Mother Nature we need to talk.

Early this morning April snow, not showers

I guess if you do not laugh you cry. Are you kidding me!! I woke up this morning to snow blanketing my almost bare yard. Not nice Mother Nature. Not nice. I like to laugh but you’re hitting the bottom of the barrel with this one. A good friend texted me yesterday from Ontario saying she woke up to snow and included a picture of it. I should have known we would get it next. Why not? Just bring it. Like I said, I have to chuckle or I’m going to LOSE it.

Wheeling my garbage bin up my dirt lane to the main road, the snow is but a skiff. Thank the Lord for small mercies. But having said that the fallen snow has an interesting look to it today. I do notice that the snow crystals lying there are shaped more like tiny little white beads, not like a November fluffy snowflake These remind me of those pesky little styrofoam beads you find in beanbag chairs, the kind that seem to stick to you and are hard to get rid of. Yeah not so nice.

I guess I should have known cause the weather was wonky yesterday in the early evening. Rain, wind, cloudy, sunshine, calm and then suddenly I look out my window to a sky darkening quickly, followed by this large sheet of snow pelleting across the yard…kind of like a blitz lasting seconds…sweeping its way from one side to the other heading who knows where. And then what… the sun comes a calling. What’s the matter with you Mother Nature?? I think she is playing with us, saying “Take that. And that”; like she is emptying out her winter closet so to speak, furiously disposing of those last snow bunnies (you know like dust bunnies but not) hidden leftovers from winter season. Enough is enough already.

Well, what do you do when you live in a shoe? I guess not get too excited but make room for the toes. Loosen the ties that bind. In other words, suck it up buttercup. The half full cup of life. Weather like so many things is part of the daily. And winter, yes even winter, is part and parcel. I should remember when living up in northern Ontario during my first teaching experience, it snowed in June. So put it in perspective, it’s SNOW for goodness sake!!! Yep it is. It SNOWs too. Yep it does. And then in a couple of months time, its heat and humidity to go on and on about.

Appreciating what you have. In response to the text from my friend who woke up to snow yesterday, I reminded her of the wonderful times sitting in her back yard with her that the picture brought to life for me. Things are so temporal really. This too shall pass.

So whatever jingle is going on in my head right now – “Rain rain go away” or”Mr Sun sun, Mr golden sun, please..” or “Walking on sunshine” or “Raindrops keep falling on my head” or Singing in the rain” or “Four strong winds” or”Its raining, its pouring” or “You are my sunshine” or “Blowing in the wind” or “Let it snow” (thank goodness for being a kindergarten teacher, mother and singing in a choir), it’s all good. Weather on.

Finding My Muskoka Chair

My muskoka chairs..love them

What is up with this weather? Had my clothes laid out for my morning walk last evening thinking it would be another day like yesterday and lo and behold looked outside…you betcha rain, cloudy and wind. Well I guess it is a good day for curling up with a good book, tucked up in a cozy blanket. No point in fretting because weather knows no bounds and being on the island…well one never knows.

But yesterday..wowza… the sun was shining and had some kick to it, a warmth beating down on my face as I sat in my muskoka chair. (I think that is an Ontario label as others’ may know them as Adirondack chairs) I set up the chairs on the deck last weekend, trying to hurry along that spring to summer feeling. The ground is still a bit damp and cool as there are still remnants of snow lingering in my yard. But come on enough is enough already. Sitting there in my muskoka wooden chair, with my head back, resting on a pillow, legs stretched out…oooohaaaah…the sun had a bit of a bite and felt so good and muchly appreciated. I love my muskoka chairs. You cannot beat the feeling. Yes, I have more than one…five. Why? Hoping for company. Yes. And each chair has a different feel when you sit in them but similar – the way the tilt of the seat and back of chair allows you to slip into them, relaxing to your body shape. At least that is how it feels to me. Then when you place your hands on the arms of the chair, they are wide and flat, allowing your arms to enjoy a rest too. I guess I like its rugged solid feeling, not going to break on me when I sit. I want company to feel at home…comfortable. Stay a bit. Not too long but for a bit. Yep,

