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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. http://wendistewart.writersresidence.com

Ensure your seatbelt is fastened

I know it is a common complaint of mine, a regular sort of whining if you prefer, about air travel.

So here I go again, a warning if you wish to turn the page.

On this particular trip there was the usual cattle-herding, the cramped quarters, my knees up against the seat in front of me, the seat in front of me fully reclined so I couldn't open my table tray, the woman next to me spilling into my seat; all the regular companions of air travel.

What's a nest without a tree?

I was walking my usual walk the other day after a Nor'easter had blown through, its wind stripping the brilliant-coloured leaves from the branches, toppling trees that Hurricane Dorian had loosened and I came upon a small nest lying upright in the middle of my path.

Gracie sniffed at it briefly and then moved on to unearth other discoveries of greater interest to her, while I stood above the nest pondering its message.

Oh, mathematics, I love you

There is an artistic beauty in mathematics that both calms my soul and feeds my enthusiasm.

I don't often share my opinion on the subject of mathematics with those around me, because my words are often met with harsh contrariness.

I love mathematics, truly love it, and I cannot remember ever having not loved mathematics.

“The study of mathematics, like the Nile, begins in minuteness, but ends in magnificence,” said Charles Caleb Colton sometime in the early 1800s and when I read that quote early on in my education I knew he spoke for me.

It's Hallowe'en, the lamps are lit and . . .

I remember when Hallowe'en was a big deal, before I worried about my teeth or my children's teeth, before I was aware of the not-so-nice people who tampered with candy to do harm.

When I was growing up, our costumes were usually created from something we found around the house, except for a skeleton costume that was handed down like a family heirloom, a right of passage.

It was made of a black scratchy fabric, like no fabric I have come across since, and which had no give to it whatsoever.

What's in a car?

I don't think I have ever had a ride in a convertible.

Don't worry, it's not on my list of regrets nor is it on my bucket list.

Technically, I sat on the back of the backseat of a convertible at the Emo Fair when I was 14. I somehow don't think that counts.

I was Miss Devlin-Crozier Calf Club, a candidate for Queen of the Fair, which is almost laughable on so many levels, aside of being one of the only girls in the club.

First of all, I couldn't be counted on to even comb my hair on a regular basis and somehow that seems like very un-queenly behavior.

We're all a little odd, aren't we?

I haven't always known myself very well.

For some of us, it takes a lifetime to figure out the intricacies of who we are, but for many years I have known I cannot listen to call-in radio programs.

I've tried, many times, especially where I might garner some various perspectives on a subject I am curious about. But my skin begins to crawl, my breathing gets choppy, I fidget.

It is a visceral reaction to whatever is at play. It sounds ridiculous even to me.

Arguing with me

I had an argument with myself today.

I must confess it got a little heated and some bad language was hurled about and some shouting.

Shouting never does anyone any good. I'm not a fan of shouting, but sometimes the situation can't seem to avoid it and shouting just happens, like a cloudburst in an impromptu storm.

I can't even recall the last time I shouted at someone. I do remember in 1987 or 1988 a woman driving a big boat of a car ran a stop sign and totaled my brand new car that I had only made two payments on.

I shouted. I did.

Our friend, Ken

My dear friend, Ken Hampton, has gone ahead.

That's how I like to think of it, as though he is breaking trail, lighting the way for those of us who remain behind.

I had the great fortune of sharing elementary school with Ken and even better we shared the same birthday.

We used to laugh when he claimed to be older, as he was born in the morning and I was born in the evening, though neither of us were entirely sure those statistics were accurate.

Ken achieved many things, but every day of his life he was a “good man.” He made school happier and friendlier.

It's Woody Woodpecker!

Do you remember Woody Woodpecker?

He came to life in 1940, created by Walter Lantz and his studio after a sleepless night in the California woods on his honeymoon where a woodpecker insisted on hammering away on the cabin's roof for most of the night.

The next night a heavy rain revealed the holes the rascal had produced and Lantz wanted to do the crazy bird in, but his wife convinced him to make a cartoon of him.

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.