Friday, August 01, 2014


On a good day,when Mother Nature was formulating innovative strategies for child protection, she came up with a particularly enlightened idea, installing at the center of each and every child, a personal scab maker, skilled in the rapid repair of skinned knees, scraped elbows, and the tender tips of tiny noses. She did not neglect me in this regard, and in my elementary school days, my personal scab maker worked overtime. In fact, her best repairs were made while I was sleeping. I used to marvel at the way she worked, from the outside in, constructing first the hardshell of protection then smoothing the tender new skin underneath with the precision that would be the envy of the best tdrywall taper. She did her work quietly, asking no assistance, supported only by an occasional kiss, or a bandage on the very first day. It is possible that she worked harder than the personal scab makers possessed by my classmates. I do not know if this was true. But the adults in my life believed it to be true and it concerned them deeply. The source of their concern appeared to be my glasses, large spectacles with hard plastic frames that tended to shatter on impact. I dutifully put them on every morning and took them off at bedtime. It was something I had been doing for years, never once questioning the reason for them. School was the place where the glasses all seemed to break. . A clean break would be mended with glue. A jagged break might be fixed with tape. Any fracture more complicated than that required the services of an optician, a mysterious man in the city whose services could only be procured after the exchange of money. My parents, I was assured, we're not made of money. The adults in my life approached the problem with differing solutions. The teachers instructed me not to run on the school grounds. Applied to a different person, this idea might have protected my glasses. But these teachers were dealing with a tiny extrovert who had almost no vision and only sighted classmates to play with. I was, by nature, an obedient child. But even the most compliant children have their limits. My parents dealt with the situation in a different way. 'You will have to do without glasses for a while,' they gravely declared. And so I went without. Today I toast my scab maker, as much for her successes as for her failing. For if she had been willing to repair my glasses, her perfect labors performed at no cost, I would probably still be paying for the repair of useless spectacles.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Slow motion

There are so many things which can slow time down, anticipation of something you want, boredom, and the ultimate slower of time, and I'm preventable accident about to happen.
I have, in the past few weeks, become acutely aware of this slowing effect. In the mornings I make coffee. Does the machine take five minutes or 50? It's all the same to me. In June we missed our connecting flight and spent some extra time in the Munich airport. Were we there eight hours or eight days? It must have been eight hours. We only ate one lunch.
And then there was the day when I was hit by a car, yes, hit it's a funny thing how you can know something without knowing you know it. I knew, I discovered, in the time that slowed down to a crawl and then almost to nothing, that being hit by a car is at two stage process. First you are hit and then you are runover. 
I am going to be run over, I thought as the bumper hit my legs. I am going to be run over, I thought as I flew through the air. I am going to be run over I thought as I lay on the pavement. I waited, and I waited, and I waited. 
And I will never know if I waited 20 seconds, or 20 hours, or 20 years. I will never know because I was not run over. I was only hit by a car. Thank heavens for that! by a car.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Laughter is a tranquilizer without side affects

Ask a toddler with a scab on his knee
And he will tell you in action rather than word
How a belly laugh can eat race the hurts of the world

Friday, May 09, 2014

Smelling good!

The Miltonia orchid in my kitchen window. When the sun shines on it there is no fragrance more beautiful.

Saturday, May 03, 2014


Spring came on Tuesday so I went for a walk. Summer came on Wednesday so I planted pansies.Autumn Came on Thursday so I tried to ignore it. Today is winter. Is time passing more quickly than it used to?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


If you were to say That the first day of spring Is the day of the equinox Twelve hours each for day and for night, I would not argue. How could I? But the day when I sit Eating dinner outdoors Hair in a ponytail Bare feet on veranda boards With the breeze on my arm and no wish for a sweater, Then that would unquestionably Undoubtedly, unarguably Be my personal first day of spring. And that was today!

Monday, April 28, 2014


From time to time we would travel to Spirit River and stay with Aunty Adaline. We would bunk in her basement—a roomy place with comfortable furniture and a generous bathroom that was private for guests. But on one occasion we called her to say that we would be camping nearby at Saskatoon Lake. We would visit her for an afternoon. If her objection was only half-hearted, we did not notice. “It can be cold out there,” she said. “The weatherman is predicting cold weather.” “On July 31 we are certain it will be fine,” we said. We had not planned for snow. Saskatoon Lake is named for its bounty. The bushes hung heavy with purple deliciousness. But nobody likes to pick saskatoons while wearing mittens, so we did not pick a bucket for Aunty Adaline as we had planned. Instead, we called to say that we had changed our minds about staying over at her house. We had not been fully aware up to that point that Aunty Adaline’s health was changing. Where once we would have arrived to a warm welcome and the irresistible aroma of cake in the oven, we found her flustered, preoccupied with the combined effort of a search for her lost Life-Line Alert button and the remaking of her bed so that we could sleep under clean sheets. Her basement was messy, she reported, due to a recent flood. Though fully cleaned, it remained disorderly. She would not entertain the idea of our going there. We would share the big bedroom in her room. She would sleep in a single bed elsewhere. When bedtime came, we climbed guiltily between her sheets. The curtain of sleep descended. I was dreaming deeply when the wall spoke her name. “Adaline,” said the wall. I was not particularly surprised. Walls will speak to those who feel guilty. Deeper into the dream went I. “Adaline,” said the wall, more urgently this time. “Adaline, are you all right? Shall I send an ambulance?” Here is my best advice for those considering possible life-mates: Look for someone who will know what to do if the wall begins to speak in the middle of the night! For while I pulled the covers over my head in a hopeful attempt to silence the thing, David informed the wall that we were Adaline’s niece and nephew, spending the night in her bed. “Her Life-Line Button has been pushed,” the wall replied, and David, with characteristic practicality, dug in the space under the mattress until he found the lost button, and removed it from its hiding place so that it would no longer be activated by the process of rolling over in bed. . “Good night,” said the wall. “Good night,” said we. So the wall did not send an ambulance, and David was soon breathing the deep inhalations of a peaceful sleep restored. But I lay awake, wondering how long it might be until the RCMP would pound upon the door, sent to investigate the possibility that two sleepy robbers had somehow disposed of Aunty Adaline/