Fall Patterns Unfurl

“A lot of vagaries can introduce themselves …”


Sometimes a snippet heard on the radio gets stuck in my head.

That small phrase seemed to sum everything up quite nicely, thank you very much.

Almost like a little poem.

The words came, oddly, from a supply chain expert during a CBC interview about the current unpredictability in the worldwide movement of goods. It was an interesting piece, also notable for the expert pointing out that we, the consumers, have become somewhat “diabolical” in our expectations for instant wish fulfilment.

I actually laughed when he said “a lot of vagaries can introduce themselves,” just. because it elicited the mental response, “No kidding!” I’m sure he chose those words quite carefully, seeming like a very thoughtful person. No reason why a supply chain management expert can’t also have the soul of a poet.

The phrase, rolling around like a stray ball bearing in my brain, has had me thinking in various ways about the different types of uncertainty we’ve all been living with for so long.

And how tiring that can be.

And where we can look for a little relief.

In these very vagrant times, I find some comfort in the predicability of pattern.

My daily walks around my own small neighbourhood are a pattern in themselves,  repeated over the last thirty years with babies in strollers, toddlers, older kids going to school, and a succession of dogs.

And on those walks I now see the pattern of autumn unfurling like a roll of new wallpaper for the world.

The leaves are turning, berries and nuts are ripening.

Birds are returning from the north — just passing through, or settling in (like the rest of us) for a wet Vancouver winter. Just as they do every year.

One of the first returning goldfinches

Crows are doing what crows do in fall — being rowdy.

They’re always noisy, of course, but now is the time for that autumn-specific celebratory type of crow riotousness.

They gather in big groups — not just for the nightly roost, or a funeral, or in order to chase away a bird of prey — but simply to shout the odds amongst themselves. Parent crows are giddy with freedom from fledgling responsibilities, and those fledglings are now teenagers — anxious to get out into the world and find/cause trouble.

Sometimes the chaos IS the pattern.

Framing that thought in nature is comforting — although much less so when it comes to human affairs. That’s why it’s probably time for me to pick up my knitting needles and re-engross myself in that half-finished Fair Isle beret sitting in a tangle since early summer.

Just stick to the pattern and all will work out in the end, I tell myself.

Of course, I may drop a stitch or two, but at least now I’ve been reminded about those sneaky little vagaries. Maybe I’ll listen to the radio as I knit and see what I hear next …

Mavis at her customary watch on the roof — another comforting sight.





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10 thoughts on “Fall Patterns Unfurl

  1. Goodness, what fabulous photos! Even better than usual and that takes some doing. Vagaries indeed. Happy knitting and hello to your crows. Thank you for sharing all you do.

  2. This blog stopped me in my tracks…somehow the word vagaries has never popped up in anything that I have heard or read. Looked it up and it perfectly describes what many are going through right now. So many are unpredictable and don’t know how to deal with the changes that covid has produced.
    Your spectacular photographs and insights remind us of what is important and to just “just stick to the pattern and all will work out in the end”. A wonderful way to look at life as it is in a constant state of flux.
    I have had my own encounters with nature and the most memorable was on an evening when I was quietly contemplating the beautiful sun set beyond Jericho Beach. I heard a scratching by my ear and turned to find a crow sitting on the top edge of the lawn chair. I was at first frightened but reminded myself of the lovely state of mind that I was in and put my fear aside to start talking to the crow. The next thing I knew, the crow jumped down into my lap. What an amazing feeling that was and we spent a few minutes getting to know each other culminating in me daring to stroke it’s feathers. Such an amazing experience that I will never forget!
    Thank you for your beautiful works of art and insights 🙂

  3. June, your blog is poetry itself. Good luck with that Fair Isle beret. My own rejuvenated sock project is stalling for a second time. Sigh.

  4. You always bring me back to the beauty of the moment and a bit of peace of mind. Thank you for these insights and comforts.

  5. I heard a CBC Radio interview with, I think, you: I was only able to catch snatches of it but I thought “I must check the CBC Radio program page and download it so I can listen to it properly…” but of course other things pushed the thought away until the other day when I encountered a group of five or six crows doing crow things, so I’m on the trail again.
    Was it you? If yes, please tell me what program and who your interviewer was so I can finally hear the whole thing!

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