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Beth Caldwell - The View From Here

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A roving report on summer’s end

I have boat legs and the keyboard is sliding across the desk.

I’ve just stepped off the “Morning Dove” after four glorious days of sailing on good old Rainy Lake during the annual fall cruise with the Rendezvous Yacht Club. And I cannot imagine a better way to welcome the crisp autumn than to be in a sailboat in a hideaway cove in a visual theatre of red maples.

How I spent my summer hiatus

How is it possible that seven weeks have zipped by since I last made notes in this column space?

I have, in fact, been gunning to sit down and tell you for the past three weeks all about what’s been happening in my neck of the woods. Yet somehow the critical time frame that I usually cordon off as writing space crumbled away again and again like a dry bran muffin while I was busy squeezing the last drops of juice out of my summer orange.

Not so ‘purr-fect’ start to my day

I’ve become a “sleep geek.”

In fact, most of the time I get enough good sleep (seven-eight hours most nights) that I can wake up on my own at a predetermined hour without an alarm clock going off first.

Of course, that is if I’m not stirred from my biorhythmic slumber by the undulating, tortuous sound of my cat throwing up outside under my bedroom window.

There’s nothing quite like that kind of wake-up call.

Hope to ditch mind muddle

Here’s the thing.

I could tell you the fact that I don’t write a column every week is because I’ve been so busy with other things that I have no time for plunking out my chronicles on a keyboard.

But if I took that stance, my nose would grow like Pinocchio’s.

Truth be told, I have loads of time to write—and more ideas and dreams and aspirations to write about than anyone can imagine.

Yet I admit that on a daily basis, I readily find countless other things to fill my time so there is none left in which to write.

A question of who, not what

When I was a little kid, I wanted to be an animal keeper when I grew up and have an animal farm.

That was going to be my life’s work—taking care of animals.

Maybe that dream was a spin-off of the “animal hospital” my mother always talked about. She said it was where all my toys went to get their “play wounds” mended when I went to bed at night.

And she was right. When I woke up in the morning, my teddy bear would have a neat little row of stitches and a Band-Aid, or perhaps a little white bandage covering the spot on his leg where the stuffing had once spilled out.

Still learning to sail my ship

I wish I had more courage.

To paraphrase my favourite author, Melody Beattie: “I may not be a great warrior. I might not lead explorations to the North Pole or climb Mount Everest, but I still need courage.”

I need courage daily, it seems, and most certainly almost every time I come home after a long day at work or after a time on a weekend getaway.

Northern lake takes the cake

He’d been hinting at it for about a week; edging ever closer to what I’d hoped would be the ultimate question and result in the day I’ve been waiting for since the smooth-talking outdoorsman first put a minnow on my fishing hook.

“I was thinking about going trout fishing this weekend. Would you like to go along?” he said from the other end of the phone line.

There would be no trying to contain my inner child-like glee this time; no hiding my absolute enthusiasm at the prospect of landing a fighting machine—cousin to a salmon.

Dry spell not an option here

Just when I decided I had nothing to write about this week, a chipmunk got into my basement.

I stood in the doorway of the porch in my housecoat, with my coffee cup in hand, and scowled at the rain pitching down on my soon-to-be growing too fast lawn.

I still have to install my lawn tractor battery. I am a pathological optimist in my view on life, but you can bet I will forget it’s the positive side that gets connected first when I attach the cables to the battery terminal.

I miss my eyelashes

My day starts around 5:30 every morning with the first of three cups of “Caldwell” coffee, along with a small red-foiled square of “Dove” chocolate (maybe two), while curled up in my reading chair with my self-help books (and I still need a lot of help!)

Oh, and a novel—a really, really good novel. “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt.

I’m on page 723 and I have only 48 more to go. I don’t want the book to end.

Many mornings I get carried away with “me” time, and then have to rush to get the rest of the things done that I need to do before the workday begins.

Another memorable egg hunt

The glee was stacked as high as the pancakes and syrup they poked in around my table that morning before the hunt began.

Goals were shared about egg collection; theories on where to look cooked up like the crispy pieces of bacon that followed the forks full of pancake down the hatch.

Syrup dripped off plates, sticky napkins were everywhere, and half-empty glasses of apple juice sat cloudy with flecks of food floating within.