by Pat Thomas
I love Nova Scotia. Love, love, love it.
I’m not someone who has to go away to appreciate what our province offers and I’d rather not hop in a car and drive miles to get to work. I enjoy what I do as a freelance writer and editor, working from home, and I wake up most days more than ready to go. Sometimes I find I have too much early-morning energy and it’s hard to just go and sit at the computer.
So I don’t. For instance this morning around six o’clock, I went to swim at Fox Point Beach with friends. Most days, this lovely soft sand beach has calm early morning waters.
Sometimes the sun is just rising when our toes slip in to check the temperature but today the sky was sunless silver and the water was warm, like bath water…calm as poured glass. The perfect beginning for a still, grey day.
It’s not always the same. It’s variable and that’s why it works for me.
One day last week there was a golden glow on the water and the sky reflected it, gilding everything that was wet. On one morning, the water and sky were identical grey except for a fine line of brilliant tungsten flame flaring on the horizon, as if a seam had torn open. On a couple stormy mornings the seas been rough with huge frothing waves breaking on the beach. Instead of heading home, we waded out beyond the foam, delighted by warm surface water and huge swells.
Most mornings the air is damp, the sea calm and sounds carry, crystal clear. We can hear the put-put of fishing boats off shore and the seagulls, with wings spread, that reel and screech high above us.
At the ends of the Fox Point Beach, seaweed, hobbled to cobbles, sways back and forth, to the lap and draw of waves – like branches waving in the wind.
Gentle wave action wrinkles sand underneath, to a cool Sahara. And schools of little fishes, and crabs the size of my hand, swim by or scurry sideways beneath my feet as I tread water. The crystal-clear water reminds me of the child I was and fills me with a child’s sense of wonder. And creativity. And clarity. And grace.
While we float – three women in our declining years – we laugh and tell each other how lucky we are…to be drifting and floating on the swells that build to waves, just off the shore, at the beginning of another glorious summer day.
After our morning dip, I feel more than ready to work and it feels good to sit at the computer and pour over each page I read or write.
Generally, editing is a solitary business, especially when it’s done over the Internet. Most of the time I like working alone, in the comfort of my home, moving from space to space and room to room, following the sunlight. Still, there are times when it demands too much attention, and my mind and body balk.
I head for the Trellis Café with my laptop for a close-to-home break. Trellis doors open to the local coffee crowd just before eight o’clock in the morning.
I order the Trellis Breakfast, set up my laptop, and work there…sometimes into the afternoon. When I get home it feels good, like I’ve been on vacation. Though I’ve worked for hours, I am refreshed and do more at home because of it. The Trellis and Fox Point Beach and my home are addictive and stimulating for different reasons.
Before that, paintings by Charmaine Porter, an Aspotogan artist, hung there. I happened to be Trellising the day the artist placed them – she told me she’d travelled to the Middle East to visit her daughter. Those memories and images of her time there inspired her recent works. I saw and appreciated her desert images, over and over, whenever I glanced up from my work. Charmaine said she prepared each canvas with magenta and then applied the dry, cool sand tones on top…leaving the underlay as vibrant, coloured lines, occasionally peeking through. The strength of that beneath colours made the calm sandy tones vibrate and feel alive. Like going to the Trellis does for me.
Art is addictive and I can’t afford to buy the art I like, or the to take the time to go to different galleries and shows. I’m thankful for The Trellis Café. Thankful for their strong coffee, the wonderful food, the conversations, and for the changing art on Trellis walls. Like looking through an open window, they provide the shore, haunting portraits, colourful blooms, and for me, they’re like a time away. After a break to look around, I relax back into work.
And, on other days, if I still have work to do, after spending hours at my desk, there are the jam sessions. On Thursday nights musicians gather at the Trellis and play and laugh and sing for hours. A well-spent hour there also does the trick.
When I think about swimming in the ocean, a Trellis meal, art shows and Thursday night jam sessions I smile because these ‘distractions’ are not only wonderfully part of where I live, but they allow me to work harder and longer at home.
How and where could life be better than this for a freelance editor and writer, with too much energy, not enough time, and the desire to work from home – or very close to it?
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