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Wendi Stewart - Wendi with an 'eye'

Wendi lives in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, but the farm on Rainy River in Crozier will always be her home. MEADOWLARK, her debut novel released September 15, is published by NeWest Press of Edmonton. She is the mother of four daughters who did the unforgivable: they grew up.

It was a dark and stormy night . . .

Hurricane Dorian has come and gone, one of those uninvited guests that you are glad to see the last of, but there is always a lesson to be learned while he is here.

Ample warning was given by Environment Canada and the Nova Scotia Weather Service, but readiness has never been my strong suit.

I'm not sure if that is stupidity or something else, but climate change has kicked my preparedness up a notch or two, with some slip-ups here and there.

A letter written to Frederick Douglass

Dear Mr. Douglass:

It was Maryland. Not Maryland now, but Maryland in 1824, though more often than not it feels the same, the lessons of two hundred years easily forgotten.

You had blood that blended well, of Native American they call it in Maryland, and African, neither white, never white enough.

You were handed over like some implement, like a garden hoe to Lucretia Auld, as if one person could ever, should ever, would ever hold title to another.

How is it September?

The butter in the butter dish was hard this morning, which can only mean one thing: it is September.

And every year at this time I throw up my hands and cry out, “How did this happen?” Then I remind myself of all the good things that come with September and it is a long list.

Apples, lots and lots of apples. Green ones, red ones, yellow ones, ones for pies, ones for tiny hands, ones because they are sweet and others because they are sour.

Too ugly, you say?

My daughter recently shared on Facebook a post from Meryl Streep with a photo of herself circa 1974, I am guessing, on the way to an audition for King Kong where she was told she was “too ugly”—not just ugly, but too ugly for the role of Dwan.

Meryl has gone on to be nominated 21 times for an Oscar, taking three home and as well, given the nod 31 times for a Golden Globe, winning eight, and she is not done yet.

Inviting 'now' over for lemonade

I recently stumbled upon a Ted Talk given by Robert Holden in 2018. Robert is a British psychologist who focuses his attention on “positive psychology and well-being.”

Anyone who calls himself an expert on happiness is a friend of mine.

I wasn't familiar with Robert Holden or his psychology until I listened to his fifteen-minute talk.

Let me fill you in. He was his mother's first-born child and she was able to boast on having had the shortest labour in history in that Nairobi hospital, up to 1965 that is and she may very well still hold the record.

Summertime is for children

The temperature went down to 13 degrees last night. I flung open the windows and crawled beneath my heavy blanket pulled up to my chin and slept comfortably, the air coming in the window fragrant and fresh.

When I got up this morning, the air was still chilly as Gracie and I strolled, but as the wind lifted my hair I heard it whisper its warning.

“Summer is fleeing,” said the breeze and I winced. And it got me thinking about my childhood summers.

My good friend, Wally

A close friend has died. It took two years for cancer, a brain tumour specifically, to claim Wally, while we looked on with encouragement and positive thoughts, looked on with fear at times, wanting to beg of those or that which seems to be in charge of our inevitable departure, not to take him from us.

We will all leave this world; we know this. We don't know how or when and I think most of us spend little time pondering our eventual demise.

If we could . . .

I have just spent three days walking a few of the many Nova Scotia beaches. They are quite incredible, breathtaking, soul-soothing.

I think a love of water is in the blood of most of us who grew up around and in Fort Frances and it would be easy to take that fresh water for granted in its abundance were it not so wired into our souls.

An ocean has a louder and bigger story perhaps, but no more meaningful than the water of Rainy Lake or of the Rainy River that hurried past my childhood.

Putting pen to paper

In 1940, Virginia Woolf wrote an essay entitled “The Humane Art.”

In it she said, “A self that goes on changing is a self that goes on living.”

She was reviewing a biography of Horace Walpole who had written sixteen volumes of letters that earned him the title of historian.

In this essay, Woolf had less to say about Walpole than she said about the art of letter writing and its pending doom. And one of my favourite bloggers, Maria Popova, fleshed it all out for me and as always, it got me thinking.

Time to kick cranky to the curb

I might be cranky. Wait here while I check.

I won't be a minute. Pick up a magazine or pour yourself a coffee or cut the grass. Not my grass; I have retired from having a lawn.

Okay, I'm back. I've run a few tests and the results were somewhat conclusive: I am indeed cranky. So, at least we know what we are dealing with.

I didn't see it coming. I left the door ajar last evening while I carried in a shelf I have been working on and aside of the 30 million mosquitoes that scurried in behind me, I suspect a dose of cranky crept in and hid under my bed.