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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.

Cities not for me

I’m not a city person. There is no part of me that could pull off being a city-dweller.

Still, I think it’s good for our global understanding that we rural and small-town folk are able to glimpse the reality that most of the world’s population experiences living in cities.

Observing city life for the past three weeks in Vancouver has helped me understand why it is so incredibly difficult to effect change in our collective thinking.

Keep it down

I’m not a fan of crowds; not a fan of large gatherings of any kind.

The noisy chatter is like litter on a windy day, blowing up in my face and making me wince. What happened to sitting quietly and waiting, for whatever we are waiting for, to begin?

I recently was at a book launch for a local author whom I didn’t know, but her book sounds rather fun (Wanda Campbell–Hat Girl–check it out).

Relishing ‘grand-motherhood’

I don’t suppose many of us can recall the day we took our first steps, the letting go of the coffee table, with our arms raised for balance, our legs slightly stiff, undoubtedly a look of surprise on our face and a feeling of being almost superhuman.

It must have been an incredible delight to look at those who already knew how to walk and feel a part of the happening crowd, as if we recognized we had arrived at a new place.

We all want to have our mother

My mother is gone. As a dear friend’s grandmother used to say: she is away.

I like that better than gone because my mother will never truly be gone. She was away on Oct. 14 at 5:35 a.m. Thirty-nine years and two days after my father and two days before my new grandson arrived to fill the hole left by death.

I lost my mother 12 years ago, when Alzheimer’s claimed her memory, took her ability to communicate, and left her living in a state that seemed nightmarish to me—cruel even.

Be a spider and let your creativity out

I walk early in the morning, and I walk with “Gracie.”

I head out the lane and turn up the neighbour’s hayfield, heading away from the rising sun.

I look forward to this particular morning responsibility. I contemplate a lot of ideas, worries, and hopes on my morning walks; letting my brain waken as I strive to keep the pace at 130 steps for minute.

Some rules do apply.

On Monday of this past week, as I headed out, the grass and plants were laden with autumn dew—heavy even as the taller plants were bent over with the accumulated condensation.

Happy Thanksgiving to all

My father died on Oct. 12, 1974. It was the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend.

The day was cold, a light skiff of snow lay on the ground, and my heart seemed to stop beating with his.

I’m not sure when my heart started beating again; I can’t remember. Didn’t notice when my breath returned to being automatic, and I didn’t have to concentrate on emptying and filling my lungs; or when my feet moved one ahead of the other on their own.

Ironing is a long-lost art

I like to iron. I like how the task takes all the creases and lumps and bumps and makes them smooth—a metaphor for life.

I like the bursts of steam—the warmth and the pssst; a bit of music to my ears.

Men used hankies when I was a kid, big square white ones, and it was my job to press my dad’s hankies; to make them perfectly flat, the corners lined up evenly. And if there was embroidery on the hankie, such as an initial or some emblem, that embroidery was to end up in the bottom right-hand corner (the rules very precise).

Can’t help being a hurrier

I am a hurrier. If a group existed where I could join in with other such flawed individuals to help me kick the habit, I would do so with an eager heart.

I would raise my hand and say, “My name is Wendi Stewart and I hurry.”

I can’t help myself it seems. I eat as if it might be my last meal. I brush my teeth in a frenzy that nearly removes the enamel from my teeth with each stroke.

I could have danced all night

My parents used to have parties when I was little—parties with lots of people; invariably my mother on the piano and a stack of records on the record player.

They danced. I suppose they drank, though I don’t recall that part. My sister and I watched, through the heat grate in my parent’s bedroom, strategically placed above the living room sofa.

We felt like spies while we stretched out on the floor on our tummies; our noses pressed to the grate as the cigarette smoke wound its way up through this strategic hole in the floor and around us.