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Summertime, and the Livin’ is Easy

Only five more school days left! I think I’m going to be doing some curriculum work over the summer, but that will be relaxing compared to dealing with teenagers. I can’t wait.

June is busting out all over, including our garden. Yesterday evening was beautiful, so we sat outside and had a beer after supper. I took a stroll around the yard and snapped some pictures.

Our irises are just reaching their peak right now. Mixed with deep purple bachelor’s buttons and pearly yellow ground cover (a donation from a neighbour – I haven’t bothered to look it up. Does anyone recognize it?), they create a nice palette of blues and yellows. Our wegiela is in full bloom, and we have a froth of forget-me-nots and columbines around the edge of the property. Jacob’s ladder is another reliable perennial that comes up for us every year.

The crabapple is done, but it was beautiful and the blossoms perfumed the whole yard. We won’t have to wait much longer for the peonies. Then the roses will take over. Right now, only the rugosa is in bloom. They line the beaches in so many places here, and to me they’re the essence of summer. Later will come the dahlias and brown-eyed Susans. In a good year, they bloom right through to the end of October.

I’m a lazy gardener. Our beds run riot, with no coddling for wimps, but we deal with the worst of the bullies and it always manages to look bright and cheerful, if not always perfectly neat and tidy. This summer I want to do plenty of relaxing, so the weeds will likely get ahead of me again. Sigh. No matter. Summer is too short not to savor.

The season is so laden with memories. The smell of a hot smoked-meat sandwich on a sweltering afternoon on Rue Ste. Catherine in Montreal. The dappled shade of spruce trees in the woods where I used to go riding during my high-school years in Miramichi. Moonlight on the Guysborough River where my family camped when I was a tween. The first summer Everett and I spent together, mostly at our family cottage, with the loons calling in the night.

Here’s a set of lyrics I wrote on a summer evening a few years ago. Everett has composed a swingy little jazz melody to go with them. I need another verse, then perhaps we’ll record it.


Swirl me around in an eddy of sunlight
Rest me in darkness at the edge of the stream
Bear me along in the flow of passing time
Like a reed in a river on its way to the sea

When I was a child, someone told me a story
‘Bout a man who made some wings and flew too close to the sun
He fell from grace, but he lost himself trying
And I’ve found myself crying for the freedom he won

Warm and bright as sunlight on the water
Hours go by on an afternoon like this
I’m nobody here, just the river’s daughter
Lying still, dreaming of…

Swirl me around in an eddy of sunlight
Pebbles turn till they’re polished and clean
Close my eyes and listen to the water
Be a reed in a river on its way to the sea

What are your best summer memories? I’ll leave you with a couple of my favourite tunes for the season. Enjoy!


  1. Janet
    June 11, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    I want your garden – kind of wild, but full of color, and no worries if you get to it or just admire the brilliant chaos from your deck chair (with a beer in hand – my kind of kick-back, Jennie). Great pics 😉

    I remember what it was like those last few days of school. The kids were counting down, singing "No more teacher, no more books…" – and not really having a clue that the teachers were doing happy dances in the staff room at the same time!!

    Love your song, Serenity! Have you done any songwriting workshops, Jennie? I'm looking forward to the one in Lunenburg (Folk Harbor) – hoping I can get on a volunteer job there so I can watch from the sidelines. Songwriters fascinate me – we have a few around here and I'm always cornering them at parties and making them talk about their gifts.

    Summer – love it! Best memories: camping in B.C. with my parents and little brother; going to the lake on super hot days with friends as a young adult; sitting on the deck (beer or wine in hand) visiting with neighbors until the wee hours.

  2. Jennie Marsland
    June 12, 2010 at 12:40 am

    Hi Janet! I used to volunteer at the Lunenburg folk festival, and I loved the songwriter's workshops. I remember James Keelaghan, whose songs are so poetic, explaining how to use your phone number to come up with a chord progression for a song. If you haven't, give him a listen. "Rebecca's Lament" and "Kiri's Piano" are favourites of mine.

  3. Michael MacGregor CPT
    June 12, 2010 at 1:01 am

    Hello, I love the post. What pretty pictures.

  4. Historical Writer/Editor
    June 12, 2010 at 1:04 am

    Hello, thanks for the nice post!

  5. Jennie Marsland
    June 12, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Hello, Michelle, thanks for stopping by! Hope you'll come back and make yourself at home. Laura, great to see you again! Isn't summer wonderful? I'm hoping we can get back to our cottage this weekend.

  6. Kelly Boyce
    June 18, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    Great pixs and I love the lyrics!

  7. Caroline Clemmons
    June 19, 2010 at 3:49 am

    You new book sounds right up my reading alley! Best of luck with it. Loved the beautiful photos on your blog, too. And now I'll have "Summer Breeze" going round in my head all day. LOL

  8. Jennie Marsland
    June 19, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Hi Caroline, it's a pleasure to meet you! I hope you'll stop by now and then and make yourself at home.