A Tribute to a Lady

My Mother A beautiful lady. I've always felt my Mom resembles the actress and playwright, Isabella Rossellini.
My Mother
A beautiful lady. I’ve always felt my Mom resembles the actress and playwright, Isabella Rossellini.

 

It used to drive me crazy as a teen.

“Tell me what you think, Mom. What should I do?”

Mom would set aside her paint brush, focus her dark eyes upon mine and shrug.

Her comment was always,

“It doesn’t matter what I think; it’s what you think that counts. Think for yourself.”
Brush strokes filled a canvas.

Think for yourself. Three words that held power. Wielding clout to the choices I made.

It was my responsibility to stand at the crossroad and choose the right path. Successes and failures were mine alone to shoulder.

Mother insisted I decide my fate. There were moments in life when I begged her~ tell me, guide me, shield me, and help me. Anything, as I stood alone at the intersection called Life, and clutched an empty suitcase.

“Buck up,” she’d say, “Life’s not a party and it sure as hell isn’t fair.”

Her words, sage lyrics spoken from the heart of a beautiful, brave woman. A lady who learned late the skill set necessary to navigate through the unpredictable forests of life. She understood I was ill prepared, too fearful to fly. So she pushed me.

When lost, my mother’s words take the helm and whisper, Think for yourself. I promise you, the answer is within. Automatically my compass resets.

The Universe sets us down, gives us what we need to deal, in a lifetime. A talisman of courage when we cower, a nudge to stand tall when another breaks us down, the sparkle of beauty amidst ruins and light to shine through darkness.

This Mother’s Day I honour you, Mom. I learned to fly.

On Being Thankful

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This weekend is the Canadian Thanksgiving; another opportunity to pause and remember all the blessings in my life. First, to family and friends. Even apart you stay an important part of a life story. I raise the first glass of Pinot Grigio to you!
There is my dear one; an excellent athlete and a gentle spirit. One day you will understand that the world doesn’t care about whether you run the 8 minute mile; rather that you kept trying to improve yourself on the track of life. (An aside rant- One day a curriculum will question the standards of a system that fails a child who runs a mile in 12 minutes! Both will be thankful for the lessons learned. Keep trying to improve; in the big picture that is all that matters.)
To my kids; you make me proud of who you are and who you will continue to evolve into. You stand up for right; you care about others, you are kind. We raised you well.
To my family; thank you for being there. Kind of like that 12 minute mile. We limp along, moving forward; sometimes we struggle through to strengthen our hearts. We circle the wagons when one of us falls off. Everyone needs to belong to something and someone’s clan!
To friends~ I’m grateful for each of you. Your laughter, stories and your mischief reminds me that together we are all better people. We enrich one another.
Raise a toast to the laughter, the fun, the struggles, the tears, the joys and the words; all moments to treasure. I wish you a gorgeous day with those you love and care for and I thank you for sharing and caring in my life.
x

Wings

Flying 2

 

“And the voice spoke even more deliberately: ‘…but remember what is under the ocean of clouds: eternity.’

And suddenly that tranquil world, the world of such simple harmony that you discover as you rise above the clouds, took on an unfamiliar quality in my eyes. All that gentleness became a trap. In my mind’s eye I saw that vast white trap laid out, right under my feet. Beneath it reigned neither the restlessness of men nor the living tumult and motion of cities, as one might have thought, but a silence that was even more absolute, a more final peace. That viscous whiteness was turning before my eyes into the boundary between the real and the unreal, between the known and the unknowable. And I was already beginning to sense that a spectacle has no meaning except when seen through a culture, a civilization, a professional craft.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wind, Sand and Stars

I am not such a fan of plane travel.  It puzzles me how a  large, heavy, motorized tin can structure can trick the elements to soar.  I am skeptical of the physics. There are rituals, I hold to. I listen to the little things like the sounds of the engines. Are they humming through scales as smoothly and effortlessly as a master conductor guides an orchestra? I want to view the pilot, the uniform. Is it crisp, polished? The pattering steps I hear scampering the ramp. Are they solid, confident? The last pilot scooted through the parking lot seated on top a unicycle. Flare mixed with spunk.

I want some spark, some attitude in my pilot.

Once on the plane , I fall back into the seat and cross my fingers. The engines warm up as they pace through the tests. We taxi the runway. The engine’s thrust pulls, slowly, then faster  and faster, until we meet the bump that lifts the metal dream ship, wavering for a second, fighting with the wind, finally pushing skyward.  I pray to Sky God cradle me. Air borne. The familiar everyday further behind us. My eyes turn skyward. I pause, silent.

