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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

We’re all butterflies in the making

I watch people. I think I’ve always watched people.

I look for clues in how they hold their hands, or repeatedly pull on a ball cap as if they are trying to keep their thoughts contained or massage an eyebrow to control a worry.

I look for sad, for weary, for signs of hurting.

I’m not sure why but I do. I create stories in my head, complete with solutions for what I imagine is going wrong. Perhaps I watch to remind myself we are never alone in what we feel.

What to do with a do-over?

If I had my life to live over, I might pursue a variety of occupations that I didn’t have time for this particular go-round.

I still would want to be a writer, but I’d start earlier and wouldn’t engage in the distractions of accounting with such vigour, though I do love the math of accounting work, the black and white of it, the rules of it, the staying between the lines, so to speak.

I have fun imagining what I might be given a chance for a do-over.

‘Cricket’ no longer one of my favourite words

I have a lot of favourite words. I even have them in a list in case I forget; a list I can add to and delete from.

Sometimes I modify said list—removing words that no longer make me smile while adding new words. Words I stumble upon in the course of a day; words that make the day a little happier.

Some of the words on my list of happy words are: bubble and gallop, giggle and guffaw. Enchanting and serendipity are easy candidates, as are watermelon and felicity, which actually means intense happiness.

It seemed a good idea at first

You know those ideas that seem like really good ones at first blush, when excitement is high and enthusiasm keen!

But halfway across swimming Lake Ontario, you start to doubt your common sense and think you may have made the wrong decision—considering you only know how to dog paddle and a rescue boat should have been part of the plan, so the only option is to keep swimming?

Making jelly is a bit like that.

An Olympic idea

I haven’t watched much of the 2016 Summer Olympics on television even though I thoroughly enjoy sport; admire the dedication and commitment these athletes demonstrate to get to play on the world stage.

If I had to pick a favourite sport, that would be a tough decision, but the 100-metre sprint for both women and men is incredibly exciting, especially with Canada’s Andre de Grasse.

A whopping seven inches shorter than the brilliant Jamaican Usain Bolt, de Grasse is holding his own against the fastest man on Earth.

I march into battle

“War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.”

So said Thomas Mann, a German writer who, in 1929, won a Nobel Prize in Literature for his thoughts; those thoughts he recorded on paper.

I am just such a coward, it would seem. And when the war I waged had been won, I ran around my backyard like “Rocky Balboa”—knees high, arms over my head, shouting, as if I had won something.

Let me explain.

Being silly makes perfect sense to me

I suppose I could be classified as odd, a quality I’m quite fond of though I’m not sure everyone has such an aspiration.

Thankfully, for me, being odd comes rather naturally, doesn’t require much effort at all on my part.

Plus, I think my oddness tops the list of attributes my daughters admire about me, though the list may be a small one.

Singing in the grocery store is considered odd I was told, told with a disparaging tone. Speaking Irish is one of my favourite oddities, sometimes blended with Scottish overtones.

Kindness is the answer

If you follow the news with any regularity, it’s safe to say the upcoming U.S. election is fraught with fear and angst while hope has all but left the building—and that is an understatement of the colossal kind.

The rhetoric makes my teeth hurt while I watch (if I watch) and I try very hard not to listen; to tell myself common sense and decency ultimately will prevail.

But will it?

Then I heard about Leah Nelson, a 10-year-old in California who doesn’t moan and complain about the difficulties of life but instead takes action to do what she can to change the world.

Lupines taught me a life lesson

Are you familiar with lupines? They are of a genus of flowering plants in the legume family, just in case you wanted to know.

Actually, they are of a genus of flowering plants in the legume family even if you didn’t want to know.

Lupines grow freely in the abandoned gravel pit down the path behind my house; grow freely in lush colonies of colour—pinks and purples and whites in a multitude of shades.