Kid's Lit and Cats.

When my two kids were little, we shared many happy hours together reading a series of wonderful nature books entitled Mr. Seemore Says - Look Up..Around...Down. It was a beautifully illustrated trio of books with a very simple story line. Use your eyes and look at everything around you;  linger and learn about your place within the greater world.

The lessons, such as they were, were very simple.
#1. You have your place and  purpose.
#2.  So does everything, and everyone, else.
#3. We are all connected.
#4. Together we can work miracles.
#5. If you don't step on me, hurt me, or harm me, I will reward you.

Mr. Seemore says, "Look down".

This is a very different lesson from what we learn once we get into a more formal, regulated educational system which dictates: "if you step on me, hurt me or harm me, I will punish you."
But that lesson can also be found if you look around...
While the lessons will vary for those who wish to partake,
one thing is common to all ..it will be a memorable one.

There may be great swaths of destruction that rain down from time to time, causing havoc and creating chaos...

and from the chaos, tiny miracles emerge on purpose,
and so intent with purpose as to be almost invisible.
Only eyes that wish to see will.

Mr. Seemore says,
"Look for the interruption along the thin green line."

I listen. I look. I think about what I am hearing. And seeing.
And I believe that given the use of our senses, when we come to our senses,  we'll be just fine.
In the meantime?
Dawson is teaching me a new set of lessons
on stress reduction.
Didn't change the world today??
Ah well.
Tomorrow's coming soon enough.
Rest up.


Nesting Instinct

If you're a female and you don't live under a rock, the term nesting instinct is likely familiar. You know, that  feeling that you get  sometime in your mid to late 20's, sometimes in your  early 30's - it's that little voice inside your head that says, "Tick, tick, tick -time's a wastin' girl and you better get to it and do it."   Make babies. Throw away the diaphragm, toss out the pills. Reason takes a hike, and hormones rush in.

It's a big step, and all it takes is about 10 seconds. Zap! You're pregnant! now start decorating the baby's room, shopping for cute little onesies and diapers and really expensive diaper bags that come in really cool colours and patterns now with all sorts of pockets and pouches for baby necessities while travelling to your mom's for an hour to escape the fact that this is a REALLY BIG STEP you took, and it lasts a lifetime!

Deep Breath!

Yup. Nesting.

 But imagine being a bird!! And doing it every year. And every year the kids leave - yay! so you can get busy and do it again, and again. That is what you do, if you're a bird. You take a leap of faith one day, and plop out of the nest. Then you fly around free as a bird for a short shiny spell.  Then some brightly coloured gadabout catches your eye, and before you can flip him the bird, there you are - sitting on a  bunch of eggs! Feathering your nest and waiting for the "pick, pick, pick " to start so you can start flying hither and yon catching bugs like a crazed  bird brain, burping them up into outstretched beaks leading to huge empty stomachs, and then off again, and again, and again! Then one day, the fluff balls take a leap of faith, and you fly 2000 miles south, and do it again, and again.


Is it any wonder then that some birds build rather uncomfortable, flimsy nests that barely qualify as a nest? That appear to be just a bunch of twigs thrown at a branch? Not for the Green Heron a cozy, grass lined pouch swinging gently to and fro in the soft summer breeze while hugging the beautiful little oriole chick inside, safe and warm. Nope! That ain't happening. It's more like  - there's your nest. Don't  like it? Hah! So leave!

The Green Herons' "Kronk!"  is about as rude a call a bird can have- kind of like saying  "Git outtta my way! Here I come with food. Open yer mouth right now!"  And I'm  guessing it's a good thing the babies are so gosh durn cute, or Tired Old Bird (Mom for short)  probably wouldn't even bother feeding them!
Just look at those little eyes...what's not to love!?


Diamonds in the Rough

We all have our reasons why.
Why we like  red instead of blue, sweet instead of sour, tuba instead of bagpipes.  Perhaps it's genetically coded in and we have no one to blame but our forefathers and mothers who were either hunters or gatherers
back when it all began.
I'm pretty sure I'm from the gathering clan.
There's a body of evidence that would seem to indicate that this is true.
 I like nuts.
And berries.
Salads I sometimes crave.
Coleslaw? Yum.
And tender green shoots in spring? Heaven.