Smiling, I think back to two summers ago when I started searching for some chairs for outside for sitting around my fire pit and on the deck. It was kind of fun experience. I could go with simple and easy to store folding chairs (I have a few of them already and they can break – story for another day) or livingroom-looking kind of chairs (no interest in that). What I really wanted was something to be more rustic-cottage-country-rugged in nature. Homey. Inviting. Muskoka chairs – voila!! Not so easy to find as I thought let me tell you. However, this one place on the island, called Poppies Porch (love the name by the way), they had some beauties. Or so it seemed. I drove by and saw these beautiful colourful muskoka-like chairs, bright and cheery, displayed for all to see out on this huge yard. A little steep in price mind you (I had to swallow when I first heard the price) but oh my they were easy to sit in and feel relaxed. Wider than normal in the seat, they had a perfect blend of comfort, light weight, solid feeling and colourful. I decided to treat myself. But how to decide? Careful consideration. Well, there were about 9 on display so I sat in each of them. Then like a good teacher I applied math and science thinking; I sorted and went through a process of elimination of course. In the end, baby blue and pretty yellow – got them.

The other three, though not as expensive for sure, came from a place made with love and care by this old retired fisherman. What a character! I called ahead as chairs advertised on Kiiji, got address and drove out to his home out in country. He had a few of last year’s left over and wanted to get rid of them. The beautiful thing when I met him was to let me go ahead and sit in them for a bit, try each one out, and then he’ll come back. That is so much better than when you go in a store and employees hover over you and all you want to do is say – give me a bit of space. I love that feeling of trust, a gentlemen’s handshake. Well of course the ambiance was perfect – beautiful sunny day, shade from huge oak and maple trees, and the chairs spread around a country setting. Sit a spell.

So I tried them out and moved them around because honestly they looked exactly the same in look but sitting wise…not so much. Some felt shorter in the seating area while others had a flat arm or an angled arm. One seemed to have a longer back. I must have been there for over an hour and half. But what got me was his story of how he made each of them and took me around showing me the wood he used and how he put them together. We sat out under the shade of trees while he weaved his tale of getting to this point in his life. In the end, I bought three and I love them. He did a great job of selling without selling, if that makes sense. Just a good ‘ol soul. Did I need all these chairs? No. Company acoming. Yes.

So I sat there yesterday and I enjoyed the feeling of home. The comfort of feeling safe and solid in my chair, wrapped around me as I sunk further into the warmth of its wood, hands laying free on its arms, while me looking out into the day – my little world. It kind of reminds me a bit of Goldilocks and the three bears. Sorry, I have grandbabies on the brain – miss them so much. Anyway, I will have to read it to my granddaughters the story some time as my grandson might feel too old for that. But the story tells the tale of Goldilocks trying out the three chairs…fussing.

I get it now, it has to feel just right and it does…my muskoka chair. Thanks for giving me a sense of comfort yesterday. Blessings.

PS Let us pray for all those who loss of loved ones and those who grieve.

Lobster For You, Not For Me

Harbour wharf down near me

What a great day for a walk! Crisp (maybe a teeny bit too cool) clear and sunny. Beautiful echoing sounds of the waves come rolling in, giving you a sense of power and might. Love it. Especially days when you are standing a top one of the bigger boulders, cast down from the cliff faces long ago, just high enough not to be plastered by spray of the waves. Exhilarating. I never know what the tide is going to be, high or low, as I can’t seem to catch the drift of it. All I know is that the shore took a beating this past winter as many of the rocks have shifted and portions of the cliffs have fallen, creating new rock piles for me to get a foothold on. More rock then sand in many parts. Note to self, always have tread on shoes…just saying. Face plant is not my favourite thing.

But this morning’s walk!! Well, I couldn’t believe my eyes as I saw three lobster boats out and about. (At least I think they are lobster fishermen). I know I heard a different kind of rumbling echo sound walking down the road today but did not connect the dots. It always amazes me how in tune my ears and eyes are…so the boats are out. Tis the season or not? There has been quite a bit of back and forth in their association and government talks as to when the season would be happening or if at all for at least the spring. Not an easy decision in light of the current situation of COVID-19. However seeing these boats out caught me by surprise because the buoys have not even been placed to mark the path. These boat drivers must know their water. Take ‘er easy.

