Thursday, August 31, 2017
Thank you Audrey. The words and melody of the hymn Whispering Hope resonates in my mind this morning. In the night I gave thought to the words I might write today but opening Facebook this morning my heart lurches toward the sorrow of another family facing loss. The loss the Short family of Port Aux Basques,NFLD is feeling this morning is deep and debilitating and beyond understanding. I met Stacey and Lew two years ago and got to meet their beautiful Ava. At that time they were perplexed with the frequency of seizures that had started in their healthy oldest granddaughter. They had been told she had epilepsy and were doing their best to deal with what that would mean. Shortly after the diagnosis changed and they were told Ava had Batten Disease. They knew nothing about that disease but as they learned about it they quickly realized the nightmare that was to come. Many hospital trips and many life changing setbacks had just begun. As a family they faced each one with as much courage as they could muster and always with strong, determined love and loyalty. Ava had a little sister and another one soon to be born and her Mom faced all Ava's disease threw at them while still mothering her younger daughter and new baby. They gave Ava every fiber of their being as she fought bravely. Last night Ava's brave fight was over. Her little body succumbed to the horrors of the disease and her beautiful smile was extinguished. At Audrey's funeral yesterday I heard and witnessed tributes to her beautiful smile and loving presence for almost 93 years on this earth. How are we to understand why one smile lasts 93 years and one only 6 short ones? There is no understanding and only the whisper of hope in such sorrow.
Monday, August 21, 2017
What a glorious morning it is. I took my coffee to the front veranda(the cottage) and had a few minutes of amazing reflection and bliss. Our big old drooling , sneezing, begging dog joined me trying very hard to step on my feet. I quickly wrote my journal entry and took in the sights , the feel of the day and the quiet beauty. One more week of summer holidays. I realize I could go back to work anytime I wanted to. The rigid schedule I lived by for twenty nine years is now fluid and flexible but I use the margins of it to organize myself to the discipline of writing. I am very excited to get back to work but somewhat nervous about the challenge. I think back to the beginning of the six books I have published. The beginnings were as unsure as the work I hope to start next week. Some small seed of an idea started the process of finding story , character and letting the writing swell as I sat each day allowing it to unfold. I love the process and trust it more than I did at first but still feel the fear and doubt . This is much like the trepidation I felt preparing my classroom , looking at my class list and undertaking the challenges each school year brought. The challenges, the rewards and the joy of the job. The whole jumble once the door opened and the kids came in. So a few solitary moments at the cottage helps to prepare me for all that getting back to my office will bring. I can not even begin to say how very thankful I am for the opportunity to be there.
Monday, August 14, 2017
This morning I took my coffee and journal out to the back veranda and took in the beauty of the sights and sounds around me. The sun was strong burning off the thick morning dew . I could feel a trace of fall in the air while at the same time feeling the beauty of summer. As a teacher I would already be feeling the tug of the school year coming and feel the need to hang on tightly to the last few days of summer holiday. I know my daughter in law feels that same tug. The tug is different for me these days. In two weeks I will return to my office and to the work I have been given the chance and privilege to do since giving up the work I loved for almost thirty years. I now am happy to let someone else welcome the Grade Four students when school starts up again. I will be busy writing books. I will begin writing my eleventh book. Six have been published ,one awaits publication in the spring and three sit on the back burner waiting. Someone at the market on Saturday said I will need a bigger table soon. I am happy that I still sell all six regularly although Meg would say The Sewing Basket doesn't get its fair share of recognition. I will squeeze as many books in as I can and be thrilled as each one arrives. For now I look forward to two weeks from today when I will say goodbye to my summer routine and welcome my writing routine again for another year. Today I have a plethora of peas and beans to pick and some weeds to pull. I have a lake to visit a couple of times and I look forward to attending Charlotte's Tea with my sister in law and friends this evening. Oh the joys of summer and the anticipation of fall. Kathy Thornhill's beautiful hooked masterpieces hang on the wall beside my table and I love that the one with an open book and pile of books is in full view.
