Monday, September 22, 2014

Mid Night Menagerie

I woke up with a start mid dream last night. I squinted hard to make out the 2:23 glowing from my clock radio. I remembered  that I hadn't finished my newsletter at work; I needed another article. Had I left a load in the washer? I needed to iron my blouse for tomorrow -- if it still fit, that is.

Closed my eyes and repeated left over meditations from a yoga class I took four years ago. I slowed my breathing and then images of Tanzania scrolled, reminding me that I had to renew my passport. And I still had a visa to apply for. And the Good Hope website needs an update...

I watched the minutes tick by and my 5:30 am wake up time draw closer. RELAX I ordered myself.
Then images of turkey and stuffing crept into my head. I debated the virtues of home made cranberry sauce versus the convenience of the canned jellied variety.

I reasoned that if I overslept, I could always skip washing my hair. I silently begged for SLEEP.

A motor cycle wailed by and a rhythmic bass pulsed from a car stopped at the corner beneath our window. I wondered if anyone ever slept anymore... Sleep resides at the cottage; it's the only reprieve from the distant hum of highway traffic and city noises. Sounds of silence. I'd kill for it. I reviewed the pro's and con's of country living... my eyelids got heavy.

Note to self: I should keep a pen and paper beside my bed. I should also refrain from drinking tea right before bedtime.

Clock was screaming 4:25. Almost time to get up. And suddenly I could feel drowsiness creeping in. Of course!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Path Less Travelled

It was intended to be a long walk in the fresh air down our cottage road. In mid September, the cottage season is all but ended and we stubbornly cling to the last precious remnants. It had rained relentlessly through the night before, leaving the ground spongy and muddy. We trampled along with Fritz the yappy schnauzer, accompanied by the chorus of song from far away tree tops.

We made a left turn up a gravel road leading to the other lake and followed it until it ended at a private property - "no trespassing" - and a pathway veering off into the woods.

With nothing but chill and damp waiting for us back at the cabin, we plunged into the forest, carefully picking our way over fallen branches and pools of rainwater. The weeks of moisture had rendered the foliage of the forest  a brilliant sheen of green, and shocks of colour poked through the bed of crispy brown leaves.

For more than an hour we navigated the roughly marked trails, changing direction on a whim, exploring where our curiosity led us, eventually crawling under a locked metal gate to find ourselves on the road to our camp.

It's incredible what you notice when left without distraction to the quiet and tranquility of nature; what exquisite beauty is there for discovery - and adventure - when you choose the path less traveled.

We both agreed; it is a path we are going to choose more often.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Body and Soul

I walk briskly down the sidewalk, quickening my pace with every step. I start to run, picking a telephone pole at the end of the block as my target. I'm alone with my thoughts and the rhythm of my runners pounding the pavement. I'm out of shape. First clue - the heaving of my chest and private negotiations with self to stop running before I reach the pole.

I alternate between brisk walking and running -- and sometimes a geriatric jog. I return the comments from the cast of characters that line the route with breathless smiles and pants. I reach the path in the park and disappear into the thick fringe of greenery. My shoulders immediately drop and relaxation creeps in. My body switches to autopilot and my mind soars. No earbuds here... I soak up every sound - birds singing, the train rolling by on the other side of the chain link fence, a dog barking in the distance, me humming John Denver tunes. It's the natural soundtrack that I prefer but I've probably caused a bird a wince or two.

It's special - this noon hour time I carve out for myself to break free of my office and move my body. I replay memory gems, reflect on challenges I'm facing in my job, release that over which I have no control, dream endless dreams, and give silent prayers of gratitude.

Lunchtime nourishment for my body and soul.

Monday, September 8, 2014


She's my beautiful little sister. And today is her birthday.

She came into our world smiling and was easy to love. From sharing a bedroom, an apartment and later, a house -- to living down the street from one another, I've shared my life with this special woman. She is a giver, an advocate and a survivor. She embodies intelligence, strength and inner beauty and has never stopped growing and achieving...

