When I looked up hodgepodge just now, to see if it meant what I thought it meant—a collection of disparate things put together—I discovered that I was kind of right. Here are the synonyms the Oxford Dictionary provides:
mixture, mix, mixed bag, assortment, assemblage, collection, selection, jumble, ragbag, hotchpotch, miscellany, medley, patchwork, pot-pourri, melange, mess, mishmash, confusion, clutter, farrago
gallimaufry, olio, olla podrida, salmagundi
Online, most of the hits are for Nova Scotia recipes. Hodgepodge seems to be a summertime supper dish, a mixture of fresh vegetables. My mum was born on Cape Breton Island and raised in Halifax and her term for a meal that was spur-of-the-moment or else based on what was readily available was “mixed bag.” (Leftovers were “orts”.)
Sometimes I want to make a blog post because I have bits and pieces, a hodgepodge, and this is one of those days. A fall day when the big leaf maples are at their best, some of them orange and ochre, some of them Naples yellow, like patches of sunlight among the dark conifers. Last night we drove out to Egmont for supper at the Backeddy Pub and I kept wondering why there were so many variants in the maples. I know that the yellow has to do with diminishing levels of chlorophyll and I guess the variations must be related to temperatures and moisture levels. But in one small area, the colour range was extreme.
I was hoping we’d see orcas or humpbacks from our seats by the window in the pub. Last time we watched orcas hunt seals on the rocks just across the inlet. This time, a seal swam just beyond us but no whales. The side of the mountain on the other side of the inlet was punctuated with maples.
While I type this, I’m listening to Rozhanytsya (or Рожаниця), a wonderful Ukrainian group we heard in Kyiv a few weeks ago. You can hear a sample here:
John’s new book, This Was the River, has just come out with Harbour Publishing. If you’re interested in hearing him read from the book, you can listen here (there might be a better way to embed these clips but I can’t figure it out):
The image at the top of this post? Oh, it’s random, in a way, as might suit a hodgepodge. But listening to these poems reminds of the location of the title poem, the Fraser River as it surges past Lillooet. We’d gone there in October 2014 on a little road trip. And on the same trip, we were driving on Highway 8 when we saw those lovers just east of Spences Bridge. It was cold, just like today, and bright, and we stopped to watch their courtship.