Friday, September 21, 2012

We Day Reunion

We had promised one another that we would keep our friendship kindled and stay in touch after our Kenya experience.

Such promises are not new to me ... that nice couple we met in Puerto Vallarta that we seemed to have so much in common with;  the wild professor I connected with on our excursion to the Mayan ruins with whom I exchanged mailing addresses; the list goes on. Sad farewells and heartfelt promises to write soon, stay in touch, call when in town. Crumpled little shred of paper scooped out of the washing machine with faded ink numbers. Good intentions giving way to busy schedules and resumption of daily life. Broken  promises.

But not the case with the kindred spirits I met on our Kenya trip a couple of years ago. We've kept up with one anothers' lives since our shared experience - reuniting a few months after and now again - two years later. Megz is flying in from Arizona for We Day and Kidlet and I will have some face to face time with her.

We first met in a bathroom in the Nairobi airport when she approached me and asked me if I was Lyn. She caught me off guard and I replied that yes, I was indeed her... and how did she know my name. She confessed that she recognized Kidlet from my blog! And after I learned that she too had just turned 50, it cemented the easy friendship; and when we discovered we were assigned cottage-mates - the deal was done!

Our Masai warrior friends Jackson and Wilson have arrived in Canada so we are hoping to meet up with them once again, along with a few of our other travel mates, bound forever by what we shared collectively.

When I first contemplated making the trek to Kenya, I knew that if I could summon the courage to step outside my comfort cube, that the pay-offs would be phenomenal. However I never could have imagined just how profound and lasting the experience would be for me - and Kidlet. Life changing.

And so I am in ready mode -- sweeping away old cobwebs, dusting off the vacuum, reacquainting myself with my steam mop, making up the guest room and tossing out fermented bio-things that are living in my fridge. Next stop: wine store and grocery shopping. I am as excited as a kid on Christmas morning to be reunited with my travel pals. Can you tell??

PS - Jackson and Wilson just released their first book, The Last Maasai Warriors.

Cabin mates at Bogani cottages on the Mara

Friday, September 14, 2012

Woman Power!

WOMAN POWER! That was our daily chant for my girls and I when they were little. Sitting around the table, arms raised in exuberant abandon, we would release the words at the top of our lungs - much to the chagrin of my (then) husband. I know it may seem sexist and ex-clusive, but it was my way of making my little women feel powerful and strong - that they had everything they needed already deep inside them; that they had powers they could summon at a moment's notice. Funny enough, this was pre-Spice Girls' "girl power" era.

This is not to say that I don't think boys/men have power and strength; just look around, pick up a paper; proof of male power is everywhere: world leaders; presidents and CEOs of companies; news anchors; police officers; etc.  Sometimes girls have to look a little harder to find tangible evidence of the feminine variety.

My girls are strong, self sufficient, opinionated and appear confident. They are socially conscious and understand the value of family. And since the baby of the family, Kidlet, returned to university this year, I couldn't help but notice a shift in her demeanor, and I had to tell her so...

You are learning how to tap into your personal power --- or as I like to call it -- Woman Power! Of course that isn't fair, cause men have power too. It's just that somehow I think they are raised more to expect it; it is modelled more prominently for them to claim. Sometimes women need a little more coaching to see what has always been with them; to claim it. But honestly, when I think of how busy life used to be and what used to get accomplished in a day when we were raising a family, working overtime, keeping a semblance of order at home, and nurturing sick family - I used to feel like I had magical powers that I could summon to get me through. And I did. And we all have them. Just remember that.
When you were little and asked for a magic suit for Christmas and I resurrected my sewing machine to make you one, the first thing you did was put on the white sparkly gloves - and then come to tell me that they didn't work! I told you that the magic was in you - not the gloves.
Always remember that.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Winding Down

Summer has faded quickly and fall is anxious to take the stage. With only a few weeks in the season left, hubby and I are making sure to spend every moment possible at the cottage. We had lots of company this weekend and with the rain and damp driving everyone inside, the cabin was bursting with family. A fire roared in the fireplace; wine uncorked; steak grilled; and loads of chatter completed the picture. I slept fitfully knowing that my loved ones were just next door and the newlyweds were tucked away in the bunkie.

The local fall fair went on as planned despite the fowl weather; you can't keep country folk down. We donned rain gear and trudged onwards -- afterall, the pink goat and 700 pound pig awaited!

Autumn in Canada is a magical, mystical time; the transition to the cooler season presents its own brand of beauty, and is a much loved "opening act" for winter. I thought I would share yet more glimpses of our weekend up north.

In the pink

This ain't no beauty contest!

Why can't we come?

The migration begins -- overhead -- look closely.

A little rain didn't stop the dockside fishing

Morning mist

Autumn colours creeping in

Monday, September 3, 2012

Under the Light of a Silvery Moon

The golden saucer hung low in the sky, glowing brightly, outshining the stars. We leaned back in our Muskoka chairs on the dock, heads tilted skyward, gazing silently at the breathtaking beauty. Diamonds danced across the water and a perfect reflection of the moon cast a response upwards.

What a moon! What a sight to behold. The season of change has had a brilliant introduction.

And while we moon gazed, life in our family is changing.

She has seen and survived war and destruction; immigration and persecution; and poverty and pain. And in her almost 92 years she has raised four boys to men, nurtured grandchildren, ran a nursery school, supported herself and maintained  a stoic matriarchal position in a growing family. She wages war on diabetes in a sightless existence and sadly, she will succumb to the ravages of the disease. But she will not go quietly into the night - as that is not her way. What she has endured is not for the faint of heart; her iron will and stubborn reluctance is her resilience. She has said she is not afraid - just afraid of being alone.

She is nearing the end of her journey and the time spent holding her hand while she rests is a privilege - and does not go unnoticed. Her sporadic jolts into the here and now that produce a random "I love you" or "thank you for everything you do" spoken with her heavy German accent are our reward. Her heavy laughter after my heartfelt attempt at singing "Goodnight Irene" is precious, and means the world.

We love and are loved. And over a lifetime, we can only hope that the circle of love we have cultivated will be there to sustain us in our darkest hour. And if we are really fortunate, we will have a chorus of tender farewells to usher us over to our hereafter.