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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

I fell but got back up

We often hear the advice from others as the calendar turns over at our birthday—marking another year having galloped into the great abyss, out of sight.

“You're not getting any younger.” Not exactly a revelation like the splitting of the atom or landing on the moon or the discovery of insulin.

My body is more aware of that fact than I am, oftentimes complaining into the wee hours of the night, in a language that doesn't always translate well, whining about the various injuries, mostly from falls from horses.

The wisdom of a bear named 'Pooh'

My father called me Winnie Pooh when I was little, dropping the “the” so as not to be accused of violating copyright laws (I'm sure that was the reason).

When I re-read the letters he wrote to me just before he died, letters I've read at least a hundred times, he started each one with “Dear Pooh,” simplifying the name even more and willingly copying the habit of those referring to Winnie the Pooh.

The true beauty of friendship

Friendship is like a secret hide-out; the kind of place I imagined as a child to escape to from nightmares, to run away from disappointment—a place where I was completely perfect with all my flaws, some of them more noticeable than others.

My height was a flaw when I was young. I was short—the shortest in my class with the other Wendy, Wendy Cross. We were positioned on the ends of the first row for school class pictures year after year, as if we were place-holders to keep the row from toppling over or running off.

Let's all go for a car ride

Just the other day I was remembering Sunday drives from my childhood—the whole family piled into the car, only a brief argument about who got stuck in the middle. Me. The burden of being the youngest.

Erma Bombeck said never have more children than you have car windows. She was right.

Sometimes those drives would be quiet, everyone lost in their own thoughts, and other times the conversation was lively—stories spilling, one into another; everyone having a chance to be heard.

For Will and his family

I was thinking of what it means to be part of a community—a community who has known you since you were little; when they saw you on the street and were surprised at how you'd changed, how you'd grown, how you can ride a bike, drive a car, get a job.

I think when we are young, we maybe take the idea of community for granted. We feel the burden of the ordinary, wanting at some point to fly, fly alone and shed who we were to get a glimpse of who we might be.

Community can know our stories before we do, putting their own spin on the facts at times.

'Look up at the stars'

The world grew a little quieter on March 14, 2018 with the passing of Stephen Hawking.

Not grounded in anything defendable, I somehow thought Stephen would live forever—the champion of a disease that held his body captive for 55 years but not his mind.

“In my mind I am free,” Stephen said. And his mind soared amongst the stars in a universe he had an unlimited passion and curiosity for.

I loved Saturday morning cartoons

I remember Saturday morning cartoons with great fondness.

I know we “older generation” types can be nostalgic fools, none more so than me, and our traditions and habits tend to outshine those of the generations following when we set about engaging in comparison duels and usually, not always but often, it is merely a matter of perspective; one not better than the other.

However, we always qualify our confessions of equality as though that somehow gets us off the hook of being judgmental.

Harnessing the power of fear

There are days, many days, when I feel afraid; where my breath comes in gasps at times and my stomach confirms my fear.

There are many things to be afraid of on a national level and an international level, and even within our own communities where, for example, racism still brews when one would think it should be long dead.

Not long ago, I was at an art exhibit in Halifax and a local artist with a very deep pedigree was in the crowd. He said he was afraid every time he picked up a paint brush and that self-doubt was/is his constant companion.

I see the moon

It was a full moon on March 1 as I was writing this. There also will be a “blue moon” in March this year, meaning a second full moon in a calendar month.

My mother used to sing a song to Aimee, my eldest daughter, when she was little. My mother may have adjusted the lyrics slightly, combined a couple of verses together, but this is how we remember it (and I doubt very much if Robert Meredith Willson would mind my mother taking artistic licence with his song):

I see the moon, the moon sees me

Over the mountain, over the sea

Drummer the coolest of all musicians

I was a farmer once upon a time and I am one still—in my heart where it counts.

I'm still running the grain crusher while I am barely big enough to pour the barley into the hopper, dragging the five-gallon pail of crushed grain to the trough where feeder steers rush in and swarm me, and I have to sit in the trough until they are done eating before I can escape or risk crawling across their backs.

I watched the calves devour their meal as if it might be their last, desperate for the lion's share with that hard-wired sense of survival of the fittest.