Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Holding On To The Light

I love autumn, I really do.  I love the cool evenings, the morning mist over the fields, the honking geese and the open views now that the corn has been harvested.  I love leggings and hot drinks, soups, stews and warm biscuits.  But I am mourning the passing of the after dinner light. I will miss my after dinner bike rides and walks along our country road.  I was hyper aware of that as I set out down the road tonight.
The mama, papa and baby water buffaloes came out to tell me they feel the same.  And they were joined by all the critters in the hood.
It didn't take me long to figure out that my 5 km walk wasn't going to happen tonight.  The light faded quickly as I rounded the curve and headed over the hill.  Those fuzzy black/orange caterpillars were everywhere running to and fro.  The fro's were going to and the to's were going fro.  I often wonder what they think is on the other side of the road.
The crows have been busy! There are crushed walnut shells and horse chestnut carcasses all along the roadside mixed in with the dropping leaves, skittering across the road, stirred up by even the smallest of breezes. Snakes are on the move as well as can be evidenced by the flattened leftovers of the ones that didn't quite make it.  Slugs are just venturing out from the roadside, thinking they can make the big crossing when the evening dew shows up. There is still the scent of fallen, rotting apples when the wind comes from the right direction.
The colours are beautiful. The air is cool.  The sky is full of pinks and purples. We can see all across the valley.  In the background, even as the light fades, the farmers are at work and I get passed by tractors pulling flatbeds full of giant marshmallows.  Fall is here, I just hope it stays for a while!


Monday, August 24, 2020

Summer Gathering

We've been very careful during these covid times, especially since I got sick in May.  We missed a lot of landmark birthdays and have not spent the time together that we normally spend during the summer months. 

This past Saturday we decided to celebrate all 11 birthdays (we missed a #47), all together, in as safe a way as possible.  It seemed especially important as four of those birthdays were big ones (40, 40, 50 and 16). The families that stayed overnight camped in the back yard and all celebrations were held outside.  We have all been careful in our own little bubbles and felt safe spending the day in each others' company.  What fun we had!  It becomes even more important to us when we know that the kids and many of the adults will be returning to school in two weeks.  We feel nervous about what this will look like for our family as the kids and the teachers in our family will expand their bubbles significantly.  We do not anticipate another family gathering in the near future.

It was a beautiful sunny day and out came the bocci, ping pong, darts, spike ball, basketball hoop and baseball & tees, and of course the trampoline and new playground set Grampa just built.  There was a lot of playing, a lot of laying around, a lot of eating and a lot of laughing. The kids range from 2 - 16 and they all get along so well, bigs helping littles everywhere we looked.
From noon until the last ember died from the fire our yard was filled with all of the people and fun it was meant for.  When we bought this small home and large yard, this was exactly how we envisioned it all happening.  Our hearts could not have been more full.  The fire (and Bailey's) was the perfect ending to a long and happy day.  We could hear the giggles in the tents as the kids fought sleep.  Stories were told and stories were made.  This is what family is all about.  We will talk for years to come about the summer of 2020 when we celebrated all of the February - August birthdays in Gramma's and Grampa's back yard.


Sunday, August 2, 2020

A Perfect Summer Evening

Some days, for whatever reason, seem more perfect than others.
Today was one of those days.  It was a perfect summer day
followed by a perfect summer evening.
As I headed out the door for my evening stroll it was still, so still.
And quiet.
Except for the laughter from the neighbour's children
dancing across the corn tassels in the field that separates us.
Barn swallows gather on the lines above
as they take a break from
darting and diving.
I am grateful for
every mosquito and fly they eat.
Our neighbourhood is full of fields
which are in turn are full of corn and hazelnuts.
Blackberries grow wild along the road and local 
fruit trees are dropping their loads to the ground below.
We are in bear country and it is the time of night
we often see them out and about.
All of my senses are alive.
The bear scat outside of our driveway
reminds me to stay alert.
The transparents I can hear thumping down from
this loaded tree are one more reminder.
I make my way down the long and winding road.
There are a half a dozen homes spread out
with room for children to run
and crops to grow.
Enough space for a person (and Mother Nature)
to just breathe.
As I round this corner I come
to the only hill in town
It beckons me, but my body is not ready.
Maybe next week, my friend.
As I turn around and head home
my heart is full.
I have stopped counting telephone poles
and have taken my camera off the shelf.
The sun is still warm on my back
 I am emotional, and grateful for the gift
of this perfect summer day.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Small Blessings - and some luck.

If I had been on a back road with Thelma or in the hills of Italy things may have turned out quite differently.  I am not a religious person, but I am a spiritual one and if you could all thank the 'Creator' you recognize in your life for having me at home, with my husband, when my esophagus ruptured, that would be wonderful.  Who even knew that could happen?  I don't remember anything about the time at home. 

