27 May, 2008

~ Of Diggers and Visiting Bees...and Tess ~

I am stuck. I am writing assigned pieces and I have gotten myself stuck. Can't go forward, can't go backward, I'm just sitting here, spinning my wheels, shifting gears, rocking myself deeper into the mire.

I am stuck.

What's a girl to do when she gets herself stuck? Well, if you're this girl, and you happen to have gotten yourself stuck in late spring, you go outside and dig in the dirt.

I have brand new diggers, fancy-schmancy stainless steel diggers received as a Christmas gift, diggers that came, as all diggers do, with the expectant hope of green and growing things…so…I take myself out to dig in the dirt, expectant and hopeful.

As I nestle our new lilies into the bed at the bottom of the garden, and wonder whether clover roots are knitted or crocheted (growl, scowl, frown, tug, pull, wrestle), a bee settles nearby, and a gentle commotion at the fence alerts me to the presence of Tess, our neighbour's dog.

Tess likes to visit while we garden. She leans through the small spaces between the fence boards and tells us stories, mostly about how lonesome she is and how many treats she has not had. We don't believe her for a minute (she shares her home with children), but she is so sweet and earnest that we humour her and tell her how sorry we are for the ill treatment she perceives she is subjected to.

Today, Tess pushes her nose through the fence and tells me a very sad tale of loneliness and woe. I have heard this particular story before, but I scratch her chin and try very hard to look in the direction of the visiting bee so she does not see that I am rolling my eyes.

Before long Tess’ account has ended, the lilies have been settled, the knitted (or maybe crocheted) clover has been eliminated from one corner of one bed, my diggers have been properly dirtied., and the visiting bee has moved on to someone else's garden. I scoop weeds into the barrow, slap my gloves together, pull several thistle prickles from my wrists, scrub my hands, and return to my assigned pieces, which I had abandoned in the mire an hour previously.

Curiously, the mire seems to have receded. I sit down to my assigned pieces and find that while I was out digging in the dirt, all trace of ‘stuck’ disappeared…and I write…

Peace ~

21 May, 2008

~ Hunting with The Big Gun ~

Hornets make poor photography subjects.

I know this to be true because I followed one around my back yard last night for more than five minutes, fancy new camera at the ready, eye to the viewfinder, hand on the focus ring of The Big Gun, my fancy new 300mm lens. The hornet tested my crabapple blossoms, he tested my dianthus blooms, he tested my bergenia flowers, he tested my patience. He lit long enough only for me to locate him, never long enough to capture his fearsome image.

Still, he was lovely after his own fashion, with his fierce white brows knit in a ferocious frowning ‘V’.

Lovely, if ill mannered.

The impression he left was rather less than stellar.

My daughter says perhaps he would have been better behaved had he been wearing his yellow jacket, a dinner jacket. Perhaps. All I know is that, arrayed as he was, he behaved very poorly indeed, rather like a wayward child, like a primadonna – spoiled and indulged.

Not like tulips which are far better behaved, far more civilized, and which make marvellously compliant subjects for a gal itching to test the features of her fancy new camera and, especially, new Big Gun.

Plus, as you may see for yourself, tulips do not frown.

Peace ~

15 May, 2008

~ Mmmmmm ~

Chop a red pepper into a bowl, drizzle it with extra-virgin olive oil, crush a little black pepper and a little sea salt over it, take it to the garden and snip fresh chives over the top. Eat it in the sun.


Go sit in the sun and eat anything, anything at all, doesn't have to be red pepper with chives. Close your eyes and let the flavours fill your whole body.

Let the wind play with your hair.

Let God whisper in your ear.


It is a day for such things, for whisperings, for secret joys, for hugs of the spirit.....

...a day where dreams become tangible....

....one can dip one's fingers into them......

....and roll them from one's skin.....

....to keep for another time.....

06 May, 2008

~ Dibs ~

Our home is filled with the things most homes are filled with – family pictures, well-loved books, Grandma’s Bible, Granddad’s wood planes. Our home is also filled with odd treasures - hand-me-down furniture, rescued chairs, auction riches, and I could never have guessed some of the things my children would become attached to.

One of my sons has called dibs on the old restaurant dishes we use every day. One son wants my typewriter, another wants the clock, one daughter has claimed the photographs of her great-great-grandparents, and the other has laid claim to certain books. Who knows why certain things are important to each of them?

We used to take road trips. We would load up the Suburban (or, many years earlier, the much-despised minivan) and trailer and we would head out across three provinces, singing songs, playing games, lifting our feet as we crossed every railway, ducking our heads as we passed under every overpass, holding our breath as we crossed every bridge, stopping every thirty-two miles because someone had to pee. We kept large scrapbooks, some of them old-time scrapbooks with black pages, in which we made Dear Diary entries every night before bed. We (well, I) wrote out what we had done that day, where we had gone, whom we had seen, and so on. We included ticket stubs, postcards, brochures, till receipts, maps, and all manner of good stuff. The day's entry always ended with everyone's favourite part of the day. Sometimes instead of telling every story, I wrote something like, "Remember Finnegan doing acrobatics and getting caught up in the tree?" or "Remember putting David's snakes in our pockets?" or "Remember the dead fox on the railway tracks?" which sparked memories and encourageed the kids to tell the stories themselves.

These summertime journals become bedtime stories, generally somewhere around the middle of January when tales of bright, sweltering summer days were a welcome distraction from deepest winter. The reading and storytelling usually took us way past bedtime, but what of it? We were reliving the memories we had created together – who could send children to bed in the middle of such moments? The scrapbook journals, fat and bulgy, frayed, stained, several even smeared with bug guts (Manitoba mosquitoes are the worst!), are some of my children’s most well loved treasures.

My kids aren’t shy about putting dibs on whatever it is they want from the house after I die. They have no problem calling the blue jug, or my typewriter, or my red gloves. Sometimes they ask if they can have certain things before I die. The one who gets my engagement ring once said, “Hurry up and go so I can have my ring”. Little brat. (grin) Oddly, my kids don't fight over who will get the fancy scrapbook albums with their pretty layouts and carefully protected pages…..but there is an ongoing battle over who will have custody of the holiday journals. Ü

Really, knowing my brood, I ought to have seen that one coming.