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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.

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.

Find your own 'gold'

When these words find their way into the Fort Frances Times on Dec. 27, I will be departing Dawson City.

Like so many before me, we come in search of gold in its many forms.

Many courageous and tenacious people set off to find adventure in Dawson City. In 1898, for instance, more than 100,000 set out in search of gold, with less than half able to complete the arduous journey and only a few found gold that year—and many didn't even look.

The Gold Rush was like a war, said Pierre Berton. “Those who survived it were ennobled.”

The promise of Christmas is 'hope'

What do you find inside the silence, in the dark, nestled there, out of harm's way, safe from the chaos of being alive?

You find the soft under-belly of who you are.

I ache for the silence this time of year; the still sense of peace that often gets lost in the holiday flurry—the flurry that the season has come to demand of us as we get swept up in finding the perfect gift, cooking the perfect meal, decorating the tree to become a work of art.

Helping others is a privilege

“We are all cells in the same body of humanity” ~ Peace Pilgrim

I watched a film on Netflix the other day as I hid under a blanket with my hot water bottle in an attempt to keep warm with the minus-40 temperature hurling around outdoors.

The film's title is “I, Daniel Blake.” The setting is north of London in Great Britain but it could be anywhere.

Many are listening, Garnet

I was thinking of heroes the other day while I was walking in the snow and the minus-38 C temperatures.

“Mighty Mouse” was important when I was little. He was a good guy, as most flying mice tend to be. He was always ready to save the day; he even said so in his theme song, if you remember.

Tonto and the Lone Ranger qualified as heroes, if for no other reason than the fact that a horse was their preferred mode of transportation and I so desperately wanted a horse like “Scout” (Tonto's horse).