But, I knew the season was coming soon (April 30/May 1st usually) because this past weekend, there was a hubbub of activity down by our harbour, the traps all stacked 4 deep along the pier, boats line the side of the wharf, and trucks are everywhere. It’s a sight to behold when these big trucks pull the lobster boats behind them, taking up quite a bit of the road – ROAD HOGS. Just kidding. But you do get a respect for the island culture, first hand, as the island roads are now dotted with fishing boats being towed to their home on the water. And I am sure like the wharf activity near me this weekend, the lobster guys (no females here – not sure why not) are cleaning their boats, setting up gear and supplies, and opening up their jellybean-coloured buildings (or huts) to be organized. Hopefully airing them out as well for I can only imagine that oh so pleasant fishy aroma permeating the nostrils – yum (NOT).

I get a chuckle each time I go by the boats as I read the unusual names written on their bow or stern of the boats. How they arrive on their names not sure but you kind of smile when you read Shirleyknot, Knotinarush, Knot4sail, Rock Bottom, Lobstah Tail, Whatthehaul, Christopher Robin II, and Fishin’ Impossible. Whatever the boat is called, man the decks boys tis the season of lobster. It is hard work and they put in long days even though the season is not long here. But they go out into some crazy weather, especially between the harbour, the channel to navigate their way out to sea and back. Sometimes those waves great crazy crazy crazy.

But ahoy mates, here is to lobster fare. Yummy?? Lobster for you…not for me. I’ll pass. How in the ever loving world do I live on the island and not partake in the world class lobster plate? Or any kind of seafood platter? Really? Well that’s for me to know and… Not going to go into the intricacies of the why and why nots; suffice to say…my portion will always go to my grandson (or maybe my granddaughters too). He LOVES lobster right from when he was a babe. Island boy for sure. And his mom too as she cannot wait for Mother’s Day. Well lobsters with your snippy claws, you may be okay for now from the jaws of my grandson.

Let us pray for the fishermen as the season begins, be safe and healthy.

Let us also pray for the victims and families of those in Portipique NS and area.

Crossing Paths With Me

From Mother Teresa

I got a hug today and did it feel good. Woohoo. It seems hugs are few and far between these days let me tell you. (Yes my daughter who I live with and love – stingy on the hugs). I know practicing physical social whatever distancing is in the cards now but one day…yes one day. So for right now, this hug might not be the rib-crushing-swallow-you-up-kind-of-loving-hug but it felt soooo good. This morning a friend sent me a hug, a virtual hug mind you, with a message of it being hugday (love it) from Messenger to let me know love is in the air and to send it out to loved ones and dear friends. Well colour me happy. Who would have thunk? It was exactly what I needed because I am so so missing my grandchildren, hugging loving kissing scooching them. (I know grandson, you may not like it as much. Too bad, Rara misses you.) And it is these kinds of things that bring joy and stir to the heart and soul. Thank you, my friend. Thank you for crossing my path today with me.

Crossing paths. It is an image that comes to my mind right now because I have wondered how life has an interesting way of how things come together. Do you ever wonder about the number of people you have encountered over the years, young and old alike, who have impacted you in some meaningful way? Maybe it was for only a hot minute or more of a longer haul (maybe too long…oops, did I say that… just kidding). Or those times when you were at a specific place or event at a certain time and it provides a moment of clarity, a stirring, a feeling of joy, a lesson. It may or may not be what you want to hear/feel/see/know but it may be what you need to hear/feel/see/know. That per chance meeting, that snippet of time, turned out to be life-giving (or possibly not so much. I would say RUN). Whether a person calls it by chance, fate, destiny, kismet – paths cross for a reason. I’m not alone.

I have to laugh at myself for I have found myself plenty of times saying to someone “we were supposed to have met today” or if I was in a certain place at a certain time and the experience in that moment I found myself thinking “this was supposed to happen.” Looking from a half full cup, this rendezvous might seem insignificant or of little import to others but holy lightning it is just what the doctor ordered for me. I needed it in that exact moment of time in that manner of receiving. What catches me off guard is how it may come… come softly in or more often than not like a tornado rattling the very fibre of my being, Kaboom! How on God’s green earth does it happen? Maybe I should not question it so much as to embrace and welcome this gift, a graced moment if you will – freely given to know you are not alone.

