Lee Ellen Pottie
The nature of my road is changing from day to week to month and sometimes hourly if the rain has been hard. No cause to visit the road before Théo, but now I see the stones, flowers, birds, trees vividly. If they were people I would know them, as well as one can in passing. Better than faceless students on Zoom. The bits of nature more familiar, even though they change with sun and rain, wind gusts that blow them down and around. The lone birch near the bean field has lost a long thick arm. I break off twigs to play fetch with Théo, who is more interested in chewing than retrieving, though he’ll bring back flat stones if I throw them into the farmer’s field. The road has a riverine quality, where miners squat panning for gold, and I am content finding jewels of quartz, sandstone, mudstone and breccias arrayed on the desk for my appraising eyes. Crows and gulls overhead, starlings thronging, goldfinches, blue jays, chickadees in the branches, song sparrows and juncos flushed from the brambles and fields as Théo’s long sable and black nose and prancing legs bound through the fields. He tears after them, barking, saluting the beauty of their flight, perhaps their freedom, although he seems satisfied to return with tongue hanging out, a skip in his step, “good dog” from me before he heads off again, intrepid explorer. This afternoon, the dried wild hay sang in the sou-wester, harmony with cigalles and crickets. Summer was sun-drenched. Now, after torrential rain of recent days, the weather is shifting, like the road, towards winter. Small bushes turn red, next season’s holiday decorations; crab apples browning, dropping to the ground, food for foxes that live in the gullies or ravens that will eat just about anything. The road that was flat at the beginning of summer shows signs of what will come: holes for slush and snow, sloping tracks toward the ditches, nothing but stones for a bit of traction. Théo chases flocks of geese on their way south. Finds aromatic surprises under falls of wet maple leaves, munches on legumes left by the farmer to dry, fertilizer for next year’s crop of potatoes. I watch the summer homes close, yellow buses with steamy windows race by with shadowy, reluctant passengers, and plan for the coming seasons – shovelling snow, teasing out flowers in painting class, planning next spring’s sojourn in Provence, breaking trails with Théo as far as the road will take us.
Lee Ellen Pottie is a self-employed editor and writer; a sessional English professor at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown, PEI, Canada; and an amateur photographer and painter. Lee Ellen has published two chapbooks, the latest worthless with The Alfred Gustav Press in Vancouver, She was born in Halifax, grew up there and in Montreal, Fredericton, and Windsor, and continues to grow in PEI, where she lives with her husband, writer Richard Lemm, and their dog, Théo, named for Vincent’s brother.