Rocketed, climbing higher, pushing through layers of batting. Mastering the elements, we pass through stormy, wispy white layers.  The earth below appears far away, the roof tops disappear, insignificant. The landscape spreads like a quilt. “Rest,” the sky whispers. “Dream.”

Glancing through the arched window I glimpse a spectacular stage. There is such glory to behold. Emerald green patches of land sparkle below, the glaciered prominence of a mountain’s summit, the mix of watery blues edging the greens and inky blues of painted skies. I imagine wings. Glorious wings to fly.

It is peaceful here. Pressing a cheek to the window’s glass, the chill  seeps in, penetrates my skin. I press my eyes to sleep. Oh to be winged, soaring through the  wispy clouds, playful, peeking from a fluffy mound of  snow white piled high. Who goes there? Winged archangels, chubby cherubs, old souls. 

Glorious, gone. Home. Now I walk the earth with my eyes turned skyward. 

Flying 3

A Hug

“Ms M! Ms M!” the little boy’s voice calls out.  I turn and face a child standing at the end of the shop’s aisle, ball cap pulled down low to the brow, red tee and shorts, summer kissed skin.

“It’s me!” he says.  His big eyes twinkle, his smile wide and gappy; little fists clench together.

“It’s you!” I  gently reply.

He rushes forward, throws his arms around me, and looks up; sweet little rounded face.

It’s been three years since I taught him. I remember this child, a goer, always on the move.  Some mornings he shook me awake!  A thinker, a doer; building structures to navigate all across the carpet, surrounded by wooden blocks or hundreds of  Lego bricks.  Some days, castles stood lining the perimeter, other days building straws reached up, a tower to the sky.  Lego ships and rockets peeked out, partially hidden behind a book or from beneath a table, safe, waiting for another opportunity to play. Each afternoon as our time together came to an end, he’d pause on the landing, throw his arms around me; a hug good-bye.  Until the next day.

Some days, when it came time to work he would say, “I can’t,” or “I won’t.”

“Yes, you can and yes you will.” I’d reply, leading him to the table. Cross, the little head would lower, eyes narrow, as his small fist tightly gripped a crayon or pencil. Slowly, he realized, he would, he could.

“You did,” I’d say each time.  Our eyes meet; we leave each other with a smile.

He wanted to read and his excitement was to the moon when we finally found a reading series he connected with, the Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems.

http://www.pigeonpresents.com/books.aspx

Teaching was a passion; every day an opportunity to laugh, learn, and play; to create memories. Truly, the biggest pay off is hearing a little voice call out,

“Ms. M, Ms. M, it’s me!”

Along with a hug.

It’s you, thank goodness! You made my ordinary day so much better. Your heart remains open; your sweet child’s face filled with joy.  Thank you for reminding me that it’s the positive connections we make with others that count most in life.  Lucky me, your teacher.

 

Gratitude

Beauty

Gratitude. Years ago a thoughtful neighbour brought me a clump of peony roots, dug from her colourful garden, divided for another.  On a walk, I pause to admire the show of beauty blooming so splendidly in her garden.  My eyes covet the peonies, the genus Paeonia, buds wrapped tight, stalks gently holding the shy, unfurling blooms.  Some garnet, pink, and as if this isn’t enough beauty to behold, two weeks later, the white flowers show, shining through the dark night.

On the cusp of autumn, she placed three small bundles at the doorstep. They patiently wait, still, wrapped in brown paper, tied with twine, for me to discover.   Cradling the bundles, I take them to my garden, gently hand them to the earth.  Planting the woody clumps into the soil, I wonder at the magic these simple bundles of wood and roots would conjure.  Seasons changed, the little woody clumps slept snug underneath an earthen blanket.

The following spring the roots anchor, stalks push through the soil’s surface, evolving into small bushes covered with compound, deeply lobed leaves. Three garnet peonies bloom on one of the bushes. Two weeks later, the second bloom opens to reveal the purest white petals. Years later, these small clumps have mothered five beautiful bushes.

Gorgeousness. Some believe peony compounds have the power to heal.  Inhale their fragrance, touch the soft petals with a finger tip, breathe in as your heartbeat slows under this intoxicating spell.  I wonder at such beauty.  

Ancestry

The ad captures my attention~ discover your past, your family’s story.  I begin a quest to discover the history of my family, to know their stories. Regrettably, it never occurred to me to enquire about family when I had the chance.  The relatives I knew kept silences and secret whisperings locked away.