However as a FYI, I am not going to ignore or pretend that there were times in crossing paths…well let me just say here, I would rather not have had that pill to swallow. Hard to go down. That’s all I’m saying.

Nevertheless (half full cup), I find myself going to my go-to treasure trove of ‘pick-me up’ quotes and come upon Mother Teresa’s (Saint Teresa of Calcutta). Many a time her words reach me, stirring the inner pot, providing food for the restless soul. Gotta love a Saint. My find takes me to encounters are blessings and lessons. Yes, I am of the same mind (not even on the same level Mother Teresa but so agree with your thought). At the same time, I will add my own musing. I believe I have to be present in the moment in order to receive it; where I am ready to hear or see in the exact time frame of the intersecting of crossing paths with whom or what. A readiness. A wakefulness.

This reminds me of that amusing tale of The Drowning Man. This tale has an underlying life lesson of a man on his roof during a flood and asking for help from God to be saved. Not realizing that he was ignoring all the signs within reach sent to him to be saved. A little dramatic (not even) but effective. All I can say here is that I am grateful for the crossed paths with me, blessings and lessons. It’s all good.

Thanks for the hug today.

Because I can

I can do things you can’t do; you can do things I can’t do; together we can do great things.”

Mother Terea

I have been thinking of a song of late by Dwane Drost, a country gospel singer from Durham Bridge, NB. My folks met him a few years ago when they visited dad’s family and friends in that community during a jamming session of guitars and pics at the old general store. I have to chuckle as I remember how both my folks had huge smiles as they talked about their summer evening with Dwane and the old gang. Anyway, this one particular song speaks to me, a song that I think is dedicated to his mother (hopefully I am not wrong) as he sings about his mom struggling with alzeihmer’s. One of the lines in the lyric from Just the Same goes like “And it breaks my heart to see her as she looks into the mirror with a smile and she asks me what’s my name…”. A lump sort of gathers in my throat. It is reminding of my own mom and who she is becoming with dementia. I feel so far away and thinking of her.

Life is precious there is no doubt in my mind. One day you are kicking up a storm and the next day…well you wish you had stayed in bed. The crystal ball syndrome does not work let me tell you. But the beauty of the human heart keeps plugging away to try – just turn on any news or go on any social media to help you get that. We are bombarded with life and all its frailties. The spread and wake of COVID-19 is a perfect example. The measures that countries are taking to protect their people (thank you Canada) is staggering, welcomed for sure, but still overwhelming to the nth degree. And at the same time, it exacerbates the many human frailties that mark everyday human lives and social conditions existing already. Whew! That’s heavy…yep like a ton of bricks heavy. This is where you want to…(fill own words).

For a moment (too many to mention but feel) I can get into a frozen state (you know the brain-freeze-after-slurping-a-ice-cold-freezie state) where you feel numb, have to hold one’s breath and allow the needle-like feeling of glacier icicles piercing on an addled brain to slowly ebb. In other words, it is where the heart greets the hurt with pleading; pleading for the norm of yesterday as the new norm comes into play.

So what now? One step. That’s right. Why?? Because I can. That is what I have been coming to terms with lately. One step because I can. What does that even mean? At this point in my life, I can do. I can be. I can make. I can walk. I can pray. I can breathe. I can….There are way too many things or events or situations in our life that are out of our control but will still weave in and around you regardless, good or not so good. Things that can directly impact you and life as you know it changes. So I can becomes real to me now because I can. For now, I can go on a walk (Crocs not so great. I should have purchased new running shoes which I should have got back in November – my bad). For now, I can call my own name (of course I mix up my daughters and grandchildren once in awhile – sorry). For now, I can do physical distancing (absolutely do as I’m told). For now, I can make dinner (I would rather my daughter make it..please) , I can bend down (yep I love my knee pad and creaky bones). For now, I can weed (oh my mom would love that, probably laugh too). For now, I can help others (or at least reach out). For now, I can pray for strength and courage. For now, I can.

Putting things into perspective, even in the numbing unexpected times of life, I can because I can for tomorrow I might not be able to. And you? Can. Blessings.

