seemed to be perpetually on overdrive. I didn’t have time to stop and besides, I didn’t need to (or so I told myself.) I’d even go so far as to say I was afraid to step back and look around.
Is it any wonder why most days even the idea of time in my studio exhausted me. I’d forgotten the wisdom behind the words “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”
When we made the decision to move so far away I knew intellectually that life would be quieter, more relaxed but this first winter here revealed an important truth to me. I have my own seasons and it’s time to honour that cycle by taking the time to be quiet, pay attention and nurture newborn ideas.
What season are you in? I’d love to hear in the comments how you honour your own rhythms.