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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.

Staring at a fire can be almost hypnotic

I burned a pile of brush the other night. We have burning restrictions here in Nova Scotia due to the lack of rain, so burning is limited to between the hours of 7 p.m. and 8 a.m., when the dew has settled.

I often wonder how forest fires are ignited so easily, it seems, when I struggle to get a pile of dry forsythia branches and old fence boards to burn but I finally had success after three previous attempts resulted in a petered-out fire.

Dealing with the inevitable change

I remember reading someone's words that advised me to become a “student of change.”

I had to do some searching in order to give credit to the proper source for said advice. It turns out it was Anthony D'Angelo, of whom I have no recollection so I must have heard it third hand.

Mr. D'Angelo is involved in some sort of marketing industry so, of course, he has to say such things. But there is some truth in that statement.

We are more the same than we are different

I have a printer that seldom rests due to the nature of my work.

It spews out pages quickly and efficiently because it doesn't have to worry about colour. It is a black-only printer and I opted for such because of the savings on ink and the speed.

I printed off a photo yesterday as part of the research I am in the midst of doing. I stared at the black and white image for some time, my mind circling around one simple fact: Everyone looked the same. There was no colour, no race.

Came down to either them or me

I have had to go to war again with hornets/wasps.

The last time, a few years ago, I was the easy victor, though it was a significant battle. I may have bored you with the details. As such, I rather smugly faced this year's battle with a hint of over-confidence.

It didn't quite turn out as I planned.

First of all, I was picking my blueberries, minding my own business while humming what I considered a happy cheerful tune. Alas, the hornets may have been of a different mind. I was stung six times on my lower left leg before I could blink.

They have all gone now

I laid in bed the other night, waiting, knowing it was the last night of our visit; the last night of my children returning to the nest so I could pretend they had never left.

I know they are meant to leave, are meant to stretch their wings so the air can lift them from the branch, but part of my “mother soul” is stuck on repeat and I still want to tuck them into bed and hear their stories and lean in for the whispers of what matters to them and fall asleep knowing they are safe.

Like planting a garden

It is so easy to focus on what goes—and is going—wrong in society. With our instant news feed, it is virtually impossible not to be aware of the weakening of democracy.

What I tend to forget, when I shudder at the political failings in our own country, is that “progress is never permanent, will always be threatened, must be redoubled, restated and reimagined if it is to survive” (the words of Zadie Smith, a British writer penning her thoughts on optimism and despair).

My kingdom for a dump of snow

All my daughters are with me in Nova Scotia for a lovely family reunion visit. Of course, now it is in the past tense, because Thea had to return to Alberta after a much too brief a visit.

My four grandchildren are here with their mommies and I am in heaven.

Or I thought I was.

We may have made a wrong turn, because it is so hot, unbearably hot, stifling-hot, suffocating-hot, sauna-hot, not-enough-superlatives-to-describe-hot.

Some things are just perfect as is

I love Jason Bateman.

Well, I don't love love him but I love the character he is in all his movies, and I like to think (and I do so with reasonable certainty) that he is cast as the dependable good guy because he is just that.

So when the director shouts out “Action,” Jason merely has to be himself.

There are so few things we can count on these days—and we need to be able to depend that some things won't change without our bidding. For example, Diet Coke.

When I was drinking Diet Coke, which I'm not. Well, not that often. Hardly ever (but I digress).

'It's A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood'

I was a fan of Mr. Rogers, even when I was old enough not to be.

I was thirteen when Mr. Rogers hit the air. I had grown up with the likes of Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Green Jeans with Mr. Moose and Dancing Bear who hit the airwaves in 1955 and ran for thirty-eight seasons. And I looked up, way up to see The Friendly Giant and his comrades Rusty the Rooster and Jerome the Giraffe, while the giant welcomed me with his recorder playing Early One Morning, a song I can still sing.

'Man in Motion' still is inspiring to all

I heard Rick Hansen on CBC Radio the other morning when I climbed into my car. He was a guest on “The Current” with Anna-Maria Tremonti.

When I turned the radio on, before I heard him discuss the rights of the disabled and before Anna-Maria mentioned his name, I knew it was Rick Hansen, recognizing his gentle, kind voice filled with the sound of caring in it—and I was glad to be reunited with Rick as if we were friends from long ago bumping into one another on the street.