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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

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.

Prioritizing needs a tough choice

It's the time of year here in Nova Scotia when we all start to complain about the state of our roads.

Truth be told, we complain about roads all year long, but it is a heightened complaint now—bordering on rage and hysteria. It's what we do.

Holes appear in the pavement that can gobble up a car, demolish shocks, or destroy a tire at the very least. It is a bit like complaining about the weather, though; it doesn't seem to change anything.

Loneliness has real harmful effects

“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” —Maya Angelou

The topic of loneliness is on the airwaves these days. Perhaps winter is when we become more acutely aware of the affects of loneliness.

CBC's “Cross-Country Check-Up" recently discussed the harmful effects that loneliness has on our bodies. "Our humanity demands that we hold space and we walk together with people on their journey,” said caller Susan Memedovich, a student of loss and bereavement at the University of Western Ontario in London.

What can I do about it?

Many times (perhaps most times) when I listen to the infinite struggles that are reported on any given day, I can't help wondering what is it that I can do?

I mostly shrug my shoulders and feel powerless.

I recycle with great enthusiasm and I feel noble having very little garbage destined for landfill. With changes as to how our materials to be recycled are being handled in Canada, the onus even moreso is on reducing the packaging we create.

Fun times of youth cures all my ills

I'm trying very hard to recover from the 'flu that I've had since Dec. 28.

I'm just barely clinging to a sense of humour as I continue to cough up a lung, sleepless night after sleepless night, while I lie in bed feeling as though I am the only one in the world suffering with the 'flu and wishing I had shares in Kleenex stock.

Poor me. Where did I put my violin?

Where is the equality today?

I watched a film a few nights ago, “Suffragette,” released in Great Britain in 2015 and directed by Sarah Gavron, which depicted the women's suffrage movement in Britain in 1912 and a small group of women who strayed from their previously peaceful attempts to gain the right to vote.

The film claims in its credits to have not wandered from the truth in its portrayal of the struggle of women to achieve equal rights.

In light of the climate in Hollywood regarding the abusive power of men and their time to do so being up, the film was a good connector for me.

We are all equal

Air travel makes travellers sick. If my personal health were used in support of this thesis, it would be irrefutably proven.

I can't remember a flight I have taken where I didn't get sick and my recent all-night marathon from Dawson City was no exception. I was struck down with fever, coughing, a nose like Niagara Falls, sneezing with great frequency, and every joint in my body seemed to be providing further evidence with pained conviction.

My response: I will never fly again.

Always answer with 'not yet'

Can I change? Can any of us change?

Carol Dweck says we can, and I'm inclined to agree with her after reading her thoughts on “Growth Mindset.” Her work is changing how we teach children and how they learn, but its principles can be applied to any of us, school age or not.

So maybe there is hope for me because after spending four months in the Yukon on my own, I'm acutely aware of some personal traits I wouldn't mind discarding—or perhaps a better way of looking at it would be acquiring new traits.