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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.

Set your own pace

I was in line at a small grocery store the other day and the woman in front of me was struggling to retrieve money from her purse.

Her fingers weren't co-operating and she appeared to be rushing, which intensified her struggle.

The two check-out teenagers looked at me apologetically and rolled their eyes as she dug into her purse appearing pained and rattled.

In that moment I saw an error in how society handles itself.

I reached up and put my hand on the woman's arm and told her not to rush.

“I'm in no hurry,” I said, but that was hardly the point.

Lost time is never found

August snuck out from behind the weeds in my garden and from my so-called lawn and pounced on me, when I least expected it.

August caught me off-guard and threw me to the ground before I could fight back, and then knocked the last bit of oxygen from my lungs.

Yes, August—the month of seeing summer in the rearview mirror—has arrived.

I promised my mind

I just had the great fortune of spending time with Aimee, daughter #1, and my wee grandson, Linden, who is three.

The moments we spend with family are far too rare these days but when it happens, I ask the cells of my heart to take it all in; to store the magical moments until “next time.”

We laughed, we remembered, and we shared a few tears.

So grateful for my dear Finnegan

A cat is a home's visible soul, said Jean Cocteau. If that is the case my home's soul is visibly in need of vacuuming.

I have moments when I am sweeping up pet hair from my floors and from my furniture for the fourth time on any given day, moments while I am sifting through waste-laden odour-filled kitty litter, moments while I look at the thread-bare arms of my now pathetic living room furniture.

And during such moments, I make disparaging comments about my pets—and I sometimes pause to count the years until I may be free of my so-called pet burden.

The water of Northwestern Ontario

The lakes of Northwestern Ontario have the power to restore a soul.

And if scientists should test that hypothesis, they would concur—and it would be documented and written up in medical journals and the like, and everyone would know what Fort Frances residents (and those in surrounding communities) have known for a very long time; forever, in fact.

It is the water that calls us home.

I had the wonderful opportunity to spend a couple of days with my precious “old” friend in Red Lake, where we spent time on the water.

Shifting my celebration

I was recalling memorable Canada Day moments from my past, from childhood.

The July 1 parade always was a big deal and as a family, we came to town to join the throng lining the streets to see the floats and horses and kiddies, as well as those tossing candy to us from inside old and different vehicles.

We also lined up for tiny tubs of ice cream with wooden spoons from the dairy.

I rode in the parade the year I was 10 with my brand new CCM bike from Law's Hardware. I wound red and white and blue streamers through the spokes.

Learning the art of relaxing

I'm trying to teach myself the art of relaxing; to live in the moment.

It is an acquired skill for me, doesn't fall under my list of natural talents the way eating at the speed of light seemed to jump on to the list with no effort on my part.

It's an old-dog, new-trick sort of thing, I suspect, but certainly worth a try.

I relish opening my arms to time

I'm well aware I have passed my “best before date,” though I'm not exactly certain when that happened.

I still, with surprising frequency, wander around feeling unchanged from my 20-something self. But when I least expect it, my reflection in a mirror or window changes all that.

When I glance at the current version of myself, I'm surprised—not in a birthday party kind of way, where those I love jump out from behind the sofa, but more of a someone broke an inflated balloon behind me kind of way.

Come sit with me a while

When I was little, I desperately wanted a house with a veranda—the kind of veranda that wrapped around the house like a giant hug, keeping everyone safe. You know, an inviting place to spend time.

I imagined sitting in a large wicker chair or in a big swing, or maybe a soft, enveloping hammock, while sipping lemonade and waving to neighbours as they strolled past.

“How are the grandkids, Janey,” I'd shout, waving my arm over my head like I'm flagging down a train.