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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.

Rely on the power of remembering

My friend has died; he is away as my grandmother said of death.

Mike and I went to high school together, knew each other almost immediately, and for five years we had many of our classes together and we were friends.

When I heard of Mike’s passing I felt an immediate ache—a real loss, like the air had all gone out of me. And I knew, as we do, that we are of an age when our friends are falling, leaving us behind, obligating us to go on ahead, though no age is safe from loss.

Laundry is the solution

Remember when I related the story of the mother of my very dear friend warning me that no one said life was going to be easy?

Well, my life is in one of those not-so-easy phases at the moment.

Having said that, there is something about doing laundry that brings life into focus; easing the weight of the struggles.

Still thanking my lucky stars

I just arrived home from a whirlwind road trip with Daughter #4.

Thea is here visiting me from Alberta and we decided to take Cape Breton by storm. And that’s exactly what we did—except the storm that blew up was not what we were expecting.

But then where storms are concerned, it usually goes that way.

Thea and I drove the Cabot Trail, stopping to explore whenever the spirit moved us—“ooh-ing” and “ahh-ing” at the natural beauty and splendour that attracts countless visitors to the province every year.

Alas, I didn’t win . . . or did I?

I recently was short-listed for the 2016 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize that recognized six of the many first novels by Canadian writers in the literary fiction category.

Or rather “Meadowlark” was short-listed. I just was along for the ride.

I flew into Toronto for a rush overnight trip; flew into the Toronto Island Airport and took a cab to a hotel close to the celebration venue, Terroni on Adelaide Street West (a fabulous building with a significant history).

I tried to shed my introvert status and embrace the occasion, not an easy transformation for me.

Beauty of heroes lives in each of us

I was thinking of heroes the other day—heroes whom I admired while I was in my “impressionable years.”

I’m still impressionable so while I was watching the eulogies for the passing of Muhammad Ali and felt the ache at the loss of Gordie Howe, and the reminder that time marches on, I considered again those who fell under the descriptive heading of hero.

Take up galloping

I’m a fan of galloping.

It could be my rural upbringing, but galloping was a normal mode of transportation for me—long before “Monty Python” successfully cornered the market on the gallop for those who would gallop in the silliest of manners.

Galloping and skipping; with skipping coming in a close second. I challenge you to gallop or skip down the street and just see if you or onlookers can keep a straight face. Can’t be done.

Leaving behind a better world

I was doing a Sunday morning walk with CBC Radio and Michael Enright’s “The Sunday Edition” playing in my ears.

Michael (because I am on a first-name basis with my CBC people) offered up the recording of Justice Rosalie Abella’s recent address to the graduates from Yale Law School.

I was moved—and I think I came a little bit closer to finding the answers to the many questions that run incessantly around in my brain; one of those being “what’s it all about.”

The joys of gardening

’Tis the season for gardening.

Nurseries and garden centre add-ons at our local stores are bustling with customers armed with big ideas and good intentions. And even if our thumbs aren’t as green as they should or could be, the benefits of gardening are significant.

There are the obvious positive affects of gardening that include enjoying the fresh air and the absorption of vitamin D, and the exercise that keeps our fine motor skills and the muscles that allow for such in tip-top shape.

Reasons why I shouldn’t travel

Travel isn’t the best colour on me.

I don’t mind the airports because I enjoy watching people. I immediately conjure up stories for the sad or vacant face, for the muddy shoes beneath the well-pressed suit, for the madness behind women walking in shoes that resemble stilts.

I’ve noticed that very few faces rest with a smile posed, but rather tend toward a blank or even severe resting face, when we are lost in thought or concentrating on getting to where we are going.

Spring is season of surprises

I like surprises, the good kind—like the toy inside the pink elephant popcorn box or a bouquet of yellow and orange balloons—but not the kind of surprise like popping an inflated paper bag behind me or jumping out from behind the couch to scare me.

I like happy surprises.

Spring is the season of surprises. Before the snow hardly has gone the crocuses bravely are pushing through the frost and soil—the first colour we’ve seen in many months.

We point and smile and nod our head knowingly at winter, bidding it a grateful goodbye.