Its All Good…

but not today

It’s all good. That phrase has been my mantra for many years. I have walked with these words, shared them, and have tried my hardest to live in that way. But, sometimes the heart catches up to the hurt (or craziness inside) and you do not know what to do with it. So maybe it’s all good but not today. I think our heart and mind can be like the car on a rollercoaster doing a 360 then uprights itself after a spell. So while on that ride, cause you can’t get off it, you have to aaahhhhh. What to do? What to do? Me, I take a deep breath and breathe (lots…but not to the point of hyperventilating okay). To just breathe in and let go – whatever and wherever that takes you.

My morning breath of breathing (I do gargle with Listerine) turned into a grin yesterday, not a Cheshire cat kind of grin, but a full out smiling broadly one. When I got back from my walk yesterday (zippity-do-dah great feeling) , I checked my cell phone and noticed a text from my sister. Unbeknownst to her, she sends a little seed of joy, blowing up my heart strings, in a few little words of hers (you gotta love sisters and so mine, she’s a keeper) reminding me that yes “brighter days are ahead”; she is good like that for spirit lifts. I guess she read my last couple of blogs which sort of spoke of a reality in my headspace that I am awakening to. So yes sister, it’s all good – just need to breathe for a bit.

Thank goodness for cheerleader moments. You probably can name a thousand of those times where you get them unexpectedly or you intentionally go to a place to find them. Me, my go-to place is any Hallmark stores or novelty one-of-kind shops (Flowers and Friends in Kensington or Luna Emporium in Charlottetown) because they have the most unexpected smiles waiting for me – cheerleader moments. You know those times especially when you least expect it, and yet really need it, and you get a POW. I’m thinking about this mug I saw once (not in Hallmark for sure) with a character looking grumpy and it said, “who peed in your soup today?”. Talk about a belly laugh. I like those that get your funny bone. Okay, that is a bit TMI but you get my point… if it gets a smile or chuckle out of you… rah rah cheer to the heart. A breather. It’s all good. Yeh?

At the end of the day, there is hope. There is a beautiful song by Steven Curtis Chapman that reminds me of cheerleader moments. I think they are God moments of grace where you feel a calm amongst the turmoil. And wonder of wonders, you smile, hang on and it’s all good. Be Still

Wanting to See You

I see you.

I remember taking this class a few years ago around technology tools/devices and the impact on people, especially the younger generation and their spiritual wellbeing. Many of the articles we read spread across a spectrum of absolutely necessary to the destruction of the social fabric of society’s mental and physical well being. How do you sift through the rhetoric and bias, to come to own conclusions as to the need for technology devices in our world? Good or bad? I think of loss of hearing or needing glasses earlier or getting a permanent pouch or arthritis in the fingers or…You know what I’m saying. I really cannot say too much as I spend a great deal of time on computer or my cell phone. But I do recall that I was dead set against having a cell phone for a long time as well as curbing my girls time being on computer or game system for any length of time. I felt that computers or cell phones seem to control a person’s time and let’s face it time is a precious commodity to begin with. I just see lots of people together walking down sidewalks or the park or wherever but not really being with each other as majority of time is on their phone either texting or talking. And don’t get me started on gaming. Not going there. Whatever happened to..oh I don’t know…a good old CONVERSATION with the person NEXT TO YOU; remember where you go face to face making eye contact, seeing the expressions of the person as you converse… nose twitching or mouth smirking or eyes tearing up…any or all of the above for goodness sake.

Alas, I eventually did break down to get a cell phone because my daughters’ nagging kind of wore me out (nag me, their mother!!…that’s my job). Of course, I saw the light as safety and being accessible, reducing the worry, car breaking down, being lost, taking pictures, capturing a video clip, sharing news, and on and on. I got it!!! Pulling at the old heart strings, I think they had the gift of gab down pat back then, a little too well. And now, three against one…really girls!! You know you get to a point and say, if you cannot beat them…eat cherries instead. I love them.

As much as I profess strongly to a technology time out in my day, I cannot be more grateful in knowing I can see my family and friends in real time through the lens of technological devices whether FaceTime, Skype, Messenger, FaceBook, Twitter or whatever ‘itter’ – I want to see. What is that old adage, oh yes, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. (Okay, I know that I blog, crafting words to create images but to see…I guess that is why I like images to go along with my blog). Sidetracked. Oops. Anyhoo, I want to see the whites of their eyes.

