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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.

Rainy Lake is my own medicine

If you grew up in Saskatchewan or in the middle of Toronto, water is something you undoubtedly admire but daily interaction with lakes and rivers wouldn’t have been common.

If you grew up in Northwestern Ontario, specifically Fort Frances, lakes are a necessity; an addiction that has no remedy.

Even when we move away from our roots and our wandering finds us on the ocean, it’s not the same—the salted magnificence does not satisfy the “need” for the rocks and lakes of Northwestern Ontario, that earthy dark from which all life seems to come.

Woods ticks are no fun

Wood ticks are on my list of does the world really need these things.

Also on this list are tent caterpillars, tomato hornbeams, the little green caterpillars that flourish in my organic broccoli (choosing only to come out when boiled and the broccoli placed on my plate), and people who throw garbage out their car windows.

It’s a short list, but wood ticks come out on top—or maybe second to the garbage-throwing losers.

The joys of being a ‘looker’

I’ve become a bird-watcher, although there should be a category of bird-watchers that are merely referred to as bird-lookers.

I consider bird-watchers to be a dedicated, informed group who know their “stuff”—who can spot a Cerulean Warbler from 100 feet and then recite that particular bird’s habitat, diet, and shoe-size.

I, on the other hand, jump out of my chair when something yellow lands and my heart rates changes proportionately (the more yellow, the higher my heart rate).

Oh, the stories shoes tell

I recently spent time in an airport, waiting—my least favourite thing to do.

I gathered with a crowd of passengers waiting to be herded on to the plane and squeezed in like cattle at the stock yards; bags loaded with every article of clothing they own and can’t risk losing, and with food for a long flight so they won’t require a bank loan to buy a sandwich made at the turn of the century.

I may be getting off on a different tangent. My apologies.

A conversation about death

I was thinking of Susan Griffiths the other day when “Gracie” and I were walking in the early morning.

The air was fresh and fragrant after a heavy frost, and the morning sun hadn’t had a chance to do its magic, so everything in the shadows was still white with frost. My shoes crunched on the grass and gravel and as I listened to the sound of me being alive, I thought of Susan.

Looking forward to grandmotherhood

I’m going to be a grandmother. Just saying it out loud makes me giggle with embarrassment as though everyone will know that I am a fraud.

I can’t possibly be a grandmother; I’m not wise and patient, scary things happen in my kitchen, not a single doily is in my house, and don’t even get me started about aprons. I don’t have any aprons, not a grandmother apron.

Thank goodness for libraries

I love libraries. I love the philosophy of them; the invisible sign above the door that everyone can see—the sign that says, “You are welcome. You belong here. This is your library.”

A library often is the first place people visit when they move or are visiting a community. Unlike church or workplace or school, the public library shows no preference to one visitor over another, there is no hierarchy or segregation.

There is no I was here first.

Free to any home

I have to wonder about pets and the soundness of owning said creatures. Where do I begin in my account of the state of my sanity that is worn frighteningly thin?

Let’s begin with Stinky.

Stinky is a cat. He watches the birds out the front window while he dreams of safaris and hunting excursions. He wears a bell around his neck, and he may or may not be aware that this piece of equipment is a preemptive strike to protect our songbirds (he isn’t all that bright).

He also likes to get tangled up in the patio door curtains for his own entertainment.

Join the voice that says ‘enough’

I’ve never called myself a feminist, though I’m certainly fierce about the rights of women and I cringe with outrage, disgust, and horror at the plight and reality for many women on this planet.

I have taken for granted the dedicated efforts of those women who brought about change in North America, in my lifetime and before, and I have reaped the benefits of that work without truly acknowledging their contributions, without being part of the conversation, and for that I feel regret.

The magic of yellow rain boots

I saw yellow rain boots on a young woman the other day; yellow rain boots on a snowy, cold March day.

Yellow rain boots—the only bit of colour in the dull, dreary days of pre-spring when our whole bodies seem to be aching for sunshine and grass under our feet and ponies shedding their heavy winter coats.

Yellow rain boots call to the sun to come and play. Don’t be shy, the yellow rain boots say. Come out, come out.

Yellow rain boots. Do you own a pair? Oh, how I wish I did. Yellow rain boots are on my list of coveted possessions.