20 January 2008

De-Stressing and distressing

The irritations and challenges of renovating a blog are absolutely nothing compared to things that really matter. After fighting with a recalcitrant website until the wee hours, I went to bed about 5 am...and was woken up at 930 am by commotion down in the kitchen.

The second most terrifying words you could hear: "Call 911. Our neighbour's house is on fire!"

At first we had a blind panic because we thought he was still in there. The passerby who alerted us and my husband headed out the door after calling for the fire department, only to meet our neighbour coming in the yard. Thankfully, he is fine. Thankfully, he has insurance. But it has been a very distressing day.

I used to be a firefighter with the local volunteer department, as I've written before. I did my share of puttin' water on fires, and medical emergencies, and the like. Always, I would go into this calm space and do what needed doing. Afterwards, as the adrenalin settled, I'd de-stress in any number of ways. And I still do.

Sometimes, when I'm upset over something, or dealing with a cranky deadline and need to relax a bit, I 'go away in my head' to the sea. Yes, I live right beside the mighty Bay of Fundy, where I can always see the shoreline. Sometimes I need to think about deeper, wider water...like the Labrador Sea, and standing on the top of the hill looking down at the community of Battle Harbour, Labrador. This was one of those perfect late-summer afternoons, miles from anywhere, with only peace and nature to occupy our thoughts.

I have a deep and abiding love for the ocean, as opposed to lakes and rivers; they're fine, but they're not the ocean. Perhaps in another life, I was a sailor--more likely a pirate, though not a-la-Johnny Depp. I love looking at the land from the water; here is the mighty promontory of Cape Split, the end of the North Mountain here in Scotts Bay, at slack water, as seen from the deck of CCGS Matthew, the hydrographic research ship I was on this spring.

This is what Cape Split looks like from our community, and from the lobster boats and other smaller vessels that go out around it. The mighty waters of the Bay of Fundy charge up here twice daily, spilling into the curve of Scott's Bay and then bellowing out around the end of the Split in an 8 knot riptide. Not a place for faulty motors or faint hearts, except when it's quiescent at half-tide, like it is here. I have to find one of my photos of the 'dancing waters' that happen when the rip is running.

Sunrises and sunsets also manage to settle a turbulent soul. This is sunrise over the Annapolis Valley a couple of weeks ago, from the LookOff viewing park a few miles up the road from here. Tonight's sunset, down over the Bay about an hour ago, painted very much the same colours, on a different landscape.

And what does all this have to do with gardening? Easy: the other way I de-stress, of course, is to head to the garden, to re-ground myself by working in the soil and surrounding myself with nature. Well, that just wasn't on for today, of course, especially since we're back in the fro-zone, with the mercury dropping faster than the Harpernista government's popularity ratings. So instead, I'm gardening in my mind--remembering sunnier days, quieter days, and knowing that things will work out.

My blog renovations are nearly complete, but I still have to rebuild the cat-photo-gallery, and also finish adding my links. If I don't have your blog or other website back up yet, I'm working at it...but finding Blogger boggier today than usual. So I hope to get things tidied up in the next day or two. This sort of busy-work is great for days like today when, despite de-stressing, my concentration is shot. I guess I'm just giving thanks for the good of the day.


  1. Wow, what a view you have! And my second impression, or what I'm wondering is, how remote are you? From a city, that is. And have you always lived where you do?

    Sorry if I seem nosy, but I've always lived in a town or city, and I can't quite imagine living very far away from one. It seems as if it would be ideal for writing, or is that just a romantic ideal?

    Anyway, I enjoyed the photos of the bay. That's quite a landscape you have right outside your door.

  2. Ahhhhhh... Jodi, you are a woman after my own heart! Your ways of de-stressing are also mine. I can relate to all of them so well. This past week I've been fortunate to find a warm spot in the sun in our garden with the temperature hovering in the low 60's F. It's been heaven. Sure there aren't any leaves on the trees, but it's still out in the garden where, like you, I reconnect with myself and the soil.