So Easter weekend comes. Celebration. Where I usually can scooch and hug my family, I am put on hold with face to face, skin to skin. Where one goes to church to celebrate with joy the Risen Christ, new life, and fresh start within. I am put on hold. But I get the next best thing – I get to see. Easter messages from near and far…Skype with my brother and his family; so good to see them as they share themselves with me. Thankyou. Which followed with a video link on a Mass recorded and sent to me by a friend and colleague of my former Board, with Father Jim, a retired pastor who works Board, presided. Now I can partake in the Mass virtually. A faith lift.

Later on in the day, with a smile on my face, my heart jumping up and down, I open up Messenger to view a short video clip of my granddaughter 8 months old starting to crawl across the floor. Watching her little hands spread wide as she slaps them on the floor, trying coordinate her hands and knees to go forward, reaching her a treasure before her. I stare in wonder and awe with tears on my face. Then seeing and hearing my grandson talking to his mom in the background, reminding me of the many times he would ask me, his Rara, to find ways to do something with him. Spoil by Rara. Just being there with them, even if virtual, words cannot express my feelings. Right after that, my phone rings…lets FaceTime. Oh to see baby girl, waking up from her nap, and I think she is smiling at me as I grin and make noises as she looks at me. I think she sees me for I see her. Then to add the icing on the Easter day, my oldest daughter texts me about how she is doing as a new mommy, the delight in her words describing her day with her, and then seeing one month old baby girl in all of her faces. She goes from scrunch to smile to frown to stare…how does your heart not beat faster.

What did we do before technology devices? We waited. And now we do not. Regardless of the burden of abundance that technology devices provide for each one of us, be it a lot or not as much, depending on circumstances, connecting with one another is by far the most wondrous of gift to receive. Unfortunately, like anything else, misuse and abuse can take its toll on the user and receiver so I extend that thought of freedom with responsibility. Nothing can replace first hand human interaction, the joy and sorrow, you get to feel, honour, and live out. Maybe not what you would like to experience at times (I can relate) but, I’ll take the next best thing – I want to see you.

Accepting Own Weakness

“Growth begins when we start to accept our own weakness”

― Jean Vanier

Quote citing

Being an adult is hard but being a parent and being adult during times when you need to be an adult,,,well let’s just say I slipped for a minute or three. I had a bit of a melt down on Saturday night (Easter Vigil eve); not the best version of myself that’s for sure. I was feeling a wee bit sorry for myself and wanting to just…yell. Why? Not so easy to admit. My meltdown came about out of something so innocent in action but triggered a deeper seed of hurt that I did not realize I was carrying – not being able to be there for and with my family.

Let me back up just a bit. Five weeks ago, I headed off to Ontario to be with my eldest daughter who was expecting her first child, a baby girl. My daughter did not want me to come too early but not too late. Well, as parents know, baby’s have their own clock. I arrived on the Sunday evening, receiving the best of hugs and kisses from my daughter and partner…oh it felt good as we had not seen each other for awhile. Baby was due on the Thursday but no show so instead had doctor’s appointment. What transpired during that visit? OB said no visitors to hospital, may be induced early next week if baby does not come, and that if I flew in, I would have to leave. OB believed things were going to get worse. That Thursday evening, the Ontario government sent a public message out stating that schools would be closed for two weeks after March Break and non-essential businesses will be closing possibly. Holy lightning!! Then a text from my daughters back home saying what was happening on island. All in a span of one week…overnight really, chaos and fear set in like wildfire.

