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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.

Memories of my hometown still treasured today

I am missing my hometown today, the place where the stories and people include me.

I am missing the geography that is sealed tight in my memory; the turns in the roads, the grade of the hills. I am missing the clickety-clack sound of the car going over the bridge to International Falls that made me feel I was on a train.

I am missing the trees on Second Street that leaned in, wrapping their branches around each other like the old friends they had become.

We’ve lost respect for all living things

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated.”

Gandhi said that, a very wise man who lived his life as an example of non-violence and justice.

Those are words we all should live by. Justice and fairness and kindness seem so dim some days, as if we are ready to abandon our humanity at the least provocation or challenge.

I love a parade

I recently started a new job. I have two 10-hour shifts under my belt; certainly enough hours to bring into question my sanity and the limited endurance of my arches.

This is an entry-level position, paying minimum wage. Why, you ask?

Stones provide great comfort

The wind was blowing in my office window last week, repeatedly chasing papers off my already disorganized desk.

I was deep in “writing thought” and was annoyed at the intrusion. I would have shut the windows, but I’ve been so hot for what seems like the entire summer; the breeze was a welcome reprieve from “glowing.”

Remember, men sweat and women glow. If that’s really the case, then I’m practically fluorescent.

I reached for something heavy to contain the papers and I grabbed a bowl filled with small stones—a bowl that sits on the shelf above my desk.

Go fly a kite

Have you flown a kite recently? I haven’t, not since I was 14 or 15.

It was a kite I made myself, at that age when one starts to resist assistance and strike out on one’s own—outwardly certain and slightly over-confident.

My father gave me some hints as to aerodynamic design, weight considerations, and the like. He should know because he flew Liberators, for goodness sakes.

April is national kite flying month in the U.S. Not sure if Canada has anything quite so formal. I was born in April, so it seems logical that I loved kites.

Time to pay attention

Have you heard of Sophia Scholl? Or Traudl Junge?

Films have been released, separately, on each of them—a creative depiction of the choices they made and the startling differences in their legacies.

They were two young German women at the beginning of World War II, born in 1921 and 1920, respectively. Their age and citizenship were all they had in common aside of both having joined The League of German Girls, the female branch of Hitler Youth.

It was at that point their lives went in different directions despite a very similar youth.

Letter-writing sadly a lost art

When last did you pick up a pen and find just the perfect paper on which to write your thoughts, your worries, your questions; and then put that paper in an envelope, affix a stamp, and drop the envelope in one of those red boxes that say Canada Post?

It’s called writing a letter.

I would wager many or most under the age of 30 have never written a letter, and probably just as likely have not received one. It’s a valuable part of our communication that has been lost—forsaken for the instant gratification of e-mails, texts, Facebook messages, and the like.

‘Gracie, come!’

You remember Gracie, don’t you? Adorable fluffy pup of the Bernese Mountain Dog variety. She was going to fill the void in my life left by my ungrateful daughters who had the audacity to grow up and live lives of their own.

Cute puppy. The one who peed on the floor hourly for the first nine weeks and chewed up everything in sight (and even some things not in sight). The obedience class fiasco, almost worst puppy ever except for chocolate lab Chester and yellow lab Chester.

The cure for an aching heart

There is a lot of that stuff called “real life” swirling around these days; life that leaves me worried and sad.

I think of the people I know and love as though they are part of my herd or my flock or my pride (call it what you will).

I can circle this group that I call my own and stand guard to keep the enemy away. But sometimes something gets in and grabs one of my flock, takes him/her down, and all it seems I can do is watch with my mouth open in shock and my heart aching.