    And interestingly, one of the tranquil scenes that is forever emblazened in my mind like a brilliant postcard is the view I got of the Labrador Sea as I flew over it in a jet plane years ago. It looked like a giant jigsaw puzzle of white pieces. We were headed back from Glasgow and it was such a magical sight--serene and mysterious. Your post brought back that memory vividly.

    Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

  3. Jodi, I am so glad that your neighbor fared so well. I can imagine your panic. It is a good thing you had experience at such tragedies. You know how to destress.

    That sunrise in itself is a glorious thing. Seeing this would definitely lift your spirits.

    I can also imagine how the ocean could calm you, bring you back to your center.

    I think all of us that blog about our garden know the healing affects of being in the garden. I hope the rest of your week goes smooth.

  4. What a morning. I'm glad your neighbor is alright. That must have been terrifying (a housefire is one of my scarydoor fears). It's good for your neighbor that you knew just how to handle the situation and good for you that you know how to decompress (that's what I call it - it's like trying not to get the bends coming up for air). My latest mind mantra is "all will be well" thanks to Julian of Norwich. When I think that, I can't help but start to believe it. A memory of that beautiful view of Battle Harbor would work pretty well for me too (especially if it was my own memory and not just borrowed!) And it's true - there's almost nothing as calming as a little plant time. All will be well.

  5. Glad your neighbor is OK and you found a way to calm your nerves.

    I like the blog redesign, especially the floral wallpaper.

  6. Wow. What a scary, scary thing.

    I love your pictures. You are so blessed to live where you do. I can't imagine that beautiful scenery so close every day.

  7. Jodi: Lifes' incidents really put things in perspective don't they? I'm glad to hear all is okay at the neighbors and I enjoyed seeing your beautiful bay view! I seem to climb trees in my mind when I am very stressed. I spent quite a bit of my childhood climbing trees and swaying in the green canopy with peaks and glimpses of the high views. Also, 'Serenity Now' always makes me laugh and de-stress especially when yelled out loud like Seinfeld's father!Thanks for the lovely pictures and the new style is looking quite nice!

  8. Thank goodness your neighbor is safe and insured. House fires area horrible. Your photos, as always, are lovely.

    I like the new look!

  9. How sad for your neighbor, to lose home & the memories inside. Like you, I also handle major crises very well, supporting others in dealing with things. It's the small stuff I have problems with. (Broken china, ruined shrubs.) I'm still trying to find a way for myself to de-stress in winter. I'm trying to get everyone to tell me "Breathe!" I can't seem to think of it myself, & it really helps. Of course I don't have a nearby ocean for calming me. When I lived in Chicago, I had to go down to the Lake almost every day for its calming effect. (It's the next best thing to the ocean around here.) You live amid such beauty!

  10. Thankfully your neighbour is okay, even if his house isn't. It sounds as if your blog redesign has been challenging. The results are beautiful as are your photographs of the ocean.

  11. What a great perspective! You live surrounded by such beauty that I'm sure it must calm the soul. Your neighbors are so lucky that no one was hurt. By the way, love the way your blog is looking!

  12. That is one frightening way to start the day. Glad to hear your neighbor is alright and has insurance.
    My hubby was also a volunteer firefighter as well as a rad op in the military. We were stationed in Debert N.S. for 5 years .. I so appreciate your pictures .. they remind me of how beautiful N.S. is.
    Wonderful design with your blog Jodi. How on earth do you do it ?
    P.S. I miss the smell of salt air and the sound of the waves crashing on the beach.