Thankfully, baby girl was born on Monday evening, a miracle of delight in the wake of this fear. How to feel? My daughter and partner were on overload; trying to figure out this thing called parenting a newborn. Not even going there. So I began the practice between self-isolation and social distancing for three weeks… getting their home set up with food and baby needs, allowing them to sleep, disinfecting the home, showering or washing clothes as soon as I returned from outside world (thank goodness for stores introducing shopping only for seniors from 7 to 8 am) and of course the suffering – holding and tending to baby girl’s needs (NOT AT ALL). I miss her so much. Needless to say it was the best and worst of times,

But I knew I had to return home because they needed to get the hang of parenting without me present. You got this kids. My heart hurt to leave but even more so because I could not even go visit my own parents and sister as I could be a carrier and they are in vulnerable. So I left. Driving straight through, 18 hours, only stopping for gas and washroom breaks, washing my hands thoroughly, at each and every stop. I was going to get a hotel in NB but after I was stopped at the border check-in and questioned, license plate and own license taken, I changed my mind. Finally crossing the bridge, questioned at checkpoint again, I drove home for a self-isolation of 14 days.

So why the meltdown. Well, it was when we were trading vehicles back. I had taken my middle daughter’s car to Ontario because it would be easier on gas. Obviously not necessary as it turned out. So in my head, her car was in self-isolation and Saturday night would be safe to trade back. Walking up to the top of lane with my youngest daughter. as that is where her car and middle daughter’s cars are parked (soft laneway due to permafrost), we wait. Then I see my truck come up the road. My middle daughter parks it at side of road, steps out and I notice her wearing gloves (it is not cold out) and tosses me my keys. I toss her keys to her. Then she gets in her car and drives off. Meanwhile, I felt under a microscope as two cars drove by while we were exchanging vehicles – felt like being in a fishbowl with social distancing police. Only in my head.

So when I parked the truck and walked back down lane to home, my mind took a turn to crazy sad and hurt. What just happened? Sitting in the family room I felt like having a bit of a tantrum…which lasted until Easter Sunday morn. Are you kidding me? Mature? No. Adult? Not even. And here with Easter day before me, my family and friends sending me beautiful and heartfelt Easter messages and I was not joyful…pouting more like it. Really Karen. God must laugh alot.

What I had come to realize was my insides were shaken up and I was grieving. Grieving for what is not. In that moment of tossing the keys, I was becoming present to my self-isolation, to this whole social distancing thing and its reality on my very being in not being able to be with my family, skin to skin. I was giving into my weakness of being human, slipping for a minute of three (more like a day). Sometimes I think we have to embrace the hurt.

All I can say is that thank goodness for love and forgiveness. Especially to my middle daughter who called me, reminding me that it is okay, I’m not alone, and to find comfort in knowing people around she and I, can relate. Who is the adult now?

I pray for families and our neighbours, near and far, to find strength, care, and support during these times of social distancing.

Easter. Starting Afresh Again

Oh the Lord is good to me.

Happy Easter. Alleluia! I feel like I just want to jump up and sing that old familiar child’s prayerful song of grace “Oh the Lord is good to me. And so I thank the Lord for giving me the things I needthe Lord is good to me,Johnny Appleseed. Amen.” Great day to celebrate the Easter, Easter egg hunt, and the ever wonderful Easter bunny and yes to eat with family. For me, just to be able to sit around the family table and break bread together…talk about taking things for granted. Not this year with all the goings on, but I will hold in my heart those many memories of family gathering at the dining table, pausing to listen to my grandson (shyly mind you) lead us in Johnny Appleseed before we dig in. Thanks my little man…love you for it.

Easter. Celebrating the Risen Lord in our lives and new life unfolding where earth and human interact as Spring comes a calling. There is so much to be grateful for. And so, in gratitude, I celebrate – my walking. Yes! I get to walk now that I am officially off self-isolation…yippee woohoo… it feels good so pardon my exuberance. Not just any kind of walking like in and around my home or up my stairs or down my lane and back (all good to do mind you) but the walk which gives these old gams a good work out. So today, my walk was wondrous and humbling. I was turning my head every which way, taking in the never-ending beauty and vista of fields and sand and sea, enjoying the sunrise, while noting a few changes since last I trekked. I was treated to a treasure of delights even with the sandy beach now laden more noticeably with pebbles and larger rocks and a rougher Cape Road

Maggie May, no surprise, did her own looking every which way…but with head down sniffing then peeing and oh yes… sniffing again. Thankfully she does not need a lead as very little human or vehicle traffic are up at 6:30 am so I can enjoy me and she can enjoy her. And let me tell you, my muscles are burning just a bit…are you kidding me?

