It is a rather dreary Easter Monday. My morning has been slow and demands are low. I have provided room service to my two sleepover granddaughters, I've washed eggs, written in my journal of course and looked back at Easter last year and the year before. Regular morning things that make up so many of my days. It occured to me the other day on my wood road walk how predictable my walk regime is. I begin with petitions, prayers and requests of sorts that mirror the concerns of the day. I begin that lineup with thoughts of putting my oxygen mask on first, breathing and believing that I must be all right before I can do anything else. I thought how repetitive my petitions are. I thought perhaps saying them over and over and going through the same motions every day might be undermining any belief I have in a higher power that hears my prayers. The words 'pray without ceasing' came to mind. I thought of young children asking for something and how it seems more effective if they ask over and over. Then I thought of food and how it is required daily and medicine that is taken repeatedly until it is no longer necessary.So why not prayers and petitions and the very routine that feeds my soul day in and day out; waiting for answer to prayer , for respite, for a calm acceptance and for the deep assurance that whatever I am given strength and grace will accompany it. Several days ago my eyes were somehow cast on a particular tree in the foreground of hundreds of trees . In the white oval patch on the trunk of that tree I saw my son's name.I do not know if it was carved there.Perhaps he himself took a tool and etched his name twenty some years ago, or someone else on this same walk stopped and holding him in their heart scratched the letters of his name. Or maybe nature, time and the tree's natural growth split the bark in the exact configuration of the three letters spelling my oldest son's name. It doesn't really matter. What matters is that I came upon it excactly when I did and for me it was a gift , a connection and a place to stop and ponder on my daily walks. And these wood road walks are as nuturing as food and as healing as medicine.
Sunday, March 28, 2021
Wood road walking is not for the faint of heart these days. It requires attention, caution and planning. It also requires a good pair of rubber boots and a trusty walking stick.One can not walk with her eyes gazing toward the sky and not take care for the challenges underfoot. The ground is slowly thawing, frost is creating deep holes and streams of water run and pool. Navigating is the key. Choosing a direction, predicting a best case scenario, taking chances. Walking on a treacherous wood road is very much like living life. This week brought a devastating loss to a family very dear to me. This family has been intertwined with mine for many years. Many hours were spent together and we attempted to find our way through our son's childhood and teenage years together. Many laughs and long talks were shared. Years and life sent us off in different directions and we lost touch but always had the bond created over those years. This week my friend Cindy died and her family is reeling from the shock and the deep gulf of grief. No easy way through what they have been given. Strength and resilience will guide and direct them as they must forge ahead. Two precious granddaughters need to be cared for and nutured. Stories of their wonderful grandmother will be shared and they will see a family altered but not defeated by the terrible turn life has taken. Last night in a jumble of dreams Zac showed up . He was sitting at a table in a room I entered in my mixed up dream and he rose to embrace me and tell me everything would be OK.This morning as I face another day I am so thankful for the tools we have , the boots and walking sticks, the loved ones living and dead that carry us along ,all the things that help get us over the most difficult sections of this path called life.
Monday, March 22, 2021
It is Monday morning and here I am, happy, grateful ,with a full list and lots of motivation. My bath has been run, I have checked off three items on my Monday morning list and it is coming on to lunchtime. But first before I go any further I will stop and spend some time with Budge Wilson. Budge Wilson passed away on Friday at age 93. What a treasure on this lovely spring day to sit with Budge and just listen. She talks about six long years of rejections and a teacher named Freda Pike being her motivator and whose words she held on to during rejection and doubt. She then moves on to family dsyfunction and I hang off her wise words. No perfect family. Problems with families when other factors enter the scene. No tidy resolutions. She regards the greatest compliment to her work is someone finding themselves in her books. 'Merciful in their judgements' being one of her writing goals. Oh Budge you will be missed and we are thankful for the body of work you have left behind. Time well spent as I attempt to deal with family , with writing, with healing and
with living this life I have been blessed with.
Monday, March 15, 2021
We are a game playing family. It isn't many meals we have that we don't clear the table afterwards and ask which game we're playing. Sunday suppers continue but have changed over the years and with Covid are reduced to our smaller family bubble. Meg, Cody and the girls have been with us since August , Jenna is now a part of our family circle and Alice joins us every week. On this another Monday morning I find myself reflecting , rallying and regrouping or at least trying to. I woke with today's title in my head. I had a busy night of dreaming that seemed to have me frantically trying to put someone's house in order. Cleaning , purging, rearranging a house that at one point seemd to be my mother in laws and another seemed to be Megan's and then mine.My house in order. Jenna laughed at me Friday as I paniced about the dirt and dog hair I could see billowing on the floor in the late afternoon sun. Taking up my broom as if it were a lifeline, something to hang on to to save my life, I swept and took back a smidge of control. Oh boy a therapist could have a field day with me.I have mentioned before how I say " Ok Everyone" out of the blue and my family makes great fun of that. But in writing those words my eyes well up and I don't find it quite as funny. Ok we are Ok, everyone is OK. I looked after the girls all weekend , I prepared and served a Sunday supper, I turned the clocks whichever way they needed to go, except for the one in the kitchen that seems to have a mind of it's own even with a new battery.And I won a couple of games this weekend. Funny how lately I have put the winners in my journal as if it matters at all or will matter in years to come who won Wizard on March 14th,2021.As if my journals will matter in years to come. What matters right now is that we fight the good fight. We use our Mondays to gird our strength for our Sundays. We play our games and have our time together. We accept change and challenge and play the hand we're dealt. We win and lose with grace and humor.
