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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.

The Magic of Plants

Everything around me is growing and I have a hard time remembering it was ever winter, though to be honest, I don’t try that hard. The dandelion and forsythia, the blossoms and pussy willows have all vanished. This happens every year and I get summer amnesia. The spruce trees have inches of fresh growth marked by lovely “newborn” green. The Hosta were merely shoots peeking out of the soil and now they are enormous, as if by magic, and I think if I had put a camera on them the growth would have been captured on film, visible to my eye.

Missing Fort Frances

I am missing Fort Frances. Maybe not so much the “now” of Fort Frances as the “was” of Fort Frances, not that “was” is better, but simply more familiar to me. When I take a mental snapshot of the Fort Frances I know in my memory, images flash left, right and centre, in no particular order. The Post Office has its steep “marble” steps I climb to find Box 76 and Barry Cox is always behind the counter, smiling his wonderful smile from way up high, as if he might have been the Friendly Giant at one time.

Let The Wind Do It

I love my clothesline. Love love love it. I have mentioned my devotion before and those who know me, are well aware of my affection for the fifty-some feet of white “marine” cotton rope that I hung between two hemlock trees in my side yard, complete with pulleys. I built a deck upon which to stand while hanging my laundry, miscalculating the effort required to climb to its summit with two steps, again confirming my lack of credentials for building things, which never stops me from trying. That’s a bit of a run-on sentence. My apologies.


I am despairing today. I can’t find my way to the stories and connections of those who carry their humanity not as a shield, but as a skin, as permanent and engrained as the colour of one’s eyes, a way of living so entrenched in the soul that reaction to assaults against humanity are “immediate and certain”.

Getting Lost In Art

We can easily lose sight of ourselves during this unusual time. Fear and anxiety mess with our equilibrium. I see fewer friendly faces on my walks, some appearing suspicious of those they encounter in the jungle. In response, I tend to ramp up my friendliness to counteract the solemn looks. I’m not sure it works, but it helps me feel better.

Many people have taken to creativity to fill the time and to soothe the angst. I was listening to a musician, on CBC Radio this morning, speak of his need to create music, as necessary to him as breathing. And it got me thinking.

Am I Really That Old?

It has happened. I had some idea it would, more of a hint really. I heard rumours, of course, and I had the tiniest inkling the gossip might be founded on fact. The proof showed itself when I checked my bank account and sure enough, my very first OAS deposit has been made (or will be made by the time you read this).

My Pity Party

I was having a pity-party this morning. No one was invited but me, although bringing along my internal whining was a must. There were no streamers at this party, no balloons or cake and certainly no parade, but action was required. I sat myself down at the kitchen table, rather firmly I confess, and used my stern voice, not my mother’s school-teacher-voice because that still scares me, and I haven’t been in her classroom for more than fifty years. I used a no-nonsense voice, leaning in and looking directly into my own face, my eyebrows in a bit of a scrum.

It's Spring. . .

Things are growing. Tulip shoots were pushing through the snow weeks ago in my garden, only to be buried again last week, but still they grow, determined, steadfast. No matter what goes on in the world, be it struggle or celebration, Spring in Canada comes; gently some years, hesitant and unsure in others, bold and brief in many. And during all such indecision, gardens are coming to life.

What if?

I woke up the morning of April 28 to find six inches of snow on the ground around me and more falling from the sky and by the start of April 29 there was over a foot of snow on the ground. Mother Nature has a weird sense of humour. I'm not sure I'm laughing, but it is a pretty sight and I've got nowhere to go.

Evil Won't Win

I don't often write about difficult subjects in my columns. There is no shortage of negative news swirling around day after day and it can be exhausting and draining, and I leave that to others. I try to focus on what shines rather than what harms. I can't find my way to that place today. I feel lost in the abyss of life. Though the tragic unthinkable violence in Nova Scotia didn't take the life of someone I knew personally, the madness touches us all across the country, brings harm to our lives, lets Evil in, allows the unimaginable to become real.