The country life I lead is rare, precious, and endangered. I am profoundly aware that the earth, our matrix, is dangerously wounded. And yet, my signature for my nature books remains “Rejoice in wildness.”
In small pockets like Singing Meadow, the twenty country acres where I live and write, the shadows of great grey herons still pass over my head on their journeys from nearby Bobs Lake to their stick nests in a pond behind our home. At night I can safely stand in the middle of our dead-end road, staring at the clear, deep sky full of stars, hearing no sound but a glee of coyotes, spilling over a distant hill.
Now, without my beloved husband Barry, [I will write more about coming to terms with this huge loss in a few of the blogs to come] I face the raw essence of solitude in all its aspects, bad, but also good.
In these difficult times, I want to write appreciatively, curiously, and only occasionally sorrowfully, about what the remaining gifts of my life mean to me.
So this will be my letter to all of you who are unable to be here, greeting the first song sparrow of spring, watching the ice go out from the lake, catching sight of the first flash of the returning kingfisher, reading eclectically, pausing to study a meadow hawk dragonfly, letting my favorite shuttle fly through my weaving, or plunging my hands into the garden soil I’ve helped build.
No doubt this blog will evolve in time, and your suggestions and comments are welcome, but things I see including are the difficult practice of simplicity, a delight in creativity and the land, always and most importantly, the land.
What I am asking is: What does it mean to live fully with the time that remains?
Peri McQuay became committed to nature through the inspiration and teaching of her Canadian artist parents, Ken Phillips and Marie Cecilia Guard.
For thirty years Peri and her conservation educator husband Barry took joy in living, working at Foley Mountain. This eight-hundred-acre conservation area of granite ridges, beaver ponds and towering pines overlooks the beautiful little village of Westport in eastern Ontario.
Currently she lives and writes, at Singing Meadow, near the shores of Bobs Lake
[Peri McQuay] is a skilled writer who can apply her precise and confident prose with equal success to beauty or violence…. McQuay knows her land, knows its inhabitants, both plant and animal, like a first language. Nicols Fox, Washington Post
There’s a magnificent tenderness in these narratives–emphatically not to be confused with sentimentality. Toronto Globe and Mail
Author Peri McQuay broods on nature with a great love. Diana Beresford-Kroeger, author of The Sweetness of a Simple Life and The Global Forest
Hear my Novel Idea reading, first broadcast on CFRC 101.9fm’s Finding a Voice http://findingavoiceoncfrcfm.wordpress.com/
Peri’s reading in celebration of Wintergreen Studios’ 10th Anniversary
Deeply committed to nature, art, and social justice, Peri is the author of three published books.
- The View From Foley Mountain, a book of nature meditations based on her experiences living at the park
- A Wing in the Door: Life With a Red-tailed Hawk, the story of her adventures with a human-imprinted hawk, who lived free but saw McQuay and her family as her special people.
- Singing Meadow: The Adventure of Creating a Country Home, in which McQuay and her husband, Barry design and build a small home and discover new exciting land near Foley Mountain.
Also Peri has written numerous essays, articles, book reviews for Country Journal, Harrowsmith, Bird Watcher’s Digest, The Snowy Egret, Seasons, The Fiddlehead, Herizons and Brick and a weekly column published in the Kingston Whig-Standard Magazine.