I am NOT a hunter.
Although some of the clan have tried on occaision to convert me.
Once I actually went hunting for partridge with two of the members of the  Hunting Clan. They put a shotgun in my hands, showed me how to load a shell in it, aim, and fire. Then left me standing amidst a bramble of raspberry canes
and told me to shoot when they flushed out a bird.
So, there I was licking raspberry juice off my fingers, admiring all the butterflies flitting about when this gray fluffy bird came streaking 
right over my head!
I ducked and yelled, dropped the gun which fired off into the bushes, hopefully not hitting anything, and sat down and started shaking and babbling away,
apologizing profoundly to all creatures great and small for even contemplating shooting one of them.
Never again.
That the was the moment when I knew I was a gatherer.

But it's no a simple thing. There's much more to being a gatherer than just picking berries and eating candied pralines.
Over the years, I have come to realize that it impacts my lifestyle and the choices I make in dozens of subtle, and some not so subtle, ways.

I live on a beach. Beside a river.
This river abounds with wildlife -both the hunting and the gathering kind.
I 've seen bear, fox, deer, mink, beaver, porcupine, raccoon, rabbit, otter, mouse and moose; fish, frogs, snakes, newts, turtles and lizards.
Lots of birds and bugs and butterflies.
And I've come to realize that this beach is their home as much,
if not much more than, it is mine.

My neighbours, who only live here in the summer think I'm a little
wonky -or maybe a lot wonky. I love the reeds in front of our place.
It's not rocket science to figure out that this is an important part of the natural life around here. Why some would go so far as to recognize that it's Habitat.
And that it should be left alone.
My neighbour's disagree. They call it weeds, and every Sunday morning in the summer, they can be seen on the beach with their rakes, their ATV's and their rusty bedsprings, dragging through the weeds in front of their places.
They prefer desertscape to riparian area.
They have offered numerous times to kill the weeds out front of our place.
I have told them numerous times that those reeds and grasses serve a very special  function, providing food sources for some, cover for others, and protecting the entire beach from erosian. Meh!
They don't care.
Their rough patch is my diamond mine.
And so we have agreed to disagree.
And when they mention in passing that there doesn't seem to be as many swallows or butterflies as before, I just look at them, then invite them over
to our place to watch the river flow.


Six Decades: Part IV

This Six Decades Monologue isn't flowing too well.
I keep getting side tracked by the present. 
That said...and so it came to pass that
 somewhere between a rock and a hard place, the truth will rain down. Decisions are made, knowing deep inside that there are consequences that may not be the ones originally intended.
And you know...you just know.
That what you are about to do is probably not the smartest thing you've ever done in your life..but you do it anyways.
That is to say, I did.
I got married. I was 20 years old and he was 23.
I had completed my Bachelor of Arts in under two years, and I had gone to work in a residential school up north in Moose Factory. The boy I met just before graduation from university was IT!
But he wouldn't move in with me...
his parents wouldn't like it he said.
(Warning flag waving, and being ignored.)
Prior to putting the wedding invitations into the mailbox,
I sat holding them in my hands for an hour, looking at them,
and telling myself it was "just the jitters."
But it wasn't Jitters.
It was Me. Calling Home.
I was just too busy being young to answer.
The night before the wedding I asked my Maid of Honour
if she would also come to my divorce.
Because I knew that there would likely be one...
And so I became a missus.
We just never really seemed to fit quite right
and for a while we had fun trying.
Lots of fun.
Then lots of not so much fun.
Eight years in came the first real grown up moment- realizing that the only thing that needed changing wasn't him or me,
it was us.
We were like oil and water.
Gemini and Scorpio.
Rabbit and Rat.
All depended on which upper authority was in vogue that month,
but it came down to this everlasting thought:
You get what you accept.
And so we rejected each other.
This version of that time doesn't include the drama, trauma, pain, and heartbreak. Those were the things we felt for several years after.
But neither of us ever tried to re-invent our particular wheel.
We both knew we were wrong then and right now. 
It would be a frosty Friday in hell before
we ever warmed a bench together again.

I have a million thoughts about why so many people make so many bad choices for their "life mates", but so many books have been written, so many careers as marriage counselors established,
that I am not going to
even begin to say
 what I think.
Other than we blessed each other with
two wonderfully amazing, creative, heartwarming children.
And that's what I will cherish forever  
about Heartache # 1.