Thursday, November 06, 2014

a Rainy Day in November 

See the full album or download shots at Flickr

I had a handful of reasons for my recent trip to Newfoundland. Seeing family for one, visiting my father’s grave for another and as I didn’t really take a holiday this summer I felt I needed a good block of time away from work. I took a week to move in May, a smattering of days off in the summer to run errands and that was it. So I felt I was due for a break. Primarily though, my niece was getting married and I wanted to be there for that. Coincidentally, the wedding date was close to another brother’s birthday so that was a bonus.

Unfortunately, November is just such a crap month. For me it’s up there with March as one of the worst times of the year. I had grand plans of renting a bike or getting out and about if the weather co-operated which of course, it did not. Partially it is that very turn of the weather that causes the suck-apocalypse that is November. Though technically still autumn until December 21, November is when this part of the world tilts its shoulder into winter. Then there is the almost fetishistic remembrances of deathly wars and sacrifice which surreally bumps between the obnoxious drunkenness of Halloween and the excessive and nauseating early advertising for Christmas.

It was no surprise really that for the fourteen days I was home, it rained on twelve of them. Sometimes it rained violently. Other times it was that heavy mist, fog and drizzle that leaves you soaking in a velvet covering of droplets. The wedding day was like all of those days rolled into one. The sky was a torn sheet of grey and white; sometimes the rain was light while at other times it assaulted you. For all of that, it was a great, great day that I won’t soon forget. I’m glad I went and I’m really glad I got to meet some of the twenty-somethings who are Newfoundland’s greatest resource* (oil and mining aside and fishing having vanished). My mother was flummoxed by all the parties and loud music but in the end she stayed late, late, late at the reception and genuinely basked in the fun of it all. I think I originally thought the largesse of the event seemed ungainly and aspirational, but I have to admit that it was the size it was because that was the size it had to be.

I should also say, for the first time, in a very long time, my faith in Newfoundland “cuisine” has been renewed. By God how I’ve missed the carnal pleasures of a hot turkey sandwich with chips, dressing and gravy, or one of Aunt Mabel’s cakes or my mother’s partridgeberry pie. Even simply saying the phrase “chips, dressing and gravy” is a salve to my soul. It could be Newfoundland’s unofficial motto. Though it pains me to say this, so long Ches’s, you are but a late night stomach lining compared to the fish and chips (dressing and gravy) of the Duke of Duckworth. By volume I drank far more Coor’s Lite than anyone should admit, yet it is the Q.V. Honey Brown that stole my heart (from the Quidi Vidi Brewery). I’m proud that I only gained a few pounds on this trip rather than a few dozen I probably should have – coinciding as it did with the sugar-fest of Halloween

It’s funny, but I sort of rushed buying a camera I had my eye on for this trip (it went on sale at just the right time) thinking I’d take tons, metric tonnes, gigabytes of photos with it. I quickly realized it was a little more camera than I was accustomed to and I could not see carrying it around with me, thus I resorted to my old faithful phone. In the coming weeks I’m getting a new phone too, but in a sense it will be like getting a camera upgrade. I’m particularly looking forward to super slo-mo on the iPhone and continuing to use Instagram’s great app, Hyperlapse. Having said that, I’m also looking forward to getting a compact lens for the new camera and exploring a lot more with a lighter more compact camera.

Maybe with new cameras in tow, I’ll get out in the messiness that is November in Toronto and enjoy being out in the elements a bit more. There are definitely times when I feel like I’m not Canadian enough because I prefer the comfort of a couch over the damp of a duck blind. I just don’t celebrate the outside very much, unless I’m running, biking or driving through it. Maybe a good lens is all I need to stop and soak it up more. Or maybe I’ll get soaked. That’s okay though as the best part of getting wet, is the drying out and warming up.

*unavoidable cliché alert which is slightly funnier read in the trembling timbre of Rex Murphy



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