So today, on her fiftieth birthday, I can say with full confidence, that the best is yet to be. She is poised for something exquisite.  And lucky me - I'll be there to share it all with her.

Happy birthday Glenda.

Mystical Meanderings

Car packed, we took our hopes for good weather and headed north. A stack of black nasty clouds did not deter and we pushed through one of the most spectacular lightning storms I've ever experienced. Waiting for us on the other side was perfection; a simply perfect fall weekend at the lake.

We ate our lunch on the deck immersed in nature as crispy brown leaves floated gently down around us. The eagle soared high in the sky and chubby little chipmunks scurried about nervously, stashing last chance stores.

In the wee early hours in the morning I grabbed my camera and headed down the steep pathway to the dock. The mist was rolling off the lake. Everything was blanketed in morning dew and brilliant sunshine illuminated the intricate laceworks of the dock spiders. Mystical morning, and for a fleeting moment I was a solitary soul amongst the breathtaking. I inhaled deeply and leaning back on my hands, tilted my head upwards to feel the kiss of morning light on my face.

The quaint country fair with fiddle music, goats and hand cut fries rounded out the weekend.

Precious time spent with the one I love, in a heavenly setting; nature's cathedral, and for this respite, I am so very grateful.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

No Straight Lines

Look up directions on Google maps and you are served up a suggested route as well as other options; different ways to get to the same place. Some - more timely and direct, others involve a toll, while others may include a scenic route.

Not so different when we are living our life, making plans. From my vantage of mother and aunt I have an aerial view of the paths being forged by my daughters and nieces and nephews. I witness their anxiety and excitement  and toil and trepidation as they struggle with choices and decisions.

So much potential and infinite possibilities. So many routes to the same destination. Some more direct than others and some fraught with detours and roadblocks.

I have learned that life is not necessarily a straight line, and in fact, it can be far more interesting when it isn't. And if we choose a scenic route, the secret is enjoying the texture and colour along the way. And if we encounter dead ends and roadblocks, recognise them as gentle nudges to try a different direction. Switch it up.

I was taught, and I tried to pass it along to my girls, that there is no one right path -- just different paths, with different outcomes.  And that the important part is to choose one,  commit to it, and make it be the right path.

We all end up somewhere eventually. Somewhere good, if we have clear intentions.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Reasons to Celebrate

Nine years ago hubby and I were married in a ceremony surrounded by our family and closest friends. It was a very special day for us. And to make it even more special, we celebrated Doris' eighty-eighth birthday with a cake at our reception. 

Nine years later, our beautiful grand lady is turning ninety-seven. And as everyone will tell  you, she is simply lovely -- healthy, good-natured and full of love and light. Today she told us that she is planning to be here for her 100th. No doubt! 

She is an inspiration to all of us - and especially for me and hubby on our anniversary.  I look over at the smooth, gentle face of my husband and say a silent prayer that we too may live well, and grow old together; that I may hold tight the hands of my beloved, until they are withered and weary with age. And that after a lifetime together, when asked, he would take my hand and with a smile, tell me he would do it all again.

If we can be so lucky.

Happy birthday Doris.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Summertime Send Off

It's officially September; unofficially the end of summer. Lots of living. And I didn't write a word.
It isn't that there wasn't anything worthy of writing about, or that I didn't have anything to say. I chose another way, is all.

There was much to celebrate: Kidlet's graduation, many family birthdays, sister's epic achievement, a visit from my Kenya trip gal pals, sister times and weekends at the cottage. The long, lazy weeks of heat, sun and humidity that were the hallmarks of our childhood were not to be this year. Summer showed up on occasion, rarely for more than a day or two at stretch, and the leisurely pace and vacation feel was clearly absent. I longed to feel sunshine on my face...

I was immersed in my new job, eating and sleeping the possibilities and formulating success for my team. Hubby was on a September deadline so at least we were on the same page.

I lived in the moment, committing special moments to memory, etching precious images into my mind, reflecting and remembering, but not writing. I had a two month conversation with myself.

Good times and bad, life is indeed rich; challenging, teaching us, taking us beyond the ordinary if we let it. And it did and does.