Sunday, August 13, 2017
This house is so quiet. I put the girls rooms back to rights and packed away all their treasures the day after they left. I have taken it fairly easy all week trying to get my energy level back. I was able to come and go as I pleased , nap when I felt like it and watch whatever I wanted on TV. Life is back to normal and we miss those little girls like crazy. They were happy to be back home and it is of course as it should be but thinking that we won't have them running around again until next summer is not easy. Every summer brings new joys and changes. Again this summer I see the results of my futile attempt to keep all the weeds from our massive garden. In reality it would probably take five full time employees to keep it weed free and we are managing with two part time ones. At this point in August the picking of peas and beans takes priority and I couldn't possibly catch up with the weeding. I vow once more to go smaller next year. Last year I kept a close eye on the growth of my sunflowers. That has not been a focus this year and sadly the last few standing have been knocked over by our beautiful big brown pig who breaks out once in awhile looking for love. There is always next year. Perhaps that is the best lesson gardening gives us. In fourteen days I will return to my office. I am quite sure what I will begin to write but won't know for certain until I actually sit at the keyboard and see what takes over. The gifts the summer gives us , the bounty the garden brings and the joys of writing are unpredictable, changing and variable but the blessings of season have a constant that give us the assurance to believe in " maybe next year". For that I am so thankful.
Monday, August 7, 2017
"Don't Even Talk about it!" is what Paige has been saying for the last week or so whenever the topic of leaving has been mentioned. Transitions, change, goodbyes are so difficult. But all good things , all things come to an end. This morning the house is quiet because the girls had a sleepover at Aunt Bri's and Uncle Chapin's. That means of course that I will not hear their footsteps and their morning greetings again until next year. We will coax them from their beds in the early morning hours tomorrow and put them in the car to drive to the airport for an early flight. I am sad and don't want to talk about it but here I am writing about it. The morning air held the promise of fall and I am anxious to return to work but how can summer and our time with the girls be ending? I know just how quickly weeks, months and seasons pass so it should not surprise me that we have come so quickly to this day. I will begin the packing and the process of letting them go. They live in Alberta and I must come to terms with that. I will, but my heart will break seeing them walk through security. We try hard not to have long, emotional goodbyes but the emotion sits under the surface . I know these weeks have mattered more than we can even imagine. Our girls know us so well and have added to their repertoire of data that can be brought up quickly and at anytime when they need their grandparents and need to know just how much we adore them. We have had so many laughs, so many moments and distance can not take that from us. Ok,so on this beautiful New Brunswick day I will get them ready to go back to Alberta but I know New Brunswick goes back with them and the summer of 2017 was worth every single minute, every challenge ,and every bit of what we all offered to it.
Thursday, August 3, 2017
Five more sleeps. How very quickly six weeks goes by. July has passed and the beginning days of August are the wind down days of the time of Summer 2017 spent with our granddaughters. With each jump in the lake the time to say goodbye gets closer . I will swim after they go home as long into the fall as I can and each time I will see in my mind Paige swimming vigorously out to the raft, her blonde hair and the collar of her red and blue life jacket sticking above the rippling water. I will see Emma swimming closely behind her and triumphantly reaching the raft and taking an exuberant jump into the deep water. Each drive down and back will hold the echoes of the conversations and the beauty of the chance to hit the lake one more time. I heard a woman on CBC today talking about the wonderful healing power of water and swimming. She said that water has the power to take our feelings whatever they are and give us back only good ones as we leave it. I have known this for a very long time. I have taken the gift of healing the Walton Lake gives me season after season and do not take for granted any of its power. I believe that as the girls leave us they take a part of that gift as well. The memories of getting to its shore,of running and jumping in and of allowing the water to connect us are deeply cemented in their minds and will hold a lasting place in their memories with us.