I can’t help but think that Easter, however it was derived or originated, and from whom, in its tradition, brings hope and forgiveness. Starting afresh. Spring illustrates that beautifully as it brings new life to a land barren and unawakened. As a person of faith, I can be afresh in my own daily walk to do the good, waking to a Resurrection within me, to be the best version of self in word and deed as Christ has shown. Cultivating the gift of self in being life-giving.

Pondering today. Oh the Lord is good to me. Happy Easter.

Easter Bunny is Essential Worker

PEI Premier King message from Office under Public Health Act in consultation with Public Health Officer, Thursday April 9, 2020

You gotta love it. Early this morning, I was reading my emails (97 in the cue – I can’t be that far behind. Really?) and was caught off guard by one of the most recent entries in particular, a subject line from our Premier, stating “Province deems Easter Bunny Essential Worker”. I started chuckling to myself. What in the world? It sounded weird coming from our island leader…good one Premier. I get quite a few communications from the provincial government as I like to keep informed of what is going on in and around the province and local communities; so this one caught my attention. Easter Bunny deemed as Essential Worker!! But then I quickly realized…holy lightning. Absolutely. It was Holy Thursday yesterday and Easter draws near !? Easter? My family. Church. Traditions. Easter bunny. Easter egg hunt. Easter meal. Easter gathering.

Shaking my head to clear the cobwebs, this is Good Friday and Easter Vigil is tomorrow and what? I have been so preoccupied of late with other things to be mindful of Holy Week and Easter Traditions as a person of faith (and Easter and family traditions as a mom and Rara) and in this, it is my cross to bear. Good Friday, where a Christian stands at the foot of the cross as marked by Jesus Crucifixion and death on a cross long long ago, leaving of himself or herself something there, and in turn bringing something of Christ Jesus into his or her own life. But the traditional gathering of the faithful will be partaking in Good Friday celebration in a way not done before…at home. I can only imagine how the Christian Churches (or any Church or ecclesial group) are responding in prayer and Traditional practices as the coronavirus-19 sweeps its path of harm and despair for many. To hear the pleas. If ever there was a time for prayer of strength and courage, it is now as Easter draws near. We are people of hope even in the darkness.

Turning to the other tradition of Easter, I cannot help but thank the Premier enough as a mother and a Rara (grandmother in grandson’s language term for me) for communicating something that impacts the young children and families on the island. The underlying message of compassion and care for Easter traditions of family gatherings, Easter bunny, Easter hunts…of course the Easter bunny is an essential worker. The fall out from the coronavirus impacts the very fabric and essence of the island community and its hospitality. The Premier reminds me of the editor of the New York Sun in 1897 and the letter received by a little girl about Santa Claus’s existence and his response to her, “Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus.” Hope. Assurance. Belief. The communication from the office of the Premier is a significant message in light of the unknown, carrying on a tradition that is important regardless of circumstance…deemed essential. Reminder that life continues and when faced with adversity we need to find ways to help people grapple with something beyond their control. But also, it is an important reminder that the health and safety of the island has to be maintained still which Easter characterizes – social distancing.

Pondering for the day – So today I think of traditions as Easter draws near and what is essential. I know I am not going to be able to make a treasure hunt or watch Easter bunny hide Easter eggs or set the table for a meal prepared for by loving hands (many hands make light work). Nor sit in pew at Easter Vigil in the darkness to see the candles light up as, one by one, the candles collectively bring us into the light. I won’t hear the voice of Amen as newly baptized and confirmed say YES to becoming a Christian. Nor will I. My favourite and most welcomed tradition is when family gathers at the dining room table and they are safe. Knowing my loved ones are with me and I can see them, hold them, be with them. But this year it is not going to be that way. Okay then. Putting things into perspective. So standing here, what is deemed essential? For me? For you? For all? Blessings and prayers.

FYI: On a side note, I just want to say to the Premier that I really do not want snowplow workers to be an essential worker anymore. Okay. Why one might ask?? I SPOKE WAY to SOON yesterday as I look outside my window this morning and SEE a blanket of SNOW covering the ground and the wind howling away as I take note that the forecast for today is snow…all day. Are you KIDDING me!!! Just saying. Be safe and healthy.