I 'woke' up at Surrey Memorial Hospital on the evening of May 19th having been rerouted from Chilliwack and then Royal Columbian to the thoracic unit here in Surrey Memorial.  I remain at Surrey Memorial, making progress each day but with no hopes of going home just yet.

I cannot begin to tell you all (with tears flowing) how many people have been involved in keeping my journey here on earth just a little longer.  The nursing staff here is BEYOND anything you could imagine; challenging and supporting in just the right balance.  For me, this balance has been crucial. 

Someone takes my blood work every morning - I know there is a team behind this individual.  X-ray every day - another team. CAT scans regularly - a separate team.  The porters that run me back and forth are kind and gentle and again, work as a team.  Housekeeping, bedding, Medications, and others whose faces I have not seen but I know are working behind the scenes.  I count my guardian angels in the 100s, and that is just for me, in a hospital full of many.

These hospital times are made more challenging by not being able to have your family with you to support. you along the way but, if you know my family, you know they have overcome.  I feel their strength and love wrapped around me every minute of every day.  They are not in the building but their love is pulling me through.  I can't wait to hug you all!

I have no expected release date but am hoping for the next week or so.

Thank you all for your kind words of support- they really do mean EVERYTHING! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.  I am still not strong enough to get back to everyone so please don't be offended if you don't hear directly from me.

Missing you all and looking forward to coming home, but mostly I am counting my blessings!

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Do You Notice?

Do you notice
a billowy cloud 
rising in the skies above
shaped like a heart
as the breeze pushes the sky around

Do you notice
the smell of lavender
as you move your plants
in your spring garden
planning and rearranging as you go?

Do you notice
all the shades of green
as spring tightens
its hold on the land
and blossoms form on every tree?

Do you notice
the beans pushing the dirt
out of their way
as they climb out of the ground
reaching upwards uncurling as they go?

Do you notice
the rustling movements
as the light breezes
move everything in sight
Trees and flowers dancing together?

I try to notice
all of the everyday beauty
that is outside of my window
and in the fields around our home
Do you?

A Glimpse of a Younger Me

I was enjoying an after dinner bike ride one sunny evening last week.  I took Thelma as I needed room for my camera and it was my second ride of the day so speed was not on my mind.  I pedalled through the back roads of our small town trying to keep the bugs out of my teeth and the stench of freshly manured fields out of my nostrils.

I have a regular route I like to pedal as it's all quiet backroads with little traffic.  I rounded the corner heading towards the golf course as usual.  Up ahead of me was a father and his two young children.  He was moving slowly watching the two kids up ahead and just enjoying the views and an evening stroll.  I moved to the left side of the road to give them all some space and soon I passed the little boy as well.  As I moved closer to the older sister she cut in front of me, trying her best to run over the pine cones on the road.  We avoided a collision, both of us smiling at her determined attempts to hit the targets.  My kind of girl.  I pedalled by her and was surprised as I could hear her coming up behind me.

This section of road is not a long one and I was getting close to the right turn as she inched closer and closer.  I could see that the race was on.

Without saying a word, and with only a quick glance back, I knew I was in a race.  She bent over her handle bars and pumped her little legs faster and faster as she pulled up closer.  I smiled and pedalled a little quicker - as did she.  We were getting a ways ahead of her dad and brother so I slowed just enough to let her pull even.  She smiled at me, picked up speed and pulled ahead.  As soon as her back wheel passed my front end she pulled over to the side, waited for me to pass and turned her bike around heading back towards her dad and brother.  I gave her a wink and a nod as she rode away.  She looked at me with victory shining all over her face.

I don't even know this girl but I love her.  I love her competitive spirit.  I love that she needed to win. I love that I saw a glimpse of my younger self for just a moment on a back road in our wee town on a warm spring evening.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Where did 47 years go?

We met in the gym and never looked back.  We didn't know then how much time we would be spending in gyms in the coming years. We just knew we loved playing the game and it didn't take us long to figure out that we also loved each other.

When you choose your life partner at seventeen there is so much about life that you have no idea about.  You don't think about how you want to raise your children, how you want to do your finances and where and how you want to live.  You just know you love being around each other, that you can make each other laugh and that you are heading down the same path in life.  The laughter was really important, it has probably saved our relationship on more than one occasion.
He went off to university and I went off to work.  In spite of so much time apart we remained together and that is how we have stayed -together. After his first year of university, we married.  47 years ago today we became life partners.  Yes, life partners.  In spite of the ups and downs (and there have been plenty of both) we knew we were in it for forever. 

May 12, 1973

It seems we went from two to six to more in the wink of an eye.  When you choose your own life partner, make sure he has a sense of humour, a kind and gentle heart, a love of family and the dedication to stick by you through thick and thin.  I couldn't imagine having gone through this life without this wonderful man by side.  Here's to another 47 years of craziness!  Happy Anniversary, Bob!