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
I pondered the title for today's blog entry. I wanted it to have something to do with swimming. I considered Swimming Against the Tide. I really had no desire to blog but as often happens my daughter(aka blog coach)asked for one.The use of aka reminds me of my granddaughter Paige's repeat of one of her 3 positives at every suppertime. She has a couple she repeats and one of them is " I'm sitting beside my wonderful Grampie(aka the keeper of fun )". So perhaps this entry will just be a rambling of sorts. I will begin with swimming. What does going swimmingly even mean? Good question.I love to swim and today my friend Kathy and I went back to the pool. We haven't done our Wednesday thing since November 12th. It felt great to swim again and makes me anxious for the lake. I do not want to rush the seasons though. For now I will walk and snowshoe and enjoy my woods. I am also busy with the first round of edits for The Wright Retreat. I am about half done and really shouldn't linger long on this entry. I love the editing process and am looking forward to re-working the ending which Penelope felt wasn't working. What a gift to have such a caring and intuitive editor who pushes me to do better. My edits are going swimmingly. Life for the most part on this beautiful March day is going swimmingly. I am thankful and anxious to get back to the ten writers who have gathered at the Wright Retreat. And there is swimming; even skinny dipping ,so all is good.
Friday, February 26, 2021
The days are getting longer and the sun is getting stronger.The seasons of our lives have predicability along with surprise. I love February. I have points of reference for each month and season and feel an internal clock and calendar from the sum of all my experiences. Even though this is the twelth year away from the classroom I feel the tug of March Break. I understand the fatigue and weariness of fighting the good fight from January to March and looking forward to the rest March Break provides. I can only imagine how with all the challenges Covid has brought just how much more intense that exhaustion feels. Now people who don't quite get it would say that storm days and shortened weeks should be respite enough but teachers know the truth of the demands they face every day and a break is welcome. This year of course is different. Can't imagine there are many people looking forward to trips south or trips anywhere. We will probably have two of our grandchildren most days and most nights. So my trips into the woods are necessary. I need to stand under the canopy of trees gazing up at the sky to clear my head and tune in to my internal calendar.Each day a checkmark on the days we are given and each one a treasure in itself. Two days ago Megan and the girls made a snowman. The snow was just right the sun and temperature perfect for being outside.Grampie posed with the girls even though he'd had no part in building the snowman. Meg said to get in the picture because he had a part in the girls being in New Brunswick (escaping Alberta). He stood happily between Little Toad and Tiny Toad , a moment frozen in time and recorded in a photograph. The next day the snowman had tumbled, his head and middle ball nearly gone, his carrot nose lying in the snow and his buttons strewn about. His day in the Sun was over. Snowmen don't last and days can't be re-lived. Seasons come and go and each day is a gift.
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Yesterday on my trek to the woods I had the passing thought of a line that could be written someday in my obituary. She loved to Snowshoe. I often stop up in the woods and take in the beauty and the overwhelming feeling of happiness I feel there. Pondering that line I thought 'What is it I love about snowshoeing?' My mind began unravelling that . Through the woods to Grandma's house, the fairy tale element of a winding path taking us somewhere familiar, somewhere amazing,somewhere we are recieved and loved. The winding paths are a source of joy to me. The exploration, the adventure , the challenge. The familiar and the unknown. Yesterday I weaved my way through an already established trail finding my way back through the woods I had a few days ago forged unknowingly. I love both situations. I love heading out on untouched snow but I also love following a path. I will be sorry if today's weather covers my snowshoe trail but will be willing to head out and make a new one. The snow was perfect the last few days. It was deep enough to cover obstacles and the going was great. I sometimes spend two hours up there and it never quite seems like enough. If I go a day or two without going I feel an emptiness and longing. Sometimes I wake in the night and transport my self back there in my imagination. I thought yesterday of the day when I may not be able to snowshoe or walk up the wood road. I hope that day is far away. Grampie and I make Emma and Paige put on snowshoes and head up the hill. They reluctantly follow and possibly have a little bit of fun. They head back with Grampie knowing Monkey needs more. Monkey needs the woods. It occurs to me to make the comparison to my need to write and can see some parallels. I thought of many on my sojourn yesterday and maybe someday I'll write them down. Who knows if the girls will ever love snowshoeing the way I do. Perhaps for them it will be something else entirely that fills their souls and brings such joy. For me strapping on my snowshoes and heading into the woods is a gift and I'll keep doing it until I can't. Other things will probably be written and remembered about me but hopefully ' she loved to Snowshoe' will be right up there and the people who love me will understand just why.