An ancestry membership started me on a journey to discover my past, to discover the men and women whose spirit, hard work, and resilience contributed to my DNA.  Like Alice, I fall down the rabbit hole to emerge in England.  Perhaps this partly explains the allure of floral and chintz.  I cannot pass a vintage thrift shop; I must enter and wander the aisles, linger with the china tea cups and saucers.

Cabbage roses capture my attention. Closing my eyes, woodland hares and rose bushes come into focus.  A calico cat peeks out from behind a stone shed, its stealthy body poised, yellow eyes set upon a morning robin, watching as the bird alights atop the country garden’s netting.  Sweet peas inch up the strings, their perfumed fragrance intoxicating, carried on a gentle breeze.

A paper bag princess, royalty eludes me! Instead, I discover a fascinating world, its simplicity steeped within the doctrines of the Church of England and the land.  I am descended from working class people; tenacious spirits, the farmers and carters beckon me to pause and pay respect.  The great, great, great-granddaughter of hardworking men and women who tilled the beautiful pastoral lands around Shropshire, England.  I wonder if an everlasting thread connects us still. At times, their presence fleeting, their faces mirrored back. Perhaps these old souls smile when they view my humble garden, the sunflower seeds and tightly rounded sweet peas unfurling from seed coat jackets.  Maybe they tenderly gaze back from the faces of those I hold dear.

I stop to study the women’s photographs.  I note beauty and grace, the comforting resemblances to those now here. Standing tall, their proud high foreheads face the camera.  Beautiful dark eyes share the untold stories, the stories of strength and courage.  These courageous women, many sent to work as domestics while still children, some missionaries in China, others interned. Many grieved babies lost to consumption and disease.  Many lost husbands.  All had mouths to feed.  These tireless women, their beautiful, haunted eyes beholden to the emotions, sorrow and joy. Beholden to the land and the seasons.

When in doubt, I imagine these women sending forth heart beats fueled by a fierce strength and unrelenting resilience. Loyal to family, sheltering one another throughout life’s storms, imagining the opportunities, if only wealth or education had happened along their paths.  They forge on, some daring to dream of a future with opportunities and choices for those waiting in line.

Discovering a family’s past, uncovering the mysteries and facts, I set my compass down.  It is an honour to gently sift through the stories, unveil the lives of ones so true.  I take away their gems and stones to polish and shine.  I gather strength from their life stories.  I cherish who I am.

 

 

 

Under A Blood Red Moon

Love to my way of thinking, is the emotion one feels when they meet someone who makes them be what they want to be. We feel love toward someone who shows us the light, who pushes us to become what we have always wanted to become but may have never realized. We love the person who makes us love ourselves.” 
― Mina HepsenUnder the Blood Red Moon

http://www.space.com/25250-a-tetrad-of-lunar-eclipses-starts-in-april-video.html

Nasa explains this breath-taking phenomena better than I do.  Please click on the link to find out all to know about the early morning total eclipse of the moon.

Under A Blood Red Moon 

I awake at four a.m. and gaze out through the unveiled window.  It is the moon that captures my weary attention.  It hangs suspended, a brilliant white light, full and heavy, in an inky black sky. A wispy cloud passes by, as if a wayward remnant from a beribboned banner cut.  A silken piece left after the  announcement that the greatest show of the universe is unfolding.

In the Bible, it is written that God uses the moon and the stars to send signals to earth.  The moon held power over the people.  It brought about their fears and swayed imaginations.  Superstitions surround the topic of the moon.  Beware~ those who sleep under a full moon run the risk of insanity or blindness. Worse yet, the magic conjures to turn one into a werewolf; fear not, you are safe from harm.  This occurs only if the lunar event  falls on a Friday.

I have slept under the blood-red moon, awakening too late to view the total lunar eclipse or tetrad.  I catch the last stages of this spectacular lunar event.  For a few minutes I am able to glimpse the shadow of red, surrounding the edges of la luna.  Our collective hearts beating back to one another.

During a blood-red moon, one is viewing every sunset and every sunrise around the earth at the same time. It appears as if earth’s reflected back by the brilliant moon light.  We, the human population, are given a brief opportunity to view each other’s worlds, however fleeting the moment.

It is impossible not to be awed by this spectacular celestial event.

If you missed this lunar event, mark your calendars for October 8, 2015 when once again the earth will experience a total lunar eclipse.

Full lunar eclipse. Moon 5 photo 3