  13. Not nosy at all, Pam. I was born in a city (St. John's, Newfoundland) and lived in it and one other (Moncton, New Brunswick) over the first fifteen years of my life. Otherwise, it's all been rural or small towns.
    Scotts Bay is about 7 minutes from one town (Canning), 20 minutes from three others (Wolfville, New Minas and Kentville) and about 90 minutes drive to Halifax, capital of Nova Scotia. We're on top of the North Mountain which is one of the boundaries of the Annapolis Valley, world famous for apples, and we look down at the Bay of Fundy rather than the Valley side. I've always been a rural person, long before I started writing, and it would simply kill me now to live in a flat, or a subdivision. I need to be able to go outside and hear only the wind, or cars going by, or birds, or...nothing at all. I can see the stars at night, weather permitting. It grounds me. The thing about Nova Scotia is we only have about a million people scattered around the province, and a good chunk of those are in the Halifax area. So although some areas are growing, others look fairly remote; but we're only a few minutes from anywhere else.

    Cindy, that's way cool, you flying over the Labrador sea! My father was a pilot and flew into the Labrador, including some of the small outposts, his whole career--but this was my first trip there, last summer,

    Lisa, and everyone else, thanks for your good wishes about our neighbour. What touches me is how a community pulls together; I've had emails today from people around the community, wondering what they can do to help. Including guys from the fire departments.

    Kris, Scarydoor fear is a perfect term; it's also one of my fears, which is why I became a firefighter in the first place back then--nothing like facing a fear head on! All will be well indeed.

    Entangled, thanks! I worried the wallpaper might be too busy, but it seems to work well, at least in Safari and Firefox.

    Sherry, we ARE blessed to live where we do....even on frigid days like today.

    Layanee, climbing trees would be a good thing to do too. I used to do it also, and still remember the pleasures of being somewhere cool, green shady and quiet!

    Nancy, thanks for the comments .Still a couple of quibbles to iron out here.

    MMD, I also unravel over small things sometimes. I wonder what it is about that. Breathing is definitely good; long, deep breaths right down to the base of our lungs.

    Kate, yeah, its been a romp, doing the blog design...but I'm pleased with the results except for a couple of issues.

    Catherine, yes, it's stunningly beautiful here--and I realize that every day. It's funny that so many of us who live up here on the mountain know that, and appreciate it, while the valley dwellers say, "How can you STAND living up there?" *they say this in winter, or on foggy days. Hah.

    GardenJoy4, I lived in Ontario for 18 mnths in my teens...and nearly went crazy for lack of salt water and air and fresh fish. Our father used to fly into the Labrador, get some fresh fish, and bring it home (he was an airline pilot). And the beach is my instant destresser, the waves tumbling over stones and rocks just does it for me.

  14. Jodi,
    I've said it before and I'll say it again: you live in a beautiful area.

    Sounds like you had way too much excitement for one day -- a neighbour's house up in flames and a blog renovation. Good thing you know how to keep your cool!

  15. That was quite a rude awakening you got Jodi. I'm glad your neighbour is fine and that he is insured too.

    Gardening is great for de-stressing and walking along the coastline is too. Like you, I love the sea but I hate it too. It's a Dutch thing, we have a hate-love relationship with the sea. Most of my country is several meters under sealevel, so that explains a lot. ;-)

    You live in a very beautiful area of Nova Scotia and I love the pics of the sea, the coast and the gorgeous sunsets and rises!

    Captain Jodi, it has a nice ring to it! ;-)

  16. Lovely, good advice, and the pics grand. Your usual fare. Thanks for stopping by and commenting a while back, nice to know you check in. Thanks across the miles.


  17. Interesting post! What you wrote about the sea is exactly what I feel too (though I grew up on a lake). But since childhood I regularly stayed at the sea (sometimes just a day, but at least I could hear and see and smell the sea!). It is in a sense "very calming", though I also saw storms and wild waves. But walking along a coastline is something very special and precious to me! Lucky you, that you're living in this beautiful landscape and always have the chance to go to the shore (...and make so beautiful pictures of sunsets und rises!).
    I'm glad, that your neighbour is ok. That must be horrible to see its own house on fire.


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