Monday, September 30, 2013

High Time for High Tea

She sat across from me, smiling widely, eyes twinkling, and face glowing. It was a tiny tea room in an old Victorian home with a dozen or so tables arranged in various configurations, and we had the back table snuggled in against a window.

It was a belated birthday gift - an afternoon of high tea and conversation with my ninety-six year old grand lady. There is something rather dignified about sipping tea from gleaming fine china and nibbling on dainty crust-less sandwiches and bite sized sweets from a three-tiered trivet. It begs for a leisurely pace, moments to exhale and simply 'be'.

I held her hand across the table as we waited for the tea to steep, no words necessary, content and comfortable in the silence. Doris marvelled at the everything, clearly appreciating every detail and gesture. And even the din from the crowd in the room couldn't dampen our conversation. We chatted about the ordinary as well as the extraordinary. We talked about how the world has changed since her childhood, and how it feels to be living the last years. We exchanged fears and favourite memories, and agreed that loss of memory is not just frustrating, it is a huge loss in so many ways. Part of us is lost with every forgotten memory... each a tiny death.

Just when we thought we couldn't devour another crumb, the servers surrounded Doris, presented her with a mini caramel cheese cake and sang happy birthday. This humble Maritimer blushed at the fuss but was clearly moved, and when they urged her to make a wish before blowing out the candle, she paused, closed her eyes and then declared "my wish would be to come back again!"

And really, isn't that what we all want - leisurely time with the ones we love? Don't worry Doris, we'll do it again.

PS - This post marks a milestone for this blog --1000 posts. How appropriate it be about a special person who is also all about milestones!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Change

What a difference a few weeks makes. We've gone from cooling off on a sunny deck to warming our frigid fingers by a blazing fire. This will be one of the last few weekends spent at our place of peace - also known as Falconridge, our summer cottage. It's been rainy and cold for most of the weekend and our electric heaters are working overtime to get the inside temperature up above 12 C.

Time to start "the close" - pull the boats out of the water, ready the docks for the ice, tuck the chairs and umbrellas under the cottage, and lastly, pull the water lines out of the lake. Summer has past and "the change" has begun. Me and the lake have that in common - we're both going through the change, albeit I'm a little farther along in the process.  My feelings are mixed as I watch the brittle birch tree leaves flutter to the ground, signalling a time to pack away our precious summertime memories and say good bye for another year.

It's also a season of great beauty, with crimson and burnt orange foliage that goes out in a blaze of glory. I always get a little flutter in my stomach when change is imminent; maybe it is the prospect of new possibilities and eager anticipation of what is to come. And so I will soak up these last few hours at the lake and look to the adventures that lay before me. I have lots to look forward to, and even more to appreciate.

Here are some captures from our wet autumn weekend at the lake for your viewing pleasure.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


I feel like that toad on the rock, sitting motionless, disappearing into the environment, silently contemplating all that needs consideration.

Summer is officially over and school has started.  And even though I no longer have little girls to see off for their first day, I still get the back to school butterflies. Maybe it's residual from having a dad who was a teacher. I pass the three empty bedrooms, further testament that I am officially an empty nester.  Why then can I hear the faint echoes of laughter and sisterly sparring?

Hubby is in the process of closing up the pool. In the 21 years of its existence, no one has ever swam in it after Labour Day weekend, so although it is much more appealing to look at clear blue water than the black tarp, it's time to let it go for another season.

Rosh Hashanah started at sun down; a new year for Jewish people - including my two girls.

President Obama received the authorization he requested to make a military strike against Syria. I am conflicted about this issue and it weighs heavy on my mind. The world must line up and take a united stand against the war crimes that are being committed, and insist that the perpetrators be brought to trial and justice (ICC).  Ironic -- war crimes. War in itself is violent and murderous and yet there are rules to ensure somehow that there is a level of civility applied? Baffling. The world can't stand by passively, silently while innocent people are horrendously murdered in such blatant disregard for world law.

But what to do? Is more violence really the answer; the only alternative? I can't believe that there can be any result that will remotely resemble "success" from more killing. We can't continue to play judge and jury - and executioner. But we must pursue the criminals. I can only hope that the world is not headed for another conflict of global proportion.

I wonder if I sit motionless long enough, deep in thought, one with my environment, will my contemplation reap epiphany? I'll let you know.

Sunday, September 1, 2013


I remember from giving birth that "transition" is the most difficult part of  ->what-is-supposedly-> the most natural of all processes. I learned that just when things in life start to change - often in the most painful of ways - and at the exact point of when you think you've reach your breaking point, your full capacity, you transition into a new paradigm. You've been tested; you endure, and you inure.

We adjust to our new reality and if we are truly adept, we embrace it and go forward stronger and with wisdom borne of experience.

So here at cottage land, in our place of peace, nature is serving up advance notice, warning signals that she is entering transition. And soon the lazy, humid days of summer will be filed under "memories 2013" and the mysterious ways Mother Earth will reveal themselves. The birch leaves will yellow and be the first to fall; they already are. The maples will don brilliant crimson and fiery orange before shedding their cloaks to stand bare and tall to face the Canadian winter.

But for this weekend, the last weekend of the summer, we will give a nod to the signals and cherish these last few days at the lake. Autumn will arrive soon enough an with it, bring its own label of stunning. There will be great beauty in this beloved season of transition, as well as a little sadness that yet another year has passed. But as with any transition, there will be more goodness and blessings to come.